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9Things to do in Colorado this weekend: December 21-25

The Dillon Ice Castles, Zoo Lights, Blossoms of Light, The Nutcracker, A Hudson Christmas & Winter Wonderlights are just some of the must-see annual traditions in Denver and Colorado this Christmas weekend.
Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Colorado is known for terrific festivals, concerts, sporting events and the arts. Celebrate the season this Christmas weekend by experiencing the unique culture, food and geography that makes our state so special.

Credit: Feat On The Street, Inc.

Christmas Carol Classic 5K/10K/1M — Denver

Walkers, joggers and runners of all levels are encouraged to participate in Saturday's Christmas Carol Classic at Denver's City Park. The holiday celebration features one mile, 5K and 10K races, plus a Tiny Tim Fun Run. Participants will earn finisher medals, tech t-shirts, hot chocolate and will enjoy the Original Dickens Carolers, Santa Clause and vendors. The Christmas Carol Classic benefits Denver's Children's Home, which has been helping children and families for 130 years. Race registration can be completed online.

Credit: Ice Castles in Dillon

Dillon Ice Castles — Dillon

The Dillon Ice Castles are set to open Friday! The popular attraction, now in its second year, features ice-carved tunnels, fountains, slides, frozen thrones, and towers that reach up to 40 feet high. LED lights frozen inside 25 million pounds of ice twinkle to music at night. About five weeks ago, professional ice artisans started growing and harvesting up to 10,000 icicles each day to create the life-size fairy-tale playgrounds. Get your tickets at IceCastles.com/Dillon.

READ MORE | Ice Castles in Dillon

PHOTOS | Sparkling beauty of Dillon's Ice Castles

Credit: Getty Images

Scenes of the Season — Evergreen

Scenes of the Season is an old fashioned family holiday event with nostalgic holiday songs and stories performed by the Evergreen Players. Jay and Donna Louden will also be performing Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory. Performances of Scenes of the Season are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reserve your tickets at EvergreenPlayers.org.

Credit: Larry Pierce; Steamboat Resort

Steamboat Holiday Festival — Steamboat Springs

Celebrate the holiday season Steamboat Style this weekend. The Steamboat Springs Holiday Festival arrives Sunday with a packed schedule of events including Santa Claus and his reindeer, holiday cookie decorating, a stocking scramble, a Santa parade on horseback, free cupcakes and holiday treats, torchlight parade and fireworks and live performance from Face Vocal Band. Check out the full schedule of events at Steamboat.com.

Credit: Colorado Ballet Society; Colorado Youth Ballet

A Colorado Nutcracker — Colorado Springs

A Colorado Nutcracker will be performed for four performances this weekend at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts. The Colorado Ballet Society and the Colorado Youth Ballet will hold performances Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets for A Colorado Nutcracker are sold at AXS.com or by phone at 719-520-SHOW. 

Credit: Colorado Ballet

Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker — Denver

The Colorado Ballet's 58th annual production of The Nutcracker continues this weekend at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Colorado Ballet's production has been one of Denver's most popular holiday traditions for decades. With a story that sparks the imagination of audiences young and old, The Nutcracker showcases exceptional dancers as well as Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed by Colorado Ballet Orchestra. The Nutcracker plays through Christmas Eve. Performances consistently sell out, so get your tickets early at ColoradoBallet.org.

Credit: Getty Images

The Nutcracker of Parker — Parker

The Nutcracker of Parker is a Douglas County holiday tradition. Presented by Parker Arts and the Colorado School of Dance, this family-friendly production of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic will play at the PACE Center through Saturday. For tickets, head to ParkerArts.com.

Credit: Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Cirque Éloize's Hotel — Denver

Hotel, Cirque Éloize's newest one-of-a-kind creation, features acrobatics, theatre, dance and live music. With an avant-garde stage design inspired by the elegance of grand hotels, Hotel is the story of a place and the travels who pass through. The inspiring production plays the Buell Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts from Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets are sold at DenverCenter.org.

Credit: Vintage Theatre

Mary Poppins — Aurora

Based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film, Mary Poppins is now playing at Aurora's Vintage Theatre. The musical comes from Broadway where it ran for over 2,500 performances and garnered seven Tony Award nominations. The delightful musical follows Bert, the troubled Banks family and the world's most famous nanny. Mary Poppins plays through January 6. 

Credit: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical — Colorado Springs

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical is an inspiring story of a girl who, "armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny." The Broadway musical was a Tony Award winner and this empowering new production plays the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College through January 6. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday you can Stake in the Park with the cast of Matilda at Colorado Springs' Acacia Park ice rink. Tickets for Matilda The Musical are sold at CSFineArtsCenter.org.

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks — Denver

The Colorado Avalanche conclude a four-game homestand when they host the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night. The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. at Pepsi Center. Colorado Avalanche tickets are sold through AltitudeTickets.com.

Credit: Colorado Mammoth

Colorado Mammoth vs. San Diego Seals — Denver

The Colorado Mammoth open the 2018-19 season on Saturday night with a home matchup at Pepsi Center. The Mammoth host the San Diego Seals at 7 p.m. All tickets come with one teddy bear included which will be thrown onto the turf when the Mammoth score their first goal in the second quarter. All bears tossed onto the turf will benefit A Precious Child, a local organization that helps children and families facing difficult life challenges. Tickets, which start at just $10, are available now at AltitudeTickets.com.

Credit: Nicholas Monaghan/Colorado Eagles

Colorado Eagles vs. Bakersfield Condors — Loveland

The new AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Eagles, return home to Budweiser Events Center for a series with the Bakersfield Condors. The puck drops in Loveland at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Saturday night's game is the 2nd Annual Pucks 'N' Paws Night which benefits the Larimer County Humane Society. You can get your Eagles tickets at ColoradoEagles.com.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Colorado Symphony's Too Hot to Handel — Denver

The Colorado Symphony's crowd-pleasing favorite Too Hot to Handel returns this weekend to Boettcher Concert Hall. The concert reinvents Handel's Messiah in a lively jazz, gospel and R&B-infused celebration featuring guest soloists Cynthia Renée Saffron, Karen Marie Richardson, Rodrick Dixon and members of the Colorado Symphony Chorus. For tickets, head to ColoradoSymphony.org.

Credit: Fort Collins Lincoln Center for the Performing and Visual Arts

The Celtic Gift — Denver & Fort Collins

Irish Dance Theatre's third annual holiday production is like "Riverdance meets The Nutcracker." The Celtic Gift is a family-friendly evening of spectacular Christmas and Celtic music with stunning Irish dancing. The Celtic Gift will be performed Friday night at Paramount Theatre in Denver and Saturday night at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins.

Holiday Guide 2018 | Everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays in Colorado

Credit: Denver Museum of Nature & Science

CUBA in IMAX — Denver

This weekend, experience the vibrant beauty of Cuba in the new IMAX film Cuba. The film is the perfect addition to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's temporary exhibition, ¡CUBA!  The IMAX film plays at the museum through January 23. For tickets, head to DMNS.org.

Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo — Colorado Springs

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Electric Safari features 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, but is closed Christmas Eve. Reserve your passes at CMZoo.org.

PHOTOS | Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Electric Safari

Credit: Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo — 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, but is closed Christmas Day. 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 

Credit: Pueblo Zoo

ElectriCritters at Pueblo Zoo — Pueblo

ElectriCritters will be delighting kids of all ages all the way 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.

Holiday Guide 2018 | Everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays in Colorado

Credit: KUSA

Christmas in Color at Water World — Federal Heights

Christmas in Color is a mile-long, drive-through display in the Water World parking lot in Federal Heights. The attraction, which is new to Colorado this year, features vibrant glowing tunnels illuminated by an assortment of LED lights – all of which are synchronized to a festive holiday music lineup that attendees can tune into from their vehicles. Christmas in Color will be open 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31.

READ MORE | 'Christmas in Color' comes to Colorado

Credit: The Hudson Gardens & Event Center

A Hudson Christmas — Littleton

The Hudson Gardens' A Hudson Christmas is an outdoor festival of Christmas lights that will brighten your holiday spirit. The garden's woods are transformed into a winter wonderland of brightly-lit trees set against the night sky, reflecting off bodies of water. With friends and family, hot chocolate, tasty treats and photo opportunities with Santa Claus, A Hudson Christmas is a must-see Colorado tradition. A Hudson Christmas will be open nightly through New Year's Eve, except for Christmas Day. Tickets can be found at AltitudeTickets.com or at the door on event nights. 

Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms — Littleton

Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms has been transformed into a magical Christmas village. The holiday experience for all ages offers crafts with Mrs. Claus, photos with Mr. Claus, Santa's live reindeer, holiday lights, hayrides, Santa's Cinema and Christmas craft vendors. Tickets for Santa's Village can be found at BotanicGardens.org or at the parking lot ticket booth. Santa's Village at Chatfield Farms will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens

Blossoms of Light — Denver

Denver Botanic Gardens' Blossoms of Light has been the garden's signature event for over three decades. The holiday tradition transforms the York St. gardens into a twinkling wonderland. The family-friendly event is brighter and bigger than ever before with thousands of ever-changing displays of light and color. Blossoms of Light is open nightly through January 1 except for Dec. 24, 25 and 31. Get your ticket reservations early at BotanicGardens.org.

Credit: Visit Loveland

Winter Wonderlights — Loveland

Winter Wonderlights is a walkable holiday lighting attraction at Loveland's Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra. Guests will be mesmerized at the more than 60,000 holiday string lights and twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated African stone sculptures and 30-minute music and light shows every night starting at 5:30 p.m. 

Credit: Montrose Botanic Gardens

Garden of Lights — Montrose

The Montrose Botanic Gardens' Gardens of Lights features horse-drawn wagon rides, hot drinks, live music, illuminated garden paths and displays, storytellers and Santa Claus himself. Garden of Lights will be open Saturday, Sunday and December 26 and 27. 

Credit: Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins

Brewery Lights at Budweiser Brewery — Fort Collins

Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins Brewery Lights is free and open to all ages and is  open Thursday to Sunday through Dec. 30 with a synchronized light show, s'mores, tree maze, food, gifts and more. This year Brewery Lights has new family-friendly activities and theme nights, beer samples for guests 21 and older, delicious food and festive entertainment.

Credit: Platte Valley Theatre Company

It's A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play — Fort Morgan

Platte Valley Theatre Company will present a crowd-pleasing production of the heart-warming classic It's a Wonderful Life this weekend. Set in a 1940s radio station, the production also features beloved and timeless Christmas songs. Performances of It's a Wonderful Life - A Radio Play & Christmas Music Revue are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Fort Morgan High School. Tickets are available online.

Credit: Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

Elf - The Musical — Arvada

Elf – The Musical is the newest production at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Based on the 2003 movie, Elf follows Buddy the Elf on his journey to find his family and revive their Christmas spirit. Elf – The Musical plays through Sunday. For tickets, head to ArvadaCenter.org or call 720-898-7200.

Credit: Town Hall Arts Center

A Christmas Carol, the Musical — Littleton

A Christmas Carol, the Musical, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, is a fun presentation of Charles Dickens' most well-known story. Telling the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's redemption, A Christmas Carol, the Musical has been described as "soaring, delightful musical theater with a treasure house of beautiful, evocative music" by Talkin' Broadway. Town Hall Arts Center’s production of A Christmas Carol, the Musical plays through Sunday. Tickets are available at the Town Hall Arts Center box office, 303-794-2787 or at TownHallArtsCenter.org.

Credit: AdamsVisCom; Denver Center for the Performing Arts

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'

Credit: Garland Photography; Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

Scrooge! The Musical — Johnstown

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's musical adaption of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a fun, festive journey towards redemption as Ebenezer Scrooge finds the true meaning of Christmas. Scrooge! The Musical, which features the songs "Thank You Very Much" and "I Hate People," is penned by Leslie Bricusse and based on the 1970 movie, Scrooge. Scrooge! The Musical plays through New Year's Eve with tickets sold at ColoradoCandlelight.com.

Credit: She Beast Entertainment

The Colorado Christmas Festival — Pueblo

The Colorado Christmas Festival will be held Saturday at the The Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center. The free, family-friendly event will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event offers Christmas carol karaoke, a gingerbread house contest, ugly sweater contest, bounce houses, kids arts and crafts stations, games, prizes, Santa Claus and more. 

Credit: Downtown Castle Rock

Outdoor Ice Skating — 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.

Do you know of a cool, fun Colorado festival, fair, expo, concert or event you think we ought to mention in this week's 9Things or in the future? Send it to alexander.kirk@9news.com!

Have a merry weekend!

Holiday Guide 2018 | Everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays in Colorado