Christmas in Colorado is a truly magical time of year with a blanket of snow, cold winter air, quaint and charming mountain towns, and spectacular celebrations that are sure to light up anyone’s holiday. We’ve scoured the state to find the top Christmas events for 2023, so mark your calendars for the most wonderful time of the year.
The Rocky Mountains assure you of a snowy December, so plan your holiday vacation without worry. After scoping out the following celebrations, check out our picks for the best Christmas towns in Colorado and get to road-tripping.
Gold Camp Christmas in Cripple Creek
Step back in time to when Christmas was more about a feeling with an old-fashioned celebration during Gold Camp Christmas. Festivities kick off with the nightly holiday headframe lighting throughout Cripple Creek and the nearby town of Victor.
In keeping with the area’s history, the giant headframes that still stand as remnants of 1890s gold mining days will light up the night sky. These unique artifacts are also known as gallus frames by local miners and are illuminated each holiday season to blend a little bit of the past with the present day.
Visitors can experience the light display by taking a drive on a self-guided tour or by signing up for a guided tour. The holiday headframe lighting is on display from mid-November to January. A dedicated weekend festival will take place December 7-9, 2023, including a craft fair, Christmas parade, and a choral concert.
Discover other events throughout the holiday season such as visits with Santa, Christmas carols, performances at the Butte Theatre, and a winter wonderland every weekend at the Cripple Creek District Museum.
Cripple Creek | November 11, 2023 – December 14, 2023 | visitcripplecreek.com/…
The North Pole Colorado Springs
While it’s true you can visit the North Pole year-round, it’s particularly fun during the holidays. The North Pole Santa’s Workshop is a charming vintage amusement park nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. Home to Santa’s Village and the man himself – the spirit of Christmas has lived on here for over 65 years.
With over two dozen rides for children and parents, a Christmas train ride, gift shops, and dining, it’s enough for a full day of holiday celebrations in the Springs. Reservations are required during the holiday season.
Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light
Every year as the colorful gardens hibernate for winter, the Denver Botanic Gardens takes on a new look for the holiday season. The Blossoms of Light is the garden’s signature event that features an annual lights extravaganza.
A true transformation takes place with thousands of LED lights illuminating the grounds, pathways, and trees, turning the gardens into a twinkling winter wonderland. There is a 200-foot-long, 17-foot-tall tunnel of animated lights in the O’Fallon Perennial Walk for even more merrymaking.
Advance tickets are required and must be purchased online, there will be no onsite sales. The event runs from November 17th through January 7th, 2024, and is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Denver | November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024 | botanicgardens.org/…
Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms
The Denver Botanic Gardens hosts another Colorado Christmas celebration at their other location at Chatfield Farms in Littleton. Set against the rolling foothills, the Trail of Lights guides visitors along a winding path illuminated with twinkling displays that light up the countryside.
The walkway is perfect for the entire family at just under a mile, with shorter routes available. The event features synchronized music with lights, singing Christmas trees, illuminated light tunnels, and decked-out antique and model tractors. There are also hot beverages and seasonal snacks to keep you warm.
Advance tickets are required. The event runs through January 1, 2024, and is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. From December 16th to the 24th, purchase an additional ticket for the little ones to visit Santa and get a photo.
Littleton | November 24, 2023 – January 1, 2024 | botanicgardens.org/…
Santa Express at Royal Gorge
Ride through one of Colorado’s most scenic landscapes while aboard the Santa Express Train. At the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park near Cañon City, guests can hop aboard the train and travel through the gorge to ogle at the holiday display. The ride features more than 50,000 lights, handpainted snowflakes, and a festive laser light show dancing against the walls of the canyon once night falls.
Fun for the entire family, the kids get to meet with Santa and visit the North Pole. Once aboard the locomotive, Santa will greet every child with a very special gift. Wear your pajamas, sing along to holiday classics, and sip on hot cocoa, all while enjoying a scenic ride in a beautifully decorated train car.
The train runs from November 18th – December 30th, 2023, and departs up to four times daily at 9:15 am, 12:30 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm. Snacks and meals are available at the 403 Grill and Bar for an additional cost.
Canon City | November 18th – December 30, 2023 | royalgorgeroute.com/santa-express-train
Polar Express Train Ride, Durango
Hop aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad as it hosts its annual Polar Express Train Ride. Inspired by the award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg, the classic bedtime story comes to life with a magical journey to the North Pole to pick up Santa. Guests are treated to an incredible light show with holiday music while the man himself climbs aboard.
On the way back to the depot, Santa will greet every child and hand out the first gift of Christmas while he listens to wishlists and connects with the passengers. The train rides from November 18, 2022 – January 1, 2023 with about 3 departures each day.
Gingerbread Display at The Broadmoor
The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is popular for many reasons including being one of the most luxurious hotels in the country, but it’s also known for its impressive display of gingerbread creations during the holiday season. This year’s theme pays homage to the hotel’s automotive partner: Cadillac.
The Broadmoor gingerbread display has been a holiday tradition since 1964, and this year it is a green 1937 Flathead V-8 Cadillac Touring Car. It features hundreds of pounds of ingredients including 164 pounds of dark chocolate, 1801 eggs, 958 pounds of powdered sugar, and the list goes on and on.
The car is located in the main building’s mezzanine through January 1, 2023. Stay for a night to get the full holiday experience at The Broadmoor and explore the beautifully decorated grounds.
Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Voted third best zoo lights display in the U.S. two years running, the Electric Safari at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a classic choice for the entire family. The display features more than 80 lighted sculptures and larger-than-life illuminated inflatable animals located throughout the zoo.
After the lights, check out the interactive animal exhibits, visit with Santa, or hop on the Sky Ride over the zoo. There will be hot cocoa stations around the property to warm up as well. Advance tickets are required and the event runs through January 1, 2023, but is closed Christmas Eve.
Christmas at Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs
Book a stay at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs for a true classic Colorado Christmas celebration. The historic property has been the center of the state’s Christmas festivities since 1893, earning accolades from Travel & Leisure as one of America’s Best Hotels for Christmas.
Take in all of the ribbons, lights, and ornaments that decorate 60 festive fir trees displayed throughout the lobby, restaurants, and even in a few signature suites. Outside, guests are dazzled by over half a million lights with the scent of gingerbread filling the air and seasonal touches everywhere you turn.
No matter where you end up, you’re sure to find your new favorite way to get into the spirit of the season with these Colorado Christmas Celebrations.