Winter is coming and it’s bringing plenty of frigid days to Denver! After you’re done snuggling up in front of the fireplace, we encourage you to get out and explore our amazing community this season.
We’ve curated a list of the best things to do on a cold day in the Denver area. Whether you’re looking to spend the day outside in the snow or cozied up perusing a local museum—we’ve got a little something for everyone on our list. Stay warm!
Go Ice Skating at Skyline Park
The cozy Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park is one of our favorite winter traditions. Nestled in the heart of downtown, the rink is a walk (or free MallRide) away from a host of fabulous restaurants and shops, making it an ideal location for your next date night. They also host Sunday family days, a broomball competition, yoga on the ice, and skating lessons throughout the season. The best part? Aside from skate rentals, it’s all free.
Go Out to a Game
Just because football season might be over, doesn’t mean Denverites are out of teams to root for! This season, check out a Denver Nuggets basketball game, a Colorado Mammoth lacrosse match, or a Colorado Avalanche hockey game. And if you’re looking to cheer on our local collegiate teams, CU Boulder has a great basketball program, with Men’s Basketball and Women’s Basketball games through early spring.
Take a Tour of Coors Brewery
Photo courtesy of Coors Brewery
For those of us who want to escape the elements this season, there are plenty of indoor activities in the Denver area to enjoy! One is the Coors Brewery Tour where you can see and taste how Coors brews beer in the largest single-site brewery in the world. The tour costs only $5 for Colorado locals and $10 for everyone else. Learn about beer making on an audio tour, sample an ice-cold beer, enjoy three more brews at the end of the tour, and take home a free glass—AKA the perfect Colorado winter day.
Attend a First Friday Art Walk
Denver is an undeniably artsy city. Throw on your winter coat, grab some hot chocolate and see the work of talented local artists at one of the city’s many First Friday events—at the Arts District on Santa Fe, the Golden Triangle Creative District, RiNo and more.
Soak the Cold Away at the Indian Hot Springs
Photo courtesy of Indian Hot Springs
In addition to offering a natural health treatment option for common ailments, hot springs are a fantastic way to beat the chill this winter. Indian Hot Springs is the closest to Denver, located in the historic mining town of Idaho Springs and is easily accessible from the I-70 corridor. Officially discovered in 1859, this hot spring offers a multitude of swimming pools, geothermal caves and outdoor jacuzzis where you can warm up.
Spend the Afternoon at the Denver Art Museum
Get a little culture (and keep warm!) at one of Denver’s most famous attractions: the Denver Art Museum. The eclectic collection of works at the museum span American Indian ceramics to Spanish Colonial paintings, and includes more than 70,000 pieces. It’s easy to get lost amongst the exhibits—but in our opinion, that’s the best part! Take a moment from your busy day to peruse some art. Admission costs about $13 for out-of-state visitors and children 18 and younger are free!
Go See the Ice Castles at Dillon Town Park
Photo courtesy of Ice Castles Colorado
Each year, the Ice Castles in Dillon brings fairy tales to life for hundreds of thousands of families across Colorado. The frozen attraction is created using icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists and is lit by thousands of LED lights. Wrap yourself up in your best winter gear and explore breathtaking sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and more. The castles are usually open late December through early March.
Holiday Shop at Denver’s Christkindl Market
An annual Denver family tradition, the Denver Christkindl Market is an artisan marketplace where you can shop for locally made gifts, eat authentic German cuisine, drink hot chocolate and enjoy live music! They’ll be hosting the market across from the Clock Tower in the 16th Street Mall from November 22 to December 23—and the cost to attend is absolutely free.
Take a Ride on the Santa Express Train
Photo courtesy of the Santa Express Train
The Royal Gorge Route‘s Santa Express Train is a true winter adventure, where children (and adults!) 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. The Royal Gorge Route begins at the Santa Fe Depot, located in Cañon City.
Stroll Around 16th Street Mall
The 16th Street Mall is a mile-long, pedestrian-friendly mall packed with shopping, restaurants and attractions that you and your family will have a blast traversing. If you get tired of walking—don’t worry! Just hop on the MallRide which will take you to the other end of the mall for free or, if it’s after dark, you can settle into a horse-drawn carriage or pedicab. During the winter, you’ll find it adorned with thousands of twinkling lights, giving you an ultra festive place to shop for the holidays.
Go Snow Tubing at the Colorado Adventure Park
Photo courtesy of Colorado Adventure Park
Located in Fraser, CO just an hour and a half from Denver, the Colorado Adventure Park offers a number of outdoor activities suitable for the entire family. Here, you can go ice fishing, dog sledding, skiing and snow tubing! Multiple terrains are available on the tubing hill, including smooth and easy to fast and furious. A conveyor belt system takes tubers up the hill after each run, which allows you and the family to save your energy for the fun. After your tubing adventure, you can warm up in a spacious warming hut with WiFi access, and even enjoy beer or wine from the concessions stand.
Take in the Snow-Covered Scenery at Red Rocks
Red Rocks is a bustling park in the summer when its famous amphitheater is filled with concerts. But during the winter, the park dies down and becomes even quieter when snow is falling. Grab your camera and head to the park during a winter storm to truly enjoy the beautiful red sandstone formations capped with contrasting white powder!
Attend the Winter Brew Fest
Photo courtesy of the Winter Brew Fest
There won’t be any reason to hibernate with Denver’s Winter Brew Fest happening from January 24th to 25th, 2020. The two-day event will feature more than 100 craft beers, including those made with seasonal flavors and a few year-round favorites. Apart from various craft beers that you can indulge in, the festival also highlights food and other vendors from all around Colorado.
Cozy Up With a Good Book at the Tattered Cover
Personally, we can’t think of a better way to spend a snowy day than cozied up with a good book and one of the best spots in the city to do that is the Tattered Cover! This iconic bookstore is certainly worth a visit if you haven’t been already. Locally owned and operated, the Tattered Cover has three expansive locations and four smaller satellite stores throughout the metro area.
Take a Winter Hike
Hiking isn’t just an activity for warm weather. Take a scenic winter hike and enjoy a special (and free!) exciting seasonal pursuit. We highly recommend taking on Roxborough State Park, where the contrast of massive red rock formations against the soft, white snow makes the hikes feel like a walk through a fantasy world. Or head to Green Mountain Trail in Lakewood, where you get unique views of where the mountains meet the prairie and fascinating geology.
What do you like to do in Denver when it’s cold outside? Let us know in the comments!