We’re helping you whittle down your list for the best holiday events, attractions, concerts, and shopping markets!
Now that the crisp chill of winter has finally started to descend on our beautiful state, we’re getting into the holiday spirit and making a list of our favorite holiday events in Colorado.
From Santa sightings to sleigh rides, there are literally hundreds of ways to make the 2016 Christmas season merry and bright. These are things we personally like attending every year and feel are worth your time during a season that’s historically very busy. Enjoy!
Holiday Events & Activities | Colorado Springs
Stay, dine, or simply relax at The Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs’ own five-diamond resort. There are plenty of things to enjoy this holiday season including walking around the lake to see the Christmas lights.
1. Wassail Tea
December 2-3 | 9-10 | 16-17 | 23-24 (4:00-5:00pm)
Warm up with wassail, hot chocolate, or coffee alongside holiday desserts every Wednesday and Thursday during the month of December. This is the perfect excuse to marvel at the hotel grounds while they’re lit up for the holidays. Free for hotel guests, no reservations required.
December 21-January 1, 2017 (3:30-4:30pm)
Curious cooks rejoice at this opportunity to learn various recipes corresponding with the 12 Days of Christmas. Taking place in Natural Epicurean in Broadmoor West, these one-hour classes include a glass of Prosecco.
Day 1: Wednesday, December 21st – Partridge in a Pear Tree – Classic French pastry, Tarte Bourdeleau
Day 2: Thursday, December 22nd – Two Turtle Doves – Chocolate
Day 3: Friday, December 23rd – Three French Hens –Rhone Valley Wine Country
Day 4: Saturday, December 24th – Four Calling Birds –Golden Bee Pot Pie
Day 5: Sunday, December 25th – Five Golden Rings – Doughnuts
Day 6: Monday, December 26th – Six Geese-A-Laying – Quiche
Day 7: Tuesday, December 27th – Seven Swans-A-Swimming – Broadmoor Pastry Chef Signature Swan Pastries
Day 8: Wednesday, December 28th – Eight Maids-A-Milking – Mozzarella
Day 9: Thursday, December 29th – Nine Ladies Dancing – Rosé and Canapés
Day 10: Friday, December 30th – Ten Lords-A-Leaping – Winter Cocktails
Day 11: Saturday, December 31st – Eleven Pipers Piping – Piped Cookies
Day 12: Sunday, January 1st – Twelve Drummers Drumming – Classic New Year’s Fare
December 16-18 | 23-24 | 26 | 29 (6:00pm: Doors Open | 7:00pm: Dinner is Served | 8:00pm: Entertainment Begins)
Enjoy fine dining at the Broadmoor while being entertained by a rotating list of talented artists, musicians, and even ventriloquists. And of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without a visit from the jolly man himself, Santa Claus. This is a great event for a large group or corporate holiday party.
Built in 1903 by our founder, William Jackson Palmer, Glen Erie is an English Tutor style castle nestled in a wooded canyon. The property is privately owned by The Navigators but opens to the public throughout the year for several festive and regal events.
4. Yule Tea
November 26-December 21 (11:00am | 2:30pm) December 27 (2:30pm) December 28-31 (11:00am | 2:30pm)
Experience the beauty of the castle grounds during wintertime by attending one of only a few Yule Tea events. Taking place in the castle’s bright and sophisticated Music Room, the Yule Tea is a rare opportunity to travel back in time to the early 1900s and to leisurely sip and savor hot tea in the company of your closest friends.
December 2-3 | 8-10 | 15-17 | 20-21 (6:00-10:00pm)
The Madrigal is Glen Eyrie’s signature event and is very popular. This night of revelry is not just a four-course plated dinner, but it’s also an all-night live performance featuring musicians, dancers, singers, actors, and orators. This magnificent evening is set in the Great Hall, and guests are encouraged to dress in their finest attire in celebration of the Christmas season.
December 4 | 18 (4:00pm | 7:00pm)
Another event set in the impressive Great Hall, this whimsical night of music performance by Joe and Hannah Scott, a married couple, is a great way to spend a leisured and relaxed time in the company of friends, family, or out-of-town guests. Their music is a blend of Celtic, folk, and Latin.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was named the 6th best zoo in the nation in 2015 and is the only zoo in America to be nestled on a mountainside. Spectacular views of the city and one of the largest giraffe herds make this a destination for many in Colorado Springs.
December 9-23 | December 25-January 1, 2017 (5:30-8:30pm | last admission sold at 7:30pm)
Experience the zoo like you’ve never seen it! All 50 acres will be ablaze with thousands of twinkle lights. Meander through the grounds and stop to warm yourself by the outdoor fire pits or inside select animal exhibits. View Colorado Springs from the clouds on the Mountaineer Sky Ride and don’t forget to visit Santa!
Pikes Peak Center
The Pikes Peak Center is host to a showcase of large events throughout the year and is conveniently located in walking distance to hotels and restaurants in the heart of Downtown Colorado Springs.
Experience the magic of the ballet and a live orchestra during this 75-minute production of the Nutcracker. Under the direction of Conductor Thomas Wilson, the Tchaikovsky score will whisk you off your feet. This event is presented by the Colorado Youth Ballet.
For one night only, enjoy the beautiful sounds of Christmas at this concert featuring choruses from Mendelssohn’s Christus and highlights from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Polar Express.
Christmas Wonderland invites people of all ages to delight in the adventure of Santa and his elves as they dance and sing to holiday classics such as “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” This production is full of cheer, laughter, and childhood wonder.
Downtown Colorado Springs
Always a bustling place, Downtown Colorado Springs is a rich epicenter of shopping, dining, and culture. Two special events make this holiday season even brighter.
November 18-January 16, 2017
Take part in one of wintertime’s most fun outdoor activities – ice-skating! This pop-up rink in the center of Downtown is only available for a limited time. The cost of admission includes skates, and children four years of age or younger are free.
December 3 (5:50pm)
A local favorite for over three decades, the Parade of Lights is once again creating memories for children and adults alike. Stake out your spot along Tejon Avenue and watch the vibrant and festive floats pass by. Don’t forget to grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate from a local coffee shop to keep warm!
Holiday Events & Activities | Denver
Located at 16th Street and Arapahoe, this three-block urban green space is a great venue for community functions throughout the year.
December 18 (1:00pm-2:00pm)
300 Tuba players will coalesce from around the region for a spirited and fun concert featuring classic holiday tunes. This concert, provided by CU Denver, is a long-time tradition and one that will revive your holiday spirit.
November 18-December 23 (Sunday-Thursday 11:00am-7:00pm | Friday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm)
This traditional German market right in the heart of downtown Denver is the perfect place to find unique Christmas gifts, decorations, toys, and homemade goods. Enjoy live music and entertainment as you stroll through the market. And don’t forget to buy a German pastry!
November 22-February 14, 2017
Skate in the shadows of Denver’s skyscrapers at this outdoor ice-skating rink. Let the wonder of winter come alive as you free your inhibitions and breath in the crisp winter air. It’s free if you bring your own skates!
Sure to be abuzz with holiday happenings, Downtown Denver is full of cutting edge restaurants, shopping, and abundant nightlife.
December 2 (8:00pm) | December 3 (6:00pm)
Stretching two miles through the heart of downtown, this annual parade is one of Colorado’s brightest holiday traditions. Enjoy the sights and sounds as you watch spectacular floats, local marching bands, and special appearances from Major Waddles the Penguin and of course Santa Claus.
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Laying claim as the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has an ever-rotating menagerie of Broadway musicals, plays, and educational programs.
November 25-December 24
A must-see this holiday season, a Christmas Carol is a classic story of redemption, humility, and generosity. Watch Charles Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge unfold by masterful actors and performers.
Bring the whole family to see this beloved TV classic come to life on stage. For three days only, this production featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph will bring back fond childhood memories.
November 25-December 24
This one-man comedy is for those looking to escape the traditional stories and humdrum carols lurking around every corner. Based on stories by David Sedaris and the character Crumpet the Elf, this late-night show offers enough hilarity and snarky jokes to remind you that Christmas isn’t all candy canes and snowflakes.
Holiday Events & Activities | Misc. Colorado
M Lazy C Ranch (Lake George)
Travel back to when the west was still wild at this historic homestead. Make a vacation out it by staying in their guesthouse and enjoy easy access to horseback riding, fishing, and hunting.
20. Sleigh Rides
Available by Reservation all Season
Take in the beauty of the mountains from a cozy seat on a horse drawn sleigh complete with hot cocoa and sweet treats. Hear the crinkle of snow beneath the horses’ hooves and let snowflakes dance around you as you escape from the buzz of the city. Dinner rides also available.
The Butte Theater (Cripple Creek)
Though located in a small mountain town, the Butte Theater packs an unexpected punch when it comes to their professional and world-class productions.
November 25-December 31 (1:00pm Saturdays and Sundays | 7:00pm Wednesday-Saturday)
Watch the familiar Dickens’ tale unfold on stage with twists and turns only achieved by the Thin Air Theatre Company. Build great memories with the entire family and be reminded that it is always better to give than receive. Followed by a traditional Christmas Olio.
Downtown (Cripple Creek)
This old mining town is a blast from the past. Spend a weekend there, press you luck at one of the casinos, and take in beauty of the natural surroundings.
February 10-19, 2017
Once the holiday dust has settled, head to Cripple Creek for the annual Ice Festival located in the middle of town. Marvel at massive clear sculptures scattered down Main Street before they melt away. Warm up inside a pop-up pavilion with spiced cider and music from local talent. Each sculptor is asked to keep a theme in mind when crafting their frozen art (such as “Story Time” or “Under the Sea”), and 2017’s theme will be announced soon!
Royal Gorge Route Railroad (Canon City)
View the extraordinary scenery of the base of the Royal Gorge from a train. Equipped with a kitchen and bar, this locomotive has all the amenities you’ll need to take in the sites as you pass along the river.
November 18-December 24 (up to 3 departures daily)
Head to the North Pole with your favorite little ones on the special Santa Express Train. Santa will surely make a special appearance to the delight of those who are on the nice list this year. And don’t forget to wear your coziest pajamas!
24. Holiday Train
December 26-January 31 (12:30pm daily departure)
All aboard this two-hour lunch train featuring a special holiday menu. Be amazed at the winter wonderland surrounding you from the warm of your railcar in what is Colorado’s
North Pole (Cascade)
Celebrating 60 years of festive fun, the North Pole is located off highway 24 between Manitou Springs and Woodland Park. A perfect opportunity to see Santa, this family theme park offers plenty of exciting things to do including a magic show, arcade, carousel, Sky Ride, and much more.
25. Santa’s Workshop
December 1-December 23 (10:00am-5:00pm)
After you’ve slid down the Peppermint Slide and taken a ride on the train, visit Santa in his workshop while he takes a break from supervising his elves. Little boys and girls can hop on his lap for a photo op…but only if they’ve been good!
Well, there you have it folks…our list of 25 things to do in Colorado this holiday season!
And of course as always (shameless plug!), we will also have food tours running every Saturday and Sunday throughout December and beyond. Even if you’re a local, our Original Colorado Springs Food Tour is a fun way to explore our city from a whole new (and delicious) perspective.
With more than enough to keep you busy, we’re sure this Christmas will be filled with precious memories, sweet treats, and hopefully a Santa sighting or two!