Denver is a big city with a lot of holiday events to explore this season. In this article, I hope to have something for everyone: from Christmas lights in the botanical gardens to shopping for craft gifts at artisan markets. Read on for important information about dates, locations, and prices.
Christmas In Denver, Colorado: 6 Top Events To Check Out
Blossom Of Lights
This is quite possibly my favorite Christmas activity. It just doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until I have strolled the paths of Denver’s Botanic Gardens to admire the ever-changing display of lights and colors brightening up the gardens.
This event has been taking place at the gardens for 3 decades, and each year, it gets better and better with more and more lights and displays. This holiday extravaganza takes place at the York Street location. Holiday treats and warm drinks are available for purchase at Offshoots Cafe and The Hive Garden Bistro.
You can visit this winter wonderland from November 17–January 7. Tickets must be purchased in advance and it is a timed entry. Hurry up and get your tickets because many spots are already sold out.
Trail Of Lights
While the Blossom of Lights event takes place more in downtown Denver at the York Street location, the Trail of Lights takes place at the Chatfield Farms location closer to the foothills. Here, you can stroll among the illuminated boxelders, cottonwoods, and pine trees to admire the twinkling lights. The trail is just under a mile of winter wonder.
While walking, you will see a coordinated light show with music, singing Christmas trees, and lit-up antique and model tractors. There are light tunnels to enter and snacks and hot drinks to purchase. On specific dates throughout the holidays, there is also a holiday market. Tickets must be purchased in advance. For info on both events, check out the Desert Botanic Gardens website.
Still haven’t gotten your fill of Christmas lights? Head on over to Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo. For the past 33 years, the Denver Zoo has been transporting kids and adults alike to a winter wonderland, boasting over 80 acres filled with 3 million lights.
This year brings even more magic with new animated light sculptures, returning favorites, and ice carving exhibits all within the setting of the zoo. There are seasonal craft cocktails and holiday treats for purchase. Come for the Christmas spirit and stay for the elephants.
This year, there’s an adult-only night as well as a sensory-friendly night. For details and to purchase tickets, visit the zoo’s website.
This is one of my most favorite Christmas markets to browse through for a handful of reasons. First, it’s outside so all the wintry feelings of the season surround you and put you in the spirit. Second, it’s German-themed, and by that I mean you really kind of feel like you’re at an authentic German holiday market. There are both local and European crafts and foods to sample and buy. You can buy some Polish pierogies from the Pierogies Factory or maybe you prefer some Russian-style crepes from Blinchiki Crepes.
Along with crafts and specialty foods, you can also find live entertainment at this free-to-enter market. Check out the lineup to plan your visit to Christkindlmarket in Denver Civic Center Park.
The Polar Express Train Ride
This one is for the kids, or the kids at heart. Taking place at the Colorado Railroad Museum in the newly renovated Polar Express Pavilion, this three-part experience is sure to delight. Gather around tables in the pavilion and start the evening off with classic Christmas carols. This leads into a cabaret-style show that you can enjoy while snacking on cookies and drinking hot chocolate.
The story of The Polar Express will be reenacted all before you move outside and are welcomed aboard the train itself. Enjoy the ride as you head to the North Pole to see Santa’s elves sing and dance as they prepare for Christmas.
Upon the express’s return, you’ll have the opportunity to visit with Santa and receive a special gift. For more details on this incredible experience, visit the Polar Express Train Ride website.
And this one is more for the adults, though kids are welcome too. Remember the days of summer camp? Well, imagine it all grown up and wintry — that’s Camp Christmas. Taking place this year at Stanley Marketplace, this 15,000-square-foot, 360-degree kaleidoscope of Christmas cheer and nostalgia is an event not to be missed.
Step out of the cold and into this holiday dreamscape full of wonder and awe. Meet Santa, drink craft cocktails, take in the scenery of Christmas old and new, and rejoice in the joy of the season. For more information and to get tickets, visit the Camp Christmas website.
There is no shortage of Christmas events and experiences to be had in Denver. The city really does go all out for the holiday season. Whether you’re just visiting or are a long-time local, you are sure to find something to put you in the Christmas spirit.