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A festive display in the Governor's Residence at Boettcher Mansion. Photo by Sarah Boyum

10 Free Things to Do in December

From holiday events and traditions to snow-filled activities, here are 10 ways to give your wallet a break (while having fun) this month. 

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1. Cherry Creek North’s Winter Fest | Dec. 10

Why: Fillmore Plaza is always busy during December, but for one day this month it should be even more so with fire pits, carolers, and ice sculpting.

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2. Shovel a Neighbor’s Sidewalk | After any snowfall

Why: In the season of giving, sometimes the most meaningful presents come without a price tag. Clear the walk for an elderly neighbor, or that couple with the newborn baby, or for anyone you just want to see smile. Bonus: Burning some extra calories means you can eat even more cookies at your office party this month.

3. Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion | Dec. 8–11 & Dec. 15­–18

Why: A free tour of a historic home is usually enough of draw, but on these dates you also get to admire the holiday decorations—with global themes—done by professional designers (read: a tad bit nicer than most holiday décor). Bonus: Get a sneak peek of the splendor with photographs from 5280‘s Sarah Boyum.

4. Celebrate Kwanzaa with the Library | Dec. 27–31

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Why: During Kwanzaa this year (which runs from December 26 to January 1), the Denver Public Library is hosting five different events for this celebration of family and culture. Consider your calendar booked.

5. LoDo Aglow | Your choice

Why: Pick a day when the forecast is warm (or at least not too cold), wait for the sun to set, and stroll through downtown admiring the bright lights and cozy displays in the windows of local businesses.

6. Colorado State Snow Sculpting Competition | Dec. 14–17

Why: October brings pumpkin carving, so December is for snow sculpting, right? This locals-only festival will feature sculptures more than nine feet wide.

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7. Living Saints Exhibit at Loveland Museum | Thru Feb. 5

Why: Photographer Alex Harris captured images of devotional objects in homes while living in a village in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains—and you can see the intimate exhibit for free this winter.

8. Sledding | Your Choice

Why: After a very, very, very dry fall, Denver is finally enjoying a little precipitation. The next time it snows (and after you shovel a sidewalk, see No. 2), head to one of these local sledding hills for a classic—and often free—winter activity.

9. Pioneers: Women Artists in Boulder, 1898–1950 | Through Feb. 4

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Why: Featuring impressive works of American art, this exhibit focuses on female artists based in Colorado, and the contributions they made to the state’s cultural legacy.

10. Georgetown’s Christmas Market | Dec. 10–11

Why: This mountain town’s historic streets—the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District turns 50 this year—offer the perfect backdrop for an afternoon stroll in a holiday market.

Looking for more things to do in Denver? Check out our events calendar.

Follow senior editor Natasha Gardner on Twitter and Instagram.

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Natasha Gardner, Articles Editor

Natasha Gardner writes and edits longform journalism and multimedia projects for 5280 and is a regular columnist for 5280.com.

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