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Get In The Holiday Spirit With These Dazzling Denver Traditions

Get In The Holiday Spirit With These Dazzling Denver Traditions

Kierstin Rounsefell

November 30th, 2020

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This year, the holiday season is going to look a little different. However, it’s still going to be full of uplifting events, beautiful lights, and local markets. There are plenty of safe, new ways to celebrate around the city, so let’s get excited!

A handful of in-person and virtual holiday events, attractions, and markets are taking place now through early January. Of course, proper COVID-19 health and safety precautions are being taken into account for every single event. For those who feel more comfortable staying home, virtual markets are available as well as live-streamed performances and shows. Whether you’d like to head out to see some light displays or cuddle up and stay home, there is something for everyone.

Take a look at the list below to view ways to safely enjoy the holidays this year.

Events and Attractions

9NEWS Parade Of Lights

WHERE: Throughout Downtown Denver
KUSA – Channel 9NEWS
KTVD – My20Denver
WHEN: View the floats beginning November 27th
Broadcast on 9NEWS December 4th at 8:00 p.m., December 12th at 6:00 p.m., December 24th at 10:35 a.m.
Broadcast on My20Denver on December 19th at 6:00 p.m.
PRICE: Free!

Established in 1975, the 9NEWS Parade Of Lights has become a long-running tradition for many Colorado families. This year, the beautiful floats will be displayed at different locations throughout Downtown Denver. An hour-long special that focuses on past events will also be broadcasted. Music, special guests, and more will be included! This provides a great way to enjoy the floats from the comfort of your own home.

Chatfield Farms Trail Of Lights

WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens (Chatfield Farms Location)
WHEN: November 27th – January 3rd
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
PRICE: Free – $13.50

“Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms takes you along a winding path glistening with lights that illuminate the Colorado countryside.” This outdoor event walks attendees through light tunnels and around singing Christmas trees. Keep warm with delicious hot drinks and snacks that are also available. Masks are required for anyone three years of age and older. Furthermore, social distancing is also encouraged along with ticketed, timed entry for all attendees.

Cherry Creek North Winter Wanderland

WHERE: Cherry Creek North
WHEN: Winter Wanderland Light Walk and Prismatica: November 19th – January 3rd
Holiday Thursdays: Thursday Nights, November 19th – December 17th (excluding Thanksgiving), 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Cherry Creek Holiday Market: November 19th – December 23rd
Menorah Lighting: December 13th
PRICE: Free!

The 2020 holiday season in Cherry Creek North features light walk-throughs and installations as well as a brand new holiday market. Winter Wanderland is a great way to get outside and support local businesses while getting into the holiday spirit. Masks and social distancing are required. To get your holiday shopping done, you can visit two different markets: Holiday Thursdays and The Cherry Creek Holiday Market. Additionally, a Menorah Lighting is also scheduled that is presented by Chabad of Cherry Creek.

Christmas In Color

WHERE: Bandimere Speedway and Water World Colorado
WHEN: November 20th – January 3rd
PRICE: $30 per vehicle

Christmas In Color allows families and friends to remain in their cars while seeing more than one and a half million sparkling lights. Christmas music that is synchronized with the displays can be heard through the attendees’ car radios. Sections of both locations are transformed into magical socially-distanced, drive-through animated light shows.

Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms Of Light

WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens (York Street Location)
WHEN: November 20th – January 16th
4:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
PRICE: Free – $21

Blossoms Of Light allows those closer to Downtown Denver to enjoy the breathtaking light displays of the Denver Botanic Gardens. This annual holiday event has been taking place for over three decades! Warm snacks and drinks will also be available at this location. Ticket reservations are required online for anyone planning on attending. However, this hasn’t differed from previous years. Actually, this event almost always sells out! The reserved tickets are for a specific date and time slot, each of which has a limited capacity. Anyone age three and over is required to wear a face mask, and social distancing is encouraged.

Denver Zoo’s Zoo Lights

WHERE: Denver Zoo
WHEN: November 23rd – December 31st
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
PRICE: $15 – $25

Zoo Lights is back for their 30th anniversary! The Denver Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with over one million sparkling lights spread across 80 acres. Trees become lit up in bright colors and animal light displays also come to life at night. Some zoo animals are also still awake to visit with. A variety of add-on and close-up packages are available for purchase as well.

The Mile High Tree

WHERE: 16th Street Mall at Welton Street
WHEN: November 20th – January 2nd
5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Sundays
PRICE: Free!

This 110-foot-tall tree returns to Downtown Denver. This is only the second year that the tree has pleased viewers with its immersive light show. People that visit the tree can even stand inside of it and look up at a whirling light show. Holiday songs are also played in synchronization to the lights on the tree.

The Polar Express Train Ride

WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum
WHEN: November 7th – December 23rd
Performances at 5:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.
PRICE: Starting at $95/person ages 2 and up (MUST be purchased in pairs at $190/pair) – Lap Riders under age 2 Free

Families and children absolutely adore this unique outdoor attraction. Visit an enchanted railyard and climb aboard a train to travel to The Polar Express! A cast and crew perform scenes and songs from the movie, so you’ll truly feel like you’ve traveled to a new, exciting world. Santa will even make an appearance!

Holiday Markets

16th Street Mall Holiday Festival

WHERE: 16th Street Mall
WHEN: November 13th – 15th, 22nd, 27th – 29th
December 4th – 5th, 11th – 12th, 18th – 20th
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
PRICE: Free!

Plenty of holiday gifts will be available for purchase all along the 16th Street Mall. If you’re looking for unique seasonal and handcrafted items, this outdoor market should definitely be on your list. While shopping, you’ll also be able to see The Mile High Tree and floats from the 9NEWS Parade of Lights.

Après Holiday Market

WHERE: Dairy Block Alley
WHEN: November 27th – 29th
December 4th – 6th, December 11th – 13th, December 18th – 20th
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
PRICE: Free! (Pre-registration is required.)

This new outdoor market blends the après ski vibe with a European feel. Specifically, the atmosphere and decor is inspired by a European ski village. 12 vendors will be on site providing clothing, home goods, sports gear, and more for the holiday shoppers that make their way through LoDo.

Cherry Creek Holiday Market

WHERE: Fillmore Plaza
WHEN: November 19th – December 23rd
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday)
PRICE: Free! (Reservations are encouraged.)

Part of Cherry Creek North’s Winter Wanderland, this outdoor holiday market features a plethora of vendors, live music, food, and warm drinks. European chalet-style decor transports visitors across the world. Local craft makers provide a wide array of gift options such as travel posters and homemade honey.

Denver Christkindl Market

WHERE: Civic Center Park
WHEN: November 20 – December 23
11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday)
PRICE: Free!

The Christkindl Market is an outdoor event that centers around German cuisine, European gifts, and live music. Local and international small-business vendors will have incredible one-of-a-kind crafts available for purchase. This year, the market is implementing a new one-way directional loop which allows for a better flow of visitors as well as social distancing.

Foothills Art Center Holiday Art Market

WHERE: Foothills Art Center (Virtual Shopping Options Available)
WHEN: November 20th – December 29th
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursdays are members-only from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
PRICE: Free! (Reservations are required.)

The Holiday Art Market returns for its 46th year. This year, a timed ticketing system is accompanied by a one-way loop for attendees through the museum. If you prefer to stay at home, you can schedule a shopper to virtually walk you through the entire exhibit via Zoom! Then, contactless pickup is offered for whatever you purchase.

Virtual Events and Attractions

Annual Holiday Show Web-A-Thon

WHERE: Facebook LIVE,, or Comcast Channels 8/880
WHEN: December 5th at 6:30 p.m.
PRICE: Donations are appreciated.

Local musicians are scheduled to perform both original music and holiday favorites throughout the broadcast. Live interviews will also take place along with some surprises. Donations will be accepted online and over the phone to support the Longmont Museum.

Ballet Ariel Presents The Nutcracker Suite

WHERE: Livestream
WHEN: December 17th at 7:00 p.m., December 18th at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
PRICE: $24 – $79

Ballet Ariel is set to live stream three performances of The Nutcracker Suite in mid-December. This professional ballet company has been active in the Denver metro area since 1998. Two gift packages are also available for purchase, complete with ornaments, crafts, and candies that will be shipped to the purchasers’ homes.

Camp Christmas

WHERE: Online and In Your Home
WHEN: November 20th – January 5th
PRICE: $12 – $67

Camp Christmas is “an interactive experience in a virtual world, with tangible treats shipped right to your door.” This unique, adaptive program allows everyone to participate in holiday activities and DIY crafts both online and at home. The $12 Base Camp package must be purchased to begin, and all of the supplies that you’ll need are shipped directly to your home.

Cherry Arts’ Holiday Artist Market

WHERE: Online
WHEN: November 23rd – December 1st
PRICE: Starting at $10

CherryArts is a non-profit organization that is putting on a virtual Artist Market this year. Unique handmade gifts from favorite Cherry Creek Arts Festival Artists will be available in the form of a virtual market and auction. 90% of the proceeds will go directly to the artists, so this is a great way to stay safe and support local artists.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Presents Granny Dances To A Holiday Drum

WHERE: Online
WHEN: December 5th – January 2nd
PRICE: $25 – $75 (Early Bird pricing ends November 30th.)

This enchanting performance excites viewers and takes them all over the world. Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and more are visited as both diversity and oneness are celebrated. This family tradition has been available for 29 years and can now be viewed at home! In addition to a link to the live stream, viewers can also purchase links to learn dances from the event and even a special Zoom call with the cast!

Colorado Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

WHERE: Rocky Mountain PBS
WHEN: December 18th at 9:00 p.m., December 19th at 1:00 a.m., December 24th at 7:00 p.m., December 25th at 12:00 a.m.
PRICE: Free! Donations are appreciated.

This classic holiday masterpiece is available for families to watch at home this year. Presented by PNC Bank and broadcasted on Rocky Mountain PBS, The Nutcracker tells the story about Clara and her army of toy soldiers. Colorado Ballet’s Relief & Recovery Fund will also be accepting donations.

Latkes & Light, A Virtual Family Hanukkah Celebration

WHERE: Online via Zoom
WHEN: December 13th from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
PRICE: Free!

This special Hanukkah event is geared towards children ages 2 to 10. Hanukkah activities, songs, and dances will take place as well as a special lighting of the Hanukkah Menorahs together as a community. Educators from “Jewish Explorers, Judaism Your Way, Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center, and PJ Library” will be featured.

Making Merry – Greatest Hits

WHERE: Online
WHEN: December 13th at 1:30 p.m.
PRICE: $15 per person

The 20th Anniversary Holiday Celebration is taking place online this year. Live actors and performers will bring stories and songs to life this holiday season. If your family or friends can’t afford the $15 ticket price this year, the program is offering an option to pay what you can. Call 303-494-0523 to set up a payment plan!

Virtual Holiday Markets

Denver BAZAAR Online

WHERE: Online
WHEN: Ongoing
PRICE: Free!

The Denver BAZAAR is no stranger to hosting local craft and food vendors during multiple in-person events. This year, along with their Holiday BAZAAR, they are hosting the Denver BAZAAR online. Shopping categories range from accessories and gift sets to food and home goods. More than fifty local craft makers and vendors will provide the amazing products that are on sale online. Check back often, because new vendors and products are added to the site every day!

Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair

WHERE: Online
WHEN: November 28th – December 18th
PRICE: Free!

Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair takes place in a few cities across the United States. This year, they’re going virtual. Shoppers can expect free shipping, and products can be sent to United States addresses only. “Shoppers can expect to find trendsetting indie goods including original fashion and jewelry design, ceramics and innovative home decor, paper goods, art, body products, family goods and so much more.” They are even hosting Instagram Live sessions with some of the artists and vendors so that you can get to know who you’re supporting.

The Mile High Holiday Mart

WHERE: Online
WHEN: Ongoing
PRICE: Free!

This winter holiday mart is put on by the Junior League of Denver. This organization focuses on women giving back to their community, growing professionally, and getting connected with others. Each day, their website features different merchants that are participating in the holiday mart. Online shoppers can browse by category or by all merchants. Additionally, some merchants are participating in sales.


No matter how you, your family, and friends choose to celebrate the holidays this year, there are numerous ways to do so while staying safe. Luckily, Colorado is used to holding holiday events outside, even in the snow. This year, people in the Denver area can expect many of the same events as in previous years, but with added safety measures.

Masks are required at every in-person event along with social distancing protocols and a hefty amount of hand sanitizer and disinfecting routines. For those that feel more comfortable in their cars or homes, holiday events, performances, and shopping are also available online this year!

We hope that this list of holiday events, activities, and markets helps you and your loved ones to find unique ways to celebrate safely this holiday season.

Photos By 9NEWS Parade Of Lights, Denver Botanic Gardens, Captain Colorado Photography, Cherry Creek Holiday Market, Christmas In Color, Colorado Ballet, Denver Christkindl Market, Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair, Lone Tree Arts Center

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