Colorado Welcomes Travelers To Experience a True Winter Wonderland This Holiday Season
DENVER, Colo. (Oct. 27, 2021) — Travelers seeking a winter wonderland this holiday season need look no further than Colorado for glistening snow, sleigh bells, pine forests, marshmallows for toasting, caroling and pure winter joy. This winter season kicks off with destinations filled with holiday cheer, the return of many cherished holiday events, magical lodging packages and unique holiday markets to find gifts for everyone on the list. And, for those who cannot travel to Colorado for the holidays, give the gift of a one-of-a-kind treasure that is made in Colorado.
Visitors to the state are encouraged to “Do Colorado Right” and embrace the state’s new interpretation of responsible tourism — showing care not only for destinations but for others, including the people who call Colorado home. For more holiday inspiration, visit COLORADO.com.
Celebrate the Holidays in Winter Wonderland Destinations:
● Beaver Creek: Beaver Creek will launch its holiday event programming on the resort’s winter opening day, Nov. 24, with the World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition. The festivities continue on Nov. 26, as the 41st Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony showcasing live music, an ice-skating show, photos with Santa and the lighting of the tree in Beaver Creek Village. Ring in 2022 at the New Year’s Eve Celebration on Dec. 31, with performers and live music throughout the Village, culminating in the Times Square ball drop broadcast across giant screens and fireworks illuminating the sky.
● Breckenridge: Following the pause of events in 2020, the Breckenridge community is thrilled to welcome back some of their most cherished winter traditions, including the Lighting of Breckenridge, Dec. 4, and Ullr Fest, Dec. 8-12; Breckenridge Ski Resort will also be celebrating its 60th anniversary throughout the winter season, with its actual 60th birthday falling on Dec. 16.
● Colorado Springs: Colorado Springs is the place to be this holiday season. The Festival of Lights parade through downtown will return for its 38th production. Families can enjoy everything from an Electric Safari at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to Santa’s Workshop at The North Pole. Spend the morning among the beautiful animals at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center at their Winter Wonderland event or book an afternoon tea at Glen Eyrie Castle.
● Crested Butte: Holiday festivities kick off in Crested Butte on Dec. 10 with Light Up Night — Light the Christmas tree in Mountaineer Square with festive holiday cheer and activities. On Dec. 24, Santa comes to the base area during après ski for a last-minute visit from Santa’s Sleigh, including festive holiday cheer and activities. Finally, on Dec. 31, Crested Butte's finest ski and snowboard instructors wind their way down the mountain during the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks.
● Denver: Denver comes to life during the winter holiday season with Mile High Holidays, and the festivities kick off on Nov. 19 with downtown Denver’s Grand Illumination — the largest holiday lights display in Denver — as well as the annual lighting of The Mile High Tree. The performing arts scene will return in full force beginning in November with holiday classics like A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker alongside some Broadway favorites including The Lion King. The magic of the holiday season continues through December with Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo, Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens, more theater performances and an abundance of New Year’s Eve events, including the downtown fireworks extravaganza. In addition, Denver will host many other holiday events including celebrations at Denver Union Station and new events like Luminova Holidays, Elitch Gardens' first-ever holiday event with larger than life displays.
● Georgetown: Historic Georgetown’s old-school charm is enhanced at one of the state’s most cherished wintertime traditions, the annual Christmas Market. At the market, horse-drawn wagon rides take patrons through snow-blanketed streets past decorated storefronts; a Victorian-robed St. Nicholas greets rosy-cheeked tots and stalls feature handicrafts by local artisans. A giant lit-up tree, the harmonic voices of choirs and views of the snow-dusted mountains above add to the dreamy scene. For the ultimate experience, take a Christmas museum tour of the Hamill House or Hotel de Paris, or book a special holiday-themed ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad.
● Snowmass: Kick off the holidays with Snowmass S’mores. Anderson Ranch Arts Center offers guests a magical winter experience during the Holiday Open House on Dec. 9. The Collective Lounge comes alive with a special Holiday Scene Dec. 19–24. Santa is back this year, and his Village is open for all to explore. Just outside The Collective, enjoy a live ice sculpture demo on Dec. 29. Holiday carolers, the Holiday Bell Tones, bring festive cheer to the Snowmass Mall and the Snowmass Center, singing crowd favorites Dec. 21–24. Guests and locals alike can enjoy monthly festive fireworks throughout the season with shows on Christmas Day and on New Year’s Eve.
● Vail: Vail will kick off the holiday season with Revely Vail, starting on Vail’s opening day, Nov. 12, with Vail Apres, Apres Music, Art Workshops, the Revely Tree Lighting, ice skating shows, Kris Kringle Market and more. The celebration continues with Magic of Lights, opening Nov. 19, Vail Snow Days Dec. 3–5 and Powabunga Dec. 10–11.
Attend Cherished Events to Get in the Holiday Spirit:
● 12 Days of Christmas, Powderhorn (Dec. 21–Jan. 1): Powderhorn Mountain Resort opens on Black Friday with live music and kicks off their 12 Days of Christmas on Dec. 21, offering a different festivity each day from cookie decorating to an on-mountain scavenger hunt. The event will conclude on New Year’s Eve with music, fireworks and games.
● Arapahoe Basin’s New Year’s Eve Moonlight Dinner Series (Dec. 31): Guests can ride the chairlift or skin/snowshoe under the moonlight to mid-mountain and enjoy live music, a chef-prepared meal, a glass of Champagne, party favors and a balloon drop.
● Copper Mountain’s Holiday Festivities: Guests can enjoy fireworks and a snowcat parade on Nov. 26 as part of the Thanksgiving holiday and opening day festivities. Copper will also celebrate the festive season with fireworks on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
● Garden of Lights, Fort Collins (Dec. 10–26): Experience one of Northern Colorado's favorite holiday traditions — the Garden of Lights, returning to Fort Collins Dec. 10–26. Garden of Lights at the Gardens on Spring Creek features a half-mile loop of perennial flower beds, huge sculptural flowers, grapevines, butterflies, a holiday village and other favorite garden creatures — all constructed entirely from holiday lights.
● The First Leadville Railroad Holiday Express (Nov. 19–Jan. 15): This year for the first time, the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad is extending its season into winter and offering a holiday lights train ride. Travel through the snowy Colorado mountains in a light-decorated train with great views of the Arkansas River Valley. Visitors raise 1,000 feet off the valley floor with sweeping views of Fremont Pass and the two tallest peaks in Colorado, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert.
● Santa Express Train with the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Cañon City: Join the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Cañon City for a journey to the North Pole in Colorado’s Royal Gorge and meet Santa Claus himself. Holiday cheer abounds aboard the train with lunch or dinner and a full bar. Once the guest of honor boards the train, Santa will greet the children and give them a very special gift.
● Snow Much Fun, Boulder (Nov. 21–Jan. 9): During Snow Much Fun, hundreds of thousands of colorful lights illuminate downtown Boulder, including all along historic Pearl Street. Grab a hot cup of cocoa and enjoy a wonder-filled stroll outside. Don’t miss St. Nick on the Bricks on the Pearl Street Mall Saturdays Nov. 27–Dec. 18 and the Lights of December Parade on Dec. 4.
● Usher in the Holidays at Stanley Marketplace, Aurora: The 50-plus independently owned businesses at the Denver metro area's urban food hall, marketplace and small-business collective embrace the holiday spirit with a season of festive events and activities including live music and entertainment, roaming carolers, a Hanukkah Lighting ceremony, Santa visits including “Magic Hours” for children with special needs, a Tour of Trees decorated by Stanley businesses, late night shopping hours and holiday libations.
● Sterling Sparkles Parade of Lights (Dec. 2): Head to beautiful downtown Sterling for a parade of lights on Dec. 2. The procession of colorful floats will be lined up and ready to display their creations with an appearance from Santa. Following the parade, this year’s event will close with a bonfire and s'mores.
● Tesoro Cultural Center’s Las Posadas, Morrison (Dec. 24): Las Posadas is a Mexican celebration commemorating Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. In partnership with The Fraternas, Tesoro Cultural Center produces a condensed version of the tradition, held annually on Christmas Eve on the grounds of The Fort. Children are invited to participate in a reenactment of the biblical scene; musicians play customary Las Posadas songs; a seven-pointed piñata is provided for children; and complimentary biscochito cookies, hot cider, and Mexican hot chocolate is served.
● Wassail Days, Frisco (Nov. 27–Dec. 5): A weeklong holiday celebration, Frisco’s Wassail Days is steeped in tradition. Over the years, local businesses have worked to perfect their unique recipes of wassail (a hot, spiced apple cider), collectively serving more than 5,000 complimentary samples to guests each year. Dressed in lights with pop-up Santa sightings, Main Street welcomes guests to shop and taste a variety of wassail and once their “12 Sips of Wassail Card” is complete, they’ll receive a commemorative Frisco Wassail Days mug.
● Winter Wonderlights, Loveland (Nov. 13–Jan. 2): Each night, visitors can walk through the beautiful park and enjoy 80,000 lights, illuminated African stone sculptures and 30-minute music and light shows. Special programming, live reindeer, the largest inflatable igloo in Colorado and local vendors will be onsite during Winter Wonderlights Live, offered during select weekends.
Explore Holiday Lodging Packages and Experiences:
● Big Christmas at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs: Throughout the season, there will be special holiday dining menus, Wassail Tea service, culinary demonstrations, Breakfasts with Santa, and other moments of cheer. The resort's annual massive gingerbread display is always an impressive and festive creation. Anchoring the holiday happenings is The Broadmoor Holiday Show. The star-studded event features musical talent in a traditional dinner show variety format. Two exclusive fêtes highlight the New Year’s Eve revelry: The formal New Year’s Eve Gala, an elegant five-course dinner accompanied by music from The Broadmoor Pops Orchestra, and the New Year’s Eve Bash, a funky, high-energy party with a Champagne toast at midnight.
● Cowboy Christmas at C Lazy U Ranch, Granby: C Lazy U Ranch is the ultimate holiday family vacation that provides an all-inclusive experience. For Christmas, each cabin welcomes ranch guests with a tabletop Christmas tree to decorate and a cozy wood-burning fireplace to snuggle up to after exploring C Lazy U’s 8,500 acres on horseback, by snowmobile, cross-country skis or snowshoes. Guests are even surprised with Santa’s arrival to the ranch by a horse-drawn sleigh, bringing with him wrapped gifts and to share cookies and milk with the children.
● Holidays at the Gaylord Rockies Resort, Aurora: A holly, jolly sleigh-full of holiday cheer is set for Gaylord Rockies Resort with a host of special events and activities set to be unwrapped this Christmas season. Featuring a brand-new, multi-sensory marquee Christmas experience, Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf™, Christmas at Gaylord Rockies will delight guests with an abundance of imaginative environments, interactive experiences, holiday-themed activities, and exciting live entertainment, including Cirque Dreams Holidaze an awe-inspiring, eye-popping, family-holiday spectacular.
● Naughty or Nice Package at the HALCYON, Cherry Creek: HALCYON has you covered whether you're on the naughty or nice list this holiday season. When guests book a one-night stay with this package online, they can select if they're feeling “naughty” to enjoy a night cap for two in one of the hotel's secret spaces with a $50 F&B credit, or decide if they're feeling “nice” to enjoy a breakfast for two at signature restaurant, Local Jones, with a $50 F&B credit. Play a round or two of winterized curling on the rooftop’s rink, available to hotel guests and locals and complete with a bucket of beer or seltzer.
● Holiday Magic at Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs: Festivities at this historic Colorado hotel include Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day buffets; a Winter Wonderland Package; the 31st Annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony; breakfasts with Santa and the extravagant decorations that guests have enjoyed for nearly 130 years. More than half a million lights adorn the hotel’s interior and exterior with 60 decorated Christmas trees and a signature, life-size, real gingerbread house.
● Winter Wonderland at Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby: Participate in the Cozy Winter Wonderland event at the Snow Mountain Ranch library every weekend between Nov. 26 and Dec. 20. The festive event will include holiday-themed crafts, hot cocoa and hot apple cider, as well as a holiday story time. Guests can also enjoy cabin ski-in/ski-out access to 120K of groomed tracks and trails at the Nordic Center, a new dog-sledding program, a Christmas-tree-cutting experience and more.
● Holiday Traditions at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Loveland: Join with family and friends in December to ring in the holidays with a warm and memorable Sylvan Dale tradition. Special Thanksgiving packages and Christmas Candlelight and Carols packages available.
● New North Pole Train & Christmas Village at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center: On Saturdays between Nov. 20 and Dec. 18, YMCA of the Rockies presents the North Pole Train & Christmas Village. Guests will enjoy catching a ride on the North Pole Train, listening to a reading of the Polar Express, trolley rides around the Christmas Village while singing Christmas carols and visits with Santa. The Elves Workshop will also have an assortment of crafts perfect for making homemade Christmas gifts for the whole family.
Find Unique Gifts at Colorado Holiday Markets:
● Après Ski Holiday Market at Dairy Block, Denver (select dates Nov. 26–Dec. 19): Celebrate and shop this holiday season at Dairy Block’s Après Ski Holiday Market. Inspired by a European ski village and curated by American Field, the 2nd annual Après Ski Holiday Market will feature a wide variety of vendors offering clothing, home goods and more by local Colorado businesses and top national retailers. Other festive Dairy Block activations will include live holiday music, free photos with Santa and more.
● Denver Christkindlmarket (Nov. 19–Dec. 23): The Christkindlmarket in Civic Center Park includes vendors from Germany, Ukraine, Ireland and other countries, as well as local artisans offering high-quality, handcrafted gifts such as traditional hand-carved wooden figurines, handmade candles and ornaments. Traditional German food, warm Glühwein (hot spiced wine), Christmas carols and live German music make the market a full holiday experience.
● Grand Junction Holiday Art and Craft Fair (Nov. 19-21): Head to Grand Junction for holiday goodies at The Art Center's annual fundraiser. Stock up on delicious jams and jellies, hand-knit apparel, paintings and ornaments for under the tree.
● Holiday Art Fest Featuring PopUp Artists, Fort Collins (Nov. 27–28): This two-day holiday art market celebrates Old Town Square's PopUp Art Carts with returning CArtists bringing together an eclectic mix of artistic mediums just in time to kick off the holiday shopping season.
● La Veta Holiday Markets: Find unique, Colorado-made gifts in La Veta in Spanish Peaks Country offering multiple holiday markets filled with handmade finds showcasing local artists including the Gifts of Art Show at the SPACe Gallery and the Cuchara Holiday Markets at Cuchara Mountain Mercantile.
● Pre-Kwanzaa African Marketplace, Colorado Springs (Nov. 20): Presented by the Kuumba Cultural Collective of Southern Colorado, this African Marketplace will include unique vendors and exhibitors, West African drummers, dancers, storytellers, spoken word artists and more. The event will feature a special performance by the Intergenerational Women's African Drumming and Dance Ensemble of Denver.
● Telluride Arts Holiday Bazaar (Dec. 3–5): Join this lively holiday tradition at Telluride's Elk's Lodge, with three days of celebratory cheer, fine crafts, artisan jewelry, gourmet food, clothing, ceramics and more. All gifts are handmade.
Give The Gift of Colorado:
● For the Skincare Connoisseur — Alise Body Care, Cañon City: Handcrafted in Cañon City, Alise utilizes nature’s benefits to create authentic body care products that use the highest quality ingredients the earth has to offer. They respectfully blend these nature-sourced ingredients to create a product that’s approachable, reliable, convenient and holistic. A favorite among locals who play hard outdoors is Anise’s Adventurer’s Kit.
● For the Foodie — Black Smoke Bundle from Savory Spice, Colorado: For nearly 20 years, Savory Spice has been spicing up the Colorado holidays with handcrafted spices, extracts, herbs and other artisanal goods. In collaboration with James Beard Award Winner and Coloradan Adrian Miller, Black Smoke is a spice collection of five regional African American barbecue seasonings in conjunction with his book, Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue.
● For the Traveler — Black Travel Box®, Denver: BlackTravelBox® was started to give women of color a brand they could trust for their travel personal care needs. The hair and skincare products are made in Colorado for life on the go, with travel friendly packaging and formulations that make packing, carrying (on), and using them simple and easy.
● For a Little Bit of Everything — Colorado Crafted Box, Longmont: Colorado Crafted makes it easy to shop small and support local. Each gift contains unique products made by small businesses from around the state. Some of their newest holiday products for this year include an ornament featuring Longs Peak, specialty chocolates, artisan marshmallows and hot cocoa and more.
● For the Imbiber — Holiday Gin Trio from Deviation Distilling, Denver: Once the black sheep of the spirits family, gin is currently having its moment. Denver-based Deviation Distilling is helping push forward the renaissance, producing a line of stunningly beautiful gins featuring unique ingredients like Szechuan peppercorns and flavors like Citrus Rosé. This holiday season, the distillery is putting together a holiday trio pack featuring each of their flagship gins: Spice Trade, Citrus Rosé and Mountain Herb.
● For the Homebody — Liberty Puzzles, Boulder: Liberty Puzzles creates handmade wooden puzzles of Colorado’s most iconic mountain ranges — the Flatirons in Boulder and Aspen’s Maroon Bells.
● For the Sweet Tooth — Miette et Chocolat Specialty Chocolate Boxes, Aurora: Featured on the Netflix show "Bake Squad," Miette is Colorado-founded and owned and is an internationally acclaimed chocolatier and confectionery crafting innovative treats, bean to bar chocolate, cookies, pastries and more.
● For the Fashion Forward — Royal Stag, Boulder: Royal Stag makes custom high quality hats honoring the traditional craftsmanship of the past, but with an eye towards the current generation of style makers.
● For the Adventurer — Treasure Box Tours, Denver: Treasure Box Tours is a Denver-based tour company that offers boxed kits that include a self-guided day-tour packet with snacks and souvenirs from Colorado businesses.
ABOUT COLORADO: Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine and 28 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 12 national parks and monuments, 26 scenic and historic byways and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. For more information or a copy of the Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit COLORADO.com or call 1-800 COLORADO. Follow Colorado on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
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