Denver Family Activities, Holiday Events, Craft Market, Christmas Lights
From the festive Parade of Lights to the Grand Illuminations downtown to shopping for presents at the Christkindl Market, Denver celebrates the holiday season in style.
Mile High Holiday hotel deals
During the holiday season, Denver lights up with Christmas events and activities for the whole family to enjoy. And special Mile High Holiday hotel deals help visitors enjoy the fun and stretch the pocketbook for Christmas shopping.
Here are some of the best things to do at Christmas in Denver, Colorado.
Grand Illumination Downtown Kick Off Holiday Events in Denver
The Grand Illumination of Downtown Denver on November 27 officially kicks off the holiday season of events. Gorgeous lighting displays transform the 16th Street Mall and other landmarks in the heart of the Mile High City, including the D&F Tower, City, and County Building, Union Station, Denver Pavilions, and Skyline Park.
This free family event starts at 6 pm and features live music, free refreshments, and special guests. The live TV countdown to lighting up the lights begins around 6.30 pm.
9NEWS Parade of Lights
The 9NEWS Parade of Lights is the biggest spectacle of the holiday season. A procession of impressive floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and winter characters wind through downtown Denver amid thousands of glittering lights.
The Parade of Lights takes place on Friday, December 4 at 8 pm and Saturday, December 5 at 6 pm. Viewing along the two-mile parade route is free. A limited number of tickets can be purchased for grandstand seating in front of the City and County Building.
Where to See Christmas Lights in Denver
Denver Zoo Lights
Two of Denver’s top family attractions have some of the best Christmas lights in town. The animals at Denver Zoo will be joined by an electric menagerie of over 150 animated creatures that hop, jump, and even swing through the trees. Take a Zoo Lights safari to find their hiding places.
Zoo Lights runs from December 11 through January 3. And there’s no worry that this holiday event will harm the habitat for the zoo’s regular inhabitants. Zoo Lights are entirely made up of LED lights that are environmentally friendly.
Christmas at Denver Botanic Gardens
The Blossom of Lights makes Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street one of the city’s most romantic Christmas spots. The gardens are swathed in twinkling holiday lights and ice sculptures along the garden paths sparkle with winter magic. HoloSpex glasses are available for an extra $1 and turn the lights into dazzling 3-D displays.
Blossom of Lights runs nightly from December 4 through January 3. During the same period, Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield blazes a path through the forest with the Trail of Lights, featuring an array of over a million colored lights. The trail is open evenings, Wednesday through Sunday.
Christmas Shopping at Christkindl Craft Market
A delightful place to shop for Christmas presents is at the Christkindl Market, held downtown in Skyline Park from November 27 through December 24. Artisans from Germany and other European countries join local craftspeople to sell their beautiful handmade gifts, which include traditional Christmas ornaments, carved wooden figures, soaps, candles, and other quality items.
There are foods and sweets from the Old Country, as well as German beer and Glühwein for refreshments. This charming outdoor market operates Sunday through Wednesday 11 am-7pm, and Thursday-Saturday 11 am-9 pm.
Snow Globes at Cherry Creek Shopping Center
Combine Christmas shopping with a charming family attraction at the Snow Globes in Cherry Creek Shopping Center. The theme this year is the Polar Express, based on the popular children’s book.
Visitors walk through a giant holiday tree where kids can play in the train’s engine room, blow the whistle, and ride to the North Pole. An arched train tunnel leads into the largest snow globe, a magical place with falling snow featuring scenes and characters from the movie. Family photos can be taken on board the Polar Express or during a visit with Santa.