Top 10 Christmas Events in Denver

These annual traditions will get you into the holiday spirit

Are you traveling to Denver this holiday season? If so, you've picked a great time to visit because there are many fun Christmas events in Denver. From "The Nutcracker" and "Messiah" to festive light displays at the zoo and botanic gardens, you’ll find many Christmas events to get you into the holiday spirit. Read on for our recommended fun activities this holiday season in the Mile High City. For more ideas, including hotel specials, check out Visit Denver

  • 01 of 10
    Denver Zoo lights
    designsbykari / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    During Christmastime in Denver, the zoo's 70 acres are decorated in colorful holiday light displays. Highlights include animal encounters, visits with Santa, and lit animal sculptures. This is a ticketed event separate from regular zoo admission.

  • 02 of 10
    Denver Parade of Lights
    Brian Papantonio / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Since 1975, this holiday light parade has meandered through Denver's downtown streets with floats lit up for the holiday season. The two-mile parade also features marching bands, group performances, and a special visit by Santa Claus. Seating is available at the grandstand for a fee.


  • 03 of 10
    Colorado Ballet Nutcracker
    © Artists of Colorado Ballet / Photo by Terry Shapiro

    The Colorado Ballet performs Tchaikovsky's Christmas classic at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House every year. Clara's magical gift of a nutcracker opens up a new world of sugar plum fairies and other delights. This is a great way to introduce your little ones to ballet and a fun Christmas event in Denver to share as a family.

  • 04 of 10
    Courtesy of the Brown Palace

    Delicate finger sandwiches, scones, and miniature pastries accompany your choice of gourmet tea served in a silver teapot. This historic luxury hotel in downtown opens its elegant grand atrium for high tea in the afternoons. Make reservations because times fill up fast, especially on the weekends.


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  • 05 of 10
    Denver Pavilions Carousel
    Courtesy of Westword

    The holiday carousel at the Denver Pavilions shopping mall allows children to enjoy the magic of the season from the perch of a horse on a whimsical carousel. After taking a spin on the carousel, you can do some Christmas shopping at the pavilions and then stroll along downtown's famous 16th Street Mall.

  • 06 of 10
    Boettcher Concert Hall
    Aranami / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    The Colorado Symphony Orchestra presents Handel's "Messiah" at Boettcher Concert Hall. This choral masterpiece, composed in 1741, is always a popular Christmas performance, so be sure to buy tickets early.

  • 07 of 10
    Evergreen Lake Iceskating
    Courtesy of Evergreen Park and Recreation District

    This Christmas in Denver, go ice skating at Evergreen Lake, which is about 40 minutes from downtown. Weather permitting, a portion of Evergreen Lake opens for ice skating in mid-December. Before heading out, call the skating hotline at 720-880-1391 to check if the lake is frozen enough to safely skate.

  • 08 of 10
    Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light
    Raymond Johnson / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    The Blossoms of Light returns to the Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street. See the gardens turned into a winter wonderland full of colorful twinkling holiday lights.

    At the Botanic Garden's Chatfield Farms location, the Rocky Mountain foothills serve as the backdrop for the Trail of Lights. See the animal sculptures, take part in the craft activities, or go on a hayride.

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  • 09 of 10
    Georgetown Christmas Market
    Courtesy of Visit Georgetown, Colorado

    A Victorian Christmas awaits in this historic mountain town an hour west of Denver. Georgetown's 6th Street transforms into a Christmas vision with a European-style outdoor market, roasted chestnuts, horse-drawn wagon rides, and Christmas carolers. 


  • 10 of 10
    The SantaLand Diaries
    Courtesy of Denver Center for the Performing Arts / Photo by John Moore

    Whether you've been naughty or nice this year, you deserve to see the ​dark comedy of "The SantaLand Diaries." The production is based on humorist David Sedaris' essay in which he details his experiences working as an elf at Macy's in New York. Leave the children at home for this one.