What better way to spend Christmas than in a quaint mountain town, blanketed with snow and colorful Christmas lights that seem to light up the sky? While you’ll find almost every town in Colorado celebrates the season in its own way, these are the destinations that put on the best displays and events every holiday season!
The Rockies are a winter wonderland waiting to be explored. So after you’ve attended one of the holiday events near Denver, hop in your car and head west. Get into the spirit and make a stop in one of these beautiful Christmas towns in Colorado.
Celebrate Christmas in the Colorado Mountains
Assure you and your family have a White Christmas this year by heading up the hill. You can visit a number of alpine towns throughout December to catch the holiday spirit, and perhaps a sighting of Ol’ Saint Nick too. For an unforgettable holiday excursion, board one of these Christmas train rides, available in a number of railroad towns.
Here are some of the top mountain towns to celebrate Christmas, in no particular order:
Breckenridge is known for many things, its epic ski runs, its champagne powder, its historic downtown, and its beautiful scenery. One of the best times to enjoy all of this, and more, is during the holiday season when the town comes to life with lights, Christmas carols, and general merriment.
To kick it off on the first weekend in December, the town hosts the Lighting of Breckenridge with the Race of the Santas (a .75-mile run down Main Street). The event brings about other jolly happenings such as the Snowman building contest, Moose March, Holiday Dog Parade, and of course a chance to meet Santa himself.
Hang around for New Year’s when the town hosts the torchlight parade down the mountain, all complete with fireworks.
Winter holiday scenes don’t get much better than in Ouray. Known as the “Switzerland of America,” Ouray is a small town nestled in the heart of the San Juan mountains where they kick off the holiday season Thanksgiving weekend with their seven-week-long Winterfest.
The festival hosts a different event every weekend with the culmination being the annual Ice Festival in January. Parooze the historic Main Street all decked out with holiday lights and the snow-packed mountain peaks that surround, making Ouray seem like a fairyland. No holiday cheer is complete without a relaxing dip in one of the mineral hot springs the town is famous for.
Colorado Springs’ the North Pole
While not an actual mountain town, Santa’s Workshop and North Pole park, just outside of Colorado Springs, is a popular destination, for the entire family during the holiday season. The North Pole (well at least Colorado’s version) sits atop the mountainside in quaint Cascade, at the base of Pikes Peak.
Beyond the beautiful scenery that surrounds the North Pole, visitors can ride an antique carousel, or a mini train, scream out loud on the Candy Cane Coaster, watch magic shows, and much more. But no trip to the North Pole would be complete without a visit to see Santa Claus. Snap a photo with the man himself, Mrs. Claus, and of course all his little helpers for a Christmas to remember.
Running August through the end of December. Check their website for the exact days and times they are open throughout the season.
Christmas in Durango is truly a magical time. Throughout the entire month of December, the town offers a variety of activities to get you in the holiday spirit, from singing with Santa and the downtown Christmas tree lighting to the holiday arts and crafts fair and old-fashioned Christmas Bazaar.
One of its most popular attractions is the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which offers several holiday-themed rides. Hop aboard the Polar Express as you ride to the North Pole to meet Santa or cut down your own Christmas tree and bring it back with you aboard the Cascade Canyon Train.
Stick around for New Year’s and attend Purgatory Ski Resort’s torchlight parade down the mountain, complete with fireworks and live music.
Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Then head to the Roaring Fork Valley! Aspen any time of the year is wonderful but during the holiday season, it is particularly spectacular. In celebration of the most wonderful time of the year, the town celebrates in style with its various events around town.
The town lights up cheerful decorations, steaming cups of hot cocoa, and special activities including ice skating, Victorian caroling, sleigh rides, and the chance to read Santa your wish list. And of course, what Aspen trip would be complete without a ride down their famous runs, where they also host a torchlight parade on the mountain on New Year’s Eve?
Who wouldn’t want to see Christmas Mountain? Well, you can, in Salida. The town’s centerpiece, “S” mountain, a.k.a. Tenderfoot Mountain lights up during the holiday season with a large Christmas tree-shaped figure made out of 4,500 brightly-colored lights, sitting 750 feet tall!
A tradition since 1989, the town holds a tree-lighting ceremony the Friday after Thanksgiving to kick off the season. They also host other holiday events including a free screening of White Christmas, their parade of lights, and nearby Monarch Ski Resort provides the opportunity to see Santa ski down Monarch Mountain.
Cripple Creek, CO
With a little luck this Christmas you might walk away with some cash in your pocket at the Cripple Creek casinos, or you just might walk away with a little extra Christmas cheer. Cripple Creek during the holidays puts on a show with its holiday-themed historic Butte Theatre along with the town’s buildings and businesses decked out in all their Christmas glory.
Perhaps its biggest draw during the holidays is the Gold Camp Christmas weekend. Celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas with a guided or self-guided tour through the Gold Camp mining area, where the mine headframes are decorated with large Christmas light displays.
Steamboat Springs, CO
No matter what time of year, Steamboat Springs offers plenty to do for outdoor enthusiasts, and during the holiday season it offers plenty to do for all those Christmas lovers out there. Celebrate the season Steamboat style with their annual Holiday Festival.
Taking place in Gondola Square, visitors can see Santa ride down the slopes on horseback and of course visit him at his workshop in town. Collect free holiday treats in the Stocking Scramble and join in on the other festivities including live music performances, cookie decorating, and of course the torchlight parade down the mountain to end the day.
Arguably one of the more picturesque mountain towns in Colorado, Telluride offers stunning scenery year-round and offers a bit of something extra during the holiday season. Nestled in what is called a boxed canyon, Telluride is surrounded by the towering San Juan mountain peaks, which is the setting for this beautiful mountain town.
Coupled with its epic ski slopes, historic downtown, and Victorian-style homes, it’s even more idyllic in winter. The homes are decked out for the holidays, Main Street is lit up with colorful lights, and the storefronts are dressed up in their holiday best.
But its not just about looks, the town also hosts a few events including their Holiday Arts Bazaar, the lighting of the ski tree, and old-fashioned Christmas at Schmid Ranch where you can cut down your own Christmas tree, sip on hot cocoa, make a wreath, and more!
Answering the popular question, “Is there a Christmas, Colorado?” Well, no there isn’t, but Georgetown, Colorado might be the closest you will get to the most Christmas-like town in the state. This historic Victorian mining town comes alive every season with festive lights, train rides to the North Pole, Christmas at the historic Hamill House, and their biggest event, the annual Georgetown Christmas Market.
Running for three weekends in December, visitors can shop local artists and crafters, take a ride on the horse-drawn wagon rides, attend a parade, and even enjoy roasting chestnuts on an open fire. All the fun begins the day after Thanksgiving with the annual tree-lighting ceremony and a visit from Santa.
But perhaps one of the best reasons to visit Georgetown during Christmas is to witness its picturesque mountain scene, which is a true winter wonderland.
Spread the holiday cheer and visit one of these towns this holiday season! If you crave more Santa and the gang, add these Colorado Christmas celebrations to your list too.