Unless you are just a horrible monster, you know that Denver is a pretty great little city. If you are lucky to either live nearby or have friends or family to visit in the Denver area this holiday season, you can take advantage of quite a few homey, FREE events all around the city. Might I most humbly suggest...
SkatingThe Ice Palace at Cherry Creek Shopping Center
The Ice Palace, an extensive new, free holiday experience features a magical snow and light show inside a soaring 22-foot dome encircled with a series of arches and snow globes. Pro tip: Complimentary downtown weekend hotel shopping shuttles are available from the Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and Westin to Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
Southwest Rink at Skyline Park
The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park (Arapahoe & 16th St., Downtown Denver) will kick off the holiday season with ice skating and family fun. The rink is FREE and open to the public with the option to bring one’s own skates or rent a pair at a minimal cost.
This expansive area – one of the most renowned skate parks in the country – is filled with bowls for all levels of skating skill. Admission is free. Helmets are required.
This holiday season experience winter in a whole new light with LoDo Aglow, a window design contest sponsored by Great Western Bank and the LoDo District, Inc. Local business owners, designers and art students have been given the chance to let their imaginations run wild and create holiday themed window art to brighten LoDo. The entries will be reviewed by a panel of guest judges who will choose the winners based on the originality and presentation of the design. Winners will be announced in mid-December.
Denver Pavilions: Weekend Wonderland
Enjoy the sounds of the season at Denver Pavilions. Choirs and concerts from talented groups will entertain shoppers on the weekends in the plazas.
City & County Building Holiday Lights
The largest lighting display in Denver comes on nightly at 6 p.m. at the City & County Building, where 600,000 lights deck the neo-classical building. The bell tower plays carols nightly as well.
Holiday Performing Arts
Check out this guide to the symphony, opera, and ballet during the holiday season.
ShoppingGolden Holiday Art Market
A seasonal tradition, Foothills Art Center (FAC) is proud to present the 36th annual Holiday Art Market (HART). Set against the vintage charm of our historic buildings and stained glass windows, HART caps a wonderful year of exhibitions at FAC by filling the galleries with a diverse, locally handcrafted selection of fine art and craft.
First Friday Art Walkwww.denver.org/what-to-do/museum-art/denver-art-districts
First Friday Art Walks in Denver’s art districts are known for the rich, shared experience of performance art, music, painting exhibitions and lots more. It’s an event that feeds both the need for art and culture and the desire to have fun!
Free ToursColorado State Capitol Tour
Tour Colorado’s magnificent gold-domed Capitol Building. Stand at exactly a mile high on the steps, see Allen True’s beautiful murals, listen in on the Colorado General Assembly, and check out the gorgeous Rose Onyx wainscoting. Free tours are available Mondays through Fridays.
Coors Brewery Tour
The world’s largest brewing site still uses the same Rocky Mountain spring water that Adolph Coors discovered in 1873. Free tours show every step in the brewing process, and end with free samples for those over 21.
U.S. Mint Tour
Learn how to make money! The Mint produces 50 million coins a day, each one stamped with a little “D” for Denver. Free tours show every step in the process of turning a dull, blank, metal slug into shiny pocket change.
Celestial Seasonings Tour
See how the largest specialty tea manufacturer in North America blends, packages and ships its teas, then enjoy free samples of every variety they make, and discover a gallery of original artwork from their famous tea boxes.
Great Divide Brewery Tour
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Denver’s craft beer world on a free tour at the Great Divide Brewery in Downtown Denver. Tours take place from 3 to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, and on the hour on Saturdays between 2 and 7 pm.
Downtown Denver Historic Walking Tour
This walking tour will take walkers to some of the best spots in Downtown Denver, where the city’s past and present come together in utterly unique ways. Many of the sites and buildings are listed as official Denver Landmarks, or included in the National Register of Historic Places. Many also have historic markers and plaques noting their original intended purpose and construction dates.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours gives guests the opportunity to see the all-natural brewing process and marvel at their state-of-the-art facilities, brewhouses, cellars and packaging plants. Enjoy a complimentary tasting of their finest beers and browse through gift shops. Tours are approximately one hour in length and include visits to both indoor and outdoor facilities. Reservations are required for groups of 15 or more.
Public Art Walking Tour
Great art isn’t just in Denver’s museums. Throughout the city, discover hundreds of masterpieces, ranging from the whimsical to the inspiring. Download the guide to Downtown’s public art and start exploring!
Visiting a museum is always a good way to pass the time with guests, so don't forget to check the calendar of free museum days before you make your plans!