Winter in Denver is unlike anywhere else. Whether you're here to explore the city or the mountains, or shop til you drop at seasonal markets, there is something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite winter activities in the Mile High City:
1. Wander through Christkindl Market, a German-inspired holiday tradition downtown off of 16th Street Mall. Running through December 23, vendors are selling products from local honey, CBD goods and art pieces, to clothing and authentic European cuisine. Nibble on a latke and sausage and sip on mulled wine in a take-home mug.
2. Go ice skating in Downtown Denver Rink or at Denver International Airport. Downtown's rink is open through February 16 and has free entry with $9 skate rentals. At the Airport, entry and skates are free and the rink closes after January 20.
3. Marvel at the lights! The 110-foot Mile High Tree is new to the city and has colorful changing light displays every night. For the full experience go beneath the tree. Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens is also a must-see. Stroll through the many colors and displays for a breathtaking experience.
4. During the day, Cheesman Park is a popular spot to get in your steps and admire mountain views. Located away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, it is perfect for those looking to take in the nature or stroll past the historic homes nearby.
5. Denver hosts beloved fans at Pepsi Center for the ultimate energetic basketball experience. Tickets to see the Nuggets play start around $20, with special deals on Saturday and Sunday when tickets come loaded with funds that can be spent on food, drinks and merchandise in the arena.
6. What is winter without a festival? Colorado Indian Market and Southwest Art Fest (January 17-19) brings together art and culture enthusiasts to celebrate Western and Native Americans with fine art, handcrafted products, dance performances and authentic food. Winter Brew Fest is a one-day beer-lovers dream on January 25 with local brews, food, live music and of course comes with a commemorative glass.
7. The first Friday of each month celebrates the art community in Denver with Art Walks in Sante Fe Art District and RiNo with many galleries and local businesses open late. On January 4, February 1, and March 7, Denver Art Museum has free entry as part of their Free First Saturday promotion.
8. Explore the quaint city of Golden, Colo. for the day. Located 15 miles west of Denver, Golden hosts Olde Golden Christmas, a holiday celebration filled with an art market, theater, light display and more through December 31. There is also lots of opportunity to get outdoors in Golden, from snowshoeing in the woods to hiking at North Table Mountain.
9. Denver Restaurant Week is the perfect time to taste what Denver is cookin' up. From February 21 to March 1, hundreds of local spots will be offering $25, $35 and $45 tasty meals. Check out menus here.
10. Hit the slopes without paying top dollar. Local grocery store King Soopers sells $69 one-day tickets to Monarch Mountain in Salida, Colo. The discounted lift tickets can be purchased at a store. Stay at Salida Hostel during your trip. Or, catch the FF1 or FF2 bus to Boulder. Transfer to the NB bus to ski Eldora Mountain and warm up by the fire at A-Lodge Hostel.