The Most Festive Things to Do in Denver This Holiday Season

Ugly Sweater Run
Courtesy of Ugly Sweater Run

Break out the holiday lights and ugly sweaters! The most wonderful time of the year is here. We want to make sure you're celebrating it right, so stop your bellyaching about the cold weather and get a dose of holiday cheer at these festive Mile High events. And yes, there's plenty of beer involved.

Go see a holiday production worthy of the jolly bearded guy himself

Keep things classic with a ticket to The Nutcracker ballet or A Christmas Carol, or get a little irreverent cheer at the SantaLand Diaries, a one-man show based on stories by David Sedaris. Or go to all three if you're some kind of holiday overachiever. All three shows run through December 24th.

Lace up those ice skates and break out your glittery Spandex

Skating is free at the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park and skate rentals are just $2. Or head out of the city -- Evergreen Lake's tentative opening date for skating is December 17th. Traveling for the holidays? Head to the airport early and take a few laps around the rink at DIA for free (complimentary skates are available).

Check out holiday light displays that'll make your neighbor's house look lame

There are 70 acres of animated animal-themed light displays at the Denver Zoo's annual Zoo Lights. You can also head to the Denver Botanic Gardens for Blossoms of Light which features an interactive field of lights, OR take a glowing nature walk at the Trail of Lights at the Chatfield location. All three glowing options run through January 1st.

Eat, drink, and be merry at the Denver Christkindl Market

Hosted by the Colorado Chapter of the German American Chamber, this market at Skyline Park is open through December 23rd. You'll find handcrafted gifts, German culinary delights, live music and entertainment, and German-style bier, glühwein, and schnapps to keep you warm.

Join the Highland's Pajama Christmas Carol & Hora Around the Menorah

This event is a neighborhood favorite -- probably because it's one of the only holiday events where you can show up in your pajamas. Head to Little Man Ice Cream on December 15th to join in. No actual singing skills required.  

Ugly Sweater Run
Courtesy of Ugly Sweater Run

Get sweaty in your best ugly sweater

On December 17th, work off some of those holiday calories at the annual Ugly Sweater Run. It’s a 5K run through the city complete with holiday inflatables, photo stations, games, and holiday music along the way. Then go right back to overindulging with a Kahlúa cocktail.

Drink the holidays away at the Denver Beer Festivus

The breweries of Denver will gather on December 17th for a one-of-a-kind beer festival that also includes all-important Festivus traditions like the airing of grievances, Feats Of Strength, and a Festivus pole. And more ugly sweaters. Get your tickets here.

Get into the spirit with a Tuba-filled concert

Guitars and drums are cool and all, but it's high time the tuba got its moment to shine. Tuba Christmas on December 18th brings together tuba players from all over for a free holiday concert at Skyline Park.

Skip the Christmas Eve cookies and enjoy the Feast of the Seven Fishes instead

This Italian-American tradition is a seven-course, seafood-centric dinner, and three Denver restaurants are serving it up on December 24th: the Chowder Room, Coperta, and Frasca Food and Wine. Reservations -- and a big appetite -- are required for all.

Catch the annual New Year's Eve fireworks Downtown

They'll be lighting up the sky over the 16th St mall at 9pm (in case you might not make it to midnight) and 12am (for the real revelers). So even if your date ditches you, you can start 2017 with a guaranteed bang.

Kick off the new year with brunch and the Broncos

Get in the last bit of holiday partying at the game day brunch buffet at Elway's Downtown location in the Ritz Carlton on January 1st. Down bottomless Bloodys and mimosas, eat plate after plate of prime strip loin, and cheer on the Broncos as they take on the Raiders (and hopefully win this time).

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Molly Martin is a freelance writer in Denver, Colorado and all she wants for Christmas is bottomless mimosas. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram to see if she gets them.