Entertaining visiting relatives over the holidays can make for hectic, not merry, times. You can show off Colorado without breaking the bank. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite free activities (some holiday-themed) around Colorado.
Whether you and your siblings and cousins are getting stir-crazy or just need to release some pie-fueled energy, these are the places to do it!
Free Holiday Activities During Thanksgiving & Early Christmas Season
The day after Thanksgiving, downtown Denver’s Union Station will be painted in a rainbow of glowing colors for its annual Grand Illumination. After the lighting (5pm-8pm), take a stroll downtown and enjoy the holiday lights along the 16th Street Mall and near Civic Center Park.
If your Thanksgiving guests are still around the first weekend of December (December 6 & 7), Denver’s spectacular two-mile Parade of Lights is not-to-be missed! Enjoy over 40 floats, giant helium balloons and marching bands. Check out the parade route here.
By November 29, you’ve probably slept off your turkey. And that’s great, because you don’t want a food coma to keep you from the Catch the Glow parade in Estes Park. The parade starts at 5:30pm and runs along Elkhorn Avenue. It has 40 floats, marching bands, dancing, music and lights.
Free Holiday Activities Throughout The Winter Holiday Season
The Georgetown Christmas Market runs on December 7, 8, 14 and 15, 2019, from 10:00am – 5:00pm. The Victorian, European-style affair is mostly outdoors, so bundle up! Vendors sell food, antiques and handcrafted items. There’s always music, roasted chestnuts, horse-drawn wagon rides, and guest appearances by St. Nicholaus. Additionally, the Saint Lucia Children’s Procession, a celebration of seasonal songs, happens every day at noon.
The Golden History Museum & Park is offering free admission throughout all of 2019 to celebrate its 80th anniversary. Interested in introducing your relatives to Colorado pioneers—both of the ranching and the pizza and brewing variety? If so, this museum may be for you.
Olde Golden Christmas is Golden’s month-long celebration of the season. Downtown is decked in lights, and other attractions include live performances, a holiday art market, a candlelight walk and appearances from Santa.
Lace up your sneakers and take the family on a free walking tour of Denver. Tours last about two hours and begin at 10am most days.
For another sweet tour, try Hammond’s Candies, and see where candy canes, lollipops and chocolate bars are born. Hammond’s is an iconic Denver business, and in addition to the free tour, everyone leaves with a free treat.
Denver’s Christkindl Market runs Nov. 22- Dec. 23 in Skyline Park. Heavy on European and local vendors, you can pick up hand-carved and homemade gifts. Or sip spiced wine and try traditional German food, while you enjoy live German music. It’s sure to put you in a festive mood.
Run with the wolves at Rocky Mountain Wildlife Foundation. This animal sanctuary houses captive-born wolves and injured or abandoned wolf-dogs. Visits are free and encouraged. Donations are accepted.
A premiere culture and art center, Arvada Center Galleries, is open seven days a week, with ever-changing exhibits and special events.