It’s officially December! And instead of me waxing poetic about how quickly time goes and holy cow it’s almost 2022 already, I want to highlight all the fun activities that pop up around Denver during the holiday season.
Zoo Lights: Unless you’ve sworn off zoos forever, the Denver Zoo Lights are worth it and everyone should go at least once. Tickets are a bit pricey, $25 per person, but the fun and joy you will have makes the cost worth it. This is the best Christmas light experience I’ve found in Denver. You get to wander the entire zoo grounds as Christmas music plays and you walk from one awesome light structure to the next. I haven’t been in years but the couple times I’ve gone I enjoyed it. Even though it was freezing outside! That’s saying something.
Blossoms of Light: The Denver Botanic Gardens also puts on a show at both their York St and Chatfield locations. Both are enjoyable, but they aren’t quite the same as the zoo. They are worth a visit once and from there, you can decide if you want to go another year. Tickets are cheaper than the zoo, which is a bonus. Remember to bring those fun Christmas light glasses with you regardless which place you end up going!
Cherry Creek Winter Wanderland: Want to see some beautiful lights but not pay any money? The Cherry Creek mall neighborhood puts lights on all the trees, creating a really pretty and magical landscape. Elisabeth and I wandered the area last year and I hope to do it again this year. It was fun to walk by all the shops I can’t afford and to look for the special trees scattered throughout the area. There was a giant art installation that was super fun to run around in and take pictures around last year and this year there should be another installation.
Camp Christmas: Run by DCPA, Camp Christmas is Christmas at its most excessive and extreme. Decor, ornaments, bright tinsel, and whatever else you think of around Christmas overflows every crack and crevice of the designated space. When I went, it was inside Stanley Marketplace, but this year it appears to be outside. I saw beach Christmas, baroque Christmas, and of course, Santa’s sleigh. Blucifer also made an appearance, which, of course, is only necessary. It’s a bit expensive for what it is (although when I take into account all the materials and effort of the artists it’s probably well priced) as it only took me an hour to walk around, and I was taking my time. Worth a visit at least once if you can swing it.
Parade of Lights: I’ve only attended this parade once but I loved it and hope to go again. Maybe this year – it’s this Saturday, December 4th, at 6pm. Who wants to go with me? When I went back in 2017, I saw low riders decked out in Christmas lights, people dressed up riding adult-sized tricycles, a giant Frosty balloon (like the ones from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), really gorgeous and creative floats, and some high school marching bands. Not sure it could get any better. Go early to get a good spot and eat dinner or sip cocoa.
Tour of Governor’s Mansion: Because of covid, the tours are currently suspended, but generally, for select dates in December, you can tour the Governor’s mansion as it’s bedazzled in Christmas decor. I have yet to go to this but it’s on my list so one of these days you’ll find me there. The governor doesn’t actually live here but it’s a historical house so I imagine it’s lots of fun to see it dressed up in traditional Christmas styles.
Chriskindl Market: A German inspired Christmas market in the heart of downtown, Civic Center Park becomes lined with wooden stalls selling Christmas decorations and baked goods. It’s not quite the same as an actual German Christmas market, so know that going in. Might be worth a walk through once, though. I found everything to be over priced, personally, but they do provide entertainment which can be fun.
If you take the time to look, you’ll find lots of fun events happening around Denver to get you in the spirit and enjoy yourself!