Denver Winter

15 Fun Things to Do & Tips to Prepare for your Stay

The heart of the Denver winter runs from around November to March. However, we could have snow as early as September and as late as May. Even though it might be chilly outside, you will find plenty of fun things to do.

Top picks this season include skiing, Broadway shows, and sporting events. You will also find what's happening during the holidays, upcoming concerts, and museum recommendations.

Read on for my 15 favorite activities this time of year.

Denver winter activities, sports, and events

1. Skiing Near Denver

The biggest Denver winter activity is skiing! You will find dozens of places just a short drive away. Top picks include Keystone, Breckenridge, and Aspen. Other top ski resorts near Denver include Winter Park, Vail, and Copper. 

Many resorts offer skiing lessons for kids and adults. 

In addition to skiing, you can also go snowboarding, enjoy some fun festivals, and sample locally crafted beer (it's EVERYWHERE here). Make sure to plan ahead as I-70 is crowded this time of year.

2. Beer Tasting & Brewery Tours

Another one of the fun things to do in Denver winter is to sample our locally brewed beers. Just in Denver, we have more than 50 breweries. This number increases by the day as new brewers set up camp in The Mile High City.

You will find a large concentration of them in Lower Downtown (LoDo), the River North (RiNo) district, and in the Highlands. You will also find some great options just to the south and also to the east of downtown.

Many offer free guided tours of their facilities. You can watch them brew the beer and learn more about the process. In addition, you can also sample several all in one day on a guided beer and brewery tour.

>> Find out more about the top brewery tours

3. Denver Broncos

One of our most popular professional teams is the Denver Broncos. They take the field starting in late August. Their season runs through December and sometimes into January if they make the playoffs.

Each month, you will find one to two home games. They play at Mile High Stadium which is just a quick drive, walk or train ride from downtown. 

>> Get this month's schedule of games at home

4. Concerts & Live Music

Even though it's cold outside, Denver's concert calendar is hot every winter. You will find large shows at the Pepsi Center and several smaller performances all around town.

Top picks include those at the Fillmore Auditorium, the Bluebird and the Paramount. You will also find seasonal music for the holidays and a full calendar of performances by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

Find details by month on the calendars below.

November | December | January | February | March

5. Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets vs the Oklahoma Thunder

Head over to the Pepsi Center this winter in Denver to see the Denver Nuggets in action. They take the court almost a half a dozen times each winter month.

They play against top teams such as the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Memphis Grizzlies. They are fun to watch and I highly recommend catching a game if you love basketball. 

>> See this year's games at home

6. Broadway & Other Theater performances

The Mile High City is a well known theater town with dozens of performances each week. In the Denver winter, the calendar is full of Broadway shows such as Wicked, Hamilton, and The Lion King. Many of the top shows are at the Performing Arts Center on the western side of downtown.

You will also find smaller shows at intimate theaters all around town. Some of my favorites include the Bug Theater, the John Hand Theater, and several great venues in Aurora.

>> Find a full schedule of top upcoming theater productions in Denver

7. Museums

Another great indoor activity during the cool Denver winter days is to head to one of our award winning museums. The top pick for most art lovers is the Denver Art Museum. It's a fun visit for adults and I'm always impressed with all of the cool areas for kids too.

Other great finds around town include the Denver Museum of Science and Nature, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and History Colorado. Kids will love our large Children's Museum and the Downtown Aquarium.

>> Top art museums around Denver

8. Thanksgiving

One of the busier Denver winter weekends is during Thanksgiving. You will find plenty of restaurants serving traditional meals on Thanksgiving Day, a chance to go ice skating, and the fun Denver Christkindl Market open for shopping.

The day after Thanksgiving is typically when they light the Denver City and County Building for the holiday season. You will also find some great theater performances, tons of places to shop and tours running all weekend long.

>> Read my guide on the best things to do on Thanksgiving Day & Weekend

9. Holiday & Christmas Light Displays

In addition to the lighting of the City and County Building each year, you will also find several other holiday and Christmas lights displays all around town.

Other top picks include the Downtown Denver Grand Illumination, the gorgeous lights on Union Station, and the Blossoms of Light at the Botanic Gardens.

There are also several fun lighting events including the 9News Parade of Lights and the Brighton Festival of Lights.

>> Get dates for this year's tree lighting and Christmas lights displays

10. Denver Zoo

Monkey at the Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo is also a fun place to visit in the winter. Yes, you might be thinking it's too cold, but you will find many wonderful days in the 50s each winter. These sunny days are the perfect time to visit the Zoo.

There are so many things I love about our zoo including the areas for the tigers, lions, and bears. There is also a wonderful area for the elephants.

In addition, you will find some interesting indoor exhibits where you can also step inside to warm up on those cooler Denver winter days.

>> Pics and what you will see at this zoo

11. International Wine Festival

One of the best wine festivals in Denver each year is the International Wine Festival. This event features hundreds of wines from all around the world. 

It's the first and one of the largest international wine festival in the region.

For three days, wine lovers descend upon Denver to sample new wines, meet with wine makers, learn more about the wine making process, and share their love of wine with others. This event is also one of my favorites because they also feature an amazing selection of gourmet goodies.

>> More events in November

12. Colorado Avalanche

Another Denver winter favorite is a hockey game. The Colorado Avalanche take the ice from October through April ever year. They have 7 to 10 games each month. 

Every year, they host teams such as the San Jose Sharks, the New York Rangers, and the Chicago Blackhawks. Every game is a treat.

Make sure to dress warm, as it's cool inside the Pepsi Center during the hockey games.

>> This year's schedule by month

13. National Western Stock Show & Rodeo

One of the biggest event in Denver in January and every winter is the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo. This large event draws in thousands of people from all over the US.

The event offers activities for more than two weeks every January. You can enjoy rodeos, horse shows and live stock shows. Other things to do include kids activities, educational sessions, and other special events such as BBQs.

>> Visit their site for a full schedule for this year and ticketing

>> More events this January

14. Christmas Events

Christmas is another great time for Denver winter fun and events. Several restaurants are open on Christmas Eve and Day, so you can spend time with the family without having to make a large meal.

You will also find ice skating, shopping, and several holiday markets. Some fun things to do leading up to the holiday include special Christmas shows and concerts. You will also find dozens of theater productions all week long.

>> More about visiting around Christmas in Denver

15. New Year's eve

NYE Fireworks

Ring in the New Year in Denver! This popular Denver winter holiday features 21 and over parties, plenty of things to do with the entire family, and several fun concerts.

One of the most popular events is the big fireworks display along the 16th Street Mall. To make sure everyone gets to enjoy it, they do two displays every year. 

Other favorites this night include a performance by the Colorado Symphony, theater shows, and sporting events.

>> Discover my NYE guide for this year

Denver Winter Weather

The Denver winter weather is cold, but we get a lot of sunshine. You will find that it might snow a few inches and the next day will be sunny and gorgeous. Make sure to prepare for the cold, but also bring along a few layers so you can also head outdoors on our lovely sunny days.

I've created a helpful packing and weather guide for each month of the year. Click the links below for details for your Denver winter vacation.

November | December | January | February | March

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