Denver

Actually Cool Things to Do in Denver This Holiday Season

Fun still exists.

Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens

Holidays in Denver are filled with festive good times and even though 2020 made a solid attempt to dampen our Mile High spirits, there’s still plenty of end-of-the-year fun to be found. Including actual spirits. You can get holiday cocktails to go from a Miracle pop-up, stroll through huge, interactive light displays in Cherry Creek, take a trip to the Botanic Gardens for the annual Blossoms of Light, or watch the musical light show at the 110 foot tall Mile High tree art installation. The city’s all aglow and ready for you to explore (safely) in your best ungly holiday sweater. 

Adventure Golf and Raceway
Adventure Golf and Raceway
Adventure Golf and Raceway

Play a round of Holiday Lights mini-golf

Now through Sunday, January 10
Adventure Golf and Raceway, Westminster
Play a festive round of mini golf on one of Adventure Golf’s three courses decorated with over 100,000 holiday lights. They’ve got plenty of safety protocols in place including a limit of four people per hole while playing. Masks are also required during your visit, but reservations are now. Holiday Lights rounds are open most nights, 5 – 9 pm.
Cost: $10 per adult for 18 holes
 

Drive through an animated holiday light show

Now through Sunday, January 3
Water World
Immerse yourself in seasonal cheer from the socially distant safety of your car. The Christmas in Color drive through features millions of lights synchronized to holiday music. They’ll be open 5:30 – 10 pm nightly and tickets must be reserved in advance.
Cost: $30 per vehicle

VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER

Go inside the illuminated, 110 foot tall Mile High Tree art installation

Now through Saturday, January 2
16th & Welton
After a successful debut in 2019, this huge, illuminated tree which is the largest installation of its kind in North American has made a return to the Mile High. Shows run approximately every 15 minutes from 5 – 9:30 pm Thursday-Sunday.
Cost: Free

Miracle Pop-Up
Miracle Pop-Up
Miracle Pop-Up

Get seasonal cocktails to-go at a Miracle pop-up bar

Now through Friday, December 25
Cherry Creek Holiday Market
While you can’t currently sit in a tinsel-covered holiday bar wonderland, you can take those festive spirits home with to-go booze options from this pop-up. Christmapolitans, Jingle Ball Nog, and more are all available in a variety of sizes, along with holiday ready glassware like Santa Pants mugs and Missle-Toe shot glasses.
Cost: Depends how boozy you get

Shutterstock
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Big cities may have a lot going on for the holidays, but no one does festive cheer like a small town. That’s why Maker’s Mark gave one remarkable small town a holiday to remember this December with a holiday makeover — complete with plenty of much-needed festiveness. It was all part of the Small Town, Bright Lights contest, and Ripley, TN took home the grand prize.

 

Denver Christkindl Market
Denver Christkindl Market
Denver Christkindl Market

Shop and sample German cuisine at the Christkindl Market

Now through Wednesday, December 23
Civic Center Park
Every year this outdoor market named for the traditional fairy-like German Christmas gift-bringer is a destination for those looking to get some holiday shopping done early with a healthy side of bratwurst eating. You’ll also find live entertainment and refreshments like schnapps and Glühwein.
Cost: Free to attend

Shop local for gifts at the Cherry Creek Holiday Market

Now through Wednesday, December 23
Fillmore Plaza
The people behind Fetch Markets (formerly the Denver Flea) are throwing an all new holiday market this year. With 30 local makers, designers, and creators this will be your best bet for finding that unique gift that’s just right for all the special people in your life (and that one coworker you drew for Secret Santa). 
Cost: Free to attend

Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens

See the gardens at their holiday best during Blossoms of Light

Now through Saturday, January 16
Denver Botanic Gardens
Take a nighttime stroll and explore the light displays that illuminate this Denver landmark during the holidays. Tickets must be purchased in advance this year, so make sure to plan ahead.
Cost: Non-member tickets start at $18
 

Take a walk through a winter wonderland light display

Now through Sunday, February 28
Cherry Creek North
This shopping district is going big on their decorations this year with a new holiday light art walk. Enjoy 16 blocks of sparkling lights-plus on Thursdays from 5 – 8 pm, shops will be staying open late and you can score free pre-packaged treats and fun giveaways in the area.
Cost: Free
 

Walk through your favorite Christmas movies at a multi-sensory pop-up

Now through Sunday, January 3
Gaylord Rockies
This new immersive experience will bring scenes from Christmas classics like Elf, A Christmas Story, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to life. Thirteen fully immersive scenes will transport you right into the films for a whole new way to create holiday memories. Tickets are limited to allow for social distancing and must be pre-purchased ahead of time.
Cost: Adult tickets start at $24.99

Denver Zoo
Denver Zoo
Denver Zoo

Explore acres of light displays at the 30th annual Zoo Lights

Now through Saturday, January 9
Denver Zoo
Lions and tigers and sparkling light displays, oh my! The zoo transforms every year for this popular event where light sculptures come to life right alongside the real live animals. Grab a cup of cocoa and spend an evening exploring the zoo in a whole new light.
Cost: Non-member adult tickets are $25

9NEWS Parade of Lights
9NEWS Parade of Lights
9NEWS Parade of Lights

See the Parade of Lights in a whole new way

Now through Thursday, December 31
Downtown Denver
Instead of one (typically super cold) night watching the parade, this annual tradition is getting a COVID-era makeover. The illuminated floats will be displayed throughout downtown for several weeks so you can visit them all season long.
Cost: FreeSign up here for our daily Denver email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Molly Martin is a freelance writer in Denver, Colorado who openly admits to not liking holiday music. Follow her @mollydbu on Twitter and Instagram, just please don’t play “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

Denver

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Denver This Year

For a successful St. Patrick's Day, hit these parades, barcrawls, parties, and festivals.

VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER

Grab your green and your Guinness-St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, and there’s fun to be had. In addition to being the first big celebratory holiday after New Year’s, St. Paddy’s is also a signal of spring; more hours of sunshine, T-shirt temps, and filling Blake, Market, and Larimer with drunken revelry make up a particularly Denver type of equinox. However you plan to celebrate-with family friendly activities or for those over the legal drinking age only-there are parades to be watched, playful drinks to be sipped, and a whole lot of shamrock-ing to do.

Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits

Dance a jig or two at Mile High Spirits’ Shamrock Shenanigans

March 17
If you’re ready to put your dancing shoes to good use, wiggle your way on over to Mile High Spirits-doors are opening at 12 pm and there’s no cover ‚Äėtil 10. Enjoy MHS’ drinks, big dance floor, and even bigger outdoor patio for all the Irish pride and shenanigans you can handle.

Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

Whip up steak for a St. Paddy’s Date Night

March 17
Cook Street’s special St. Paddy’s Day class involves making the perfect steak while sipping on Irish whiskey. On Friday only, learn about proteins, cooking methods, and choosing side dishes carefully while cooking up traditional Irish cuisine.

Crawl around town. You know, figuratively…

March 17 – 18
Is it a drinking holiday in Denver if there aren’t a handful of bar crawls happening? Probably not. St. Paddy’s Day is no different; you can start crawling from a number of bars, but a few in particular have everything plotted out for you (for a small fee). Start at the Ginn Mill and receive a map of over 10 pub locations you’ll be crawling to either Friday or Saturday, plus drink special vouchers. There’s also a crawl departing from Nola Jane (Friday only) with its own food and drink specials, plus a scavenger hunt and some St. Paddy’s merch, too.

The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat

Visit one of Denver’s Irish Pubs

March 17 – 18
If you can’t think of a better place to spend St. Paddy’s Day then at a local Irish pub, we salute you-just be prepared to throw a few elbows making your way to the bar. Denver’s got several good ol’ pubs from Broadway to Larimer Square that’ll be in full swing this weekend, pouring fresh pints as far as the eye can see. Check out Scruffy Murphy’s, Nallen’s, The Irish Rover, Finley’s, The Celtic on Market, or the Fainting Goat for that SPD revelry you know, love, and trekked out for.

Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square

Sip and savour St. Paddy’s themed bevvies

Through March 17
Everyone pulls out the green food dye and mint flavouring for St. Paddy’s, but there are some other creative drink specials to sample, too. The OG’s got a boozy milkshake for the occasion, aptly named “Who’s Your Paddy,” a mix of vanilla ice cream, Cr√®me de Menthe, Tullamore Dew, Bailey’s, and whipped cream. BEZEL’s Irish Matcha Man is pretty unique, with Teeling Small Batch whiskey, lime, thyme-infused honey, and matcha powder. And then Slater’s 50/50 takes it to another level (unsurprisingly) with its Lucky Mint Green Shake: mint-flavored ice cream in a frosting-rimmed glass with Lucky Charm marshmallows, rainbow stripe sour strips, whipped cream and green sprinkles. Other notable specials can be found at Poka Lola Social Club, Dairy Block’s Moo Bar, and Seven Grand.

Sing along and cheers to live music

March 17
Denver’s The Monkey Barrel is known for its regular live performances, and this St. Patrick’s Day you can tune in to Elijah Petty & The Part-Times and other musical guests if you’re in search of a chiller spot to sip your Guinness. Or, have one of the best burgers in town while relishing the shenanigans and live music of Cherry Cricket Cherry Creek this St. Paddy’s Day. Food and drink specials will also be available through the holiday weekend, so leave extra room or wear your stretchy (green) pants.

HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series

Show your St. Paddy’s spirit by‚Ķ running?

March 18
Feeling restless? Or maybe you’re itching to get a few laps in before hammering down several pints this Saturday? Either way, Highlands Ranch is hosting its St. Patrick’s Day 5K where finishing the race gets you St. Patrick’s Day merch, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, and of course, a complimentary pint courtesy of Living the Dream Brewing.

Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company

Drink and do good at Holidaily Brewing Co.

March 17
This St. Paddy’s Day, Holidaily and the Gluten Intolerance Group are putting on their Raise a Pint, Lend a Hand fundraiser. A special glitter and green Firkin tapping is happening at 4 pm at both taprooms, with special (and gluten-free) treats available at the Golden location, thanks to Farmhouse 5280 and Waive the Grain bakery. 10% of all St. Patrick’s Day sales will be donated to the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery

Party at a local distillery

March 17 – 18
Talnua Distillery is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day bash to remember this year, featuring food trucks, live music, special themed cocktails, and more. Limited bottles of Talnua’s exclusive Olde Saint’s Keep whiskey will be available for purchase, which you can hang onto while you dance along to pipe bands or eat a brat or two from El Jefe’s.

Watch some Irish step dancing

March 17
Head on over to Stanley Marketplace to witness the talent and skill of the students at the Wick School of Irish Dance at 12 pm, and follow it up with a green cerveza at Cheluna Brewing Co. Of course, plenty of tasty lunch and dinner options are available around the marketplace so you can soak up a bit of that beer.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.

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