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9Things to do in Colorado this weekend: Dec. 16-18

The holiday season has arrived in the Centennial State with concerts, musicals, festivals and winter sports events.

COLORADO, USA — Colorado celebrates winter's arrival next week with holiday festivals, parades, musical performances, craft shows and more.

Christmas in Color, Denver Zoo Lights, Blossoms of Light, A Hudson Christmas, Camp Christmas, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Ice at Gaylord Rockies, and Winter Wonderlights are just some of the must-see traditions in Denver and Colorado this weekend along with annual productions of "The Nutcracker," "Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum," and "A Christmas Carol."

Celebrate the holiday season this weekend by experiencing the unique culture, food and geography that makes Colorado so special at one of these fun events this December weekend.

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Credit: Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

DENVER — The beloved classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" soars off the television screen and onto the stage. Featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and Rudolph, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical" is an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical" plays the Buell Theatre in Denver on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For tickets, visit DenverCenter.org.

Credit: nat2851terry - stock.adobe.com

Too Hot to Handel

DENVER — The Colorado Symphony reinvents Handel’s "Messiah" in a jazz, gospel, and R&B-infused holiday concert. "Too Hot to Handel" features audience-favorite guest soloists Cynthia Renée, Karen Marie Richardson, Rodrick Dixon, and the Too Hot to Handel Community Chorus. The holiday classic will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Boettcher Concert Hall. For tickets, visit ColoradoSymphony.org.

TubaChristmas

DENVER — Hundreds of tubas, euphoniums and other low-register brass instruments spread holiday cheer on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex. It’s all part of TubaChristmas 2022 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.

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.

Holiday Classics

ENGLEWOOD — Arapahoe Philharmonic is getting into the holiday spirit with an evening of holiday classics. The concert features festive favorites life "Sleigh Ride," "Let It Snow," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," and many more. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Englewood High School. For more information or concert tickets, visit Arapahoe-Phil.org.

Credit: AntonioDiaz - stock.adobe.com

Ugly Sweater 5K

DENVER — Grab the Christmas sweater and jog over to Denver's Washington Park for the Ugly Sweater 5K run/walk this weekend. The event begins at 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. Dress in a tacky sweater – the more tinsel, bows, reindeer and candy canes, the better. Finishers will get a race medal, a themed shirt and a finish line expo with vendors, food and cookies. Register online at ColoradoRunnerEvents.com.

Credit: AP Photo/Ashley Landis
Red Gerard

VISA Big Air

COPPER MOUNTAIN — Copper Mountain begins a new season of hosting elite ski and snowboard athletes this weekend. The annual VISA Big Air competition brings the best athletes in the world to debut their latest tricks in the air for the first time in the country. This event is free to spectate from Eagle's Landing in Center Village from Wednesday, Dec. 14, through Saturday, Dec. 17.

Toyota U.S. Grand Prix

COPPER MOUNTAIN — The world’s best freeskiers and snowboarders will compete in halfpipe at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain through Saturday, Dec. 17. This annual halfpipe competition brings the best athletes in the world to debut their latest tricks, and the whole thing goes down in Copper's 22-foot Superpipe in Center Village. This event is free to spectate.

Credit: stock.adobe.com

Alamosa Christmas Light Parade

ALAMOSA — Downtown Alamosa will welcome next weekend's big winter-season holiday with its annual Christmas Light Parade on Saturday, Dec. 17. This weekend’s parade, which feature more than 40 floats, steps off at 6 p.m.

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Denver Broncos vs. Arizona Cardinals

DENVER — The Denver Broncos may be out of the playoffs for the seventh-consecutive season, but there’s still football to play in Broncos Country. The Broncos (3-10) host the Arizona Cardinals (4-9) at 2:05 p.m. Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Credit: Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

DENVER — Colorado's favorite rock-and-soul band has announced its biggest holiday show to date. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats will perform "The 7th Annual, 10th Annual Holiday Show" at Ball Arena in Denver on Friday, Dec. 16. The band will be joined by special guests Marcus Mumford and Hermanos Gutierrez at the 7 p.m. concert. Tickets for the all-ages holiday show are on sale at Ticketmaster.com

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators

DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche are in the middle of a five-game homestand. The third of those games is set for Saturday, Dec. 17, at Ball Arena in Denver. The Avs host the Nashville Predators at 7 p.m. For tickets, check out Ticketmaster.com.

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Denver Nuggets vs. Charlotte Hornets

DENVER — Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets begin a four-game homestand in Denver on Sunday, Dec. 18. The Nuggets and Charlotte Hornets tip off at 6 p.m. Sunday at Ball Arena, just as the Broncos game ends at nearby Empower Field at Mile High. The Nuggets are at home through a Christmas Day game against Phoenix. For tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com.

Credit: Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America

DENVER — Wreaths Across America will be at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 17, to remember and honor our veterans through the laying of remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes and the act of saying the name of each and every veteran aloud. The public is invited to attend, volunteer to help place wreaths, or sponsor a wreath.

Credit: stock.adobe.com

Last Chance Gift Fest

LONGMONT — The Last Chance Gift Fest runs Saturday and Sunday at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Over 150 vendors will be at this show which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free each day for the event which also offers arts crafts, toys, home décor, food and more.

Downtown Lakewood Holiday Bazaar

LAKEWOOD — Denver BAZAAR is taking over a massive indoor space near the Belmar Plaza for a holiday shopping experience in downtown Lakewood. There will be more than 80 vendors, fashion trucks and a holiday-themed pop-up bar this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Downtown Lakewood Holiday Bazaar.

Credit: Denver Christkindlmarket

Christkindlmarket

DENVER — The 22nd annual Denver Christkindlmarket has opened at Denver's Civic Center Park. The traditional European market is located under the lights of the Denver City and County Building and, new in 2022, alongside the Mile High Tree. The Christkindlmarket has merchants selling gifts and food in wooden huts, food vendors and a Kinder Wunderland with attractions for children and families. The market will be open daily through Friday, Dec. 23.

Credit: Stan Obert for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum 

DENVER — Performed by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, "Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum" has been a Colorado multicultural celebration for more than 30 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 2022 production runs through Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre. "Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum" tickets are sold at CleoParkerDance.org.

PHOTOSGranny Dances to a Holiday Drum

Credit: Ballet Ariel

Ballet Ariel's The Nutcracker

LAKEWOOD — Ballet Ariel's production of "The Nutcracker" has returned to the Lakewood Cultural Center. 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 performances through Friday, Dec. 23. Tickets are available at Lakewood.org/Tickets, at 303-987-7845 or the Lakewood Cultural Center box office.

Parker Arts' The Nutcracker

PARKER — "The Nutcracker" in Parker is a Douglas County holiday tradition. Presented by Parker Arts and the Colorado School of Dance, this 18th annual, family-friendly production of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic will play the PACE Center through Tuesday, Dec. 20. For tickets, head to ParkerArts.com.

Colorado Conservatory of Dance's The Nutcracker

DENVER — The Colorado Conservatory of Dance's annual production of "The Nutcracker" is a Denver holiday-season tradition since 1993. The production from students and community members also features world-class international guest artists. "The Nutcracker" will be performed this weekend at the Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School. Tickets are on sale at CCDance.org.

Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker

DENVER — Colorado Ballet is performing "The Nutcracker" for a 62nd year. Colorado Ballet’s production returns to its home at the Denver Performing Arts Complex through Saturday, Dec. 24, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Tickets are on sale at ColoradoBallet.org.

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Credit: Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Forbidden Broadway

DENVER — The Tony Award winning "Forbidden Broadway" is your one-stop ticket to non-stop laughs. The all-new satirical roast of over 30 Broadway hits features hilarious costumes and silly spoofs of the songs you know by heart. "Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation" spoofs "Frozen," "Wicked," "Phantom," "Dear Evan Hanson," "Moulin Rouge," "Hamilton" and more. The musical plays the Garner Galleria Theatre through Jan. 1. For tickets, visit DenverCenter.org.

Credit: Adams Viscom

A Christmas Carol

DENVER — Colorado's largest production of "A Christmas Carol" is now playing at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Based on Charles Dickens' classic novel, the Denver musical adaptation traces curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge's triumphant overnight journey to redemption. The joyous "A Christmas Carol" plays the Wolf Theatre through Saturday, Dec. 24.

Credit: Gaylord Rockies Resort

ICE! at Gaylord Rockies

AURORA — Gaylord Rockies Resort has brought back a crowd-pleasing arctic holiday tradition for the first time since 2019. The Aurora hotel's ICE! exhibition uses  more than two million pounds of ice to celebrate the classic animated special "A Charlie Brown Christmas." ICE! features more than 10 scenes from the holiday special with ice carvings more than 30 feet tall. The exhibition also has two-story-tall ice slides, ice tunnels and arches and a Nativity scene.

Credit: Gaylord Hotels

Cirque: Spirit of Christmas

AURORA — "Cirque: Spirit of Christmas" is an all-new show at the Bubly Theater at Gaylord Rockies Resort. The show centers on Noel, a young child who recaptures her love of the holiday season in a dreamlike adventure that rekindles the spirit of Christmas. Performances feature a contortion group act, female Mongolian speed jugglers, trapeze artists, aerialists, wire walking, acrobatics, singing, dancing and theatrical storytelling, accompanied by an original Broadway-style score.

Guests can book at tickets.gaylordrockies.com and use the code BUY2GET2 for a buy two, get two ticket promotion through the end of the season. Blackout dates apply.

Credit: 9NEWS

Christmas in Color

FEDERAL HEIGHTS — Christmas in Color has drive-through light displays at Water World in Federal Heights, Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, and at Aurora's Arapahoe County Fairgrounds. The displays each feature more than one million LED lights arranged into tunnels, trees, giant candy canes, snowflakes and more, all synchronized to festive holiday music on the FM radio dial. Tickets are on sale at ChristmasinColor.net.

Credit: A Hudson Christmas

A Hudson Christmas

LITTLETON — A Hudson Christmas is an outdoor festival of Christmas lights at Hudson Gardens that is sure to 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, A Hudson Christmas is a popular Colorado tradition. A Hudson Christmas will be open weekends and select dates through Christmas. Tickets can be found at HudsonGardens.org.

> Have an event tip? Send it here.

Credit: Visit Loveland

Winter Wonderlights

LOVELAND — Winter Wonderlights, a walkable holiday lighting attraction at Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra, features 150,000 holiday lights including LED mappable snowflakes and illuminated African stone sculptures. There are 30-minute music and light shows every night. The light and music show features eight songs and moving lights on a 23-foot-tall LED Christmas tree.

Credit: Bobbi Sheldon

Mile High Tree

DENVER — America's tallest digital tree is the Mile High Tree, a seven-story tall, 39-foot diameter conical structure in Denver. The tree features light shows choreographed to multi-cultural holiday music on the tallest pixel LED technology tree in the country. This holiday season, the giant tree has moved to Denver's Civic Center Park. The tree is set up next to Denver Christkindlmarket, the city's German holiday market, near the City and County Building. The Mile High Tree will be lit up nightly through Dec. 31 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Entry is free.

RELATED: America’s tallest digital tree returning to Denver

Credit: Adams VisCom

Camp Christmas

LAKEWOOD — "Camp Christmas" has opened for the season at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park. The quirky, six-acre holiday experience is organized by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and artist Lonnie Hanzon. A wonderland of lights, dazzling decorations, music and memorabilia in various yuletide scenes, "Camp Christmas" also has a classic carousel, hot cocoa, sweet treats and Santa Claus. "Camp Christmas" will be open through Dec. 24. Get your tickets at DenverCenter.org.

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Credit: Lighthouse Immersive Studios

Immersive Nutcracker

DENVER — The creators of the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition have opened "The Immersive Nutcracker, A Winter Miracle" at Lighthouse ArtSpace Denver at 3900 Elati Street. Set to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, visitors will experience a young girl's magical Christmas Eve journey through over 500,000 cubic feet of projections composed of over 1 million frames of video. The 30-minute, family-friendly immersive experience features animated characters alongside footage of professional ballet dancers.

RELATED: Immersive Nutcracker experience opening in Denver

Credit: Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

Bridge of Lights

CAÑON CITY — The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is letting guests drive across the Royal Gorge Bridge — 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River — amidst thousands of twinkling lights. "Bridge of Lights" is a drive-through event and all guests must stay in their vehicles. Driving across the Royal Gorge Bridge is not regularly offered outside of pre-arranged car club groups. The park will also be playing holiday music throughout the drive on the park-wide sound system. "Bright of Lights" runs select dates through Dec. 31.

Credit: Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights

DENVER — Denver Zoo is illuminated for its annual season Zoo Lights. The beloved Colorado tradition features over one million lights over the zoo's 80 acres. There will be ice carving artisans, seasonal cocktails and holiday treats. Zoo Lights will be lit through Jan. 15. 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

PUEBLO — ElectriCritters will be delighting kids of all ages for a 29th year at the Pueblo Zoo. The Pueblo Zoo tradition features 150 magical light creations, hot cocoa, tasty treats and holiday shopping plus free photos with Santa Claus on Dec. 18. The event continues through Dec. 27. Visit PuebloZoo.org for tickets.

Electric Safari

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Electric Safari opens this weekend with 85 light sculptures illuminating the zoo's 50 acres. Along with the warming fires throughout the zoo, displays will fill you with warmth and holiday spirit as you gaze out at the sparkling lights of Colorado Springs. Electric Safari is open this Friday through Sunday and select nights through Jan. 1. Reserve your passes at CMZoo.org.

PHOTOSCheyenne Mountain Zoo's Electric Safari  

Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens

Blossoms of Light

DENVER — Blossoms of Light, the signature event at Denver Botanic Gardens is back this holiday season, transforms the York Street gardens into a twinkling wonderland. More than one million lights are used to highlight the Gardens' winter beauty. Ticket reservation windows can be purchased at BotanicGarden.org through Jan. 7.

Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens

Trail of Lights

LITTLETON — Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms' Trail of Lights holiday experience offers singing Christmas trees, synchronized music in a children's play area, light tunnels, model tractor displays, hot beverages, nuts, kettle corn and more. Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms will be open various evenings through Sunday, Jan. 1. Tickets are sold at BotanicGardens.org.

Credit: 20th Century Studios via AP
This image released by 20th Century Studios shows Jake Sully, portrayed by Sam Worthington, in "Avatar: The Way of Water."

Movies this weekend

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” has kept the box-office crown for five straight weekends, the first film since Christopher Nolan's “Tenet to lead the box office for five straight weeks.

But now, James Cameron is here to shake up the industry once again. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” the long-awaited sequel to the $2.9-billion-grossing 2009 original, launches in theaters Thursday with expectations of at least a $150 million debut domestically.

New movies this weekend

  • Avatar: The Way of Water

Last weekend's box office

  1. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," $11.1 million.
  2. “Violent Night,” $8.7 million.
  3. “Strange World,” $3.6 million.
  4. “The Menu,” $2.7 million.
  5. “Devotion,” $2 million.
  6. “Black Adam,” $1.3 million.
  7. “The Fabelmans,” $1.2 million.
  8. “The Hours” (Metropolitan Opera), $791,000.
  9. “I Heard the Bells," $751,000.
  10. “Spoiler Alert,” $700,000.

Would you like to see you favorite Colorado festival, fair, expo, concert, drama, musical, ballet, run or event listed in 9Things? Send it to alexander.kirk@9news.com. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

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