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The Denver Winter Bucket List: 10 Essential Holiday Experiences You Can’t Miss

Jessica Ramos Jessica Ramos

The Denver Winter Bucket List: 10 Essential Holiday Experiences You Can’t Miss

Even though the snow may be a bit late to hitting Denver, there’s still a lot of holiday cheer going around. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the holidays are just around the corner, literally, and we couldn’t be more excited. A lot of holiday light shows, festivities, and performances are starting up this weekend and the next, so we created this awesome guide to all things Denver (or near by) that you’ll want to knock off your bucket list this season. Enjoy and happy holidays!

1. Hit the ice at the Downtown Skating Rink

Downtown Denver is partnering up with Southwest Airlines to bring back the holiday ice skating rink to Skyline Park. Bundle up, don your skates, and enjoy a jolly good time hitting the ice as you’re surrounded by twinkling Christmas lights and ornaments. The rink opens on November 24th at 4pm and is sticking around until February 20th!

Where: 1601 Arapahoe St., Denver, CO 80202

2. Take a weekend trip to Denver’s best wintry destination, Aspen

Aspen recently won the best small city in the U.S. and for good reason too! It’s the perfect winter escape, and that’s why we wanted to include it on this list. You’ll get all things snow-covered, an abundance of winter activities like tubing, skiing, or taking a ride on the breathtaking alpine coaster. Plus they’re home to some of the coolest bars and restaurants in the state, like Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro known for their fondue, raclette, and apple crumble.

3. Go on a wintry road trip to one of these snowy cities

Prepare for snowy season this year by hitting the road and heading to a charming, snowy mountain village. Places like Vail, Aspen, Crested Butte, and Telluride are all waiting for you and your family to hit their slopes, check out their downtowns, and enjoy a beautiful, cozy stay.

4. Be dazzled by one of Denver’s Christmas light shows

Some of Denver’s biggest spaces and venues are lighting up for the holidays in spectacular, immersive art installations. Enter these winter wonderlands, be dazzled by millions of twinkling lights, and enjoy the Christmas spirit in style. Some you may have experienced before, some are brand new, and some are bigger and better than ever.

  • Denver Zoo Lights
  • Denver Botanic Gardens – Blossoms Of Light
  • Elitch Gardens – Luminova Holiday

5. Have a cozy dinner or drink in a greenhouse, igloo, or chateau

Last year, restaurants were getting creative with their dining options. That’s when cute, socially distanced, and most importantly, warm outdoor dining options became a thing. Chateaus, Greenhouses, and Igloos were the place to be during the winter of 2020, but we’re happy to see these cozy outdoor dining options making their comeback. Restaurants like Avanti (who is also a venue for the holiday pop up, Miracle Bar), and My Brother’s Bar set up shop last year so we’re hoping to see the return of some of these cute, decked out patios.

6. Take a ride on the Polar Express

The Polar Express is returning to the Colorado Railroad Museum for another year. From mid-November to December 23rd, take a magical journey, starting out at the Polar Express Pavilion. Sit around the table as a holiday performance of the iconic Polar Express story takes place as you get to nibble on tasty treats. Once the performance is over, head outside to see the arrival of the Polar Express train pull into the station where you’ll climb aboard and meet Santa. Tickets range in price, starting at $80 a person, so check out their website for all the information.

Where: 17155 W. 44th Avenue, Golden, CO 80403

7. Sip Glühwein at the Denver Christkindlmarket 

Experience a German holiday market right in your own backyard. At the Denver Christkindlmarket, you can stroll down lanes of enchanted merchants selling artisanal wares and tasty holiday goodies from local and international businesses alike. The markets take place from November 19th through December 23rd and best of all, it’s free! Don’t forge to leave without trying the hot, spiced German wine, Glühwein.

Where: 101 West 14th Avenue, Denver, CO  80204

8. Watch a holiday musical or theater performance

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is back this year with an amazingly festive performance of A Christmas Carol starting November 16th until December 26th. Tickets start at $30. For one night only, you can also catch a show from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra performing in Denver on November 20th.

9. Get wacky and campy at this fun Christmas event

Get ready for the most over-the-top Camp Christmas since 2019. For 2021, Camp Christmas will be taking place outdoors to ensure a safe and festive holiday season. Camp Christmas is back at Heritage Park this year, and you can

  • Enjoy a season’s greetings with Santa himself at a safe photo opp
  • Drink seasonally-themed cocktails
  • Enjoy photo-worthy, immersive light displays

Tickets are priced between $8 to $25 and camp is open from November 19th through January 2nd.

Where: 801 S Yarrow St, Lakewood, CO 80226

10. Sip high tea and watch a ballet performance for a good cause

The annual tradition of high tea and holiday performances is back and taking place at the Oxford Hotel. The Doll’s Tea Party will start on Sunday, December 5th, and takes place inside the Grand Ballroom of the Oxford Hotel. While you sip on tasty afternoon tea and small bites of cake and sandwiches, watch a stunning performance by dancers of the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. What’s better is that 10% of the proceeds go towards Children Hospital Colorado. Check out their website for how to grab tickets.

Where: 1600 17th St, Denver, CO 80202

 

[featured image via shutterstock]

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