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23 Best Things to do in Denver in Winter Now

Visiting Denver in winter is an amazing and magical experience.

The Mile High City is the ultimate winter wonderland with icy landscapes, winter activities, and interesting events happening throughout the season.

Outdoor lovers can enjoy snow fun, sledding, skiing in the Rocky Mountains, taking the ski train to Winter Park, and gorgeous winter scenic drives.

Looking to stay warm and cozy indoors? Attend a winter concert or enjoy live music scene, visit the museums, and indulge in shopping!

The city also makes an excellent romantic weekend getaway with amazing winter date ideas Denver such as romantic dinners, high teas, and more.

Read all about top things to do in Denver in winter now!

Downtown Denver Views

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“Every day, the sun comes out and the sky’s always blue.
That’s what I miss about Denver. “
– Dikembe Mutombo, the American athlete who played basketball for the Denver Nuggets

Why visit Denver in winter?

Denver in winter is all about romance and fun.

Wondering what to do in Denver in winter?

The city sparkles even in February – yes, while other cities take down their Holiday Lights, many areas of Downtown Denver keep them all year long!

There are a host of activities all winter starting from the Holiday Lights in November and December to Valentine’s Day festivities in February.

The city has many premier museums, restaurants, and a vibrant cultural scene.

Its proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado Springs makes it great for outdoor adventures too.

Also Read:
22 Best City Breaks in the USA
10 Days Colorado Road Trip Itinerary
Texas to Colorado Road Trip Itinerary
Denver to San Francisco Drive

While you are in Larimer Square, don’t forget to look at the many cat sculptures on top of street lights and roofs.

 

Outdoor Things to do in Denver in Winter

There are lots of outdoor things to do in Denver during winter from sledding, skiing, winter hikes, winter day trips to scenic places, taking strolls through walks etc.

Remember – Denver has an elevation of one mile above sea level – and you will need time to acclimatize, especially while enjoying outdoor activities! Stay hydrated to replenish oxygen and acclimatize faster.

Here are our favorite romantic and fun Denver winter attractions.

Views inside Denver Union Station

See icy landscapes at Denver’s City Park

Denver has many outdoor parks and gardens but the favorite with visitors is City Park.

The park is huge – over 300 acres! – and the center of activity for couples as well as families.

The City Park contains many of Denver’s premier attractions including the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Ferril and Duck Lakes, and the Colorado Museum of Natural History.

The views from the park are spectacular: shimmering lakes, lots of trees, the Denver skyline, Front Range, and the Rocky Mountains.

Walk along Ferril Lake or just people watch or play in the snow at City Park!

From the Prismatic Fountain, you can take the most popular shot of Denver with the fountain, lake, skyline, and the Rocky Mountains – one of popular date ideas in Denver in winter.

Views of Denver skyline from City Park (Photo – Ari Armstrong / Wikimedia Commons)

Take a romantic stroll at 16th Street Mall

Denver’s 16th Street Mall, located near Skyline Park, is a stunning pedestrian mall.

It is a hub for shopping, fine dining, and street art in the city and one of the best places to visit in Denver in winter.

The pedestrian Mall is designed by the famous Chinese American architect, I. M. Pei.

Fun fact – Pei’s famous architectural works include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha, Qatar and off course, the Louvre Museum pyramid in Paris!

The pedestrian Mall has excellent urban landscaping, great restaurants, and is fun to walk hand in hand

The mile-long pedestrian mall extends from the Union Station to the Civic Center Station.

Along the mall, you will find trees that stay lit year round, sculptures, murals, street performers and more.  

The street looks charming and romantic at night!

The free mall bus runs every two to three minutes and is great to explore the area.

What to see in Denver in winter around Christmas?

During the holiday season, the 16th Street mall is home to the Mile High Tree – a dazzling light and music installation that makes for great photo ops!

During recent years, this has become one of most fun things to do in Denver in December.

Street murals in Denver Colorado winter downtown

Enjoy ice skating at the Downtown Denver ice rink

The Downtown Denver Rink at the Skyline Park is one of the best attractions in Denver, Colorado in winter.

The ice skating rink opens every winter starting November, just a few days before Thanksgiving.

The ice skating rink is free to everyone – all you need is a pair of ice skates to spin around this hottest Denver winter attraction!

Skate rentals are also available at the ice skating rink.

Be sure to bring warm woolen socks and mittens to keep your hands warm while enjoying ice skating in Skyline Park.

Don’t know ice skating? Attend one of the free lessons available on Sundays!

Many holiday events such as DJ concerts, Meeting Santa Claus, and more take place at the Denver ice rink on weekends.

The Downtown Denver rink is in season till the first week of February – check out the dates for this year as well as the winter activities in Denver here.

Looking for romance?
The ice skating rink can be booked for private events outside of regular times: perfect for enjoying a secluded date or even proposing to your loved one!

The Civic Center Cultural Complex has great institutions like the Denver Public Library

Go sledding at Ruby Hill Park

You know the best kind of Denver winter activities? Those where you get to actually play and have fun in the snow!

We love sledding because there is absolutely no learning curve plus its super cheap.

Denver has lots of free sledding areas.

The most popular snow tubing hill in Denver is the Ruby Hill Park for its awesome slopes and huge space.

Other popular sledding locations include the Scott Carpenter Park in nearby Boulder and the Sledding Hill Park in Littleton.

Public art outside Denver Public Library

Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride in Downtown Denver

The horse-drawn carriage rides by Irish Rose Drafts are an amazing way to experience the Mile High City.

The rides are available on weekends around the year and every day in the Holiday Season.

They also have special rides for Valentine’s Day.

The carriage rides pass by popular Downtown attractions including Skyline Park, Larimer Square, 16th Street Mall, and the Blue Bear sculpture at the Convention Center.

You will be able to see the city’s highlights from a magical carriage ride and snuggle under a warm blanket for the ultimate romantic experience.

Sunset horse-drawn carriage ride through Larimer Square is super romantic

Take a photo with Denver’s famous Blue Bear

Taking a photo with Denver’s famous Blue Bear sculpture located outside the Convention Center is a must when in Denver.

This giant sculpture of the bear taking a peek inside the building lobby is named ‘I See What You Mean’ and is created by local Denver artist, Lawrence Argent.

The bear is over 40 feet tall and imposing but the fun blue color makes it – kind of – playful!

Be sure to take a look from the inside too, it feels as if the giant blue bear is peeping in to see what’s happening inside.

Denver’s famous Blue Bear looks great from all angles

See the Parade of Lights

What to do in Denver, Colorado in winter? See the Parade of Lights!

Denver’s Parade of Lights is one of Colorado’s most popular holiday festivals.

The Parade of Lights has beautiful lit-up floats, vibrant costumes, marching bands, dance troupes, horse riders, giant balloons, and of course Santa Claus!

The parade route is 2 miles long and there are plenty of viewing places along the route.

We recommend wearing mittens, hats, and scarves for the parade – as things can get cold quite fast even though it’s just the start of the winter.

Holiday Season is a great time to be in Denver

Visit the Denver Christkindlmarkt

The Denver Christkindlmarket is a festive and vibrant place to get into the Holiday spirit!

The market began in 2000 and since then has become one of the city’s most anticipated holiday events.

You can take a stroll through the market and buy handmade jewelry, clothes, and other gifts.

Other attractions in the market include meeting the Christkind, trying German drinks, and eating delicious cuisine.

Watch the New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Denver ushers in the New Year with a grand fireworks show.

The fireworks take place at the 16th Street Mall and can be seen from anywhere in the area.

The fireworks look beautiful behind Downtown Denver’s beautiful buildings.

The live music, street performers, and other events create the backdrop for the biggest free block party of the year!

Fireworks over the Civic Center in Denver (Photo – Cathy Cline / Wikimedia Commons)

Enjoy Denver’s rodeo in January

Denver’s National Western Stock Show is an annual event held in January of each year.

During the rodeo, visitor can see cowboys, horses, bullfights, livestock, and lassos!

The Stock Show has quite a variety of events from livestock auctions, parades, rodeos, bbq cookoffs, dance performances, and petting farms for kids.

It is one of the popular things to do in Denver in January.

We recommend going to Visit Denver’s tourist center at the 14th and California location for maps, awesome advice, and this cool bike chandelier!

Sip craft beers at the Winter Brew Fest

Denver’s Winter Brew Fest is where you want to be to sample all of Colorado’s most popular craft beers in one place.

The Winter Brew Fest is one of the top Denver, Colorado things to do in January.

Colorado is home to some of the country’s best known breweries including Coors in Golden and Blue Moon in Denver.

At the Brew Fest, you can sample unlimited quantities of beers from major breweries, microbreweries, and nanobreweries.

Jordan Casteel’s ‘Returning the Gaze’ exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

Indoor things to do in Denver in the winter

Not everyone loves being outdoors in winter.

And even if you love snow, sometimes you just need to spend quality time with your loved one in warm and cozy atmosphere!

Here are our favorite things to do in Denver when its cold.

Many of these attractions are located in either the Downtown of LoDo (Lower Downtown) area and easily accessible from the city center.

Enjoy dinner under the lights of Larimer Square

Historic Larimer Square in Downtown Denver is the Mile High City’s oldest commercial block.

The square is named after General William Larimer who founded Denver during the Wild West and Gold Rush times of the 19th century.

The late 19th century buildings surrounding Larimer Square are now historically preserved and restored; they now house a variety of businesses including restaurants, pubs, and boutique stores.

The charmingly-lit Larimer Square has many unique dining experiences and cuisines that will satisfy even the most picky eaters.

We recommend starting by taking a stroll around Larimer Square and then stepping inside whichever place takes your fancy.

Or for a more formal experience, make reservations and ask for a special table setting for two.

Bistro Vendome, Crimson Room, Euclid Hall Bar, and Rioja are some of the romantic bars and restaurants in the Square.

Have a romantic dinner under the twinkling lights at Larimer Square

See the tropical plants in Denver Botanic Gardens

While the outdoor garden is a frozen winter wonderland with fall leaves frozen on some trees and red apples on others, the indoor tropical conservatory is ablaze with color.

The tropical conservatory has hibiscus, orchids, and other tropical flowers native to Africa, Asia, and South America.

Apart from flowers you will also find big leafy palm trees, citrus trees, and a warm, humid climate which will make you forget that you are still in Denver.

It is definitely one of the top things to do in Denver in the winter for nature lovers.

Inside the Tropical Conservatory of Denver Botanic Gardens (Photo – Wikimedia Commons)

See the trains at Union Station

Since time immemorial, trains and majestic train stations have evoked nostalgia and romance.

Denver’s Union Station has amazing architecture and is worth a visit.

Stroll along the platforms, people watch, and dine at the eateries in Union Station while you listen to the sounds of train whistles and farewells.

Have more time? Take the Zephyr from Denver to Glenwood Springs – a half-day / 5 hrs trip – through breathtaking scenery for a weekend in Glenwood Springs!

Denver’s Union Station is perfect to take a train journey

See the Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado State Capitol, located in Downtown, is one of the best places to visit in Denver, Colorado in winter.

The Capitol building sits exactly one mile high above sea level.

It is built from a rare red marble found locally known as Colorado rose onyx.

The golden dome is made from gold mined in the state and celebrates the state’s mining past.

The Capitol building offers free tours on the hour on weekdays.

On the tours, you can admire the Neoclassical architecture and shining Golden Dome of the building.

Inside, you will find lots of Colorado and Denver history, exhibits on the construction of the Capitol, and lots of interesting facts.

The Civic Center Park, located near the Capitol, is also a great place for a stroll.

The Civic Center Park has beautiful landscaping, public art, and more!


Colorado State Capitol

Visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is located in City Park premises.

The museum is built on the eastern edge of the park and has high elevation compared to the surrounding areas.

As a result, the Museum has beautiful views of the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains in the background.

Kids of all ages enjoy exhibits including dinosaur skeletons such as Stegosaurus and Diplodocus, natural history exhibits, exhibits on Egyptian mummies, and Native American culture.

Beautiful buildings in Downtown Denver

Grab a book at the Tattered Cover Book Store

The Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver is as famous as the Strand Book Store in NYC.

The independent book store has many branches in various areas of Denver.

Three of these are convenient to visit during your trip: the LoDo on 16th Street location, the Union Station location, and the Denver International Airport Plaza book store.

The LoDo location is our favorite, it’s HUGE and has an enormous collection of books.

The store has author appearances as well as book signings and is a great place to shop for books.

The store also has a coffee shop and many couches and chairs spread throughout the store – perfect for reading on a cold day!

Tattered Cover Book Store LoDo location

See the beautiful paintings at Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is one of the premier art museums in the USA and home to world class art work.

The museum is housed in an impressive building that reflects a mix of modernist and postmodernist architecture.

There are many striking outdoor sculptures near the entrance.

The museum has many art galleries dedicated to contemporary art, modern abstract art, Asian art, African Art, Native Arts from all over the world, photographs, textiles, and sculptures.

The museum also holds temporary exhibits for visitors.

Denver Art Museum

Eat Rocky Mountain Oysters or elk steak

Colorado’s cuisine evolved from that of the Wild West, so hunting and wild game food play a major part since the earliest times.

Visitors can enjoy American, Japanese, Italian, Greek, and Thai cuisine in the city.

Be sure to try dishes iconic to Colorado, the most famous being Rocky Mountain Oysters!

If you are wondering what are they or how did the oysters get there, then definitely read more here – and if you have the stomach, then try a plate or two.

Other musts are wild game foods: elks steaks, buffalo burgers, wild boar meatloafs, braised duck, Colorado lamb chops, and Rocky Mountain trouts!

Our elk steak and Rocky Mountain trout dinner in Denver

Visit the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame located in Denver honors Colorado’s famous sports legends.

Each year new Colorado sportsmen who excel in their field are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The attached free museum is located at the Gate #1 of the Mile High Stadium (Denver Broncos Stadium).

Here you can wander through the collection and see great moments in Colorado sports, contribution of women and girls to Colorado sports, and information on all sportsperson who were inducted in the Hall of Fame.

You can also tour the stadium on a guided 75 mins tour which is a must for every Broncos fan.

You will be able to tour the box seats, locker rooms and get a behind-the-scenes look at the sports arena.

The Colorado Hall of Fame and Museum makes a perfect date for sports enthusiasts.

Mile High Stadium in Denver (Photo – Pixabay)

Things to do near Denver in winter

Denver has an amazing location.

Many of Colorado’s best attractions are within an hour from Denver, making half-day to day trips quite feasible.

In addition, the city offers great transport and shuttles to many nearby areas including the Ski Train to Winter Park.

Here are some of the best nearby Denver, Colorado things to do in winter

Visit Red Rocks Amphitheatre

The beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a unique rock structure which is used as an open-air amphitheatre.

The Red Rocks have perfect natural acoustics and the rock structure was formed over 200 million years ago.

The Red Rocks natural area was likely used by the Native Ute tribe since ancient times.

The amphitheatre was built in 1941 to provide seating for over 9000 people.

The walls of the amphitheatre contain records from the Jurassic period.

In Summer, many concerts are held at Red Rocks park.

While there are no concerts in winter, you can take free tour of the Amphitheatre and admire its natural setting.

The red rocks look beautiful when it is covered by a light layer of snow.

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame is located at the Trading Post in Red Rocks.

The Trading Post also has many Red Rocks souvenirs.

We recommend visiting both the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Colorado Hall of Fame if you are in the area.

Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver (Photo – Scapler / Wikimedia Commons)

Ski at Eldora Ski Resort

Eldora Mountain Resort is one of the most popular ski areas around Denver.

It is located near the town of Nederland along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway.

Eldora caters to day skiers and snowboarders and makes a great day trip from Denver.

Eldora Ski Resort also offers ski rentals and is a great winter activity near Denver and Idaho Springs.

It is one of the most popular Denver snow activities.

Skiing is the best way to enjoy snow in winter

Snowshoe in Rocky Mountain National Park

No list of things to do in Denver, Colorado in winter can be complete without mentioning Rocky Mountains!

If you have an extra day in Denver, you can easily visit Rocky Mountain National Park on a winter day trip.

Rocky Mountain National Park looks stunning in winter with frozen lakes and waterfalls, spectacular rock formations, snow piles along road side, and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities.

There are many snowshoeing trails inside the park and you can rent snowshoes either in Downtown Estes Park or at REI in Denver.

One of our favorite hiking trails in RMNP is the Bear Lake Loop Trail.

Bear Lake has stunning views of the Continental Divide and is a fantastic hike for beginners.

Icy lakes in RMNP look spectacular

What to pack for Denver in winter?

Pack a pair of thermal underwear, 3 t-shirts, 3 sweaters, a couple of jeans, and a coat – layering is the key to enjoying winter in Denver.

Use packing cubes to keep your bags compact and organized.

Other must haves include warm mittens for all the snow activities, gloves, woolen socks and hats, and warm scarves.

Don’t forget to pack a good pair of waterproof winter boots to enjoy winter things to do in Denver.

Layering is the key to winter fun in Colorado

Where to stay in Denver?

We recommend staying near 16th Street Mall area so you can explore Denver Downtown attractions on foot.

The area has several amazing hotels for your stay. Here are some of our favorites:

The Curtis

The Curtis is a Doubletree hotel with unique themed floors and rooms.

It is amongst the 10 Best Art Hotels in America and you will find stunning artwork everywhere within the hotel.

Wonderful room and decor at the Curtis

The Curtis has an awesome location – it is just two blocks away from the free pedestrian mall bus stop which takes visitors to most major attractions.

A lot of eateries, restaurants, and pubs are also located near the hotel.

The on-site Corner Office is also great for breakfast and brunch.

Their bottomless mimosas are perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day vacation or girl’s weekend trip.

To book your stay at The Curtis now, click here.

Our excellent breakfast at the Curtis Hotel

Denver in winter is all about snowy fun and warm, cozy indoors activities.

What to do in Denver in December?

Plan a Christmas trip to Denver in December to see Christmas trees, experience holiday cheer, have a North Pole snow experience, enjoy hot chocolate, and meet Santa Claus!

What to do in Denver in February?

During the rest of the winter months, grab your cross country skis and head to Loveland ski area or Arapahoe basin ski area or see the Dillon ice castles or enjoy dog sledding in the Rockies!

Did you like our post on Denver, Colorado things to do in winter? Let us know in the comments.

Disclaimer: We received complimentary entry to many of Denver’s attractions, courtesy Visit Denver while the amazing team of The Curtis provided us with complimentary breakfast at the Corner Office. All opinions, including attractions recommendations, are completely our own!

Tatiana

Friday 15th of November 2019

This honestly is such a great blog post! I'm planning my Denver trip and this offers so many ideas to do, thank you for sharing!