Mile-High Christmas: Six Holiday Family Must-Dos in Denver, Colorado

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November 29, 2019

The Mile-High city shines at Christmastime, with beloved holiday traditions that will put you in the holiday spirit STAT. Take a ride on the Polar Express, shop a German-style Christmas market, skate the skyline and soak in the festive lights and sounds of downtown Denver. Make a weekend of it with hotel deals starting at $99! Here are six ways to celebrate the holidays with your family in Denver, Colorado.

Take a ride to the “North Pole” on the Polar Express.

WHEN: Nov. 20–24, 29–30 and Dec. 1, 4–8, 11–15 and 17–23, 2019

WHERE: Colorado Railroad Museum

If you have a kid who loves trains, you’ll want to hitch a ride on the Polar Express. The Colorado Railroad Museum has theatrically re-created and combined the delightful holiday story with a magical train ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum. After a fun, festive train ride, kids will have the chance to chat with Santa as the classic tale comes alive, guaranteed to make even the biggest Grinch a believer in the spirit of Santa.

Shop the festive Christkindl Market.

WHEN: Nov. 22–Dec. 23, 2019

WHERE: Skyline Park

Vendors arrive all the way from Germany for Denver’s Christkindl Market, making this a truly European-style holiday market. Expect holiday treats, ornaments, and unique gifts from local artisans, including traditional hand-carved wooden figurines and handmade candles. Traditional German elements including Glühwein (hot spiced wine), Christmas carols, and live German music to round out the family fun.

Skate Denver’s Downtown Rink at Skyline Park.

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2019–Feb. 16, 2020

WHERE: Corner of 16th and Arapahoe

Skate a figure 8—for free! The Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park in Downtown Denver is the perfect place to skate away holiday stress. Entry is free and rentals are just $7-$9, or bring your own pair and skate for free. A robust schedule of entertainment and activities each week, including Friday night DJs; Saturday morning skating lessons; Saturday night concerts; and Sunday afternoon family entertainment, makes this rink the best in town for outdoor, family fun in the wintertime.

Celebrate the season with the animals of the Denver Zoo during the magical ZOO LIGHTS festival.

WHEN: Nov. 29–Dec. 30, 2019

WHERE: Denver Zoo

It’s the most magical time of the year to visit the Denver Zoo: Zoo Lights will span 70 acres of Denver Zoo’s campus with nightly entertainment, animal encounters, Santa meet-and-greets and, of course, illuminated animal sculptures. The animals at the zoo love to celebrate with their human friends, and in the evening, they tend to come out to play and join in on the holiday fun. 

Stroll the Denver Botanic Gardens ‘Blossoms of Light’

WHEN: Nov. 29, 2019–Jan. 1, 2020

WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens

Even the plants and flowers get into the spirit of the season at the Denver Botanic Gardens! Pay a visit and enjoy a stroll among the flora at Blossoms of Light, where incredible light displays—a large field of sound-reactive, animated LED lights—plus warm drinks and tasty treats make for festive, floral family fun.

Enjoy breakfast with the fishes … and Santa.

WHEN: Dec. 7–8, 14–15 and 21–24 2019

WHERE: Downtown Aquarium

Every year, Sharkey and Santa host a delicious breakfast buffet at Denver’s Downtown Aquarium. After you enjoy the decadent buffet, families are invited to mingle with more than one million gallons of extraordinary marine life at the amazing Aquarium Adventure Exhibit.

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