Top Things To Do In Denver Colorado In Winter


Denver, Colorado, known as the Mile High City, receives an average of 57 inches of snow annually, transforming into a winter wonderland each year and offering many activities for locals and visitors. From outdoor adventures in the snow to cozy indoor experiences, Denver has something for everyone during winter. This guide will explore the many things to do in Denver, Colorado, in winter, ensuring your visit or stay is filled with memorable experiences.


  • Denver's winter season offers a unique blend of outdoor activities and cultural events, making it a prime destination for winter enthusiasts.
  • The city's proximity to the Rocky Mountains provides ample skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports opportunities.
  • Denver's vibrant city life doesn't slow down in winter, with numerous festivals, markets, and indoor attractions to explore.

Outdoor Winter Adventures

Skiing and Snowboarding

Denver is conveniently located near several world-class ski resorts, catering to all skill levels. Popular destinations include Breckenridge, Vail, and Winter Park, all within a two-hour drive from the city. Many resorts offer ski and snowboard lessons and gear rental options for first-timers.

Ice Skating

Lace up your skates and glide across the ice at one of Denver’s outdoor or indoor ice skating rinks. The Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park is a favorite among locals and visitors, open from late November through mid-February. For a unique experience, check out the Evergreen Lake, just 40 minutes from Denver, which offers skating on a massive 8.5-acre lake.

Snowshoeing and Hiking

Explore the serene winter landscape on snowshoes or hiking boots. Rocky Mountain National Park, located just outside of Denver, offers stunning trails suitable for snowshoeing and winter hiking. Be sure to dress in layers, wear appropriate footwear, and check trail conditions before venturing out.

Wildly popular during the warmer seasons, wintertime in Red Rocks Park offers beautiful scenery without the warm-weather crowds. When the red rock formations are coated with a blanket of snow, it makes for stunning scenery photos.

Winter Festivals and Events

Denver hosts various winter festivals and events that showcase the city’s vibrant culture and community spirit. The Denver Winter Brew Fest, typically held in January, features over 40 local breweries and live music. For a taste of the Old West, attend the National Western Stock Show, a 16-day event in January that includes rodeos, livestock shows, and Western art exhibits.

You might not think of gardens during the winter, but the Denver Botanic Garden’s December Walking Tour is a memorable experience, especially when everything is draped in twinkle lights for the Blossoms of Light display. Denver Union Station, McGregor Square, and the 16th Street Mall also put on festive showings for winter. Camp Christmas at Stanley Marketplace, Denver’s Mile High Tree at the Civic Center Park, the German-themed Christkindlmarket, Denver Art of Winter in Larimer Square, Winter Wanderland in Cherry Creek, and the ice castle and ice sculpture displays at Gaylord Rockies in Aurora are other must-do activities that will put you in the holiday spirit.

Indoor Activities for a Cozy Winter

Museums and Galleries

When the weather outside is frightful, head indoors to explore Denver’s diverse museum and art scene. The Denver Art Museum houses an impressive collection of Western American art, while the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in Denver’s City Park offers interactive exhibits and an IMAX theater. Many museums feature special winter exhibitions and events, so check their schedules beforehand.

Spa and Wellness Centers

Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day after a cold day outside. The Oakwell Beer Spa in Denver offers a unique experience, combining craft beer-inspired treatments with traditional spa services. Other top-rated spas in the city include The Woodhouse Day Spa and The Ritz-Carlton Spa, offering a range of winter-themed treatments and packages.

Culinary Experiences

Denver’s thriving food scene doesn’t hibernate during the winter months. Cozy up in one of the city’s many acclaimed restaurants, sampling seasonal menus and comfort food favorites. For a unique dining experience, visit Ultreia, a Spanish-style tapas bar in the historic Denver Union Station. Beer enthusiasts can warm up at one of Denver’s numerous craft breweries, many offering heated patios and winter-inspired brews. Christmas Tea at the Brown Palace is a much-anticipated seasonal event, so don’t miss it!

Family-Friendly Winter Activities

Denver Zoo Lights

From late November through early January, the Denver Zoo transforms into a twinkling winter wonderland with over a million lights. Stroll through the illuminated displays, enjoy special animal encounters, and sip hot chocolate as you take in the festive atmosphere. Timed tickets are required, so be sure to book in advance.

Winter Sports and Recreation

Introduce your children to the joys of winter sports at one of Denver’s family-friendly recreation areas. The Ruby Hill Rail Yard offers free skiing and snowboarding for all ages and skill levels. For indoor fun, visit Jump City Family Fun Center or Urban Air Adventure Park, offering trampolines, climbing walls, and other activities to keep kids entertained on colder days.

Educational Workshops and Classes

Engage your children’s minds with winter-themed workshops and classes throughout the city. The Denver Botanic Gardens hosts various family-friendly events, such as the Winter Tree Tour and the Seedlings Workshop. The Denver Public Library also offers free educational programs for children, including storytimes, crafts, and science experiments.


What is the average temperature in Denver during winter?

Denver‘s average winter temperature ranges from the mid-20s to the mid-40s Fahrenheit (-4 to 7 degrees Celsius).

Are there any free winter activities in Denver?

Yes, many of Denver’s parks and outdoor spaces offer free winter activities, such as sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

What should I pack for a winter trip to Denver?

Pack warm, layered clothing, including a waterproof jacket, insulated boots, gloves, and a hat. Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen, as the sun can be intense at high altitudes.

What is the best way to get around Denver in the winter?

Denver’s public transportation system, the Regional Transportation District (RTD), offers buses and light rail services throughout the winter. Many ski resorts also provide shuttle services from Denver.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.