Denver comes alive during the holidays. Here are some of our favorite holiday events in Denver and beyond to give you some ideas on how to make the most of the winter wonderland that is Colorado. Realty ONE Group Five Star sends our best wishes to you and yours during this festive season.
DENVER CHRISTKINDL MARKET
Through Dec. 23
1515 Arapahoe St. (across 16th St. from clock tower)
Old World Christmas traditions come to 16th Street, where dozens of vendors sell Bavarian pretzels, bratwurst, pierogies, handmade folk crafts and more. Beer and spiced glühwein flow in the boisterous festival tent, where revelers dance to the oompah of polka bands. The fun lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with hours extending to 9 p.m. on weekends and during the final week before Christmas.
DENVER TUBA CHRISTMAS
Dec. 16, 12:15 p.m.
Denver Performing Arts Complex – Galleria
You haven’t truly heard “Jingle Bells” until you’ve heard it played by 300 tubas. That’s the philosophy behind Denver Tuba Christmas, which assembles a mass of big, brass instruments in a free concert that sounds surprisingly good, especially considering the impromptu tuba orchestra has only one rehearsal before the big event. The show goes on no matter how frightful the weather, and spectators are encouraged to sing along. The one-hour concert starts at 12:15 p.m.
Through Jan. 6 (closed Christmas)
Zoo Lights is bigger and better than ever for its 28th year. More than 2 million lights fill 70 acres with holiday magic covers 70 acres. There’s nightly entertainment, sweet treats, animal encounters and a Festival of Lanterns, plus illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns, hide in bushes and appear in places where they’re least expected. Tickets are limited by date and issued for a one-hour window.
BLOSSOMS OF LIGHT
Through Jan. 1, 5-9 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens
The first outdoor Christmas lights in Denver went up 101 years ago. The 10-year-old grandson of electrician D.D. Sturgeon was too sick to come downstairs and see the family’s Christmas tree, so the grandfather dipped light bulbs in red and green paint and strung them around an evergreen tree outside the boy’s window. It started a Christmas light craze in Denver that has only grown over the past century. Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens has been one of Denver’s most popular holiday traditions for more than three decades. The gardens’ deciduous trees have shed their leaves, but their branches aren’t bare. Thousands of colorful lights bloom in the night as thousands of jolly people amble along the winding paths to savor the sights. Many choose to don HoloSpex glasses, which make the lights seem even twinklier.
SANTA’S VILLAGE at CHATFIELD FARMS
Fri., Sat., Sun., through Dec. 23
Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms
Visit Santa as he preps for his big night at Chatfield Farms, which is transformed into a magical village in an exciting holiday experience for all ages. Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s cinema and find unique holiday gifts in his workshop. Admission includes a chance to meet Santa’s live reindeer, and kids get pictures with Santa, Snow Man and the reindeer.
A HUDSON CHRISTMAS
Dec. 14-31 (Closed Christmas)
see how this woodsy terrain transforms into a winter wonderland where brightly lit trees weave neon colors into the night sky, reflect off surreal bodies of water, and illuminate happy faces. Meet Santa Claus and take a family photo on his sleigh, warm up in the yuletide yurts and sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate or spiced apple cider.
Teams of artists use hand tools – no power tools allowed – to turn blocks of compacted snow into elaborate sculptures. This is the Colorado state championship snow-sculpting competition, with the winner earning an invitation to the national snow-sculpting finals, but it’s also fun just to see the ephemeral artwork on display in Fickel Park. Berthoud’s Parade of Lights, tree lighting and caroling are on Saturday.
This fest has four days of concerts and after-dark parties. Head down to the Expo Village to check out the numerous brand demos and product samples from event sponsors. Entrance is free for all concerts and events.
VAUDEVILLE HOLIDAY SHOW
Through Jan. 5
The Glenwood Vaudeville Revue is a modern spin on a century-old form of entertainment. As you enjoy your meal at this dinner theater, feast your eyes on non-stop comedy, singing and dancing, and leave with your heart warmed with holiday joy.
ADAMAN PIKES PEAK FIREWORKS
The AdAmAn Club’s fireworks display erupts from the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak at the stroke of midnight to ring in the New Year, just as it has done each year since 1922. The club’s annual tradition started with five friends who couldn’t stand the thought of yet another boring New Year’s Eve party. One of these friends happened to be Fred Barr, the man who created the Barr Trail to the top of Pikes Peak. Using his trail, they decided to hike up the icy slopes of Pikes Peak to put on a magnificent fireworks show for the entire region. They formalized their little group by founding the AdAmAn (or “add a man”) Club, with the idea being to add one new member each year. Their modern counterparts are faithful to the spirit of the founders. Thirty climbers begin their ascent from the trailhead of Barr Trail on Dec. 30 and stay overnight at Barr Camp before completing their ascent the next day. Wind chill can be as low as 50 degrees below zero for these intrepid climbers. The results are worth the effort. The fireworks can be seen for many miles along the Front Range and far out on the Eastern Plains.
It looks like a giant red snake is descending the mountain at Steamboat Resort as ski instructors ski down while holding red flares. When they reach the bottom, a fireworks show begins. Good viewing spots include the pavers at the Steamboat Stage and the Umbrella Bar next to the Bear River Bar & Grill.