8 Mile High Holiday Outings to Celebrate the Season

December 1, 2022

The holiday season always brings lots of festive fun. Here’s a rundown of some classic Denver holiday traditions that you can check out with your family and friends in the weeks to come:

Trail of Lights, Denver Botanic Gardens, Chatfield Farms

This walking trail meanders through twinkling lights that illuminate the nearby countryside. Spread throughout the Chatfield gardens, Trail of Lights offers visitors a choice of paths: a shorter route with direct access to a children’s play area, and an extended path. This year, you’ll discover lights in the amphitheater synchronized to music, a singing tree, two three-sided light tunnels, and hot beverages and other treats for purchase. Fridays – Sundays, Nov. 25 – Dec. 11; Nightly, Dec. 16 – Jan. 1 (closed on Christmas)

Parade of Lights, Downtown Denver

If you’ve never experienced the Parade of Lights, you need to this year! This free event features illuminated floats, helium-filled character balloons, marching bands, and so much more. It’s a Denver holiday tradition that kicks off the season beautifully. The parade starts at 14th and Bannock, or you can grab a spot along the two-mile route throughout downtown. December 3, 6:00 p.m.

Zoo Lights, Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights brings the holiday magic front and center, with over one million lights bringing a winter wonderland setting to life. You’ll see ice-carving exhibitions, an electric jungle, a savannah sunset, the Aurora Borealis display, and much more. December 3-January 15, 2023

The Polar Express™ Train Ride, Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden

If you love The Polar Express™ story, you can’t miss this theatrical re-creation combined with a magical train ride. Put the PJs on and bring the kids to enjoy holiday caroling and the Hot Chocolate song, a ride to the North Pole in vintage coaches pulled by a coal-fired steam locomotive, and even meeting Santa himself. Enjoy crafts, hot cocoa, and cookies too. Through December 23

16th Street Mall Holiday Festival, Downtown Denver

If you’re headed to the Parade of Lights on December 4th, stop by this holiday shopping event beforehand. It’s a curated marketplace with one-of-a-kind seasonal items, handcrafted goods, holiday gift ideas, specialty foods, home décor, and other unique gifts. You’ll get to see the 100-foot Mile High Christmas Tree, which is the largest electronic tree in North America, and floats from the Parade of Lights. December 4 and 10

Denver Christkindlmarket, Civic Center Park

Colorado’s only authentic German Market is back for the holiday season. Stroll through alleys lined with cozy wooden huts and shop for unique, artisan gifts and tasty treats from international and local small businesses. Check out special events like Ugly Sweater Night and Canine Christmas and be sure you don’t miss local bands and dancers performing German Polka songs, schuhplattler and more. November 18-December 23

Christmas at Gaylord Rockies, Aurora

Spend a day at Gaylord Rockies Resort to enjoy its holiday entertainment and activities. There’s ICE!, a larger-than-life retelling of A Charlie Brown Christmas crafted out of two million pounds of ice. Kids and adults alike will love the snow tubing, ice bumper cars, gingerbread decorating, and Yuletide Market that feels like you’ve stepped into Santa’s workshop. There’s even a Cirque-styled Christmas show with dazzling acrobatics and high-flying stunts. Through January 1, 2023

Christmas in Color

If you love driving around to look at holiday lights, put Christmas in Color on your holiday list of activities. This drive-through animated show features millions of lights synchronized to music that you put on your car radio. Lip-synching snowmen…giant dancing candy canes…arched pathways that light up to the beat of the music. You won’t find lights like this in your neighborhood! Bring your mugs of hot chocolate and enjoy the show. There are three locations around town: Water World in Federal Heights, Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, and the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds in Aurora. Through January 1, 2023

We hope you have fun exploring some of these activities or others in your area of town. Enjoy, and have a wonderful holiday season!

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