The Christkindl Market is equal parts a celebration of the holidays, and a celebration of German heritage and traditions. The Christkind, or “Christ-child” is the traditional Christmas gift-bearer in many parts of Germanic Europe. She is a fairy-like being with a gold and white dress and a golden crown.
The idea of a Christkindl market dates back to the 14th century. The German-American Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Division, has been putting on this celebration for 19 years, and it has quickly become a Colorado staple. Located in Skyline Park in Downtown Denver, this market is a must for holiday shopping and celebrating with the family. They have shops, food and drink, live music, appearances of the Christkind, and more. This year they are running from November 22 to December 23, so you will definitely have a chance to check out this wonderful holiday celebration. This event has things for kids of all ages, so don’t worry about bringing the little ones along for this batch of shopping.
9News presents the 44th annual parade of lights on December 6 and 7. This two mile parade stretches through Downtown Denver, starting in Civic Center Park, with the illumination of the Denver City and County Building. This year it’s going to be bigger and better than ever, so bundle up, get some hot chocolate, and come on down and enjoy this true Denver Tradition. Make sure to arrive early, as all viewing positions are first-come, first-served. This event is great for kids of all ages, just remember that it’s December in Colorado, so make sure to dress them appropriately.
Downtown Denver’s historic Union Station is ground zero for the Grand Illumination. This event spans all of Downtown Denver, so use Union Station as your launching point to see all of the lights around the city. Union Station will also have food and drink, appearances from Santa, classic holiday jingles, and of course the official lighting of the station and their 49-foot tall tree. This is a wonderful event if your kids are slightly older as their is a lot of walking involved, but no matter what, this will be a great night out.
Olde Golden Christmas
Golden is really in a sweet spot, close enough to Denver to have a lot of the amenities of a bigger suburb, but far enough away, and separated by natural landmarks that it still retains that small town feeling.
Right in line with that is the Olde Golden Christmas festival. With an emphasis on keeping things local and in that small town mindset, this festival is perfect for people who want to attend a great parade and lights route, but don’t really care for downtown Denver. Now, they have way too much going on for me to fit everything in here, but some of the bigger things include a candlelight walk, a light lighting ceremony, plenty of chances for your kids to meet Santa, and lots of free stuff. Check out their website for a full list of events and locations to check out. With events spanning the whole month, there is plenty for everyone to experience and enjoy.
Switch on the Holidays
Just because Boulder is a little smaller than Denver doesn’t mean that their ceremony isn’t just as magnificent. With a holiday performance leading up to the illumination of the Boulder County Courthouse and the Pearl Street Mall, this light ceremony is a beautiful event for the whole family. They even have free visits with Santa until 7:00 PM! This is also one of the earliest lighting ceremonies around, occurring on November 18th, proving that there is no such thing as being too early when it comes to holiday festivities!
The Colorado Railroad Museum is hosting an officially-licensed theatrical re-creation of the classic children’s tale. Guests are guided to their color-coded performance area, where they are treated to snacks, hot chocolate, and a performance of the story. After the story concludes, guests are brought to the platform, where their train will arrive to whisk them away. This is a truly magical experience that your kids will never forget. Showtimes are throughout most of November and December, so you will have plenty of chances to take a ride on the Polar Express.
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms invites you to come meet Mrs. Claus, Santa, and his reindeer while exploring the beautiful gardens in all their illuminated glory. Hayrides, the movie “Elf”, magical light displays, photos, crafts, and a life sized snow globe that your kids can actually enter can all be found in Santa’s Village. This is definitely a great stop on you holiday tours. It is open from Nov. 29 to Dec. 22, and tickets range from $15-20.
Zoo Lights has been running for 28 years now, and in that time, things have only gotten better. With more than 2 million LEDs, this event is birghter than ever, and is maybe the best way to experience the zoo. Lights aside, many of the animals are more active at dusk than during the day. This event is great fun for kids of all ages, and parents will find a lot to enjoy as well.
Running for even longer that Zoo Lights, Blossoms of Light is one of the brightest, most beautiful light shows in Denver. A dazzling array of ever-changing lights transforms the already beautiful gardens into a winter wonderland fit for the whole family. If one of your children has a holiday adjacent birthday, you can make it even more special by hosting their party at the gardens during Blossoms of Light.
The Georgetown Loop Railroad hosts two different Christmas themed train rides during the holiday season. Santa’s North Pole Adventure is a day time train ride around the loop featuring Santa and his helpers passing out presents, treats, and goodies to the little ones. The coaches are enclosed and heated for extra comfort on your ride that lasts about an hour. This ride runs through December 24th, giving you plenty of time to experience it for yourself. Santa’s Lighted Forest is the nighttime version of the holiday train ride, with a focus on the beautiful and vibrant lighting decorations. Meet with Santa and his helpers as you wind through the forest above Georgetown, with a light show set to synchronized music. This is a truly magical experience for people of all ages. This train also runs through December 24th as well.
North Pole, Colorado is a charming, unique, and slighly strange place. Positioned at the base of Pikes Peak, this mini amusement park is open from May to December, and is all Christmas all of the time. Founded in 1956, this park was always dedicated to Christmas no matter the weather. With themed rides, shops, food, Santa meet and greets, and shows, this park is the ultimate destination for people who love Christmas.
Breakfast with Santa
The Evergreen Chamber of Commerce is hosting a breakfast with Santa. While the Evergreen Lake House is closed do to unforeseen circumstances, this event is still happening. The Bistro at Marshdale has taken up the hosting duties this year. 4 different seating times allow for more opportunities, but this event does sell out fairly quickly, so make sure to pick up your tickets ASAP. To go along with a great breakfast, this event has live music, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be walking around meeting with each family individually, allowing families multiple photo opportunities and each child the chance to speak with Santa.
Get fully immersed in this winter wonderland. Dillon, Colorado is home to one of only a few ice castles in the nation, and they are really something special. Make sure to dress warmly and pick up a couple hot chocolates, because it’s going to be cold. The ice castle has something for everyone, with lights frozen into the ice, and tunnels and slides carved all throughout for your kids to explore. Pro-tip, wear warm shoes, because you’re going to be walking on ice.
Santa’s Flight Academy
Cherry Creek Mall is once again hosting Santa’s Flight Academy, an amazing, immersive, and FREE holiday experience for your kids. Set in a gigantic re-imagining on the North Pole, state-of-the-art technology will allow your children to join Santa’s flight crew to help him prepare for the holiday, before meeting him in person. This is a fantastic experience that your kid is sure to remember. Entry is totally free, but personal photos are not allowed. Pictures can be purchased afterwards.
Denver Pavilions Holiday Carousel
If you’re doing some shopping downtown, or if you’re already downtown for one of the other events going on, make sure to stop by the Pavilions for their annual Holiday Carousel. Rides are $3 each, but many businesses offer a free ride voucher with a purchase. Sure, a carousel may not sound destination worthy, but this one will surprise you. If you’re already in the area with your kids, even better. It runs from December 14th to January 2nd.
This one is not for those that just like Christmas. This is for those that LOVE it. This over-the-top, immersive Christmas installation at the Hanger at the Stanley Marketplace turns the holiday spirit up to 11. With mesmerizing displays that shift time and reality, and traditions of the past and present get mashed together into this 10,000 square foot winter wonderland. This is a great way to get the whole family into the holiday spirit, and runs from November 21 to January 5.
Christmas at Gaylord Rockies
The Gaylord Rockies welcomes you to enjoy their Christmas festivities. They have an explorable ice sculpture themed around Rudolf, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a stunning show with amazing aerial feats, ice bumper cars, ice tubing, ice skating, an escape room, a scavenger hunt, and much more. This is an amazing destination to add to your Christmas traditions. It’s a little on the expensive side, but you get a lot for the price. This runs from November 22nd to January 5th
Passport to the Holidays
Join the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus for their annual holiday spectacular. Featuring holiday songs from around the world, this concert is sure to please the whole family. It’s not just singing either,you will also experience dancing, incredible sets, and stunning costumes. The show is from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM on December 5th, 6th, and 7th.
Inside the Orchestra’s Christmas Tiny Tots Concert
Inside the Orchestra is doing a Christmas concert that is sure to impress. Featuring a holiday favorite filled repertoire, guest appearances by Santa, dancers, and carolers, this show is going to be a lot of fun for the little ones. They have added some activities to this one as well, with crafts and instrument activities before and after the concert, hot cocoa, photo opportunities, and more.
Lights of December
For over 39 years Boulder has celebrated the start of the holiday season with the Lights of December parade. Join marching bands, beautiful floats, carolers, lit fire engines and more as they lead the way for the grand finale, Santa himself!
Get ready for the first annual Freezie Fest on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder on December 8th from 11 AM to 4 PM. Free visits with Santa until 2 PM, free face painting, a photo booth, train rides on the Snowflake Express, and performances from carolers and the Guerilla Fanfare Brass Band. This Boulder event may be new, but they are pulling out all the stops for it. Be sure to check this one out and make it a part of your new holiday traditions.
Home for the Holidays
Home for the Holidays is a hometown favorite. Dancers, singers, and drummers get together to present you with a series of holiday songs, and a surprise celebrity appearance. This hit has been revised for 2019 audiences, and has something for everyone. This one is great for families with kids of all ages, and is sure to be a good time.
Holiday Cheer! – Central Presbyterian Church
Visions of sugar plums dance in your head, and down the aisles too, in this holiday showcase. Featuring a set pulled from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, this amazing show is great fun for the whole family. The Arvada Chorale joins to sing you more of your holiday favorites at this wonderful holiday celebration.