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Psst… 10 Memorable Holiday Experiences Around Colorado

10 Memorable Holiday Experiences Around Colorado | The Denver Ear

Colorado is a magical place during the holiday season! If you are looking for something fun and different to do this year, look no further. From sleigh rides to train rides, and night hikes to ice skating, check out this list of unique, memorable activities to make your holidays merry and bright.

#1 Night Hike to Boulder’s Flagstaff Mountain Star

unique holiday experiences colorado

Photo Courtesy Boulder Chamber of Commerce

Boulder’s iconic Flagstaff Star, nestled in the foothills of Boulder, is an annual holiday tradition. The star was built in 1947, and is lit each year from Veteran’s Day through the first week of January. To experience the full magic of the star, take a night hike to wander amongst the strings of lights. There are two methods that locals use to reach the star. The easy way is to park near the Flagstaff house and walk to the star, a short stroll from the road. More adventurous star-seekers will start their hike at the bottom of the mountain, starting at the Flagstaff Trail. Be sure to bring your flashlight!

The Flagstaff Star is located near the Flagstaff House at 1138 Flagstaff Rd, Boulder, CO 80302. Visit the Star for FREE.

#2 Ft. Collins Garden of Lights

unique holiday experiences colorado

Photo Courtesy Gardens on Spring Creek

Stroll the Gardens on Spring Creek’s Garden of Lights for an evening of holiday cheer! The gardens are whimsically decorated with thousands of sparkling lights throughout the garden’s perennial flower beds and huge sculptural flowers. Check out the Garden of Lights entertainment schedule, with visits from Santa, musical performances, craft stations and so much more!

The Gardens on Spring Creek is located at 2145 Centre Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80526. Admission is $5 suggested donation for adults, $2 suggested donation for children.

#3 Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker

unique holiday experiences Colorado

Photo Courtesy The Colorado Ballet

A classic favorite, The Nutcracker, cannot be forgotten as a holiday experience that always becomes a cherished memory. The Colorado Ballet‘s traditional performance of The Nutcracker is held in the beautiful Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver throughout December. The ballet’s timeless musical arrangements are performed by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.

The Ellie Caulkins Opera house is located at 1385 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80204. Ticket prices range from $30 – $155. Tickets available here.

#4 Royal Gorge Santa Express Train

unique holiday experiences Colorado

Photo Courtesy Royal Gorge Route Railroad

The Royal Gorge Route‘s Santa Express Train is a true winter adventure, where children (and all) embark on a trip aboard the Santa Express to the North Pole. Decorated like a true Christmas town, bedecked with holiday lights for its most famous resident – Santa Claus. During the ride, you will be served complimentary hot cocoa and a cookie and are encouraged to wear cozy pajamas and relax with family and friends. Christmas music and Santa’s Elves will keep you entertained.  The Santa Express event features over 17,000 lights! Once Santa boards the train at the North Pole, children await their turn to receive their very special gift of a holiday bell from Kris Kringle himself.

The Royal Gorge Route begins at the Santa Fe Depot, located at 330 Royal Gorge Blvd, Cañon City, CO 81212. Tickets range from $30 – $74 per person. Tickets available here.

#5 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari

unique holiday experiences in Colorado

Photo Courtesy Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is bringing holiday cheer to Colorado Springs with its unique zoo lights event – Electric Safari. Featuring 85 light sculptures as well as warming fires and visits with Santa, this is a holiday event you won’t want to miss. Don’t forget to check out the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, the carousel and the sky ride!

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is located at 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Admission is $9.75 for adults, $8.75 for seniors, $6.75 for children 3-11, $.75 for Children 2 & under.

#6 Sleigh Ride and Dinner at 2 Below Zero

For a truly magical Colorado holiday experience, check out 2 Below ZeroSleigh Ride in Frisco. Take a 20 minute draft mule-team-driven sleigh ride complete heavy blankets to warm you amidst snow-capped mountain views and starry night skies. Upon arrival at the back country camp, old-fashioned fun continues inside a cozy lantern-lit, heated tent for a hearty three-course, home-cooked meal with show featuring musical entertainment from David Peel. The evening ends with a return sleigh ride to the Frisco Nordic Center.

Two Below Zero is located at 616 Recreation Way, Breckenridge, CO 80424. Dinner prices range from $55 – $89. More information available here.

#7 WinterSkate Louisville

unique holiday experiences colorado

Spend an evening ice skating  at the Steinbaugh Pavilion in Historic Downtown Louisville. WinterSkate is an old-fashioned ice skating rink complete with skate rental, concessions and traditional holiday music. Conveniently located in downtown Louisville near local favorites like Lucky Pie, LuLu’s BBQ, 12 Degrees Brewing and The Waterloo.

WinterSkate Louisville is located at the Steinbaugh Pavilion, 824 Front St, Louisville, CO 80027. Adults: $5.00, Kids (ages 4-12): $4.00, Children (ages 3 & under): Free Admission, College Students and Military (with valid ID): $3.00, Senior Citizens (65+): $3.00, Skate Rental: $4.00

#8 Grand Junction Carriage Rides & Visits with Santa

unique holiday experiences colorado

Photo Courtesy Downtown Grand Junction

Every weekend in December, enjoy free carriage rides while holiday shopping in Downtown Grand Junction . Festive holiday music will be playing and Santa will be available for visits.  Santa (and often Mrs. Claus!) will be moving all around Main Street and popping in and out of businesses there.

Pickup for the carriage rides will be on the north side of Main Street, alternating between the pull-out areas in front of Cafe Sol and Mesa Theater And Club. Rides are FREE.

#9 A Christmas Carol at Miner’s Alley Playhouse

unique holiday experiences colorado

Photo Courtesy Miner’s Alley Playhouse

Check out this unique holiday performance of A Christmas Carol at Miner’s Alley Playhouse in Golden. This thrilling adaptation uses only six actors to bring some of Dickens’ most beloved characters to life. From Scrooge and Tiny Tim to Bob Cratchit and Mrs. Fezziwig, Barlow’s A Christmas Carol uses nothing more than some simple props, fresh physicality, and the power of imagination to convey this timeless story of redemption.

Miners Alley Playhouse is located at 1224 Washington Ave, Golden, CO 80401. Tickets prices range from $15 – $26. Tickets available here.

#10 Polar Express Train Ride Durango

unique holiday experiences colorado

Photo Courtesy Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

The award-winning book, Polar Express, comes to life through the chefs, hobo, conductor, the Hero Boy, Billy, Santa and all the elves on this historic steam train! The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad will welcome you aboard this warm and magical Christmas train. All passengers will enjoy hot chocolate and a treat served by personal chefs who will read the The Polar Express story on the way to the North Pole to pick up Santa! While Santa visits each car, your chefs will lead you in specially selected Christmas carols on the return to Durango. All the kids aboard the train will receive a special gift from Santa.

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is located at 479 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301. Ticket prices range from $30 – $70. Tickets available here.

About Rachel Daly

I am Rachel, Boulder writer and mother. I write for Move to Boulder, a resource for Boulder newcomers and those considering relocating to this amazing, unique city. My husband, Jeremiah Daly, is a local Realtor and neighborhood expert. We live in the Boulder foothills with our two young daughters.

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