I get really sad when spooky season is over. It’s my favorite time of year, so it takes me a little bit to get in the holiday spirit. My birthday is in November, which sends me into mourning every year, and Alex won’t let me put up our black Christmas tree until after Thanksgiving. If you’re like me and need some help to get psyched about Rudolph, gingerbread houses, and the Jingle Bell Rock, I pulled together some of the best holiday events in Denver. If these can’t knock the bah humbug out of you, nothing can.

The Polar Express Train Ride (November 11 – December 23)

Head out to Golden to get into the holiday spirit on The Polar Express train ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum. The experience will make you feel like you’ve been dropped right into the movie, plus all you ho ho hoes will get to meet Santa. Tickets tend to sell out every year, so grab yours sooner than later. Tickets range from $80 – $100 based on age. More magical deets can be found here.

The Mile High Tree presented by XCEL Energy & Xfinity (November 18 – December 31)

This is just a couple blocks away from our apartment and I’m so excited to see it again this year. 2021 was its first year, and it was so popular that they’re bringing it back! It’s a massive, light up tree that changes colors and patterns based on whatever holiday song is playing. It’s epic. Click here for the address and open times.

Grand Illumination (November 26)

This annual event officially kicks off Christmas in Denver. And, drumroll please…. It’s FREE! A free holiday event in Denver – that’s more my speed. There will be performances and a visit from Santa, but the main event is the lighting of Union Station’s 40-foot-tall Christmas tree. It also kicks off their Merry & Bright Lights show, which lights up the entire exterior of the station. If you’ve got a Grinch in your life, drag them here and their heart might just grow three sizes.

The Nutcracker (November 27 – December 24)

If you want to see a show while you’re in town, there’s nothing more traditional than The Nutcracker. The Colorado Ballet does it every year, and the theater is right downtown. They have a ton of dates and times to choose from, so you can make it a family-friendly day trip or grab dinner before the show for a fun, holiday date night. You can get tickets on their website, which start at $40.

Denver Parade of Lights (December 3)

I couldn’t end this list without giving you a parade. This Parade of Lights has more than 40 illuminated floats, giant character balloons, marching bands, horses, and cultural displays. Of course Santa will be there, and their parade Major, Waddles the Penguin. I was sold after the penguin. The parade starts at 6 p.m. and goes right through downtown. Check out their website for more info.

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