The holiday season is officially here! And there are so many ways to celebrate the magic and wonder of the holidays here in Northern Colorado, from tree lighting ceremonies to Santa visits and ballet performances to artisan markets.
Don’t let the season pass you by without the proper celebration! No matter your age, your unique interests, or your location in Northern Colorado, there’s something for everyone on this list.
When: November 19–January 1, 5–9 p.m.
Every year, Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra transforms into Winter Wonderlights. From mid-November through early January, the 26-acre park is illuminated with 150,000 lights, including holiday string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated stone sculptures as well as a music and light show every single night. And the best part is it’s all free and open to the public! For complete information on this year’s event, including the live performance and local vendor schedule, check out the event page.
Where: Downtown Estes Park
When: November 25, 5:30 p.m.
The day after Thanksgiving, catch the glow at the annual Catch the Glow Parade in downtown Estes Park! Each year, as many as 20,000 people line Elkhorn Avenue to witness a whimsical holiday parade and spend the afternoon visiting Santa and shopping downtown. The parade will feature more than 40 units, including handcrafted floats from the Town of Estes Park, non-profit organizations, marching bands, fire trucks, and other specialty vehicles.
When: November 25, 6–6:30 p.m.
Kick off the holidays in Steamboat at the “Light Up the Night” Tree Lighting Ceremony — and don’t be late, because it only lasts from 6–6:30! Join the countdown to light the lights on the tree on the courthouse lawn, enjoy some hot cocoa and a cookie, and visit with Santa. Plus, the local fire department will drop hundreds of ping pong balls with specials on them — and you’ll have to look closely, because they blend in with the white snow! Sponsored by Steamboat Lightscapes, this event is free and open to the public.
When: November 25–December 3, Varying Times
Head to the lobbies of the Union Colony Civic Center for one of Greeley’s most beloved holiday traditions, the Festival of Trees! Enjoy nine days of festive, family-friendly fun, featuring beautiful illuminated trees decorated by the community. Plus, the schedule includes a variety of activities, including visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, a silent auction, musical entertainment, horse and carriage rides, and much more.
When: November 25–December 24, 12–6 p.m.
Share your hopes and dreams with Santa in Old Town Square all season long! He arrives by horse-drawn carriage on November 25th and will be stationed in his workshop on varying days and hours all the way through Christmas Eve. Visitors are encouraged to visit early in the season when there are virtually no lines — especially on weekdays during the first three weeks. Parents are welcome to take their own photos but professional photos are available for purchase. Otherwise, visits with Santa are completely free!
When: November 26, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Get a head start on your holiday shopping at this artisan market in Berthoud! On Small Business Saturday, head to the Wildfire Arts Center to shop for handmade goods from local artisans. The arts center is also hosting a reception on Friday night from 6–9 p.m., where you can meet artists and shop for gifts while you enjoy drinks, light appetizers and live music from jazz guitarist Bill Smith.
Where: 9th Avenue, Greeley
When: November 26, 5:30–8 p.m.
Join the Greeley Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations as they join forces for the town’s official holiday kick-off celebration. After more than 70 lighted parade entries make their way through downtown Greeley, Lincoln Park will be illuminated with spectacular twinkling lights! The parade will kick off at 5:30, traveling along 9th Avenue starting at 14th Street and ending at Lincoln Park, where you’ll find Santa, carols, hot chocolate, apple cider and other tasty treats.
When: November 26 + December 3 + 10, Varying Times
Visit Santa’s reindeer at Bath Garden Center on three select Saturdays leading up to their big day! The reindeer are stopping by to pick up letters and wish lists to bring back to the North Pole — so don’t miss out on this special opportunity. And while you’re at the garden center, shop for some gifts or pick out your Christmas tree! Reservations are required to visit Santa’s reindeer, so be sure to reserve your spot here.
When: November 27, 12–5 p.m.
Connect with local makers at the Colorado Makers Holiday Market, featuring more than 90 local vendors and creatives selling a diverse array of goods — just in time for holiday gift shopping! This free, indoor event will take place from 12–5 p.m. at the Northside Aztlan Community Center.
Where: Main Street, Timnath
When: December 2, 5:30 p.m.
Celebrate the season with the Timnath Holiday Lighting Festival, a free event taking place in Old Town Timnath. The evening kicks off with the illumination of Main Street and festivities continue with horse-drawn carriage rides, live reindeer, face painting, hot drinks, cookies, crafts, and local food trucks. And, of course, don’t miss your opportunity to visit with and get your pictures with Santa!
Where: Alpine Bank, Fort Collins
When: December 3, 3–6 p.m.
Alpine Bank is hosting a grand opening holiday fest, bringing together local businesses, organizations and neighbors. This free event will feature a variety of holiday activities, including photos with Santa, cookie tasting, mistletoe making, food trucks, and giveaways — including Broncos tickets! Local vendors include Flashbox Photo Booth, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, Rocky Mountain Audio, Get Plattered Charcuterie, Bloom Floral Boutique, and Backyard Bird Co.
Where: Boardwalk Park, Windsor
When: December 3, 4–8:30 p.m.
Windsor Wonderland kicks off with the arrival of Santa, who will be traveling from the North Pole by train. After he arrives at 4 p.m., enjoy a host of holiday activities, including caroling from the Windsor Middle School 7th and 8th Grade Choir, the annual tree lighting ceremony, a live ice sculptor demo, free photos with Santa, horse and carriage rides, inflatables, train rides, s’mores and hot chocolate, a live reindeer petting zoo, and much more. This community event is completely free and open to the public!
When: December 9–11, Varying Times
Get swept up in the magic of the season as Canyon Concert Ballet returns to the Lincoln Center state with the annual classic Christmas favorite, The Nutcracker. Performing alongside the Fort Collins Symphony, CCB will tell the story of Clara and her adventures to a wonderful world, where toys become larger than life and the Nutcracker defends her from the evil Mouse King. Set to Tchaikovsky’s inspired score, this ballet will enchant audiences both young and old. Get your tickets to one of the performances on Friday, Saturday or Sunday!
When: December 9–24
Open every evening December 9th through December 24th, this local holiday attraction has become a favorite in the NoCo community. The gardens, flower beds, sculptures, ponds and cornfields will be lit by hundreds of thousands of LED lights. And keep an eye out for a new photo opp inspired by the Butterfly House and other exciting additions to the illuminated gardens! Santa will be at the gardens nightly through December 23, as well as glow-in-the-dark circus performers, a Sugar Plum Furry dog troupe, and other live entertainment acts. Plus, warm up with festive hot cocoa and other holiday offerings available at the full bar. Garden of Lights is $10 for adults and children ages 12 and up, $5 for children ages 5–11, and free for children under 4.
Where: Foothills Mall, Fort Collins
When: December 10, 9 a.m.
Don your ugliest holiday sweaters and participate in the Sweaty Sweater 5K Run/Walk or the Kids’ 1-Mile, benefiting an Adopt-A-Family program in our local community. Adopt-A-Family is an outreach ministry run by Serve 6.8 that partners with local churches, businesses and the community to help meet the tangible needs of local families at Christmas time. This fun and festive event is for everyone — whether you are casually walking, running for an award, or simply prancing toward the finish line for beer and hot chocolate!
When: December 10, 7:30 p.m.
Griffin Concert Hall
Get in the holiday spirit with the CSU choirs, including the Chamber Choir, conducted by James Kim, the Concert Choir, conducted by Nathan Payant, and the University Chorus, conducted by Seth Pendergast. Tickets for the All Choral Holiday Concert are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, $4 for youth under 18, and free for CSU students. The performance will take place in Griffin Concert Hall on CSU’s campus.
Where: Savage Woods, Loveland
When: December 10–January 1, 5–8 p.m. (Closed Christmas Day)
If you loved Creepy Walk in the Woods during the fall, return to The Savage Woods in Loveland for Christmas Walk in the Woods, featuring way less creepiness and way more festiveness! Each night between December 10th and January 1 (excluding Christmas Day), the woods will be open for exploration. Enjoy twinkling lights under the stars — plus a visit from Santa and carolers on select evenings and hot chocolate for sale! For tickets and more details, click here.
Where: The Rialto Theater, Loveland
When: December 15, 6:30 p.m.
For more than a decade, Hazel Miller and her band have performed their holiday show, incorporating the festive music we all love, from traditional religious carols to secular seasonal favorites. Hazel and her band offer the audience new ways of feeling, hearing and experiencing familiar holiday music, with a whole new sound and style. Tickets to this special holiday show are $39 — and $59 for the VIP experience!
When: December 16 + 17, Varying Times
The Larimer Chorale presents A Candlelight Christmas at First Presbyterian Church on both December 16th and 17th. This Fort Collins tradition features a “surround-sound” presentation of holiday pageantry and wonder. Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols is the centerpiece of the evening, and includes twelve movements with eight carols, a harp interlude, and a processional and recessional Gregorian chant. Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets!
When: December 16 + 17, Varying Times
Contemporary Dance Academy takes centerstage at The Lincoln Center for a full-scale production of Clara and the Nutcracker, featuring a combination of talented students and guest artists. The whole family will love the magic, joy and sweetness of this enchanting performance! Get your tickets for Clara and the Nutcracker here.
When: December 17, 2022
This jolly event is another race to help support Adopt A Family, which will be serving thousands of local families in need this holiday season. And there are a few races to choose from — including the 10K, 5K and a free kids fun run, which means the whole family can join in! All 10K and 5K participants will receive a Santa Catch beanie and a finisher medal. Stick around for the awards ceremony and the free post-race hot cocoa bar, music, food and more! Register for Santa Catch here.
From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful holiday season!