On
Newsstands
Now
Current Issue
Downtown Denver Ice Rink at Skyline Park. Photo courtesy of Jack Dempsey.

10 Things to Do in December That Won’t Break the Bank

Here are ten (mostly) free things happening in Denver this month.

|

Master Your Turns on the Ice | Anytime in December
Lace up your skates and venture out onto the ice at the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park, which will be open every day in December, including Christmas Day. Keep an eye out for special events (including live music and a broomball challenge) at the rink, which will remain open until mid-February. If you bring your own skates, you can skate for free—but don’t worry, cheap rentals are available for those who don’t own a pair. Free

Experience Denver’s Premier Holiday Parade | Dec 1-2
Bundle up for the cold and head to downtown Denver for the 43rd annual 9News Parade of Lights, featuring marching bands, ornately decorated floats, and a special appearance from Santa Claus. The two-mile parade route will begin on Bannock Street and loop its way around the 16th Street Mall, so there will be plenty of places to watch as the parade goes marching by. Free ($16-$25 for grandstand tickets)

Advertisement
Parade of Lights
Parade of Lights. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc.

Attend a Local Art Sale | Dec 1-3
More than 40 local artists will be featured at the Denver Potters Association Show and Sale, showcasing unique functional and sculptural ceramics as well as a variety of jewelry, glass, and wood creations. Find the perfect holiday gift for a friend or loved one, or simply explore the myriad of local, artistic talent at the show. Free

Explore a Traditional German Christmas Market | Dec 1-23
From tasting authentic food and drink to finding a unique Christmas gift or souvenir, the Denver Christkindl Market has everything you need to celebrate the holiday season. Modeled after traditional Christmas markets held in Germany and across Europe since the 14th century, the market features a variety of local craft vendors (selling everything from handmade toys to Christmas decorations to delicious German treats) along with live music, dancing, and other entertainment. Free

Zoo Lights
Zoo Lights. Photo courtesy of the Denver Zoo.

Walk Among the Animals (and the Lights) | Anytime in December
Take a stroll through the Denver Zoo after dark and you’ll see more than 150 glowing, animated animal sculptures peeking out from behind the trees and lining the walkways throughout December. Stretching across more than 60 acres, Zoo Lights will feature nightly entertainment, including meet-and-greets with Santa Claus, caroling train elves, and animal encounters. $7-$17

Check out a Holiday Arts Festival | Dec 7-23
If you’re looking for some smaller, more affordable artwork for gift-giving season, check out Art Gym Denver’s Holiday Fine Arts Festival, which will feature a variety of artwork from local painters, sculptors, printmakers, and illustrators, as well as digital, performing, and culinary artists (all members of Art Gym). The festival will open with a reception December 7, featuring free tastings from the culinary artists and meet-and-greets with some of the members. Free

Cherry Creek North Winter Fest
Cherry Creek North’s Winter Fest on Fillmore Plaza. Photo courtesy of Evan Semón.

Celebrate the Holiday Season in Cherry Creek | Dec 9
Get in the holiday spirit by attending Cherry Creek North’s Winter Fest, which will feature live ice carving, face painting, and ornament decorating—along with a variety of other activities at participating businesses throughout the Cherry Creek North area. Treat yourself to some complimentary sweets and warm beverages as you heat your toes by the fire pits that will temporarily be set up around Fillmore Plaza. Free

Advertisement

Visit a Festive Tiny House Village | Dec 9-10
Take a tour through ten tiny homes at the Tiny House Holiday Village in Stapleton, where you can speak with tiny house professionals and learn all about the building process. Presented by the Colorado Tiny House Festival, the homes will be decorated and illuminated for the holiday season, with glittering lights and ornamental wreaths welcoming you in. $5

Tiny House Holiday Village
Tiny House Holiday Village in Stapleton. Photo courtesy of the Colorado Tiny House Festival.

Knock Out Your Holiday Shopping | Dec 16-17
If you’re running a bit late on shopping for gifts, don’t fret: Backyard on Blake is holding a Holiday Shopping Weekend in mid-December to help get you back on track. Once you’ve found the perfect gifts, take a break from exploring Backyard’s numerous shops and restaurants to share hot chocolate and marshmallows over a blazing bonfire. Free

Listen to Brass-Played Tunes | Dec 17
Although you can simply turn on the radio to hear “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night,” along with other Christmas classics, your favorite holiday tunes will sound—and look—better in person at Denver’s 43rd annual TubaChristmas. More than 300 tuba and baritone players from across the region will gather downtown to play an exciting arrangement of Christmas carols and holiday music, led by event pioneer and conductor Bill Clark. Free

Recommended for You

Newsletter Signup

Keep me up to date on the latest trends and happenings around Denver. 5280 has a newsletter for everyone. Sign Up