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Tuesday 24 November 2020

10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Denver

Now that the spooky season is officially over it's to start thinking about the holidays. I'm not usually one to do anything too festive before December, but with all that 2020 has thrown at us, I think we all need a little holiday magic in our lives right now. 

So, today I'm sharing some of the fun holiday events that will be happening around the Denver area. Some of these are events that we've attended in the past, while others will be new for us this year. Some of the holiday events that we've attended in the past will not be happening this year due to covid restrictions, but the events listed below are all going ahead with precautions in place. As with anything, please make sure to check event requirements before attending any of these events. Many require that you book timed tickets in advance, and masks will most likely be required for all attendees over the age of two or three. 

Ice Castles

The Ice Castles will be returning to Dillon again this holiday season! We've visited the Ice Castles the last two years (you can see dedicated posts here and here) and I can't wait to go back again this Winter. 

These man made ice structures are grown every year, ice crystal by ice crystal, into towering formations. The Ice Castles are different every year but you can expect to find ice caves and tunnels, ice slides in different sizes (both kid friendly and adult friendly), ornate ice structures and, if you visit late in the day, colorful LED lights twinkling in the ice. Rug up in your warmest clothes for this one! It gets rather chilly being surrounded by all that ice, even on a sunny day. 

Dates for the Ice Castles have not yet been finalized as the structures are still growing, but in past years they have been open from mid/late December through February. When tickets go on sale, Little Hiccups readers can save 15% with the code littlehiccups.

For more information visit https://icecastles.com/

Gaylord Rockies

The Gaylord Rockies resort in Aurora sure knows how to celebrate the holidays! We visited last year to attend the Ice! sculpture exhibition and take part in the fun outdoor activities, and we'll be back again soon for more. This year the drawcard attraction is the I Love Christmas Movies immersive exhibition. Visitors will be able to walk through thirteen iconic scenes from classic Christmas movies including Elf, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and The Polar Express. 

As well as this fun exhibition the outdoor favorites will be back including ice skating, snow tubing, ice bumper cars and the snow merry go round. Gaylord Rockies comes alive in the evenings with festive light displays that the whole family will enjoy. Indoors is just as festive with a towering Christmas tree and light displays as well as a scavenger hunt, story time and gingerbread house making workshops. 

Celebrate the holidays at Gaylord Rockies from November 20th through January 3rd.  

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens

Every Winter the Denver Botanic Gardens lights up to celebrate the holidays season. The blossoms may be gone for the Winter and the trees may be bare, but there is plenty of color to be seen - if you visit at night, that is. Visitors to the Botanic Gardens will find themselves amid a twinkling wonderland with lights glowing in every color. Rug up in your Winter woolies and grab a hot cocoa from the cafĂ© for a little extra warmth as you stroll through the gardens taking in the sights. While the displays change each year you're likely to find trees and shrubs wrapped in colorful lights, glowing orbs "floating" above the frozen ponds, delightful light sculptures, and twinkling light displays choreographed to holiday music. You can see one of our past visits here. This popular event sells out every year so make sure to book your timed entry tickets in advance online. 

Blossoms of Light runs most evenings from November 20th to January 16th. 

For more information and to book tickets visit https://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/blossoms-light

Trail of Lights at Chatfield Garden

If twinkling lights in gorgeous gardens are your thing but you don't feel like heading into the city, Trail of Lights at Chatfield Gardens is for you. This festive annual event is quite similar to Blossoms of Light at the main Botanic Gardens but is a little more family friendly with singing Christmas trees, synchronized music in the children's play area, illuminated vintage farm machinery, and several walk through light tunnels. Like the Blossoms of Light, Trail of Lights tends to sell out each year so make sure to book your timed entry tickets in advance online.

Trail of Lights at Chatfield Gardens runs Fridays to Sundays, November 27th to December 13th, and then nightly from December 18th to January 3rd.

For more information and to book tickets visit https://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/trail-lights

Denver Mile High Tree

What would you say to a festive light to display that doesn't cost a cent to visit? I'd sign me up! Denver's Mile High Tree is back! This 110 foot light covered "tree" made its debut last holiday season and was a hit. This year the Mile High Tree is located at 16th Street Mall and Welton Street where it will light up in dazzling displays synchronized to popular holiday music. The tree is hollow and visitors are encouraged  to experience the light display from inside the tree as well as outside. Lay down and look up for a truly awe inspiring experience. This was one of our favorites last Christmas and I can't wait to go back again. You can see our visit from last year here.

Mile High Tree will be open to the public Thursdays through Sundays from November 20th to January 2nd. 

For a complete list of dates and more information visit https://www.denver.org/milehighholidays/tree/.

Christmas in Color

For the ultimate in socially distant holiday events make sure to check out Christmas in Color. We've been to this drive through holiday light display a few times now (both here in Colorado and in Utah) and it's always such a fun evening out. Rug the kids up, load them into the car and drive through a Winter wonderland with light displays coordinated to all your favorite holiday music. 

Christmas in Color runs from November 20th through January 3rd with locations in Morrison and Federal Heights

For more information and to purchase tickets visit https://christmasincolor.net/

Zoo Lights

A holiday classic, but a new event for us this year, is the annual Zoo Lights exhibition at Denver Zoo. We've visited the Zoo Lights at Oakland Zoo and San Diego Zoo in the past but this year will be our first time taking in the light displays here in Denver. This year marks the 30th anniversary of  Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo, so it's an extra special one. Much of the zoo will be lit up with twinkling light displays, but like most events of this sort you'll likely not see many animals. But that's ok, because you're there for the lights! We'll be visiting later this week, so stay tuned for lots of fun pics!
This event is always very popular with Colorado families and tends to sell out so make sure to book your timed entry tickets in advance. 

Zoo Lights runs nightly from December 4th to 31st with timed entry slots between 5pm and 8:30pm. The event finishes nightly at 10pm.

For more information and to book tickets visit https://denverzoo.org/events/zoolights/

Christkindl Market

With travel restrictions in place this year, a trip to a European Christmas Market is out of the picture. Luckily, there's one right here in Denver!  Each holiday season the Denver Christkindl Market pops up bringing a little taste of Germany to the city. With entertainment, delicious food and drinks, and plenty of artisan ornaments and goodies on offer, there's something here for everyone. Visitors to the Christkindl Market just might get to meet St Nikolaus, Krampus or the Christkind. We're planning on visiting on Krampusnacht on December 5th to meet everyone's favorite Christmas demon! 

Denver Christkindl Market is located at Civic Center Park and runs from November 20th to December 23rd. Hours vary between 11am and 9pm depending on the day so make sure to visit https://www.christkindlmarketdenver.com for more information.

Christmas in Golden

Most years the town of Golden is a hub of festivities during the holiday season. This year things will be a little quieter, but there will still be plenty to see. The annual Christmas parade, dog wagon rides (which you may remember from last year) and Santa visits may not be happening this year, but the twinkling lights that make up the Golden Holiday Light Display and Winter Wonderland Walk will be lighting up the town as always. Rug up for an evening visit to Golden and grab a hot chocolate from a local coffee shop before taking in the views through Downtown, Golden History Park, Parfet Park and along the Clear Creek Walking Path. The twinkling lights are so beautiful. Make sure to snap a pic with Golden's iconic sign in Downtown. Santa and his reindeer appear on the top of it as a fun addition for the holidays!

Golden's holiday light displays run from December 4th through February 15th. 

Lights throughout Denver

You don't have to visit a holiday event to take in the festive cheer! Plenty of buildings around Denver are lit up for the holidays, so take an evening stroll (or a drive) and you'll be rewarded with plenty of stunning sights. Denver City Council building, Union Station and the clock tower on 16th Street Mall were some of my favorites last year. The trees and stores lit up along 16th Street Mall make for a lovely stroll too. 

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