Denver events in December 2019 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.
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If you love musicals, December is a great time to visit Denver. Two Broadway hits are on stage this month including "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and Jimmy Buffet's "Escape to Margaritaville."
How the Grinch Stole Christmas only plays for 5 days starting on 12/3 and ending on 12/8.
This classic Dr. Seuss tale is about the mean old Grinch who is trying to steal away Christmas from all of the good boys and girls. It features several popular songs including "You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas."
Escape to Margaritaville plays from 12/23 through to 1/5/2020 but not on Christmas Day. It's the story of how a part time bartender with very few prospects falls in love with a business woman who is on vacation.
The musical features many of Jimmy Buffet's hits including "Margaritaville," "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," "Cheeseburger in Paradise," as well as so many others.
This show is at the Buell Theater.
The Broadway shows are always some of the most popular Denver events in December and you will not want to miss out.
Football fans visiting Denver in December should be sure to check out the 2016 Super Bowl champion Broncos. Unlike most years, they play three games at home this month. They play against the Los Angeles Chargers on 12/1, the Detroit Lions on 12/21, and the Oakland Raiders on 12/29.
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. Empower Field at 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.
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.
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 the 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 Friday, 12/6 at 8 pm and Saturday, 12/7 at 6 pm. The parade begins at the City & County building downtown. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled as you may even see Santa!
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.
Brunch with Father Christmas (Sunday, 12/8 at 10 am): Celebrate the holidays with Father Christmas at Four Mile Park, enjoy holiday fare and fun family-friendly activities from 9am to Noon
Rudolph Ramble (Sunday, 12/1 at 10 am): Rudolph the Reindeer is lost and you must find him on this search-and-rescue 5K using clues. The run starts at City Park.
J is for Just Ugly Run (Saturday, 12/16 at 10 am): Ugly sweaters take over downtown Denver during this 5K run/walk featuring fun post-run activities.
Santa Stampede (Saturday, 12/7 at 9 am): Come to Hudson Gardens in Littleton for this family-friendly 5K/10K that takes place along the scenic South Platte River.
WinterFest (12/6 & 12/7): South Pearl Street hosts local merchants, food vendors, musicians, and Santa. You can even go on a horse and wagon ride.
Dolls Tea Party at the Oxford Hotel (12/8): Kids will be delighted at this tea party featuring ballerinas from the Arvada Dance Company. Bring a doll!
You will find a lot of great places to stay in Denver. Here are some of my top recommendations.
You will also find a great selection on Booking.com and through TripAdvisor. Click the links to learn more about each one.
Date: Sunday, 12/22 at 2:30 pm and 6 pm
Location: The Paramount Theatre
Any kid, or anyone who is a kid at heart, will love this live version of the animated classic. See Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and others save a tiny tree, enjoy their day together, and find the true meaning of Christmas. You will also enjoy the classic music by Vince Guaraldi the second you hear his famous tunes played on the piano.
This performance is for all ages and everyone will love this special one day only event.
Dates: Saturday, 11/30 - Tuesday, 12/24
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!
If you want to see a very special performance of the Nutcracker, the world famous Moscow Ballet is going to be in the Mile High City for four performances only.
These shows will be on Friday, 12/ 13 at 7 pm and on Saturday, 12/14 at 12 noon, 4 pm and 8 pm.
Denver is fortunate to have so many great acts perform here throughout the year, and December is no exception.
Highlights this month include Thievery Corporation at the Fillmore Auditorium, The Brian Setzer Orchestra at The Paramount Theatre, and Umphrey's McGee also at the Fillmore.
Holiday concerts include "Mannheim Steamroller" at the Buell, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra performing numerous shows including Bertie Baigent's "A Colorado Christmas", and Denver Brass playing "Twas the Night Before Christmas" at Boettcher Concert Hall.
Dates: 12/14 at 4 pm and 8 pm, 12/15 at 3 pm
Location: The Buell Theatre
One of the top holiday Denver events in December is three performances by Mannheim Steamroller. They will be playing their popular holiday songs including Deck the Halls, We Three Kings, and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.
You will be sure to feel the Christmas Spirit when you see this incredible performance at this lovely location.
Dates: 12/5 - 12/8
Location: Pepsi Center
See the magical world of Disney on Ice. Mickey's Search Party engages the audience as the cast members work together using Captain Hook’s treasure map. They are searching for clues that will lead them to Tinkerbell.
Other characters you can expect at this year's performance include Moana, Belle, Elsa from Frozen and so many others. The performance is full of colorful costumes, high-flying acrobatics, and amazing skaters.
It's a family-friendly event you do not want to miss!
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 Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, and more.
Date: 12/12 at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm
Location: Paramount Theatre
Famous for his hilarious character on Parks and Rec, Nick Offerman comes to the Paramount Theatre and is definitely one of the best Denver events in December.
For anyone that loves to laugh, Nick will make sure that happens all night long.
His stand up is as funny as can be and you'll want to see him live and in person!
Date: Tuesday, 12/31
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 and a midnight show (both displays are the same). Djs will also be playing holiday songs from 8 pm until midnight.
The celebration welcoming in the new year 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!
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.
Date: 12/7 from 1 pm to 7 pm
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. SantaCon tickets are about $15 and gets you free admission to the bars and special drink deals. You can buy your tickets in advance here.
If you're in Denver in December, you'll have nine chances to see the Nuggets play on their home court at the Pepsi Center. It's a great place to see a game, and you'll feel like a local.
This month they take on teams such as the LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the New York Knicks, and others.
Click the links below for ticketing information for all of the Nuggets games this month in Denver.
Dates: Wednesday, 11/20 - Monday, 2/3
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 Sunday from 9 am to 10 am.
After a fun day of skating, head to one of the nearby restaurants to warm up.
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. 3: Children's Museum at Marsico Campus (4 - 8 p.m.)
Dec. 7: Denver Art Museum (free for kids 18 and under every day of the year)
Dec. 13: Four Mile Historic Park
Dec. 8: Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Dec. 18: Clyfford Still
Dec. 19: Plains Conservation Center
Here are just a few of the top museums in Denver in December.
Denver Art Museum: "Inside Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature." Known for his incredible paintings, this is the most comprehensive US collection in over 20 years. This exhibit explores his interest in how humans disappeared from his paintings and he focused on landscapes.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science: "Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius." Known primarily as a scientist, da Vinci also an artist, sculptor, philosopher and more. Learn more about this amazing man and how he still influences society 500 years after his death.
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 Parade (Monday, 11/30 - Tuesday, 12/31): 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. Additional events are scheduled all month long.
Estes Park Holiday Wine Festival (Saturday, 11/30 & Sunday, 12/1): You will have your choice of over 150 Colorado wines as well as meads and ciders to taste from at this fun event. You will also get to listen to some great local musicians and taste the best bites around. Tickets include unlimited tastings, a wine glass, and wine tote. Buy wine fest tickets here.
Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade (Tuesday, 12/24): 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. The parade runs from 5:30 pm to 6 pm so make sure give yourself enough time and get a great view of it.