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9Things to do in Colorado this Christmas weekend

Christmas weekend arrives in the Centennial State with festivals, fairs and family-friendly winter events.

COLORADO, USA — Colorado celebrates winter's arrival with holiday lights, holiday shows and more.

Denver Zoo Lights, A Hudson Christmas and Winter Wonderlights are just some of the must-see traditions in Colorado this weekend along with the return of "A Christmas Carol" and "The Nutcracker" in Denver. Newer Colorado traditions such as "Ice! at Gaylord Rockies," "Cirque: Spirit of Christmas" and "Camp Christmas" are helping to spread the magic of the season.

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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Christmas Lights

COLORADO — Piling into the car, singing carols, sipping on hot chocolate and looking for houses with the most festive Christmas lights is one of the best ways to celebrate the holiday season. If you're looking for a little help planning your holiday light viewing route, we have some suggestions to hit the most popular displays.

If you have a favorite display, add it to the "Near Me" section of the 9NEWS app. Your photos will be added to a statewide map highlighting the best places to see light displays around the state.

READ MORE: Where to find the best Christmas lights in Colorado

Credit: Jenny Anderson

Mean Girls

DENVER — "Mean Girls" has arrived in Denver fresh from Broadway. The hilarious musical from Tina Fey plays the Buell Theatre through Sunday, Jan. 1. For tickets and showtimes, visit DenverCenter.org.

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: 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: Mike Watson; Colorado Ballet

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 Union Station

Merry & Bright Lights

DENVER — Merry & Bright Lights transforms the exterior of Denver’s Union Station into a spectacular canvas spreading holiday cheer. This outdoor light show features interactive visual imagery created by local Denver artists projected across the Station’s historic façade. With classic holiday music accompanying the joyful imagery, Merry & Bright Lights is a holiday experience that continues through Monday, Dec. 26.

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: 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: 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.

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.

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Credit: 9NEWS

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: 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: 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.

Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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

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.

RELATED: Denver Zoo closed during arctic cold front

PHOTOS: Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo


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.

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.

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 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: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Salma Hayek attends the premiere of "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish."

Movies this weekend

James Cameron’s big budget spectacle “Avatar: The Way of Water” has helped breathe life into the box office. Domestically, the film was released in 4,202 theaters on over 12,000 screens, earning $134 million from North American theaters and $300.5 million internationally for a $434.5 million global debut. 

Opening this weekend

  • Babylon
  • Whitney Houston: I Want to Dance With Somebody
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Last weekend's box office

  1. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $134 million.
  2. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $5.4 million.
  3. “Violent Night,” $5 million.
  4. “Strange World,” $2.2 million.
  5. “The Menu,” $1.7 million.
  6. “Devotion,” $825,000.
  7. “The Fabelmans,” $750,000.
  8. “Black Adam,” $500,000.
  9. “I Heard the Bells,” $308,893.
  10. “Empire of Light,” $235,000.

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

Have a magical weekend!

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