Denver Events in December 2016

Denver events in December 2016 include many holiday celebrations such as parades, SantaCon, Christmas light displays, and New Year’s Eve fireworks. 

If you’re a fan of the performing arts, you can attend a couple major Broadway musicals, the Colorado Ballet's performances of "The Nutcracker," or a special fundraiser for the Colorado Symphony.

Pro-sports lovers can check out the Broncos, Avalanche, and Nuggets in action. If you're sporty yourself, register for the Ugly Sweater Run, Rudolph Ramble, or Santa Stampede — all popular 5K runs.

Read on for more things to add to your December calendar. 

December Events in Denver

Theater Performances in December

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

If you love musicals, December is a great time to visit Denver. Two of Broadway's biggest hits, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "Finding Neverland," make their stage debuts in Denver. 

To get into the holiday spirit, get tickets to "A Christmas Carol," a musical version of Charles Dickens' book. This is one of the popular annual Denver events in December and runs until Christmas Eve.

>> Get more details about December productions

Broncos Football

Broncos Football

Football fans visiting Denver in December should be sure to check out the Super Bowl champion Broncos. On Dec. 18, the team faces the New England Patriots at 2:25 p.m. This is your only chance to see them this month. 

If you can't make it to one of their Denver events in December, you can still see where the team plays its home games. Mile High offers tours Thursdays through Saturdays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. These sell out, so get tickets early.

>> Read more about the Broncos including ticketing information

Christmas Events & Activities

Christmas in Denver

Are you planning to spend Christmas in Denver this year? If so, you will find a lot of fun things to do during the holiday. 

On Christmas Eve, enjoy performances at the theater, a concert at one of Denver's top venues, or see a showing of "The Nutcracker." On Christmas day, you can find a great place to enjoy dinner with your family and stroll around town admiring the Christmas lights displays.

>> More information on Christmas Eve & Day events and activities

Christmas Lights

City & County Building

Denver lights up around Thanksgiving when the city flips the switch on its holiday lighting displays. Get out during the evening to see displays at places such as Union Station and Civic Center Park in downtown, both locations of Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Denver Zoo. 

One of the can't-miss evening Denver events in December is the annual 9NEWS Parade of Lights on Dec. 2 and 3. The parade begins at the City & County building downtown. You may even see Santa! 

>> Find out about more light displays in Denver

>> See Santa's schedule for this year

Other Special Holiday Events

Beer Festivus

The Mile High City goes all out during the holiday season and offers many fun Denver events in December. One especially fun event is the Ugly Sweater Run, so be sure to pack an awful holiday sweater.

Denver Beer Festivus (Dec. 13): Sample about 50 of the region's craft brews and ciders at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

WinterFest (Dec. 2 and 3): South Pearl Street hosts local merchants, food vendors, musicians, and Santa. You can even go on a horse and wagon ride. 

The Ugly Sweater Run (Dec. 17): Ugly sweaters take over downtown Denver during this 5K run/walk featuring fun post-run activities.

Tuba Christmas (Dec. 18): The sound of tubas fills the air at Skyline Park during this Christmas concert.

A Colorado Christmas at Four Mile Park (Dec. 3): This event is a Victorian-style Christmas celebration with tree decorating, crafts, traditional games, and storytelling.

Rudolph Ramble (Dec. 4): Rudolph the Reindeer is lost and you must find him on this search-and-rescue 5K using clues. The run starts at City Park.

Dolls Tea Party at the Oxford Hotel (Dec. 4): Kids will be delighted at this tea party featuring ballerinas from the Arvada Dance Company. Bring a doll! 

Santa Stampede (Dec. 10): Come to Hudson Gardens in Littleton for this family-friendly 5K/10K that takes place along the scenic South Platte River.

>> More holiday events this year

'The Nutcracker' Ballet

Nutcracker Ballet

Dates: Through Dec. 24

Location: Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1385 Curtis St., Denver, CO 80204

The Colorado Ballet presents the largest production of "The Nutcracker" in the state. This beloved Christmas classic features more than 300 costumes and 100 dancers. Tchaikovsky's score is beautifully performed by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.

It's one of the Denver events in December you do not want to miss — get your tickets now! 

>> More about the Colorado Ballet and its "Nutcracker" performances

Denver Events in December: Concerts


Denver is fortunate to have so many great acts perform here throughout the year, and December is no exception. 

Highlights this month include Old Dominion with Steve Moakler (Dec. 16, Grizzly Rose). Also performing this month are Snoop Dogg with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (Dec. 4, Fillmore Auditorium), Helmet (Dec. 10, Marquis Theatre), and The Beach Boys (Dec. 30, The Paramount Theatre).

Holiday concerts include "A John Denver Christmas" (Dec. 4, Newton Theatre), "Home Free: A Country Christmas" (Dec. 6, Paramount Theatre), and Cirque Musica (Dec. 11, Paramount Theatre).

>> Find a schedule of additional performances this month

'Disney on Ice' at the Pepsi Center

Disney on Ice

Dates: Dec. 8 - 11

Location: Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, CO 80204

Disney brings its "World of Enchantment" production to Pepsi Center this month. Kids will love seeing classic Disney characters come to life in this ice-skating spectacular. Characters featured are from four favorite Disney movies: "Cars," "The Little Mermaid," "Toy Story," and "Frozen." 

Get there early — you won't want to miss Mickey Mouse teaching his dance moves in a fun dance-along. 

Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche

Also on ice this month is the NHL's Colorado Avalanche. The team plays seven home games at Pepsi Center.

If a game doesn't fit into your schedule, you can tour Pepsi Center, which is also home to the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Mammoth.

This year's Denver events in December includes match-ups between teams such as the Dallas Stars, the Philadelphia Fliers, and Toronto Maple Leaves.

>> This month's schedule and tips to see a game at the Pepsi Center

NYE Fireworks

NYE Fireworks

Date: Dec. 31, 9 p.m. and midnight

Location: 16th Street Mall, Denver, CO 80265

If you love fireworks but can't stay awake until midnight, you're in luck. The 16th Street Mall downtown has both an early show at 9 p.m. in addition to a midnight show (both displays are the same). 

The celebration welcoming in 2017 features magicians, balloon artists, stilt walkers, comedians, and musicians. It's one of the last Denver events in December that you do not want to miss!

More NYE Events & Activities

NYE Champagne

In addition to fireworks, you will find several Denver events in December on NYE. They include several fun 21+ over parties both downtown and all around the city. 

In addition, you will find great concerts, theater performances, and comedy shows. Make sure to check out my insider's guide with all of the top things to do this New Year's Eve in the Mile High City.

>> Best place to celebrate NYE



Date: TBD

Location: Several bars around town

Get your hands on a Santa suit and take part in SantaCon, a worldwide gathering of people dressed as Santa. At this annual event, Santas take over the streets of Denver visiting bars along the way. 

Just wearing a Santa hat doesn't count — you have to go full-on Santa. However, you'll be welcome if you're dressed as an elf, reindeer, Mrs. Claus, or anything else in the spirit of the holidays. 

Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets

If you're in Denver in December, you'll have seven chances to see the Nuggets play on their home turf at the Pepsi Center. It's a great place to see a game, plus you'll feel like a local. 

This month they take on teams such as the Houston Rockets, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Portland Trail Blazers.

>> Get their full home schedule and tips to find the best seats

Beethoven & Brews With the Symphony

Colorado Symphony

Date: Dec. 13

Location: Call to Arms Brewing Company, 4526 Tennyson St.

Beethoven & Brews is a partnership with the Colorado Symphony and breweries, liquor stores, and distilleries from around the state. This is a regular fundraising event for the symphony where guests enjoy four-ounce beer samples, appetizers, and music performed by a small ensemble from the symphony. 

Call to Arms Brewing Company hosts the December event, which has an ugly holiday sweater theme.

>> Get more details on this and other Denver Symphony events

Ice Skating at Skyline Park

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a great wintertime activity for both kids and adults, so check out the outdoor rink at Skyline Park. This urban park is in the heart of downtown Denver and set among the city's skyscrapers. 

The rink is open daily and rents out either single-blade skates or double-blade skates, which are good for beginners. Free skating lessons are held every Wednesday and Saturday. 

After a fun day of skating, head to one of the nearby restaurants to warm up. 

Free Museum Days & Exhibits

Denver Art Museum

You can visit some top tourist spots for free during these Denver events in December. We've rounded up the days where admission is waived at area museums. Mark them on your calendar! 

Dec. 2: Mizel Museum (Jewish art and culture)

Dec. 3: Denver Art Museum

Dec. 4: Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys 

Dec. 6: Children's Museum at Marsico Campus (4 - 8 p.m.)

Dec. 8, 21: Aurora History Museum 

Dec. 9: Four Mile Historic Park

Dec. 12: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Top exhibits in December:

Denver Art Museum: "On Desert Time" is an exhibit of landscape photographs taken by Timothy H. O'Sullivan and William H. Bell in the American Southwest in the late 1800s.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science: "Mummies: New Secrets From the Tomb" gives visitors a look at 3,000-year-old Egyptian and Peruvian mummies.

Beyond Denver

Beyond Denver

Get outside the Mile High City limits and do some exploring. You'll see some amazing mountain scenery and get a better feel for the surrounding area. Here are a couple fun winter holiday events in Golden and Winter Park, Colo.

Olde Golden Christmas (Dec. 5, 12, 19): Visit historic downtown Golden for the holiday parade featuring Santa, the Grinch, and elves on unicycles. Barbershop quartets, Victorian-dressed carolers, Newfoundland cart rides, and hayrides are also part of this free celebration about 25 minutes from downtown Denver.

Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade (Dec. 24): Located at a beautiful resort in Winter Park (about 65 miles outside Denver), the free celebration features a parade, Christmas carols, a bonfire, Santa, fireworks, and post-parade worship services.  

› Denver Events in December