It's the most wonderful time of year in Colorado.
From winter festivals, such as Vail Snow Days, to winter sports extravaganzas like the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, to beloved holiday traditions like Zoo Lights, The Nutcracker and Blossoms of Light, there is plenty to do this December weekend.
Celebrate the holiday season this weekend by experiencing the unique culture, food and geography that makes living in the Centennial State so special.
Vail Snow Days — Vail
Soak in the season at this weekend's Vail Snow Days. The four-day festival runs Thursday to Sunday. There will be free concerts at Ford Park, in-town and on-mountain specials, after-dark parties, a village expo and more. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Wildermiss will perform Friday and Shakey Graves and The Devon Allman Project with special guest Duane Betts on Saturday. Check out the full schedule at Vail.com.
Dew Tour Breckenridge — Breckenridge
The Winter Dew Tour is back for an 11th year at Breckenridge Resort. The festival is open Thursday to Sunday with the world's best skiers, snow boarders, artists and brands on hand for the four-day winter celebration. Dew Tour halfpipe, slope and team competitions are free and open to the public. Tickets are required however for Saturday's concert at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center with The Motet.
Platteville Parade of Lights — Platteville
Platteville will hold its 5th Annual Parade of Lights, with "A Charlie Brown Christmas" theme, this Saturday. The parade, scheduled to step off at 5:30 p.m., runs from Riverview Park to the Platteville Community Center. A post-parade party features food, drinks and fireworks.
Calhan Christmas Parade of Lights — Calhan
Christmas comes to southern Colorado early this weekend. The annual Calhan County Christmas Parade of Lights arrives Saturday with live music, floats, vendors, food, light displays, live Nativity, bull riding, live reindeer and Santa Claus. Admission is free at the El Paso County Fairgrounds.
Berthoud Snowfest — Berthoud
The Colorado Snow Sculpting Championship and Berthoud Snowfest are celebrating the winter season this weekend. This weekend's festivities include live music, an artisan market, holiday home tour and more. A lighted parade is set to step off at 5 p.m. Saturday, followed by a tree lighting. The Colorado Snow Sculpting Championship runs from Wednesday to Saturday at Fickel Park. Check out the full schedule at BerthoudSnowfest.com.
John Legend — Denver
EGOT-winner John Legend is bringing his Christmas music tour to the Mile High City. "A Legendary Christmas Tour" will stop at Denver's Bellco Theatre Saturday night at 8 p.m. Legend has won ten Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award and is one of 15 people who have garnered the EGOT. Tickets are sold through AXS.com.
The Colorado Symphony will perform its annual Christmas concert for four performances this weekend at Boettcher Concert Hall. The family-friendly concert features traditional Christmas carols, selections from the Colorado Symphony's Too Hot to Handel, appearances from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a recitation of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and more. Tickets are available at ColoradoSymphony.org.
Colorado Springs Philharmonic's Christmas Symphony — Colorado Springs
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic celebrates the Christmas season Sunday with its annual Christmas Symphony. Led by conductor Thomas Wilson, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will perform Christmas classics, seasonal favorites and a very merry sing-along. The symphony is scheduled for Sunday at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts. Find your tickets at CSPhilharmonic.org.
The Greeley Chorale will treat audiences to a performance of traditional carols, solos and small ensemble numbers this Saturday night. The evening of festive music takes place at the Monfort Concert Hall. Reserve your seats at UCStars.com.
Santa's Workshop: North Pole, Colorado — Cascade
There are just two weekends left to experience Santa's Workshop at the most festive time of year. Colorado's North Pole will be open Thursday to Monday this weekend and next before Santa has to depart to deliver gifts to the children of the world. Santa's Workshop, an outdoor park outside of Colorado Springs, offers rides, live shows, gift shops, Santa's house and more. Discount coupons can be found at NorthPoleColorado.com.
Governor’s Residence Holiday Tours — Denver
Holiday tours of the Colorado Governor's Residence will be offered from Thursday to Sunday by the Governor's Residence Preservation Fund, American Society of Interior Designers and Colorado Homes & Lifestyles. The free tours, which begin at the Eighth Ave. gate, are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis and last from 20 to 45 minutes. Over 10,000 guests visit "Colorado's Home" during the holiday season, mostly to visit the beautiful holiday decorations.
Reindeer Games — Castle Rock
Castle Rock's Reindeer Games is a fun, family-friendly, winter-themed wonderland. The free event runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at The Millhouse and Amphitheater at Philip S. Miller Park. There will be live reindeer, cookies, hot chocolate, sleigh rides, outdoor games, obstacle course, Santa Claus and more.
Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker — Lakewood
Ballet Ariel's production of The Nutcracker returns to the Lakewood Cultural Center beginning Saturday. Featuring Tchaikovsky's famous score and dancers from Ballet Ariel's professional company and school, The Nutcracker follows Clara and the Prince's adventure of toy soldiers, dancing snowflakes and Sugar Plum fairies. Ballet Ariel will hold six matinee performances and three evening performances through December 27. Tickets are available at Lakewood.org/Tickets, at 303-987-7845 or the Lakewood Cultural Center box office.
Santa Stampede 5K/10K — Littleton
The holidays can be stressful, so help keep the stress away with a family-friendly run and walk this Saturday. The Santa Stampede 5K/10K is a flat and fast 5K and 10K where every runner gets a Santa hat, race logo shirt, finisher's medal and access to post-race expo with food and vendors. Santa Stampede registration is available at ColoradoRunnerEvents.com.
Erie Elves 5K — Erie
The Boulder Valley Velodrome is the site of Saturday's Erie Elves 5K Run. The 5K walk/run at 10 a.m. will be followed by a Kids' Fun Run at 11 a.m. The December fitness celebration will have fun prizes, awards, food, beverages and elf hats. For complete details and run/walk registration, head to ErieElves5K.com.
On Your Left Winter 5K — Longmont
The next event in the Colorado Brewery Running Series is the "On Your Left Winter 5K" at Left Hand Brewing. The 5K-ish course starts and ends at the brewery at 11 a.m. Saturday. Runners, walkers, joggers and spectators are welcome to attend the event and stick around for post-race music and beer. All participants receive a free craft brew and collector's pint glass. On Your Left Winter 5K registration can be completed online.
Santa Cause Run — Grand Junction
Grand Junction Parks and Recreation and Kiwanis have teamed up for this weekend's Santa Cause Run. The 5K run or walk takes place Saturday at Las Colonias Park Amphitheater with a 1K immediately following for kids under 12. Santa Cause registration can be completed online.
The Oak Ridge Boys — Loveland
Country Music Hall of Fame members The Oak Ridge Boys have been celebrating the holidays with a Christmas tour for nearly thirty years. This year's "Shine The Light on Christmas" tour stops at the Budweiser Events Center this Sunday night. The concert will offer traditional and contemporary religious, romantic and fun Christmas tunes and personal stories about Christmas from each of the Boys. Tickets for the show are sold online or at the Budweiser Events Center box office.
Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos — Denver
Von Miller, Case Keenum, Bradley Chubb, Phillip Lindsay and the Denver Broncos (6-7) return home Broncos Stadium to host the Baker Mayfield-led Cleveland Browns (5-7-1) on Saturday night. Both the Broncos and Browns need some help to get into the NFL postseason, but a win would bolster the confidence of either team. Kickoff is set for 6:20 p.m. Saturday.
Denver Nuggets — Denver
Newly-signed guard Nick Young and the red-hot Denver Nuggets are back at Pepsi Center for two games this weekend. The Nuggets welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder at 8 p.m. Friday on a Mile High City Night with special musical guest Davis Mallory. The team will also play at 6 p.m. Sunday on a Family Night against the Toronto Raptors.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars — Denver
The Colorado Avalanche host their division rivals, the Dallas Stars, at 7 p.m. Saturday. Get your tickets at AltitudeTickets.com.
Trey Anastasio — Boulder
Phish lead singer and guitarist Trey Anastasio will perform twice this weekend at Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado campus. Anastasio's concerts are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are sold through AXS.com.
A Colorado Christmas tradition returns this weekend: the annual KS 107.5 Classic Christmas. This year's concert is Friday with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and special guests Dogg Pound and Twista. Tickets for the concert, for which attendees must be 16 years old, are sold at LiveNation.com.
Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo — Colorado Springs
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Electric Safari is open for the holiday season with 85 light sculptures illuminating the zoo's 50 acres. Along with the warming fires throughout the zoo, the astounding displays will fill you with warmth and holiday spirit as you gaze out at the sparkling lights of Colorado Springs. Beginning Friday, Electric Safari will be open nightly through January 1 (except for Christmas Eve). Reserve your passes at CMZoo.org.
Zoo Lights — Denver
Zoo Lights is back for a 28th season at the Denver Zoo. The beloved Colorado tradition features more than two million lights over the zoo's 70 acres. Zoo Lights will be lit through January 6. Most evenings sell out in advance and tickets will not be available at the door. Reserve your tickets at DenverZoo.org.
PHOTOS | Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo
ElectriCritters at Pueblo Zoo — Pueblo
ElectriCritters will be delighting kids of all ages from Friday through December 23. The event at the Pueblo Zoo features 150 magically-lit creations, hot cocoa, tasty treats and holiday shopping plus free photos with Santa Claus on Friday.
Star Wars Day at Space Foundation — Colorado Springs
Without a Star Wars movie this Christmas, fans needing their fix will want to check out "Star Wars Day" at the Space Foundation Discovery Center. The center will celebrate everyone's favorite space opera from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with costumed characters, galactic crafts and games, Tie Fighter cookies and Jedi Training.
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella — Greeley
The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Cinderella will be performed for one night at Greeley's Union Colony Civic Center. Featuring an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and stellar songs, the musical is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night. For tickets, visit UCStars.com.
Outdoor ice rinks — Across Colorado
There's no better way to celebrate the winter season than by soaking in the atmosphere at an outdoor ice rink in Colorado. Whether you're with your family, friends, kids or alone on your lunch break, take a moment to visit an ice rink near you and become a kid again for a half hour or more. Here's a map and list of some of the festive outdoor ice skating rinks in Colorado this year.
The legendary Municipal Band of Pueblo will perform a free holiday concert on Sunday afternoon at the Sangre de Christo Arts Center. The band, which contains 65 members, has been performing for 105 years. Sunday's 2 p.m. concert includes the entire concert ensemble and the Pueblo Municipal Jazz Band.
Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides — Colorado Springs
Suffolk Punch draft horses will be clip-clopping around Colorado Springs' Bear Creek Park on Saturday. Reservations are required by calling 719-520-6745.
Holiday Parade — Golden
Downtown Golden loves the holidays so much that they celebrate with three parades each December. The final parade takes place Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The parade down Washington Avenue, from 11th to 13th Streets through historic downtown Golden, will feature floats, clowns, festive holiday characters and Santa Claus. After the parade will be hayrides and horse-drawn carriage rides.
Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum — Denver
Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum, performed by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, has been a Colorado multicultural celebration for 27 years. The production, which blends dance, live music, spoken word and seasonal celebrations and customs from around the world, is a holiday tradition you'll never forget. The 2018 production runs through Sunday at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre. Tickets for Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum are sold at CleoParkerDance.org.
PHOTOS | Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum
Santa's Workshop & Bazaar — Colorado Springs
Finish your shopping list by visiting a craft fair this weekend. Saturday's first annual Santa's Workshop and Bazaar features more than 50 vendors, local artisans and craft makers. Santa will also make an appearance at the show at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium.
Last Chance Gift Fest — Longmont
The Last Chance Gift Fest runs Saturday and Sunday at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Over 175 vendors will be at this show which runs from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each day. Admission is free each day. Synth Def will be performing live music on Saturday and Kenny Lee Young on Sunday. This event was first published by MileHighOnTheCheap.com. For more local deals and discounts go toMileHighontheCheap.com.
Manitou Holiday Fine Spirits and Music Festival — Manitou Springs
Six venues in Manitou Springs will be hosting live music during this weekend's first annual Manitou Holiday Fine Spirits and Music Festival. PJ's Stagecoach Inn, The Keg, Creekside Cuisine, Kinfolks, Ancient Mariner, Townhouse, and Manitou Brewing Co. will also each be hosting craft distillers offering free tasters of fine spirits. There is no cover charge and no tickets for the festival, but a $5 donation to the Manitou Music Foundation gets a shot glass for tastings.
Irving Berin's White Christmas — Denver
This is your last weekend to catch the timeless musical White Christmas at the Buell Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Telling the story of song-and-dance team Wallace and Davis staging a show at a Vermont inn, and falling for a sister act in the process, White Christmas is full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written. The Irving Berlin musical plays through Saturday. For tickets, head to DenverCenter.org.
TubaChristmas — Denver
Admit it, tubas get no respect. But some 300 tubas, euphoniums and other low-register brass instruments spread holiday cheer on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex (the outdoor, but covered Galleria area). It’s all part of TubaChristmas 2018, a nationwide series of free concerts performed by local, volunteer musicians who play tubas and other big brass, and who assemble only hours before concert time to rehearse their “heavy metal” tunes. This event was first published by MileHighOnTheCheap.com. For more local deals and discounts go to MileHighontheCheap.com.
Jurassic Tour — Westminster
Dinosaurs are invading Westminster City Center this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Jurassic Tour features moving, breathing and walking dinosaurs including the T-Rex, Spinosaurus and 50 more. The massive display of realistic giant dinosaurs also includes dinosaur babies, which kids can pet and interact with. There will also be a fossil dig where young paleontologists can dig for ancient bones plus bounce houses, face painting and more. Tickets are available online at JurassicTour.com.
The Denver Brass — Denver
The Denver Brass will perform your favorite Christmas carols and traditional songs in "The Brass of Christmas Present." Performances are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets, head to DenverBrass.org.
A Christmas Carol — Denver
A Denver holiday tradition continues this weekend at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The rousing, joyous musical adaption of A Christmas Carol, penned by Richard Hellesen, "warm your heart and renew your holiday spirit." Denver Center's A Christmas Carol plays at the Stage Theatre through Christmas Eve. Find your perfect ticket at DenverCenter.org.
PHOTOS | Denver Center's 'A Christmas Carol'