3-Day Romantic Christmas Holiday Itinerary in Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

3 days

Union Station
Cherry Creek Shopping and Dining District
Civic Center Park during Christmas
City of Denver government building
Christmas decorations in downtown Denver

About Denver, Colorado

Discover Denver, Colorado, the "Mile High City" nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Known for its vibrant arts scene, Denver offers a blend of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure. Explore the Denver Art Museum, catch a game at Coors Field, or stroll through the Botanic Gardens. Indulge in world-class dining and shopping in Larimer Square. For nature lovers, the city is a gateway to some of the world's best skiing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Don't miss the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a natural rock formation turned concert venue. Denver's craft beer culture is a must-experience, with numerous local breweries offering tours and tastings. With 300 days of sunshine, Denver is an exciting year-round destination.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Denver's Gardens, Art, and Christmas Market

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street. Enjoy the winter-themed displays and the Blossoms of Light event, a holiday lights extravaganza that transforms the gardens into a twinkling winter wonderland.

Lunch

Enjoy a cozy lunch in a restaurant in the Cherry Creek neighborhood, known for its diverse culinary scene.

Afternoon

Head to the Denver Art Museum in the afternoon. Don't miss the Western American Art collection and the contemporary art exhibits.

Dinner

Have dinner in a restaurant in the LoDo (Lower Downtown) district, known for its vibrant nightlife and dining scene.

Evening

Wrap up your day with a visit to the Denver Christkindl Market in Skyline Park, where you can enjoy live music, German food, and holiday shopping.

Morning

Start your second day with a visit to the Denver Zoo, where you can see the Zoo Lights, a holiday light show featuring more than a million LED lights.

Lunch

Have lunch in a restaurant in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, known for its historic mansions and hip eateries.

Afternoon

Spend your afternoon at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Explore the Space Odyssey exhibit and the Gems & Minerals exhibit.

Dinner

Enjoy dinner in a restaurant in the Uptown neighborhood, known for its trendy dining scene.

Evening

End your day with a performance at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts a variety of shows, including holiday-themed performances.

Morning

Start your final day with a visit to the Denver Mint, where you can learn about the history of coin production.

Lunch

Have lunch in a restaurant in the Highland neighborhood, known for its mix of trendy eateries and old-school Italian restaurants.

Afternoon

Spend your afternoon exploring the Denver Union Station, a historic landmark that's home to an array of shops and restaurants.

Dinner

Enjoy your final dinner in a restaurant in the RiNo (River North) Art District, known for its creative and culinary scene.

Evening

End your trip with a visit to the Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms, a holiday light display set in a rural setting.

Attractions in Itinerary (11)

Denver Botanic Gardens

1
Denver Botanic Gardens

A 23-acre park filled with themed gardens, a tropical rainforest, and a sunken amphitheater that hosts summer concert series.

Parks
Gardens
Blossoms of Light

2
Blossoms of Light

Blossoms of Light is a popular holiday event in Denver, featuring thousands of twinkling lights in elegant designs. It's a magical experience that transforms the Denver Botanic Gardens into a winter wonderland.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
Denver Art Museum

3
Denver Art Museum

One of the largest art museums in the West, featuring a vast collection of American Indian Art.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Denver Christkindl Market

4
Denver Christkindl Market

The Denver Christkindl Market is a traditional German Christmas market located in downtown Denver. It features vendors selling a variety of crafts, food, and drinks, offering a unique holiday shopping and dining experience.

Cultural Experiences
Food and Drink
Shopping
Denver Zoo

5
Denver Zoo

One of the most popular zoos in the United States, Denver Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals, including rare amur leopards, okapi, black rhinoceros, elephants, vampire bats, orangutan, and Komodo dragons.

Attractions
Entertainment
Zoo Lights

6
Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights is a festive event at Denver Zoo, featuring illuminated animal sculptures, interactive light displays, and festive activities. It's a magical experience that transforms the zoo into a luminous wonderland.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

7
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

A museum that offers a wide range of exhibits, from dinosaurs to space exploration.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Denver Center for the Performing Arts

8
Denver Center for the Performing Arts

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a large performing arts complex in Denver, Colorado. It offers a variety of shows and performances, including Broadway tours, local productions, and more.

Entertainment
Cultural Experiences
Denver Mint

9
Denver Mint

The Denver Mint is a branch of the United States Mint that produces coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce.

Monuments
Museums
Denver Union Station

10
Denver Union Station

Denver Union Station is a historic landmark that serves as a transportation hub and a destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Landmarks
Architecture
Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms

11
Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms

The Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms is a popular holiday event in Denver, offering a magical, outdoor light display. It's a part of the Denver Botanic Gardens, providing a unique blend of nature and festive cheer.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
Gardens

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mountain Oysters

A unique delicacy in Denver, these are actually deep-fried bull testicles, often served with a side of cocktail sauce.

Colorado Green Chili

Colorado Green Chili

A spicy stew made with pork, tomatoes, and green chilies. It's a staple in Denver and can be found in many local restaurants.

Denver Omelette

Denver Omelette

A hearty breakfast dish made with ham, onions, bell peppers, and cheese. It's named after the city itself.

Bison Steak

Bison Steak

Bison is a lean and flavorful meat that's popular in Denver. It's often grilled and served as a steak.

Palisade Peaches

Palisade Peaches

These juicy, sweet peaches are grown in Palisade, a town on the Western Slope of Colorado. They're often used in desserts or eaten fresh.

Colorado Lamb

Colorado Lamb

Colorado is known for its high-quality lamb, which is often roasted or grilled and served with a variety of sides.

Elk Sausage

Elk is a common game meat in Colorado, and it's often made into a flavorful sausage.

Trout

Trout

Trout is a popular fish in Colorado, often caught fresh from local rivers and lakes. It's typically grilled or pan-fried.

Colorado Craft Beer

Colorado Craft Beer

Denver is known for its thriving craft beer scene, with many local breweries offering a wide range of styles.

Colorado Whiskey

Colorado Whiskey

Colorado's high altitude and pure mountain water make it an ideal place for whiskey distillation. There are several local distilleries producing high-quality whiskey.

Chile Relleno

Chile Relleno

A popular dish in Denver's Mexican restaurants, it's a large chili pepper stuffed with cheese or meat, battered and fried, and served with tomato sauce.

Colorado Wine

Colorado Wine

Colorado's high altitude vineyards produce a variety of wines, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Riesling.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Denver, Colorado is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is warm and city parks are in full bloom. This is also the peak season for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and camping. However, if you're interested in winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, the best time to visit would be from December to March. Denver also hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, so it might be worth checking those out when planning your trip.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year's Day

January 15

Mon

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 19

Mon

Presidents' Day

May 27

Mon

Memorial Day

June 19

Wed

Juneteenth

July 4

Thu

Independence Day

September 2

Mon

Labor Day

October 14

Mon

Columbus Day

November 11

Mon

Veterans Day

November 28

Thu

Thanksgiving Day

December 25

Wed

Christmas Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Denver's RTD Light Rail is a convenient way to travel around the city. It connects downtown Denver with its outlying areas and suburbs. The Light Rail operates on several lines, each designated by a different color. It's a great option for avoiding traffic and parking hassles.

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) also operates an extensive bus network that covers Denver and its surrounding areas. Buses run regularly and cover many routes that the Light Rail doesn't. It's a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to get around the city.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in Denver. These services are convenient for direct trips and can be cheaper than taxis, especially if you're traveling with a group. They can be hailed from anywhere using a smartphone app.

Denver's citywide bike-sharing program, B-cycle, is a great way to get around if you prefer a more active mode of transportation. There are numerous B-cycle stations around the city where you can pick up or drop off a bike.

Renting a car can be a good option if you're planning to visit places outside of Denver or if you prefer to have your own vehicle. Most major car rental companies have locations at Denver International Airport and around the city.

Taxis are readily available in Denver, especially in the downtown area. They can be hailed on the street, at taxi stands, or booked in advance. It's a convenient option, but can be more expensive than other methods.

Denver is a very walkable city, especially in areas like downtown, Cherry Creek, and the Highlands. There are plenty of sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly areas. Walking can be a pleasant way to explore the city and take in the sights.

Electric scooters are a fun and quick way to get around Denver. Companies like Lime and Bird have scooters available for rent throughout the city. You can rent one using a smartphone app.

Car sharing services like Car2Go and Zipcar are available in Denver. These services allow you to rent a car for a few hours or a whole day, providing flexibility for your travel plans.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency$ USD

Time zoneUTC-5

Driving sideRight

Emergency phone911

Drinking waterYes

Power sockets

Power socket type APower socket type B

Voltage120 V

Things to know about Denver, Colorado as a first time visitor

1

Denver is known as the 'Mile High City' because it is exactly one mile (5,280 feet or 1.6 kilometers) above sea level.

2

The city has a semi-arid, four-season climate with mild winters and warm summers. The average high temperature in summer is around 88°F (31°C), while in winter it's around 45°F (7°C).

3

Denver is very sunny, boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, more than San Diego or Miami Beach.

4

The city is very dry, so it's important to stay hydrated, especially because the altitude can exacerbate the effects of dehydration.

5

Due to the high altitude, alcohol can have a stronger effect. It's recommended to drink in moderation until you know how your body reacts.

6

Denver is a very walkable city, with a compact downtown area. However, if you prefer, the city also has a comprehensive public transportation system, including buses and light rail.

7

Denver is a very bike-friendly city, with numerous bike rental stations and dedicated bike lanes.

8

The city is a foodie paradise, with a diverse food scene that includes everything from food trucks to high-end restaurants.

9

Denver has a thriving craft beer scene, with more than 100 breweries in the metro area.

10

The city is also known for its love of the arts, with a vibrant arts scene that includes numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues.

11

Denver is a sports-loving city, home to four major sports teams: the Denver Broncos (NFL), Colorado Rockies (MLB), Denver Nuggets (NBA), and Colorado Avalanche (NHL).

12

The city is very environmentally conscious, with numerous parks, bike lanes, and recycling programs.

13

Denver is located near the Rocky Mountains, making it a great base for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.

14

The city has a high cost of living compared to the national average, so budget accordingly.

15

Denver's population is very diverse, with a large Hispanic community and a growing number of Asian and African American residents.

16

The city is very casual, so there's no need to pack formal wear unless you plan on attending a special event.

17

Denver is in the Mountain Time Zone and does observe Daylight Saving Time.

18

The city has a low crime rate compared to other major U.S. cities, but like any city, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure.

19

Denver has a high altitude and it's common for visitors to experience some symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches and shortness of breath. It's recommended to take it easy for the first few days to acclimate.

20

The city has a strong commitment to accessibility, with many wheelchair-accessible attractions and accommodations.

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Casual clothes for daytime

  • Warmer clothes for the evening

  • Underwear and socks

  • Pajamas

  • Swimsuit (if planning to use the hotel pool or visit a spa)

  • Light jacket or sweater

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat

  • Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Deodorant

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body wash or soap

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Makeup and makeup remover

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Prescription medications

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Valid ID or driver's license

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Cash

  • Hotel booking confirmation

  • Airline tickets

  • Car rental confirmation (if applicable)

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Emergency contact information

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone and charger

  • Camera and charger

  • Headphones

  • Portable power bank

  • Laptop and charger (if necessary)

  • Adapters (if necessary)

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Snacks for the journey

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Books or magazines for the flight

  • Travel pillow and blanket

  • Earplugs and eye mask

  • First aid kit

  • Travel guide and map

  • Umbrella or raincoat

Weather Conditions

Denver, Colorado, also known as the "Mile High City," is known for its unpredictable weather patterns. It's not uncommon to experience all four seasons in a single day, so it's essential to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. In general, Denver experiences a semi-arid, four-season climate with mild winters and warm summers. The city receives a lot of sunshine, averaging over 300 sunny days per year. However, it's also known for its sudden weather changes, so always check the forecast before heading out. During the winter months (December to February), temperatures can range from 45°F (7°C) during the day to 18°F (-8°C) at night. Snowfall is common, but it usually melts quickly due to the frequent sunny days. If you're planning to visit during this time, pack warm clothing, including a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat. Snow boots are also a good idea, especially if you plan to venture into the mountains. Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are transitional seasons in Denver, with temperatures ranging from 45°F (7°C) to 75°F (24°C). These seasons can bring anything from snow to warm, sunny days, so it's best to pack layers. Summers (June to August) in Denver are warm but not overly hot, with average high temperatures around 85°F (29°C) and lows around 60°F (16°C). Thunderstorms are common in the afternoons, so pack a rain jacket or umbrella. Regardless of the season, Denver's high altitude can lead to intense sun and rapid dehydration. Always carry a water bottle, apply sunscreen regularly, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Lastly, if you're planning to visit the mountains, be aware that weather conditions can be drastically different from those in the city. Temperatures can be much colder, and snow can fall at any time of the year. Always check the local forecast and be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear.

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

7° / -9°

January is Denver's coldest month, with frequent snowfall and chilly temperatures. Dress warmly and enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.

February

11° / -8°

February sees a slight increase in temperature, but snowfall is still common. It's a great time for winter activities and exploring indoor attractions.

March

13° / -5°

March brings warmer temperatures and less snowfall. It's a transitional month, with winter sports still available and spring activities beginning.

April

17° / -1°

April is a pleasant month with moderate temperatures. It's a great time to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing.

May

24° / 4°

May marks the beginning of summer with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. It's perfect for outdoor adventures and exploring the city.

June

29° / 9°

June is a hot month with long, sunny days. It's an excellent time for water activities, picnics, and enjoying Denver's parks.

July

32° / 12°

July is the hottest month in Denver, with high temperatures and lots of sunshine. It's a great time for water sports, festivals, and outdoor concerts.

August

31° / 11°

August is still hot but slightly cooler than July. It's a great time to enjoy outdoor activities, visit the Rocky Mountains, and explore Denver's nightlife.

September

27° / 7°

September brings cooler temperatures and the start of fall. It's a beautiful time to visit for leaf-peeping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

October

21° / 1°

October is a crisp, cool month with beautiful fall colors. It's a great time for hiking, sightseeing, and enjoying Denver's breweries.

November

13° / -3°

November marks the start of winter with cooler temperatures and the first snowfalls. It's a good time for indoor activities and early winter sports.

December

7° / -7°

December is a cold, snowy month, perfect for enjoying winter sports and holiday festivities. Dress warmly and enjoy the winter wonderland.

Did you know?

Did you know that Denver is known as the 'Mile High City' because it is exactly one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level?

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