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10 Colorado Activities for the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and that means picking out Christmas trees, decorating the house, buying gifts, and baking everything from cookies and pies to Yule logs. While this can be a great time to stay home and host the extended family, the extra days off work and school can provide a great opportunity to travel somewhere that evokes winter and helps get you in the spirit. A Colorado Christmas or New Year celebration will be filled with snow-covered hills, twinkling lights, and plenty of local events, making it the perfect destination. Wondering how you’ll fill a week or more on a holiday vacation? Here are twelve fun activities that are sure to keep you occupied the entire time you’re in town.
1. Lighting Ceremonies
Holiday Lighting Ceremony in Colorado
Cozy mountain towns, resort destinations, and Colorado’s major cities all host tree lighting or town lighting ceremonies in December. Many also add other festivities to the evening, from local business specials to live entertainment. Grab mugs of hot chocolate for the family and grab a prime viewing spot before wandering the neighborhood to enjoy the decorations and window displays.
2. Food and Drink Festivals
A few areas of Colorado hold once-a-year festivals, including Denver’s Beer Festivus Celebration, Frisco’s Wassail Days, and Ouray’s Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Festival. Snag tickets and enjoy a variation on the traditional holiday fare for a night.
3. Holiday Markets
Many areas across Colorado host holiday markets and bazaars where you can buy local, handmade ornaments, artwork, and gifts, perfect for adding that unique touch to your celebration. On a budget? Just wandering through a Christmas market can be a fun and low-key way to enjoy the holiday season for an afternoon.
4. On-Slope Events
It’s Colorado, and that means there’s plenty going on in the ski and snowboard world. From the Dew Tour in Breckenridge to US Ski Team selections at Winter Park, you can witness top athletes from around the country showing off their skills.
Holiday Ski Trip to Colorado5. Go Skiing or Snowboarding
Need to burn off those Christmas cookies? Head for one of Colorado’s many ski areas and enjoy a day exploring the trails and back bowls. By mid-December, many mountains already have the majority of their terrain open which means you’ll find options for all ability levels from the bunny slopes to expert terrain.

6. Go Snowshoeing or Cross Country Skiing

Sometimes it’s just nice to get away from the world for a little while. Strap on some snowshoes or a pair of cross country skis, and explore a local trail. You’ll be able to relax in the solitude, enjoy the local scenery, and get a great workout to boot.

7. House Tours

A handful of towns, from Colorado Springs to Durango, do holiday home tours. Not only are the homes beautiful, but if you’re not from Colorado, it’s a great way to see a different side of the state while also enjoying the holiday season. 

8. Go to a Concert or Show

The Nutcracker is always a classic, but don’t rule out the multitude of other live performances that take place during the holidays across the state. From small local theaters to the major performing arts centers, you’ll find plenty to choose from classical music musical theater to drama to stand-up comedy.

9. Catch a Parade

Leading up to Christmas, you’ll find a number of towns doing Light Parades to kick off the holiday celebrations. As the year draws to a close, still more have New Year’s Eve parades scheduled. Catch the fun before grabbing a fancy dinner or heading to a local bar to ring in the New Year.

New Years Eve Fireworks in Breckenridge10. Fireworks

Often in conjunction with parades (but not always), many resort towns and larger cities have fireworks displays both prior to Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. Plan a break in the rest of your evening plans to catch show.

While there's no shortage of winter activities in Colorado, these ten are the perfect way to celebrate the holidays.

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