The Santaland Diaries (credit: CBS)
Are you planning a trip to Denver during the holidays? Or do you have a few days off but you don’t get to leave town? No matter what the reason for your time off in Denver, there are lots of great ways to enjoy the holiday season in the beautiful Mile High City. From cultural events to holiday shopping opportunities to day trips up in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, there are so many different ways for you to celebrate your staycation that you just may need a second vacation to recover from your staycation.
Denver Zoo Lights
2300 Steele St
Denver, CO 80205
Date: Through Jan. 4, 2014
The Denver Zoo is always a great place to enjoy when you have a few days off but during the holiday season, the Zoo transforms into a twinkling paradise with more than 38 acres of illuminated lights. You’ll find more than 150 different animated animal sculptures, featuring animals that hide in the bushes, swing through the trees and pop up all over the park. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the holidays with the whole family, or bring a date and make it a romantic evening for two. Plus the Toyota Elephant Passage will be open and you can check out the Zoo Lights Lantern Festival while you are there. Make sure to bundle up and bring a few extra dollars to get a cup of hot cocoa while you wander the glowing grounds of the Denver Zoo.
“The Santaland Diaries”
Off-Center and Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
The Jones Theatre
1101 13th St.
Denver, CO 80204
Date: Through Dec. 24, 2014
If you aren’t a fan of all those saccharine-sweet Christmas stories, then this is the show for you. This true tale from David Sedaris’ past is a one-man show that will have your sides splitting from laughter before you can say Rudolph. It’s the story of Crumpet the Elf, who is less than pleased to be working as an Elf in Macy’s during the holiday season. Filled with Sedaris’ famous dark humor and plenty of snark, it’s the perfect alternative to shows like “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nutcracker.” This one is always a huge hit for fans every year, so grab your tickets early or you may miss out.
Related: Top Holiday Celebrations In Denver
Date: Through Feb. 16, 2015
What could be more “holiday” than spending a few hours ice skating with your family and friends? Bundle up and break out the old skates (or rent them for $2 at the rink) and whip around the rink at Skyline Park, showing off your skills or holding hands with your sweetheart. Don’t worry if you’ve never skated before. You can take free lessons every Saturday or Wednesday morning. Or for those who love to play Broomball on the ice, there are Broomball challenges every Tuesday and Thursday evening as well. Looking for a great place for some memories on your staycation? Then this is the place to visit.
Shop for Handmade Gifts
Handmade at The Hall
3545 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
Date: Dec. 20, 2014
Of course, chances are you’ve left a lot of your holiday shopping until your time off from work, so you may need to fight the crowds in the malls or shopping centers to stock up on those special gifts. If the thought of facing those crowds terrifies you, then check out Handmade at The Hall for a huge display of 65 local artists all showcasing their own unique crafts and gift items. There will be food trucks around to provide you with a bite to eat as you find some truly special gifts that you can’t find anywhere else. Plus, you’ll be supporting local artists, crafters and small businesses as you find those perfect gifts. And it all happens without you having to take one step in a crowded mall.
Related: Top Holiday Escapes Near Denver
Take a Day Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517
Rocky Mountain National Park is a beautiful spot to visit during the summer months but if you’ve never enjoyed this stunning destination in the winter, you are missing out. You can rent some snowshoes and poles and go for a hike on one of the many different trails or rent some skis and try your hand at cross-country skiing. Or visit Hidden Valley for sledding (just bring your own sled) and have some fun sliding down the huge hill with plenty of fresh powder in your face. Bring your camera and check out all of the amazing wildlife that really enjoy the winter in Colorado. Winter is an especially good time to spot elk, mule deer and moose, so be on the lookout and have that camera ready.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.