Holiday Events and Traditions in Denver

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Holiday Events and Traditions in Denver


During this special time of year, residents and visitors of Denver embrace the season of giving. Though the holidays might be hectic, it’s nice to take the opportunity to enjoy the time spent with family and friends. Here are events and traditional activities throughout Denver that ring in the seasonal spirit.  


The Denver Botanic Gardens is hosting the Blossoms of Light exhibitions from November 27th to January 2nd at 5:30pm-9pm. During this time, the gardens will be transformed into a winter wonderland, with unique light displays around every corner. Visitors will have the chance to walk through different sections of the property and see features like the O’Fallon Perennial Walk and the Romantic Gardens. The walk will take between 25-45 minutes. Also, there will be different performances by the Laste Note Singers, The Colorado Choir, The Choralary, and other Denver entertainers.  During the non-peak dates (November 27th-December 13th), tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for adult members, seniors (65+), and members of the military, $8 for children (3-15), and $6 for children members . For the peak dates (December 14th- January 2nd) tickets are $2 more for each age group.  (Children under 2 are free, regardless of the date.) Tickets can be purchased online or at the the Bonfils-Station Visitor Center during the event.


As a Denver holiday tradition, the 41st Annual 9News Parade of Lights will be held along the 16th Street Mall. This event spans two miles and is a display of different illuminated floats and festive marching bands. Both Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa will be making appearances. This free event will take place on December 4th at 8pm and December 5th at 6pm.  Children and adults, alike, will love this holiday parade.


The Denver Zoo Lights is another magical light display. From December 4th-January 3rd, the Denver Zoo will be decked out with different illuminated animal sculptures that can be seen throughout 70 acres of the property. The lights will be lit at 5:30pm each night and will be on until 9pm. As a part of this celebration, there will also be a month-long Lantern Festival at the Toyota Elephant Passage. Visitors can also see the animals in their enclosures as they enjoy the light displays. Tickets (for non-members) are $13 for adults (12-64), $9 for children (3-11), and $11 for seniors (65+). Members get a $2 discount (for each age group). There are also packages for large groups.


For those who love going out on the ice, the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park provides the perfect, family-friendly ice skating experience. This rink is open from November 24th-February 16th and is located at 16th and Arapahoe. Skate rentals are $2, and admission is free. Come and experience one of the most popular winter activities in Denver.


To celebrate the inner child in all of us,  Denver Pavilions is bringing a Holiday Carousel to the 16th Street Mall. This magical attraction is open from December 11th-23rd from 9am-10pm. Visitors pay $3 per ride. They can also get a free ride from their purchase at any Denver Pavilions location or by donating cans or food to the Food Bank of the Rockies. The carousel is a wonderful holiday attraction that’s fun for the whole family!


One traditional holiday activity in downtown Denver is Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace. Though this hotel offers tea year-round, this season is often their busiest time of year. Diners can have tea, small sandwiches, pastries with Devonshire cream from England, and scones in a festive setting. Pianists and harpists play classic music to create an air of elegance. The tea “meals” range from $36-$128 (children 6 and under are less), and guests can choose from a variety of different teas and snacks. Reservations are required during the holiday season, and can be made by calling (303) 297-3111. Tea lasts from 12pm-4pm.


These festive events and attractions help ring in the holidays and allow us to embrace the things that make this time of year special. If you are interested in the theatre, be sure to check out our post on the holiday plays in Denver. Also, if you would like to know about holiday events in Douglas County, check out our posts on this website and on


Happy Holidays!

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