Christmas in Colorado is a magical time, with charming little towns and thriving cities decked out in glistening holiday lights against a background of snow-covered Rocky Mountains.
Each holiday season, Colorado excels at putting on a show, with everything from Santa runs to tree lighting ceremonies to torchlight parades down ski resort slopes.
Best Places to Visit in Colorado During Christmas
Choose a location to celebrate this holiday season with our list of the greatest Colorado Christmas cities, whether you’re a family whose children simply want to board a train to see Santa at the North Pole or a couple looking for a romantic trip with terrific skiing and top-notch food.
1. Durango, Colorado
At Christmastime, Durango is picture-perfect and a lovely destination for a family holiday. The modest, beautifully adorned downtown of the mountain hamlet in the southwest of Colorado is illuminated by thousands of lights throughout the holiday season.
The first weekend in December is dedicated to an arts and crafts festival, and many of Durango’s businesses offer handcrafted items manufactured in Colorado.
You can take part in Breckenridge’s most distinctive Christmas event, Race of the Santas if you can make it there on the first Saturday in December. Hundreds of participants in Santa suits and sneakers descended down Main Street at that time for a 5K race. It is quite the show.
The Santa race is only the beginning. Dogs can also participate in the Holiday Dog Parade, and Breckenridge is lit up for the season during the Lighting of Breckenridge.
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Additionally, Breckenridge hosts Ullr Fest in December. The event, which honors the Norse god of snow and has been held for more than 58 years, welcomes the upcoming winter. For a Main Street procession, both locals and visitors jam the streets, and many dress in Viking attire to celebrate.
Another picture-perfect Colorado Christmas hamlet is the rough mountain town of Telluride, which is situated in the state’s San Juan range. The town goes all out to celebrate the holiday season, both on and off the ski slopes, and the valley floor position is picture-perfect.
The Holiday Prelude, a weekend jam-packed with activities to get guests in the holiday spirit, serves as the official start to everything. A Santa workshop, free ice skating, hot cocoa, kid-friendly crafts, and holiday movies are all available at various venues around the city.
4. Aspen, Colorado
The 12 Days of Aspen event, which lasts for the final 12 days of December every year, makes this old mining town another well-liked Christmas vacation spot.
Although Aspen and nearby Snowmass are well known for their outstanding skiing and snowboarding in the winter – Aspen just celebrated its 75th anniversary as a ski resort in 2022 – on varied terrain, there are lots of other things to do, especially around Christmas.
Georgetown, a small mountain town, puts up a spectacular Christmas display. Georgetown, which is surrounded by high mountains and is located just off I-70, transforms into a traditional European Christmas market town during the holiday season. There are many carolers dressed in Victorian attire, and chestnuts are even roasted over an open fire.
6. Eldorado and Estes Park
Another quaint Colorado town for Christmas is Estes Park. The day following Thanksgiving, the community holds its Catch the Glow Parade and Celebration, which features floats, marching bands, dancing, and live music. Every weekend in December, the community holds seasonal activities, such as a Breakfast with Santa event.
The entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, which is accessible year-round, is also located in Estes Park. A great time to travel is in the winter. There are fewer people around, and you can use cross-country skis or snowshoes to tour the snow-covered terrain.
7. Colorado Springs
A Festival of Lights Parade through the city center of Colorado Springs ushers in the holiday season. However, this is by no means an isolated incident. The city at the foot of Pikes Peak sparkles with holiday decorations and festive activities all season long.
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If you have kids, plan a journey on the Santa Express Train to visit Santa and his elves at the North Pole. For the train ride, which leaves from the Royal Gorge Railway depot in Canon City, south of Colorado Springs, kids typically dress in their pajamas. There are cookies and hot chocolate available, and Christmas music is playing.
8. Salida, Colorado
Salida, a mountain town, chooses to decorate a mountain instead of a Christmas tree to celebrate Christmas a little differently than most other cities.
Every year during the holiday season, Tenderfoot Mountain is covered in hundreds of colorful lights that are hung there to form the silhouette of a huge Christmas tree that is 750 feet tall. A fireworks show, an indoor and outdoor celebration, and free cookies and hot chocolate are all included in the lighting ceremony.
When Santa visits the adjacent Monarch Ski Area on Christmas Eve and the day before to ski, there is another celebration. Children can connect with Santa while skiing and riding on the mountain.
9. Frisco, Colorado
This winter, if you want to ski at Keystone, Breckenridge, or Arapahoe Basin resorts, Frisco, a charming mountain town, is well situated between three of the top ski areas in Colorado. It also puts on a display for Christmas, starting with the lighting of the town tree the weekend following Thanksgiving.
Families will also value the numerous opportunities for youngsters to visit Santa as well as events like free sleigh rides and tubing at the Frisco Adventure Park in the days running up to Christmas. Frisco also triumphs if you’re looking for an inexpensive hotel that can accommodate a family because its costs are less than those of Breckenridge.
10. Steamboat Springs
Every year, Steamboat Springs, a ski resort in northern Colorado, celebrates Christmas in a Wild West fashion. The day-to-night celebration, which takes place a few days before Christmas, starts with Santa riding down the ski slopes on horseback before going to his workshop to hang out with his reindeer pals and any curious kids.
At the ski resort’s base, the event is held. Live music and cookie decorating are also included. The resort is accessible for night skiing when the sun sets and features a torchlit parade down the mountain and pyrotechnics.
With a multitude of gorgeous towns rendered even more lovely with a blanket of snow and sparkling lights, one of the most glorious seasons of the year is particularly unforgettable in Colorado. Put one or more of these on your schedule if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas town in the Rocky Mountain state.