Fun Things to Do Around the Holidays in Denver This Year

Some of the best Denver Holiday events include the best things to do for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. You’ll find out where to feast on Thanksgiving, see Christmas lights, meet Santa, enjoy special holiday arts and theater productions, and more.

There’s so much to see and do this time of year here, so we’ve narrowed it down for you. Read on! 

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Where to See Christmas Lights in Denver

There’s something serene about holiday lights, and you’ll find plenty of serenity all around Denver at Christmastime. Some of the city’s top attractions, such as the zoo, botanic gardens, and Union Station, are decorated in colorful lights that will make your visit even more memorable.

>> Find holiday light displays in Denver.

Top Thanksgiving Events & Activities

If you’re coming to Denver to visit friends and family over Thanksgiving, you’ll find a variety of fun things to do together. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant that’s open on Thanksgiving Day (try the Downtown Aquarium!), a place to buy handmade Christmas gifts, or some charity runs to help keep those holiday pounds off, our list of recommendations has you covered.

>> Find out what’s happening in Denver on Thanksgiving Day and weekend

Christmas Eve & Day Events

If you are visiting during Christmas, you will find a lot of fun holiday events in Denver. The most popular include seeing our famous Christmas lights displays, celebrating with dinner at one of our local restaurants, or heading to the theater. 

Find more details on what to do this Christmas in Denver

New Year’s Eve Holiday Events in Denver

Are you looking for the best holiday events in Denver for NYE? This year, you can enjoy fireworks along the 16th Street Mall, attend 21+ NYE parties, or spend the evening at the Symphony. 

You can also catch a show at one of Denver’s top theaters, head out to a concert, or enjoy other family-friendly activities.

Learn more about events, parties, and other activities in Denver on New Year’s Eve.

December Calendar of Events

Are you visiting before Christmas? If so, you will find plenty of great holiday events in Denver in December. Some must-see annual events are the 9NEWS Parade of Lights and the Ugly Sweater Run, both happening downtown. 

See more top holiday events in December.

Holiday Markets

You will find plenty of holiday events in Denver where you can pick up presents for your loved ones. Many of these start in November with a few running into the December months. Here are a few of our favorites.

Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show

This Denver Mart is where you will find this annual Christmas gift show; it features more than 450 vendors with holiday goodies such as gourmet food, original art, jewelry, antiques, and so much more. Tickets are available at the door.

Holiday Food & Gift Festival

Get ready for some shopping! This annual event is at the National Western Complex with more than 100,000 square feet of space and includes more than 400 vendors with jewelry, furniture, photography, holiday decor, and so much more. Pick up tickets at the door.

Denver Christkindl Market

This traditional German Market features music, beer, entertainment, and of course, shopping, it will be held inside tents and outside at Skyline Park in downtown Denver. It’s also open all day on Thanksgiving. Free to enter.

Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair

Head over to the McNichols Civic Center Building for this year’s Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair, it will feature more than 150 vendors with handmade goods. There are also family-friendly workshops all weekend long, and it’s free to enter

Holiday Theater Productions

Denver has a vibrant performing arts scene that only gets better during the holiday season. Every year, two of the city’s favorite productions, “A Christmas Carol” and “Santaland Diaries,” delight audiences who just might need a little holiday cheer. You’ll also get a chance to see some of Broadway’s most popular shows. 

Click here to check out the theater calendar.

‘The Nutcracker’ Ballet

Dates: Saturday, Nov. 26 – Saturday, Dec. 24

Location: Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1385 Curtis St.

Every year, the Colorado Ballet and its orchestra amaze audiences with their lovely version of “The Nutcracker.” This holiday favorite features 300 vibrant costumes, 100 talented dancers, and beautiful sets that help tell the story of Clara, the Mouse King, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Find out more about Colorado Ballet performances.

Additional Christmas Shows

In addition to the Nutcracker, you will find a variety of other Christmas shows in Denver this holiday season. Here is a round of up some of our top picks.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

On 12/14 and 12/15, enjoy the sounds of Mannheim Steamroller at the Buell. They will be playing songs from their Christmas album during three shows this year.

A Colorado Christmas with the Symphony Orchestra

Enjoy an evening of classics with the Symphony Orchestra. They will be performing A Colorado Christmas on 12/13, 12/14, and 12/15 at Boettcher Concert Hall.

Holiday Tours at the Governor’s Mansion

Dates: TBD

Location: Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion, 400 E. Eighth Ave.

The grand 1908 Governor’s Residence opens its doors this holiday season for free public tours. More than 5,000 guests will view the beautiful Christmas decorations throughout this historic mansion that’s been home to Colorado governors since 1961.

This year’s theme celebrates Colorado’s sister cities throughout the world, so you’ll see decorations influenced by the cultures of Japan, Greece, Tajikistan, and more countries. It’s one of my favorite holiday events in Denver every year!

Where to See Santa

Santa will be making plenty of stops this year in Denver. Each year, he always spends some time at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, the Denver Pavilions, and Flatiron Crossing.

He also invites you to breakfast at places such as the downtown Aquarium and Olde Town Arvada.

More stops for Santa this year in the Mile High City

Olde Golden Christmas

Dates: Several in December

Head up to Golden for a jolly good time this holiday in Denver. Festivities begin with the Candlelight Walk on December 6. You will also have four chances to catch an old-fashioned holiday parade through historic downtown Golden. Watch homemade floats, bands, and others pass by and don’t forget to say hello to Santa. The parades are on December 7, 14 & 21 at 11am.

Visit the Golden visitor’s site for more details


Date: 12/9

Location: Town Square in Olde Town Arvada, CO 80002

Arvada’s downtown historic district, Olde Town, is the site for Lagniappe, a way for local business owners to show customers their appreciation. 

Lagniappe kicks off when the mayor lights the Christmas tree in Town Square. Come admire the light displays, listen to Christmas carolers, and meet Santa Claus in this vibrant historic district with galleries, shops, boutiques, breweries, and restaurants.