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Explore Colorado’s Winter Art Scene

With a palette of glacial-blue mountain lakes, snow-dusted plains and hardy evergreens, it’s hard to not be inspired by Colorado. 

Rio Frio Fest in Alamosa
Rio Frio Fest in Alamosa
Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens
Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens
Hippodrome Arts Centre in Julesburg
Hippodrome Arts Centre in Julesburg
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism at Denver Art Museum
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism at Denver Art Museum

Check out a variety of artistic and creative experiences, both indoors and out — and some where you’re the artiste.

Outdoor Arts

Zip up your favorite puffer and check out some uniquely Colorado art experiences that are worth braving chillier temps.  

Tour the striking Dillon Ice Castles (open late December through early March as weather allows) and sit on a grand throne, crawl through wintry tunnels or glide down frosty slides — all built from hundreds of thousands of icicles. You’ll find yourself awed in the evenings when the palatial ice sculptures light up in glowing rainbow hues.

Each holiday season, the Denver Botanic Gardens transforms into Blossoms of Light (Nov. TBA, 2021–Jan. TBA, 2022), an immersive winter wonderland with breathtaking, twinkling light displays. Get yourself a cup of hot cocoa to sweeten the experience. 

Near Loveland, the Berthoud Snowfest (Dec. TBA, 2021) turns the town into a winter wonderland with snow-sculpting competitions, a lighted parade and an artisan market for gift shopping. 

Or watch sculptors in action at the Cripple Creek Ice Festival (Feb. TBA, 2022) as they chip and saw away at glacial blocks to create interactive sculptures. Make your way through an icy maze or relax with a cocktail from the Ice Martini Bar.  

Out west in Alamosa, check out a live ice-sculpting event downtown that kicks off the annual Rio Frio Ice Fest (Jan. TBA, 2022). The weekend’s events also include a 5k fun run on a frozen-over Rio Grande, illuminated cross-country skiing and a polar plunge for those crazy, we mean, brave enough.

Find out what’s open in Colorado before you visit >>

Indoor Arts

You can visit one of Colorado’s many indoor art institutions for special winter exhibits.  

Explore Senga Nengudi: Topologies at the Denver Art Museum (Dec. 13, 2020–April 11, 2021) to marvel at performance art, sculpture, photography and mixed media. Senga Nengudi is an internationally acclaimed artist, also known for being a prominent figure of the Black American avant-garde and Black Arts Movement. In 2021, the mind-bending interactive art exhibit Meow Wolf is also coming to Denver. It’s full of surprises and giving too much away would ruin the fun.

In Pueblo, the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center hosts numerous art exhibits annually along with Mystery at the Buell: The Case of the Missing Masterpiece interactive exhibit (spring 2021) at the Buell Children’s Museum

If cars are more your speed, visit the ultimate roadside attraction in Trinidad. The Art Cartopia Museum has 25 art cars on display ranging from “EyeVan” (just like it sounds: a van studded with fake eyeballs) to “Cardi Gras,” a car decked out in all kinds of Mardi Gras memorabilia. 

Step inside the immersive Wonder Wonder art show in Boulder for weird and wild experiential entertainment. From walls adorned with translucent and reflective textures to colorful lighting and a rainforest of faux foliage, your Instagram won’t know what hit it with the immersive photo ops inside this creative space. 

Check out the historic Hippodrome Arts Centre’s schedule in Julesburg for winter-themed live theater performances and movies throughout the season. 

The gallery at Blue Sage Center for the Arts in downtown Paonia features rotating displays inspired by Colorado’s Western Slope and made by local artists.

DIY Arts

Feeling inspired to express your own creativity? These Colorado-owned businesses offer plenty of ways to design our own creations. 

Paint a lovely piece of pottery to use or display at home at Arts on Fire in Castle Rock or Highlands Ranch. Don’t worry, they have plenty of examples to get your creative juices flowing. A visit to Upstairs Circus, in Denver's LoDo and Tech Center areas, delivers arts-and-crafts entertainment for all ages — and a full bar (for those 21 and over).

If painting isn’t your style, try crafting with amazing handmade paper — everything from marbled sheets to crepe — from Two Hands Paperie in Boulder. Or give needle felting a try at The Felted Dog in Pueblo for something totally different. You can pick your project online and attend a class in person. Yampa Valley Fiberworks mills natural fibers like wool, alpaca and mohair in Craig. Stock up on yarn for projects at home or attend a class to learn knitting, spinning, weaving and more.

Feeling creative on the fly? You can make something whenever the mood strikes at FingerPlay Studio, which offers open studio sessions in Louisville, in addition to scheduled knitting classes. 

Want More?

Visit Colorado’s Creative Districts >>
Check out Colorado Liquid Arts >>
More winter events in Colorado >>

Photo Credits: Denver Botanic Gardens, Rio Frio Fest, Denver Art Museum, Dallas Williams/Hippodrome Arts Center