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Gaylord Christmas Celebration- Gaylord of the Rockies

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I felt a tiny tugging on my coat as we were standing in the ice tubing line this weekend at the Gaylord of the Rockies. We were ending our second full day of family fun, and we were all tired and happy. 

We had seen a million pounds of ice sculpted into gorgeous holiday scenes. We had seen a Christmas Circus that left me jubilantly in tears. We had breakfast with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. And now we were getting ready to tube down a huge hill.

My four-year-old looked up at me and said, “Mami, I’m going to miss this when we go home.”

My heart exploded with simultaneous sadness and joy, as I knew exactly how she felt. Every single time I visit the Gaylord of the Rockies I feel like I’m in a perfect version of home. 

As we packed up our car and drove away from the Gaylord of the Rockies, we watched the gorgeous Christmas lights in our rearview mirror and I thought “We’ve just found a new family holiday tradition.” 

I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about the Gaylord of the Rockies Christmas Celebration- how long to stay, what activities to do, and more. But I’ll just spoil the whole thing here and now by saying- just go!

Related article: 18 Things To Do With Kids In Denver For Christmas

Gaylord Rockies Location

The Gaylord of the Rockies Resort/Convention Center is located off of E470 and Pena Boulevard in Denver- just southwest of the Denver Airport.

It’s also close to the Pena Boulevard train stop, so if you don’t want to rent a car you could just fly in and take the train. 

Otherwise, the Gaylord of the Rockies is located about a 20-minute drive from downtown Denver. It has an amazing mountain view of the Rocky Mountains and the Front Range.

The resort is 486,000 square feet of rustic Alpine charm- there’s even a train car and a lake inside! Whenever I go to the Gaylord I feel like I’m in a perfect version of Colorado- I can’t get enough.

You might like: Christmas In Costa Rica

Sunset over the city and distant mountains at Gaylord Rockies.

What Is The Gaylord Christmas Celebration?

Traditionally, the Gaylord has been a set of hotels/convention centers. However- over the holidays, no one books conventions! The brand got creative and decided to make some extra money by creating Christmas-themed programming. And now- well the Gaylord Christmas is so amazing that people flock to the hotels just for the celebration.

They basically explode Christmas inside their huge convention center- there’s a Cirque, a huge ice sculptures exhibit, and more. And it’s just steps from the hotel- which still has all of the normal fun stuff you expect from the Gaylord (read: water park, baby!)

Gaylord Rockies isn’t just for Christmas. Summer at Gaylord Rockies is divine!

Denver got the whole Christmas Village in its inaugural year, and I loved it. Here’s a list of what is offered in Mistletoe Village:

Free Activities

  • LIGHT! – walking lights trail around the property 
  • Father Christmas Library (paid photos with Santa)
  • Mistletoe Village 

Ticketed Activities:

  • ICE! featuring a Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Cirque Spirit of Christmas
  • Charlie Brown and Friends Character Breakfast
  • Naughty or Nice Escape Room
  • Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions
  • Elf Training Academy
  • Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions

Paid Activities you can do on your own:

  • Gingerbread Decorating Corner
  • Ice Skating
  • Ice Tubing
  • Ice Bumper Car
  • Snowball Build and Blast
  • Glacier Point Chalets
  • Merry Snoopy Scavenger Hunt
  • Build A Bear Workshop
  • Letters To Santa

Should I Book A Room?

You can definitely experience the full extent of Gaylord Christmas and not stay at the resort. If you plan your day well and get your tickets in advance, there’s no reason you have to stay at the Gaylord to enjoy all the Christmas offerings. Except- it’s the Gaylord!

Don’t miss our favorite Denver day trip in Winter- Ice Castles Visitor’s Tips

Interior of a Gaylord Rockies room featuring two beds, a desk, and a TV.
Image courtesy of Gaylord of the Rockies

The guest rooms are amazing, and when you spend the night you have access to the water park. Which is super fun- the outdoor pool is open year-round and super warm. 

So- while you don’t have to spend the night, I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect staycation, and you can find good deals on rooms too. Or use your Marriott Bonvoy points to splurge!

Edited to add we stayed in a suite this year and it was great. We had an extra room so the kids slept separately, and the wet bar and kitchen table were an awesome place to have cocktails and play board games in the evening. 

How Many Days Should I Stay?

If you are local and want to experience all the Christmas fun, I think you can just stay over one night. I would, however, get to the Gaylord early on the first day (like 9 am) and plan to stay until after dark on the second day. 

You can use the water park from open to close on both days of your stay, and the hotel will hold your luggage while you do the activities. 

If you are coming in from out of town to experience Gaylord Christmas, I’d stay 2-3 nights. That way you can spread out the activities a bit and still spend lots of time at the pool. Or the spa. Or in the fitness center. Or at the bars and restaurants… you get the idea.

Another one of our favorite winter getaways is here: –The Best Winter Unplugged Family Adventure in the Rocky Mountains!

Looking for other Denver holiday activities? We’ve rounded up 18 Things To Do With Kids In Denver For Christmas!

Gaylord Rockies Spa- Relache

Speaking of the spa- on this visit I had the opportunity to enjoy the Relache Spa and it was amazing.  I had a phenomenal facial with Paige that I would highly recommend.

I chose the 50-minute Hydra Facial and not only did I enjoy the experience, but my face also looked incredible afterward. There were so many guests in the spa looking to just relax, and everyone was raving when they checked out with me.

The Relache Spa would be a great day trip from Denver or a fun splurge for a bachelorette party.  For a full list of services visit their website

What Tickets Should I Buy For Gaylord Christmas?

Good question. We did every single activity on the menu, and I will tell you what we loved and what we didn’t. Then I’ll tell you how to get the best deal on the activities that are right for your family. Sound good? Here goes:

What we LOVED:

ICE! Featuring a Charlie Brown Christmas

Don’t miss ICE! Just don’t. Starting in October, a team of artists from China descend on the Gaylord to mold millions of pounds of ice into amazing sculptures. This year it’s a Charlie Brown theme with an incredible Nativity scene at the end.

There are ice slides inside too, and you can go on them as many times as you want.

It’s only 9 degrees in ICE! though, so make sure to dress warmly. The Gaylord provides parkas but definitely bring a hat and gloves. It’s super cold!

Cirque: Spirit of Christmas

The Cirque has been one of our favorite shows over the years, and this show does not disappoint. The show has 14 different acts, and they are all spectacular. One of the things my kids love is seeing performers from all over the world share their talent with the audience.

This year, the girls loved the tight rope walker, and I loved the juggler. The music is phenomenal- we came home and listened to Cirque Christmas music on Spotify for the whole weekend. I highly recommend the Cirque!

LIGHT!

We loved wandering through this immersive show of lights and sounds outside of the hotel. The colors are beautiful and the girls loved pressing the music buttons. It’s free- no reason not to walk through. 

If you love Christmas lights don’t miss What Is Christmas in Color Anyway?, Denver Zoo Lights With Young Children and Blossoms of Light Denver Botanic Gardens

Ice Bumper Cars and Tubing

Outside there is yet another awesome winter wonderland with ice skating, ice bumper cars, and ice tubing. We LOVED the ice bumper cars so much! And the tubing was super fun.

When you buy your tickets for this event just know that the ice skating and tubing are unlimited, but the bumper cars are single ride.

Did you know you can go ice tubing year round in Colorado? We did it! 

Mrs. Claus’ Holiday Traditions

This show is super cute- you go into Mrs. Claus’ house and she and her elf do some of her favorite holiday traditions. It’s like storytime with Mrs. Claus- she reads a story, you get cookies and milk, and there are songs. Last year my girls didn’t like this much but this year they could NOT get enough of it.

What We Liked:

Merry Snoopy Scavenger Hunt

You get a booklet and do a scavenger hunt all over the hotel in order to win a prize. It takes about an hour, and it’s the perfect way for kids to run off some steam. The scavenger hunt this year was a big upgrade from last year as it was easy for kids who can’t read and write to still fully participate.

Charlie Brown and Friends Character Breakfast

This time with Snoopy and friends was super fun. The food was brunch and delicious, and we were even allowed to take some treats to go. This takes place in the convention center.

Wandering Mistletoe Village

It’s easy to get lost in all of the activities at the Gaylord, but don’t forget to stop and smell the proverbial roses. It’s super fun to wander Mistletoe Village, see the decorations, and take photos.  We really enjoyed our time there.

What We Didn’t Really Like:

Gingerbread Decorating Corner

With all the fun activities available, the Gingerbread corner was not at the top of our list. You can purchase a gingerbread decorating kit and create it in the candy shop while a gingerbread man dances around. Cute- but we like the water park better. We did get our kit to go and will enjoy doing it at home.

How To Get The Best Deal On Gaylord Christmas Tickets

So there are about 1,000 ways to buy tickets and book rooms for the event this year.

You can go directly to the website and  

You can book a room and activity package on the Gaylord site, but I did play around a bit and saw that you can actually get a better deal when buying the Play and Save passes and booking your room separately. There are two tiers of passes- silver play save pass and a gold play save pass.

Here’s what to do:

1. Go to the Buy More and Save page at the Gaylord of the Rockies website.

2. Put in the dates are you planning to go. Know that weekdays are cheaper than weekends, and earlier shows are cheaper than later shows. As soon as you change your date and time, your price will also change.

3. You can save up to 30% on the packages, but you still have to play around with showtimes. So if you are planning your whole day and you are on a budget, you can put the Cirque show in the morning and most likely get a better deal. 

4. Our family would do the Gold package in the future, as it has all the activities we loved. 

Finally, there’s a Groupon for the ICE! event.

Please do let me know if you have more questions about the Gaylord Christmas, and definitely let me know if you go and love it! 

Disclosure: I was provided a Media Rate for my stay at the Gaylord of the Rockies, and all activities mentioned here were provided to my family for free. 

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About the Author

Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

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4 Responses

    1. Hi Stephanie!

      We took our tween nieces and they loved it all- they are 11 and 12. The LOVED the escape room and the Ice. Fort he 16 year old- I think so! I would avoid the holiday breakfast and the Mrs. Claus show- not compelling. Teen would probably enjoy tubing and bumper cars too!

  1. Do the kids need to pack full winter gear for the ice tubing? For sure hats/gloves but what about snow pants? Thanks for your great review!

    1. Such a good question! We packed everything and honestly didn’t really need it. You might get a little cold, but you won’t get wet or snowy. So I’d say no- definitely no on the snow pants. Have so much fun!

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, travel and language. I’m a mom of two Latinas, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here

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