83 Awesome Things To Do This January In Denver
Bookmark this page for some of the best winter adventures in Denver and in Colorado.
It’s the dawn of a new year. The linger of the holidays is still in the air even as we transition into new starts and new plans for the upcoming 365 days. We want to make sure you use them wisely, so we’ve gathered a list just to get you started for the first week of the month. Eat your way through Denver, take a little road trip, or see a cultural performance or show to get your mind off your day-to-day and unwind a bit. With that being said, here’s 83 things to do in (and near) Denver this January.
1. Buy tickets to an enchanting classical concert at a venue bathed in Candlelight
If you haven’t already seen one of these enchanting concerts, now’s your chance. The series, Candlelight has a ton of new and exciting concerts to kick off the new year, from classical tributes to beautiful jazz performances, like an epic concert dedicated to Hans Zimmer at Kirk of the Highland to a romantic candlelight special with aerialist performers and a concert dedicated to some of Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits and a one-night special on Friday the 13th dedicated to some spooky and memorable classics. There’s even a special $50 gift card you can get to gift someone with a beautiful and cultured evening.
2. Get a one-of-a-kind view of the Sistine Chapel right in your own backyard
A bit of Italy has landed in Denver with this epic immersive exhibition dedicated to one of history’s greatest artists. Michelangelos’ Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition is a stunning, up-close and life-sized perspective of this amazing work that you can only see for a limited amount of time. Tickets start at $22.50.
3-13. Go on a getaway to one of Denver’s snowy cities
Skiing, snowboarding, restaurant dining with views of snowy mountain peaks? You can enjoy all this and more throughout Colorado’s snowy mountain towns. With the snow season fully upon us, we thought we’d give a little reminder of just how stunning Colorado is when it’s snowy at these 10 small and big ski resort cities.
14-24. Try out one of these healthy options around Denver
With the start of the year comes the beginning of New Year’s resolutions. This is your year, Denver, and if you want to kick off the year right, why not do a food tour of some of Denver’s best salad and sub spots, vegan, and smoothie options. Plus, Denver is the perfect place to have an amazing and healthy meal to energize you for a day of skiing, yoga, or hiking.
25-31. Rise and shine with a delicious, hearty breakfast sandwich
Head off for a hike in Denver but first, grab a delicious breakfast sandwich from one of these great spots in Denver. From cheesy, gooey croissant sandwiches to build-your-own-biscuit sandwiches, we’ve got a list of some of the most unique and well-loved brekkie sandwiches in the city.
32-38. Try out one of these unique yoga experiences
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at yoga, why not try with one of these unique yoga experiences that are available at some of Denver’s unique venues. From Red Rocks Amphitheatre to the top of Espadin Hotel in LoHi to stand up paddle boarding, check out our guide for a complete list of where to begin your yogi journey.
39-46. Hit the slopes at one of these fun resorts that avoid I-70 traffic
I-70 is a finicky thing, and the journey to the mountains is sometimes bound to ruin your day before you even hit the slopes. While the 70 is the way to some of Denver’s most popular ski resorts, there’s still some other ski resorts that are awesome and avoid the 70 that you shouldn’t skimp on, like Eldora and Monarch.
47-54. Enjoy an aprés ski drink at one of these cozy resort restaurants
If you do manage to get over to Aspen or Telluride, then you can’t miss out on the ski resorts’ beautiful hotels and restaurants that offer some amazing American fare and cocktails. From A-Line cabins with panoramic views at The View in Telluride’s Mountain Lodge to cozy string-lit patios at WYLD at the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch
55-62. Have a winter adventure in Colorado
You don’t have to ski or snowboard to get the full winter adventure in Colorado. Dog sledding, snowshoeing, and hot spring-ing are just some of the ways you can explore Colorado during the colder months, and our guide has the full scoop for you.
63-83. Enjoy a cozy evening on a heated patio
String lights, mountain views, and some of Denver’s amazing beer is all you need for an amazing al-fresco evening. Since Denver is in the works of adopting outdoor dining permanently, we put together a list of our top favorite spots to enjoy a meal al-fresco.
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Holiday Outdoor Activities and Winter Fun
Winter makes the mile high city sparkle..
Denver is also the world's largest après ski town. It's a great place to gear up, find deals and acclimatize before you hit the higher Rocky Mountain ski slopes of Colorado.
We strive to post the most current and accurate event information, but changes and cancellations do occur, so please check the official event website to confirm all details before attending.
- Nightlife & Indoor Fun
Outdoor Winter Fun in Denver and the Rocky Mountains
Winter events & activities, frost king or the power of love.
WHEN: Thru March 30, 2023 WHERE: Museum of Outdoor Arts, Greenwood Village Lonnie Hanzon and the magic makers at Hanzon Studios tell the story of the seasons as the Frost King proclaims the whole year shall be winter. The Queen Fairy sends the smallest of fairies, Violet, to convince the Frost King to change his heart. Peer through the cutouts in the windows to see vignettes adapted from "The Frost King: or, The Power of Love" by Louisa May Alcott.
Washington Park is a top destination for walking, jogging and biking — even in the winter.
Denver is a year-round outdoor playground. Go ice skating for free at the Downtown Denver Rink in Skyline Park. The Mile High City also boasts more than 4,000 acres of traditional parks and parkways, which include 2,500 urban natural acres. In the winter, they take on a wondrous glow, offering opportunities for cross-country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing. Stroll through Washington Park and City Park during this season and take in gorgeous views of the skyline, framed by the Rocky Mountains. Cheesman Park positively glitters in winter, with large snowy expanses stretching out in front of you. Snowball fight, anyone? Or take an exhilarating heated "sleigh ride" via an all-terrain vehicle thanks to Great Outdoors Adventures . They'll let you play around on snow-covered trails.
Here are some other ways to get outside from our blog. Check out the best places to snowshoe near Denver. Go urban snowboarding at Ruby Hill Rail Yard. Browse the skis and have a craft beer at Meier Skis . Or check out Burton's Hub in the River North Art District (RiNo). The wholesale showroom offers sales, customer service and snowboard rentals. This unique concept can only be found in four other cities around the world: Munich, Zurich, Stockholm and Montreal. And stroll through the city on an architecture tour .
Winter Day Trips
Red rocks & golden.
The concert season at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre may be over, but you can still enjoy this natural wonder year-round. The Red Rocks Visitor Center is open seven days a week. Check out the Red Rocks Hall of Fame, featuring photos and memorabilia from more than 40 years of incredible concerts. Learn about the massive rock formations in the Geologic Niche and explore the Trading Post Loop Hiking Trail, a 1.4-mile adventure through spectacular rock formations, valleys and a natural meadow. After you've enjoyed Red Rocks, spend some time in nearby Golden 's Old West-themed downtown, with a charming selection of shops, restaurants and attractions.
Central City & Black Hawk
I-70 West and Exit 243 onto Central City Pkwy. Head for the hills and check out all the fun Central City and Black Hawk have to offer. Located 34 miles (55km) west of Denver, the two towns offer more than 30 casinos with blackjack tables, craps, roulette, poker games and more than 10,000 slot machines. In 2009, gambling stakes were raised to $100, to the delight of high rollers. The two cities are also known for having some of the best-preserved Victorian architecture in the West. Other attractions include the Teller House Hotel, where President Grant once stayed and the Central City Opera House , which still features an outstanding summer season of opera after more than 100 years. There are mine tours, mining museums and several places offering instruction in the fine art of in-stream gold panning where a half-billion dollars of the coveted, shiny metal was once found.
Rocky Mountain National Park
I-25 North to Exit 217, US Hwy. 36 west to Estes Park The legendary Rocky Mountain National Park , located just an hour from The Mile High City, offers spectacular snowshoeing and cross-country skiing options that will take you to some of the most scenic and serene spots in all of Colorado. Rent cross-country skis and/or snowshoes in Denver and take the short drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park - you won't regret it. Check with rangers at visitor centers for info on the right trail for you.
Driving west toward Colorado's ski areas is always a scenic endeavor.
Winter Fun at Nearby Ski Slopes
Located two hours or less from most Front Range ski areas, Denver has always been the gateway to Colorado skiing and boarding.
Ski and Snowshoe Tours
Take a ski, snowboard or snowshoe tour of Colorado's world-class ski resorts or experience the gorgeous backcountry and let someone else do the driving and planning. Adventure Scenic Tours of Colorado offers private custom tours all over Colorado for one to six passengers in luxury SUVs. They can take you on snowshoeing and cross-country skiing adventures in the nearby foothills and get you to the ski resorts for even bigger fun. Skip the ski lifts and go on a cross-country skiing adventure with Aspire Tours . Also, check out Denver Adventures for full- and half-day snowshoe hikes in the Front Range. Looking for something a little longer? Let Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides lead you on full-day snowshoeing excursions to Indian Peaks or Rocky Mountain National Park or multi-day ski tours of Colorado's famed mountain huts. And take an exhilarating heated "sleigh ride" via an all-terrain vehicle thanks to Great Outdoors Adventures . They'll let you play around on snow-covered trails.
Winter Park Resort is nestled at the base of the Continental Divide at the east end of the Fraser Valley. As the closest major destination resort to Denver, Winter Park offers easy access to skiers arriving at Denver International Airport from hundreds of domestic and international points. Just two hours from the airport, the surrounding mountain expanses and breathtaking scenery at Winter Park give visitors the impression that they are far away from the hustle and hassle of city life. If you don't want to drive, hop on the Winter Park Express ski train for a memorable ride through a stunning landscape. (Note: The ski train has suspended operations indefinitely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.)
One of the largest ski resorts in the world with more than 5,200 acres of open terrain, Back Bowls spanning seven miles and the most groomed terrain on the planet, Vail has been the ideal winter destination for skiers and snowboarders for more than 50 years. Besides being one of the favorite ski destinations in the world, Vail features everything from Ski & Snowboard School to on-mountain events, shops and spas, numerous dining options and luxurious accommodations. Vail is a mountain resort like nothing on earth.
Loveland Ski Area
Just 53 miles west of Denver on I-70, Loveland Ski Area is super close to Denver and averages 400 inches of snow annually. Loveland's location offers unique skiing possibilities you simply cannot find at other ski areas. There's no glitz here. Loveland has been long known for some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in Colorado. At Loveland you get 1,365 diverse acres of terrain and breathtaking views from the second-highest chairlift in the world, high atop the Continental Divide. When you need to escape from the city for a day of riding and a night of good food, Loveland won't disappoint. Daytripper packages are available, including lift ticket, equipment and clothing rental. Ski school lessons are available for all abilities and schedules.
Seventy miles west of Denver, in Summit County , Colorado, you'll find Keystone Resort . With 131 trails, 235 inches of snow, more than 3,000 skiable acres and 20 lifts, Keystone delivers a truly world-class mountain experience, all within a short drive from Denver and the Front Range. At 11,640 feet, Dercum Mountain is home to long, open runs and perfect groomers to keep you cruising all day — a great place to start for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. For those who crave big air, Keystone's A51 Terrain Park will not disappoint. Named a top-ranked park by Freeskier and Transworld Magazines , this is the place to be for shredders and jibbers. Looking to explore Denver by day and Keystone at night? The mountain offers not only the largest night skiing operation in Colorado, but the longest ski day as well, operating from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Known for its excellent snow and extended ski season (the longest in Colorado), Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (or "A-Basin" to locals) is 68 miles from Denver, with killer views. A-Basin's acclaimed terrain and laid-back vibe make it a favorite for experts to beginners. Half of the mountain is above timberline, with open-bowl skiing and snowboarding through spring and into early summer. One of its signature runs, Pallavicini, is one of Colorado's longest and steepest trails. Family-friendly features include two learning areas, a full-service Snowsports School, on-site rentals and three dining locations. On sunny days, you might want to lounge on "The Beach," a stretch near the Early Riser parking lot that backs up to three lower-mountain chairlifts.
Copper Mountain Resort
Winter activities at 9,600 ft. available at Copper Mountain include skiing, snowshoeing, overnight back-country hut trips, sleigh rides and more! As the largest resort in Summit County , Copper offers diverse terrain on a well-designed, easy-to-navigate mountain. Veteran skiers prefer the east side, while beginner and intermediate skiers enjoy the moderate terrain farther west. The resort also boasts 16 miles of cross-country trails and first-rate terrain parks. Make sure to catch the Winter Dew Tour (Dec. 16–19, 2021) , a free annual winter ski and snowboard competition and festival.
Located just 36 miles from Denver in nearby in Idaho Springs, Echo Mountain is the closest ski area to Denver, making it easy to fit into even the shortest weekend trip! Originally opened in 1960 as the Squaw Pass Ski Area, Echo has gone through many iterations over the years, including a terrain park and a private ski race training facility. It reopened as a ski resort in 2016 and has undergone extensive renovations over the past few years, including a brand new tubing hill, an expanded beginner ski area and a new food-and-beverage menu (featuring “life-changing fries”). Night owls can even take part in night skiing throughout the season!
Eldora Mountain Resort
A favorite among locals due to its convenient location — only 21 miles from Boulder and 47 miles from Denver — Eldora Mountain receives 300 inches of snow per year. Eldora boasts Colorado's best snowmaking system. Coverage is 100 percent of groomed terrain, more than any other resort in Colorado. Eldora also holds the distinction of being accessible via public transportation: you can take the bus from Boulder up the mountain and back for a mere $5.25 each way.
Outfitting in Denver
Denver is a great place to outfit before you head up into the hills. One of the local supermarket chains, King Soopers, sells lift tickets at a small discount. REI is one of the largest sporting goods stores in the nation, offering a full range of ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, snowshoeing and winter clothing. Denver boasts more winter sports stores per capita (and has the highest number of skiers per capita) of any city in America, and big-city competition makes the prices much cheaper than the mountains. Find more places to rent outdoor gear .
Families flock to Keystone Resort to ski and snowboard.
Fall & Winter
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37 Best Things to do in Denver in Winter
As Denver business owners, we’re fortunate that even in the “slow season,” locals and tourists aren’t afraid to venture into the cold. There are plenty of things to do in Denver in winter, including museums, ice skating at Skyline Park, and hot chocolate at Union Station. Our guide also covers day trips to destinations that allow skiing, snowshoeing, and more outdoor activities.
Plus, we share ideas for every interest, budget, and preferred atmosphere. Discover family-friendly attractions, romantic getaways, and more of our favorite things to do in Colorado in the winter.
Table of Contents:
Things to Do in Denver During Winter
Free things to do in denver in the winter, winter day trips from denver, 1. experience award-winning eateries on a downtown food tour.
In our opinion, there’s no better way to experience a city than to taste its local cuisines. Ranked as the #1 Denver tour on TripAdvisor, our Downtown Food Tour features five of the city’s best restaurants.
At each award-winning, local eatery, you’ll sample unique, generously-portioned meals. Drink pairings are optional, but we highly recommend them. Think house-made limoncello with authentic Neapolitan pizza, and Malbec wine with Argentinian empanadas.
A local foodie guide will accompany you on the 3-hour experience. They’ll introduce you to Denver’s growing food scene, and share information about the historic landmarks on your route. You’ll leave full and with a better understanding of how locals live, eat, and drink in the Mile High City. Although these are walking tours, all tastings are seated indoors, making this a great thing to do in Denver in winter.
2. View World-Class Art at the Clyfford Still Museum
Clyfford Still was part of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. Later in his life, he retreated from the art world and stopped showing his work. Today, the Clyfford Still Museum is one of the only places to see this great American painter’s pieces on display. In fact, it’s the only museum in the country dedicated solely to his creations.
On a snowy afternoon, head indoors and enjoy viewing his moving works of modern art. Visit the museum’s website to learn more about the current exhibits, hours, and admission prices.
3. Warm Up with Tea at the Brown Palace
The Brown Palace is an iconic and historic hotel on 17th and Broadway. Inside lies a stunning lobby where high tea is offered daily. Seating is available on weekdays from 12 – 4 pm, and 11 am – 4 pm on weekends.
Be treated to top-notch service and beautiful spreads of freshly brewed teas, scones, and finger sandwiches. Splurge on the champagne add-on to make it a bubbly afternoon! A live pianist plays during the experience, adding to the ambiance. Be sure to reserve your spots well in advance, as seating books up quickly.
Note that if you visit around the holidays, a special Christmas tea is offered. Seasonal events like breakfast with Santa may even have you spending an entire day at The Brown Palace! Without question, visiting is one of the best things to do in Denver in December.
4. Marvel Exotic Wildlife at the Denver Aquarium
Located just north of the city center, the Downtown Aquarium is a great place to spend a chilly winter afternoon. The attraction houses more than 500 species of animals and is one of the best things to do in Denver with kids . For fun hands-on learning, visit their interactive stingray reef touch tank!
Once you’ve made your way through the many underwater exhibits, pop into the Aquarium Restaurant for lunch or warm up with a drink from the Dive Lounge.
5. Wander Exhibits at the Denver Art Museum
Art lovers must check out the newly expanded Denver Art Museum, now featuring a collection of more than 70,000 pieces. With permanent and visiting exhibitions, they feature countless styles and mediums.
Be inspired by Pre-Columbian art, Western American pieces, and everything in between. Additionally, the Denver Art Museum is hosting All Stars: American Artists from The Phillips Collection from November 12, 2023 – March 3, 2024. Featured works include those by Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Childe Hassam. Perfectly Imperfect: Korean Buncheong Ceramics is another upcoming exhibit, opening December 3, 2023.
Tickets to these temporary showings sell out quickly and reservations are highly encouraged. To book your visit and learn about current exhibits, visit the museum’s website .
6. Enjoy Flights and Bites on a Denver Wine Walk
On this new tour , you’ll visit three of the top urban wineries and wine bars in the Mile High City . Sip and savor as you walk through the heart of downtown Denver alongside an experienced local guide. They’ll take you into historic and trendy spots like Union Station and Dairy Block, home to much of the city’s vibrant food scene.
Walk away with a taste of some of the best local restaurants, plus a curated list of other great Denver attractions ! While on the tour, you’ll also receive special discounts on bottles and wine clubs. Bonus: if you’re visiting the city, you can get wine shipped back home without worry!
7. Catch a Game at Ball Arena
If you’re a hockey fan, head over to Ball Arena, home to the Colorado Avalanche. There isn’t a bad seat in the stadium, and games are family-friendly. Visit their website to learn more about upcoming events.
Ball Arena is also shared with our professional basketball team, the Denver Nuggets. View their schedule online, and enjoy cheering on the local teams.
8. See the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Twinkling Displays
For more than three decades, Blossoms of Light has been the Denver Botanic Gardens’ signature event. Each year, their York Street location is transformed into a winter wonderland. The holiday light displays twinkle in the dark, decorating gardens along the shining walkway.
Bundle up and enjoy warm drinks, holiday treats, or even dinner along your stroll. This immersive light experience is perfect for families, date nights, or even makes for a fun, festive winter activity with friends. For many, it’s an annual tradition, so be sure to purchase tickets well in advance!
9. Cozy Up with Hot Cocoa at Union Station
Need a break from holiday shopping? Cozy up inside the newly-renovated Denver Union Station, located in the heart of downtown.
Often referred to as “Denver’s living room,” this is a great spot to eat, drink, mix and mingle. From the active train platform, hurried travelers come and go. Locals and visitors sip cocktails and enjoy meals at the station’s many award-winning restaurants .
Union Station is especially cheerful during the holidays. In the Great Hall stands a massive Christmas tree and on weekends, kids are thrilled to meet Santa. And what’s a festive experience without hot chocolate? Swing by Terminal Bar, Pig Train Coffee, or Mercantile Dining & Provisions for a steaming cup.
10. Learn and Explore at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
With several set and rotating exhibits, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is an engaging attraction for the whole family. It lies within scenic City Park, and for more views, be sure to visit the fourth-floor desk. Here, you’ll witness one of the best displays of downtown Denver!
To learn more about the museum and ticketing, including free days, visit their website .
11. Savor Denver’s Best Cocktails and Small Plates
How about happy hours ? On the boozy, 2-hour Cocktails + Tastes Tour , your local guide will take you to four of the best cocktail bars and restaurants in Denver . At each stop, you’ll savor tasty cocktails paired with delicious small plates.
From a light, crisp spritz to a smooth, serious Butter Pecan Old Fashioned, this experience offers something for everyone. Learn about Denver’s prohibition era to today’s culinary renaissance, and enjoy the company of fellow foodies.
12. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry on Dairy Block
Dairy Block , Denver’s new and trendy micro-district, offers year-round fun. But in the winter, it’s an especially cozy spot to shop, dine, and come together as a community.
Outdoor heat lamps warm the alleyway, where windows display locally-made goods. Sparkly bulbs and snowflakes hang from the ceiling, and street art splashes color on the walls.
Within Free Market, the block’s retail space, you’ll find an assortment of curated products. Dairy Block also encompasses The Maven, a premier Denver hotel, and Milk Market, a food hall boasting sixteen eateries. They range from casual lunch spots to stunning wine bars, with Italian, Hawaiian, Mexican cuisines, and more.
13. See Behind the Scenes at Coors Field
Home to the Colorado Rockies, Coors Field is a popular attraction during Major League Baseball season. But even in the wintertime, this iconic stadium allows visitors in for behind-the-scenes tours.
During the off-season, tours occur at 12 pm and 2 pm from Monday through Saturday. They last a little more than an hour, overviewing the history of the team and facility.
Tickets are available online and by phone, as well as at the ticket office on Blake St. and 20th. Afterwards, be sure to check out all the incredible things to do near Coors Field !
14. Visit Denver Zoo during Zoo Lights
An annual holiday event, Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo attracts visitors of all ages. Their impressive 83-acre display is dazzling in the dark. Lights twist around trees, illuminate walkways, and form the shapes of exotic animals. This year’s new features include the Aurora Borealis, Savannah Sunset, and Electric Jungle.
Given the season, only select animals are visible from their outdoor habitats. But more than 1,800 species lie within Tropical Discovery, an indoor exhibit that provides a break from the winter cold. The zoo further accommodates chilly visitors with toasty fire pits throughout. Hot cocoa is available, too — which for adults, is made even better with a splash of booze.
Tickets go fast and are only available for online purchases . Get yours as soon as they’re on sale come November 15th!
15. Sample Local Ales at Winter Brew Fest
Since 2004, Winter Brew Fest has been an anticipated event in the Mile High City. This coming year, the festival will occur on January 27, having both a daytime and evening session. Live music will accompany unlimited beer, cider, and hard kombucha samples from some of the country’s best breweries.
Food trucks will also be parked at the venue, serving tasty meals to soak up the libations. And if you opt for the VIP package, you’ll get a special beer and cheese pairing, too!
As many locals will agree, there’s no better way to warm up than with a cold one. Get tickets online to experience this indoor/outdoor event!
16. Go Ice Skating at Skyline Park
Seven days a week from November through February, the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park offers free ice skating. Last season, it hosted more than 25,00 skaters!
Note that while access to the rink is free, ice skate rentals are $9 for kids 12 and under, and $11 for adults. Still, it’s one of the best winter things to do in Denver, especially for families given students’ perks. Colorado 4th graders get free skates all season, as do children with a MY Denver Card .
And if you’re looking for team outing ideas , the Downtown Denver Rink is a great choice! It’s located in the heart of the Central Business District, and groups of 30+ people get a dollar off per skate rental.
17. Welcome the Season with The Parade of Lights
On December 2 at 6 pm, the Parade of Lights will kick off Denver’s holiday season. The festive display will feature over 40 brightly lit floats, some boarded by special guests and performers. Giant balloons, marching bands, troupes on horseback, and more entertainers add to the excitement.
Be sure to bundle up and arrive early for a good seat along the route. The parade occupies 15th and 17th Streets, crossing on Arapahoe Street and Tremont Place. See this map for details, including street closures.
18. Step Inside the Mile High Tree
First appearing in 2019, the Mile High Tree is now an annual holiday tradition for many Denver locals. Starting in mid-November through the end of the year, this 110-foot art installation will be brilliantly lit from 5 – 10 pm daily at Civic Center Park.
When visiting, enjoy a dazzling music and lights show, which plays every 30 minutes. Take photos, and enter the tree itself for a unique view. It’s the largest creation of its kind in North America, fitting an incredible 140 guests within its base. The best part? Visiting is completely free.
19. Tour the Denver Mint
There are just four mints in the entire country, and the Denver Mint is especially worth seeing. It’s the largest coin producer in the world, manufacturing billions of pieces each year. Learn the facility’s rich history on this free tour which ranks as one of the best free things to do in Denver in the winter.
Outside of a few select dates and federal holidays, tours occur Monday through Thursday at 8 am, 9:30 am, 11 am, 12:30 pm, 2 pm, and 3:30 pm. Tickets are available via email or by visiting the ticket window day of. If you choose the latter, we recommend arriving early to get in line and reserve your spot. Make sure to leave your camera and bags at home, too!
20. Wander the Colorado State Capitol
The Colorado State Capitol building is another Denver landmark that’s free to the public. Weekday tours are available every hour between 10 am – 2 pm. Visitors can also explore independently, peering into stately rooms housed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Admire the interior and exterior of the structure, and be sure to stand on its 15th step which reads, “One Mile Above Sea Level.” This vantage point at 5,280 feet elevation offers stellar views of Civic Center Park and the great Rocky Mountains beyond.
21. Attend the Annual National Western Stock Show
If you happen to be in Denver on January 6-21, 2024, be sure to attend one of the city’s best annual events: the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo . Since 1906, it’s ranked as the state’s largest western trade show, as well as one of the country’s largest horse shows. Each year, more than 700,000 visitors are drawn to these attractions and more, including wild rodeos and livestock shows.
Included in the event is the National Western Stock Show Kick-off Parade. This takes place near Union Station and features 30 Longhorn cattle marching through the streets of downtown Denver. This unique thing to do in Denver in winter is not to be missed.
22. Take a Tour Out to Red Rocks Amphitheatre
For over 100 years, Red Rocks Amphitheatre has hosted iconic artists like The Beatles, U2, Jimi Hendrix, Radio Head, and the Grateful Dead. The outdoor venue quiets during the snowy season but continues to draw tourists and outdoor enthusiasts.
Huge vertical rocks jut out from the stage, and nearby hikes feature more rock formations.
If you’ve got limited time in Denver and don’t have a car, this four-hour sightseeing tour is the best way to catch all the highlights. Join Aspire Tours for a loop around the Mile High City where you’ll experience Denver’s historical landmarks and cultural hot spots, then enjoy a quick visit to the world-famous Red Rocks, and catch stunning views from Lookout Mountain.
Tour Price: $89/guest
Book a Tour >>
23. Be Charmed by Trinkets at Denver Christkindlmarket
From mid-November to the day before Christmas, Denver Christkindlmarket spreads holiday cheer. At this traditional German market, visitors can peruse rows of wooden huts, each selling artisan goods. Hand-painted ornaments, cuckoo clocks, and authentic bier steins are just a few of the charming trinkets you’ll find.
Food stands are available as well, serving European fare like Bavarian pretzels, Russian-style crepes, Polish pierogies, and French cheeses. Many come specifically for the glühwein, German mulled wine served in collectible mugs.
24. Snowboard in the City at Ruby Hill Rail Yard
First opened in 2007, the Ruby Hill Rail Yard is the country’s first free urban terrain park. Weather permitting, the attraction is open from January through March. It features ten rails and boxes for every skill level, and both skiers and snowboarders are welcome.
Don’t have any gear? Earlier this year, Denver Parks and Recreation offered free snowboard equipment rentals on Thursdays and Saturdays. To take advantage of similar opportunities, stay tuned for this coming season’s announcements!
25. Window Shop on 16th St. Mall
You’ll find several free activities at 16th St. Mall , a mile-long pedestrian promenade that bustles with locals and tourists. People watch, window shop, and admire holiday lights strung on hundreds of trees. Free MallRide shuttle buses travel from Union Station to Civic Center, picking up and dropping off passengers at every corner.
If you’re up for a bit of spending, you can explore countless shops and restaurants. Discover more entertainment at the Denver Pavilions, home to a movie theater, bowling alley, and arcade bar. No matter how you choose to experience 16th St. Mall, it’s one of the best things to do in downtown Denver .
26. Take a Self-Guided Architectural Tour
There are a variety of ways to experience the city’s architecture, but Denver Architecture Foundation has put together one of the best free programs. Their self-guided audio tours take you through Civic Center Park and downtown Denver.
Choose one adventure or both, which together, visit 24 interesting sites. Highlights include Union Station, Larimer Square, the Denver Art Museum, and Colorado State Capitol.
27. Experience a First Friday Art Walk
Most creative communities quiet during the winter months, but not the Art District on Santa Fe . Its First Friday Art Walks, which occur on the first Friday of each month, continue year-round. Peruse engaging studios and galleries, and enjoy warm bites and beverages from local food trucks. The majority of festivities occur along Santa Fe Drive between 5th and 11th Avenues.
28. Peruse Shelves at Tattered Cover Bookstore
Tattered Cover is an independent bookstore with seven locations along the Front Range. Two are found in downtown Denver, with sites at Union Station and McGregor Square. The latter is complete with a cozy cafe, which you’ll also find inside the Colfax, Westminster, and Colorado Springs locations.
Rows of shelves hold books of every genre and era, from current best-sellers to beloved classics. Authors often appear at events, introducing new works and signing copies for attendees.
29. Walk the Snowy Clear Creek Trail in Golden
If you’re not sure what to do in Denver in winter, simply step outside, as the city is full of incredible outdoor spaces. Clear Creek Trail is one of these gems, spanning more than 20 miles and connecting northern Denver to Golden.
There are several lovely areas on this green belt, though the western end provides more dramatic views. The trail leads past Coors Brewery (which hosts affordable tours!) and into downtown Golden. Following along the water’s edge and heading further west, you’ll eventually make your way into the stunning Clear Creek Canyon.
30. Escape to a Ski Town
It’s no secret that the Colorado Rockies boast world-class skiing and snowboarding. But not all visitors realize that some of the country’s top resorts are within a two-hour drive from Denver.
Take a day trip to one of these incredible ski towns, including Breckenridge, Vail, and Winter Park. Each destination features snow sports, luxurious lodging, and charming downtowns with après ski fun.
Visiting without a car? Join Aspire Tours for a full day in beautiful Breckenridge on their Breckenridge Mountain Explorer tour .
Tour Price: $169
Book a Tour >>
31. Soak in a Lush Greenhouse at Indian Hot Springs
Found in Idaho Springs, the historic Indian Hot Springs are the closest hot springs to Denver. Roughly 40 minutes from the city, visitors can relax in the glass-domed greenhouse where several tropical plants thrive.
Other soaking options include an outdoor jacuzzi, indoor bath, and unique geothermal cave pools. Spa services are also available, as are cabin rentals if you want to turn your day trip into a nearby weekend getaway.
32. Snow Tube at Colorado Adventure Park
Colorado Adventure Park is locals’ go-to tubing spot. These groomed hills are located in Fraser roughly an hour and a half from Denver. Here, visitors can rent single or double tubes, then glide down a variety of terrain.
The best part? No lugging your tube back up the hill! Take the magic carpet lift, which is essentially a large conveyor belt, back up to the top. When you need a break, lounge on Adirondack chairs and toast marshmallows over their fire pit. S’mores kits are available at the concession stand!
33. Hike along the Boulder Flatirons
The Flatirons are striking in all seasons, but especially in winter. Clumps of heavy snow stick to the dramatic rock formations, which can be admired on a number of popular hikes. Follow along the Flatirons’ base via Chautauqua Trail or for a closer look, take the more challenging First and Second Flatirons Loop.
After your excursion, consider warming up at the historic Chautauqua Dining Hall. Other nearby attractions add to why Boulder is one of the best day trips from Denver in winter.
34. Ride the Santa Express Train through Royal Gorge
Train whistles and holiday tunes fill the air on board the Santa Express Train . Each season, it chugs through the snowy Royal Gorge in Cañon City, a small town about 2 hours south of Denver. Santa makes an appearance, providing each child with a special gift. Hot cocoa and cookies complete the experience.
Rides are available up to 4 times daily from mid-November through December 30th. Though largely indoors, be sure to bundle up, as you’ll want to make a trip out onto the open observation car. Wintery views and seasonal decor are sure to delight!
35. Glide on the Ice at Evergreen Lake
Encompassing 8.5 acres, Evergreen Lake is the world’s largest Zamboni-groomed outdoor ice rink. Surrounded by forest and mountain views, skaters can glide and play ice hockey near daily. Aside from holidays, the lake is open from 3 – 7 pm on weekdays and 9 am – 7 pm on weekends. Admission and skate rentals are $20 per person.
Evergreen Lake is found 40 minutes from Denver and makes for an affordable day trip for the whole family. If you’re a local, save even more with a 10-Punch Skate Card. It can be used for all family members, and allows children 4 years and under to skate for free!
36. Escape to Rocky Mountain National Park
Climb from the streets of the Mile High City to Rocky Mountain National Park, on a day trip that showcases the rugged beauty of Colorado’s mountains.
Weave through small, historic towns and drive over alpine passes, as you scan the horizon for mountain wildlife like elk, black bears, or moose.
Join Aspire Tours , a locally-owned tour operator in Denver for this full-day experience.
Tour Price: $169/guest
37. Snowshoe through a Winter Wonderland
Snow storms don’t stop Colorado’s nature lovers! In fact, they draw many of us out of Denver and into the mountains. Shuffle your way through powder on a pair of snowshoes, which many local outfitters have available for rent.
Popular day trips include Rocky Mountain National Park, Breckenridge Nordic Center, and St. Mary’s Glacier. But if you prefer to stay in the city, check Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge . Home to elk, buffalo, and other wildlife, visiting this park is one of the best things to do in Denver , Colorado in winter.
Exploring the Mile High City this winter?
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Things to do in January in Colorado
November 4, 2023 By // by Matt Thomas
As we settle into the dead of winter, January in Colorado can be one of the coldest months of the year. But don’t worry there is still plenty to do indoors and outdoors to keep those winter blues away. Discover things to do this January below.
With the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays behind us, it’s time to really embrace the winter. It’s prime time for fun in the Rocky Mountain snow and ice. We highlight some of the top things to do this January, from guided hiking to joyous festivals. For other events in January , check out our festivals page.
Here are some things to do in CO during January 2024 :
First-Day Hikes at Colorado State Parks
Kick off the new year with a hike in one of Colorado’s stunning parks. Each year on January 1st, many of the state parks host First Day Hikes that encourage the community to get outside for some fresh air, a goal most of us set for the new year! At least 25 of Colorado’s state parks will offer an organized hike to celebrate the event.
The guided activity is free to all, but you must have a valid pass to enter each park. The length and difficulty of the hikes will depend on weather and trail conditions. Be sure to bring layers, sturdy shoes, water, and some snacks for this fun day of adventuring!
Winter X Games
Even though it’s not quite the Olympics, the Winter X Games in Aspen is one of the more popular winter events in Colorado for spectators and participants alike. Watch as some of the world’s best athletes compete in their own disciplines (ski, snowboard, or snowmobile) at the 22nd Winter X Games!
Witness competitors complete these death-defying stunts, all for a chance to be awarded some of the most recognizable medals in action sports. But entertainment doesn’t stop there, spectators will also enjoy live music throughout the entire weekend!
Where: Base of Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen When: Friday—Sunday, January 26–28, 2024
Ouray Ice Festival
Celebrating its 29th anniversary in 2024, the Ouray Ice Festival is one of the more popular winter events in Colorado, both for participants and spectators. Watch as the tiny mountain town of Ouray becomes a climbing mecca for those looking to test their skills at climbing the jagged ice walls of Ouray Ice Park.
Where: Ouray Ice Park When: Thursday—Sunday, January 18–21, 2024
Rio Frio Ice Fest in Alamosa
Take in the beautiful scenery of the San Luis Valley this winter at the Rio Frio Ice Fest in Alamosa, CO. The entire weekend is packed full of everything that makes the winter, well, winter. Featuring ice carving and sculptures, an icy bonfire, the Polar Plunge, and an ice carousel, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
But the festival’s most popular event is the Rio Frio 5K. Participants take to the frozen Rio Grande River and run over three miles in snow and ice. The race takes place on Saturday morning.
Where: Alamosa, Colorado When: Friday—Sunday, January 26—28, 2024
By January, the lakes and reservoirs are well-frozen over and offer a good base for some of Colorado’s best winter activities. Many local lakes and reservoirs are ideal for ice skating , ice fishing , and even ice boating. Waterfalls that have become frozen over from the continuous cold provide a perfect canvas for ice climbing .
Free Entrance Day to National Parks
Every year the USFS and BLM offer several free entrance days to the state’s National Parks. On Martin Luther King Day, which is Monday, January 16th, 2024, enjoy free entrance into any one of Colorado’s four national parks : Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Mesa Verde.
When: Monday, January 16th, 2024
Check out more free admission days in Colorado at popular places like the Denver Zoo and Denver Botanic Gardens.
Head to the hot springs
While any time of the year is a good time to visit one of Colorado’s many hot springs , January is a great way to experience the coldest part of winter in Mother Earth’s hottest geothermal pools. The Centennial State is home to several primitive, commercial, and even clothing-optional hot springs. Popular sites include Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Glenwood Hot Springs, and Mount Princeton Hot Springs.
If you’re looking for a free activity and are willing to hike a little bit, head out to a primitive hot spring and maybe even enjoy the natural pools all to yourself. No matter if you opt for developed or undeveloped, be sure to bring your swimsuit, a towel, warm layers, and extra water to rehydrate after your dip.
Breckenridge Snow Sculptures
Breckenridge doesn’t just host some of the state’s best ski terrains during the snowy months, they also welcome the International Snow Sculpture Championships , one of the most interesting winter festivals around. This highly anticipated week-long event showcases 12 teams from around the world who battle it out to be crowned the best snow sculptors.
This is no ordinary contest. Each 4-person team must hand-carve 25-ton blocks of snow into massive sculpted works of art only using hand tools (no power tools are allowed!) to fashion their masterpieces.
During carving week, each team slowly brings their vision to life in preparation for viewing week. This is the time visitors have a chance to ogle at the completed sculpture displays. The creations aren’t around for long though, as they are taken down on the last day of the event.
Where: Riverwalk Center in downtown Breckenridge When: Monday—Wednesday, January 22—January 31, 2024
National Western Stock Show
An iconic event in Colorado, the National Western Stock Show has been in business since 1906. The stock show includes a whole host of events over the two-week time span including the kick-off parade, livestock judging contest, rodeos, horse racing, western art, and musical performances.
Taking place at the massive National Western Complex, in addition to all of the fun events, there will also be food vendors, a handful of bars, and a large trade show to get some Western goodies.
Where: National Western Complex in Denver When: Saturday—Sunday, January 6—21, 2024
Don’t miss the iconic Cowboy Downhill event in Steamboat on Monday, January 15, 2024, where the cowboys take to the slopes for a high-speed race.
Cozy up at a coffee shop
Colorado has no shortage of great options for craft coffee, the perfect way to start a brisk January morning. Get out of the cold and snow to enjoy a drink while you catch up with friends, read a book, or get some work done. If you’re on the hunt for a new shop, check out some of our favorites in the Springs and Denver .
Those are just a handful of the most intriguing activities to check out in Colorado this January. Stay tuned for more excitement to follow in February .
About Matt Thomas
Matt is an avid writer and explorer, who loves to showcase this wild, wondrous world. His favorite place to be is right here in the Centennial State.
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