It’s holiday time in Denver, and it’s one of my favorite times of the year! There are so many amazing free, cheap and unique Denver holiday activities, that all you have to do is choose the best fit for your family!
Whether you are visiting Denver for the first time or planning the ultimate Denver staycation, I’ve rounded up some of our family’s favorite Christmas activities in Denver.
In no particular order, here are our top 15 picks of things to do in Denver with kids during the holidays.
The Denver Botanic Gardens spend countless hours converting into magical Christmas nights for the whole family. Hundreds of thousands of gorgeous lights, food and drink for purchase. Fun for the whole family- all ages will enjoy this event. You can bring your own snacks and drinks too!
The entire Denver Zoo is transformed into a holiday wonderland throughout December. Visit Santa, enjoy the Festival of Lanterns and more. Presale tickets save $5.
Take A Photo With Santa!
I love taking photos with Santa! We generally go to three places:
- Bass Pro Shops in Northfield for a free photo
- Santa HQ at Flatirons Mall
- Cherry Creek Mall
Disney on Ice is not technically a holiday event, but since it comes to Denver the first weekend of December each year, we just roll it in with our holiday events.
This event is great for the whole family, and completely takes over Ball Arena!
Camp Christmas Immersive Experience
The Denver Center for Performing Arts takes over Heritage Lakewook Belmar Park for the most fun Christmas experience ever! It’s quirky, it’s kitschy and it’s really fun. Each little home inside the park is taken over with glittery and sparkly Christmas decorations, and a hip Santa is on hand for photos. Don’t miss it!
The Nutcracker is a time-honored Christmas tradition and the Colorado Ballet does it the best! Visit the historic Ellie Caulkins Opera house to experience the Nutcracker ballet throughout December.
A Christmas Carol
The Arvada Center for Performing Arts has an exciting rendition of A Christmas Carol.
Please note that this version of the play may not be suitable for very young children.
Hammond’s Candies Factory Tour
Buy your Christmas candy and learn how it is made! While you won’t see Christmas candy actually being made at holiday time, kids love to see how candy is made, and this is a perfect daytime activity during Winter Break.
Union Station Christmas Tree Lights
Visit the Union Station Christmas Tree and have a cold brew or a hot toddy. You can visit the Grand Illumination of the Christmas tree and building, and visit Santa on weekends. Check out their event page for more details.
Ice Rink at DIA
Denver International Airport has a completely free ice skating rink. We love to take the A train out and skate and picnic at the airport. A super fun Winter Break activity.
Christmas in Colorado- Colorado Symphony
I absolutely adore the Colorado Symphony’s Christmas in Colorado program ever year. Handel’s Messiah never fails, but everything else changes each year. Santa arrives, sometimes even the Grinch, and singing along is encouraged. This event is a great introduction to the Symphony for young children, and the atmosphere is relaxed and family-friendly.
Water World Denver and Bandimere Speedway are decked out with tons of lights. “It’s a mile longe electric extravaganza!” Starting at $27 per car.
Mile High Holidays
Mile High Holidays is an effort by Visit Denver to celebrate the holidays throughout Downtown Denver. Visit the lights at the justice center, visit the Mile High Christmas tree, find out about exclusive accommodations packages and more!
Parade of Lights
I think the Parade of Lights is the official kickoff to the holiday season in Denver. A longstanding Denver tradition sponsored by 9 News, you can see this event live or watch it from the comfort of your home on channel 9!
We love the Gaylord! In addition to their gorgeous grounds, super comfy rooms, and amazing water park, at Christmas there are more activities than you can count. ICE! cirque. Tubing. Bumper Cars. Character breakfast. Oh, and awesome packages on all of it!