With spectacular scenery, a vibrant arts and culture scene, and plenty of action on the slopes, winter in Denver, Colorado, has something for everyone! Surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains, this charming mountain town packs a punch when it comes to celebrating the cold season!
Denver’s proximity to world-renowned ski resorts and pristine slopes makes it a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. With options for all skill levels, it’s your ultimate destination for downhill skiing, cross-country adventures, and thrilling snowboarding.
Hit the slopes at nearby ski resorts like Breckenridge, Winter Park, or Keystone. You’ll find trails suitable for everyone, from beginners to seasoned pros. Glide across outdoor rinks like Evergreen Lake or the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park. It’s a classic winter pastime that’s perfect for all ages.
Bundle up and venture into snowy trails at Red Rocks Park or the Rocky Mountain National Park to soak up the scenic beauty. Warm up indoors at Denver’s world-class museums, including the Denver Art Museum and Museum of Nature & Science.
Don’t let the cold fool you; Denver’s vibrant downtown comes alive in winter. Explore the historic streets adorned with holiday lights, cozy up in cafés, and indulge in local cuisine at inviting restaurants.
Ready to plan your trip to Denver in winter? Prepare for some snowy fun with this complete Denver winter activities guide!
Weather in Denver in winter
Winter in Denver lasts from December through March. Average temperatures range from lows of 16°F (-8°C) in January to highs of 56°F (13°C) in March.
Snow is a common sight, with Denver receiving around 57 inches (145 cm) of the white stuff each winter. While the temperatures might give you a chill, the snow adds a lovely wintery charm with plenty of exciting activities and festivals to keep you entertained.
Denver in winter has a lot to offer, and if you’re into winter sports, it’s one of the best seasons of the year for tourists to visit Denver! You can hit the slopes at nearby world-class ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains, where skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing opportunities abound.
In the city, explore the beautifully lit Denver Botanic Gardens during their Blossoms of Light event or take a romantic stroll along the festive 16th Street Mall.
The Parade of Lights, a spectacular holiday parade with twinkling lights and giant balloons, kicks off the season. Don’t miss the Denver International Wine Festival and the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo for unique experiences.
Warm up with hot cocoa and enjoy the vibrant arts and culture scene, with various theaters, museums, and galleries hosting special winter exhibits and performances.
Must-do winter activities in Denver
Enjoy fun snow activities at Winter Park Resort
When winter comes to Denver, embrace the snowy wonderland at Winter Park Resort. Nestled in the beautiful Fraser Valley 67 miles from downtown Denver, Winter Park offers a fantastic array of snow activities that will make your winter adventure unforgettable.
Winter Park Resort is famous for its exceptional skiing and snowboarding terrain. It’s a haven for snow sports enthusiasts, with various trails catering to all skill levels. Glide gracefully on the ice at the Village Ice Rink. Rent skates and enjoy ice skating with friends and family in a charming alpine setting.
Try something unique with fat biking on groomed trails. These specially designed bikes with oversized tires allow you to explore snowy landscapes effortlessly. Get ready for thrills as you whiz down the snow tubing hill. No experience is needed; just hop on a tube and enjoy the ride!
If you prefer a more tranquil winter activity, try ice fishing on nearby lakes. The Fraser Valley offers excellent opportunities to catch trout or salmon through a hole in the ice.
If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, Winter Park Resort offers lessons for all ages and skill levels, so don’t be shy about giving it a go. You can rent skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, fat biking, and tubing gear on-site if you don’t have your own.
After a day of snow-filled adventures, unwind in the charming Village at Winter Park Resort. You’ll find restaurants, shops, and cozy spots to warm up.
Go snowshoeing at Rocky Mountain National Park
If you’re craving a snowy adventure in Denver, head into the Rocky Mountain National Park for a snowshoeing escapade! Located about 70 miles northwest of Downtown Denver, this national treasure transforms into a winter wonderland, perfect for exploring on snowshoes.
Strap on your snowshoes and hit the park’s well-marked snowshoe trails. It’s an excellent way to explore the winter wonderland at your own pace. If you don’t have your own snowshoes, rent them in nearby towns like Estes Park or Grand Lake before heading into the park.
Rocky Mountain National Park boasts breathtaking mountain scenery and abundant wildlife. Keep an eye out for elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife that thrive in the park, especially during winter.
Before or after your snowshoeing adventure, take a scenic drive along the spectacular Trail Ridge Road, which winds through the heart of the park and provides panoramic views of the snow-covered Rockies.
If you’re a fan of cross-country skiing, the park offers groomed trails, providing a smooth glide through the snow-covered landscape. If you prefer boots over snowshoes, you can still enjoy hiking some lower-elevation trails that remain accessible in winter.
Explore Denver’s museums & art galleries
Take a break from the slopes and dive into the city’s vibrant art and culture scene by exploring Denver’s top art galleries and museums. Denver boasts a vibrant art scene with various museums and galleries perfect for escaping the winter chill.
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) is an iconic cultural institution in the heart of downtown Denver. Explore a diverse collection of art, from ancient to contemporary, including works by famous artists like Van Gogh and Monet. Join a guided tour, attend art-making workshops, or simply wander through the galleries for inspiration.
Head to the trendy Lower Downtown (LoDo) district to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver). This museum focuses on contemporary art and often hosts thought-provoking exhibitions and installations. Don’t miss the rooftop café with its fantastic city views. It’s an excellent spot for a warm beverage or light bite!
You’ll find the Clyfford Still Museum next to the Denver Art Museum in the Golden Triangle neighborhood. Explore the works of abstract expressionist Clyfford Still, one of the pioneers of this artistic movement. Take a free guided tour to better understand Still’s art and life.
The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in the Capitol Hill neighborhood houses a unique collection of decorative arts, including furniture, ceramics, and art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Explore the ‘Salon Wall’ featuring an eclectic mix of artwork and objects, and gain insight into the design history of Denver.
For a dose of local art, head to the Art District on Santa Fe, a neighborhood filled with galleries and studios. Stroll along Santa Fe Drive to explore a variety of contemporary and traditional art spaces. Visit on First Fridays for lively art walks and to meet artists and gallery owners.
Hit the slopes in Breckenridge and other Colorado ski resorts
Looking to hit the slopes in Denver? Carve your way through fresh powder at some of the best ski resorts in Colorado!
Breckenridge Ski Resort is a picturesque mountain town with world-class skiing. A two-hour drive from Denver, Breckenridge offers a diverse terrain with four interconnected peaks and charming historic downtown.
Hit the powder for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and dog sledding. After your day on the slopes, settle down in the Breckenridge’s Historic District to warm at a wonderful cafe or coffee shop, or enjoy a pint at one of its craft breweries. Visit Breckenridge during the annual International Snow Sculpture Championships in January for a unique visual treat!
Only 67 miles from downtown Denver, Winter Park Resort is one of the closest ski resorts. With over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, Winter Park offers something for everyone, from gentle slopes for beginners to challenging runs for experts. Besides skiing and snowboarding, you can enjoy snowshoeing, snowcat tours, and tubing.
Keystone is just over an hour’s drive from Denver and is famous for its night skiing and the renowned A51 terrain park for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. Enjoy ice skating on the picturesque Keystone Lake, or take a scenic snowcat tour to explore the backcountry.
Loveland Ski Area offers a laid-back vibe and wide-open terrain, perfect for those learning to ski or ride. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, or A-Basin, as locals call it, is best known for its high-altitude skiing. It boasts some of Colorado’s steepest and most challenging terrain, attracting expert skiers.
Catch a Colorado Avalanche game at Ball Arena
If you’re in Denver during the NHL season, catching a Colorado Avalanche game at Ball Arena is an absolute must! Put on your favorite Avalanche gear, grab a foam finger, and get ready to cheer for the home team in one of Denver’s most electrifying sports venues.
Ball Arena, formerly the Pepsi Center, is conveniently located in Downtown Denver and easily accessible from various parts of the city. Arrive early and grab a bite to eat at one of the arena’s restaurants or explore the dining options in the nearby Ballpark neighborhood.
Explore the arena’s interactive exhibits and displays, which offer insights into the team’s history and achievements. Keep an eye out for the Avalanche’s mascot, Bernie, who’s always up for a high-five or a selfie.
If you’re visiting during the NBA season, you might also catch a Denver Nuggets basketball game at the same arena.
Explore the local craft beer scene at the Winter Brew Fest
If you find yourself in Denver during winter, don’t miss the chance to experience the Winter Brew Fest. It’s the perfect way to warm up and savor various craft brews while embracing the chilly season.
The Winter Brew Fest typically takes place in Downtown Denver. The heart of the festival is, of course, the beer. You’ll find a fantastic selection of craft beers from both popular Denver craft breweries and regional breweries. Explore a diverse range of flavors, from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts.
Purchase a ticket, and you’ll often receive a tasting glass to sample various beers. Satisfy your hunger with delicious offerings from food trucks that often accompany the festival. Pair your beer with tasty bites.
Some festivals offer fun activities like cornhole, giant Jenga, or even beer-related contests for a bit of friendly competition. Live music performances add to the festive atmosphere. It’s the perfect backdrop for enjoying your favorite brew.
Enjoy a winter hike at Red Rocks Park
Head into the great outdoors and soak up the beauty of nature with a winter hike in Red Rocks Park. Home to some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in the area, the park offers a scenic escape just minutes from the city.
Red Rocks Park is one of Denver’s most popular parks, famous for its iconic amphitheater. Carved into the natural rock formations, it’s a world-famous concert venue and an architectural marvel. Take a moment to admire the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Even if you’re not catching a show, the arena’s gorgeous natural backdrop is worth a visit.
Red Rocks Park is known for its unique rock formations, which are both geologically significant and visually captivating. Marvel at the towering red sandstone monoliths that make this park so distinctive.
A network of hiking trails suitable for various skill levels crisscrosses the park. The Trading Post Trail is popular, offering a moderate hike with picturesque views.
If you’re a shutterbug, this place is a landscape and nature photography paradise. The sunrise and sunset views are particularly magical.
Taste Denver’s finest food & drink at the Dairy Block and Union Station
Looking for a dynamic blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment? The Dairy Block and Union Station are where it’s all happening. Nestled in the heart of Downtown Denver, these two vibrant micro-districts are packed with eclectic shops, restaurants, and buzzing bars.
The Dairy Block’s Market Hall is a foodie paradise. Sample a variety of cuisines from local vendors, grab a craft beer, or savor gourmet coffee at one of Denver’s most popular coffee shops & cafes. Keep an eye out for the captivating art installations scattered throughout the Dairy Block. They add a unique and creative touch to the atmosphere.
Explore boutiques and shops offering everything from trendy fashion to artisanal goods. You might stumble upon a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Challenge your friends to a game of shuffleboard or cornhole at the lively alley in the Dairy Block.
Union Station is a beautifully restored historic train station with elegant architecture and timeless charm. A transportation hub for travelers, the station is also brimming with bars, restaurants, and shops and a fantastic spot to soak in the city’s bustling energy.
Get into the festive spirit at the Denver Christkindlmarket
Get a dose of the holiday spirit, European tradition, and cozy, Christmassy charm at the Denver Christkindlmarket. The Denver Christkindlmarket is nestled in Downtown Denver’s heart, typically taking over Skyline Park. Just follow the twinkling lights and festive tunes to get there.
The Denver Christkindlmarket is a charming holiday village with cozy fire pits, twinkling lights, and festive decorations. Wander around quaint, wooden stalls adorned with fairy lights and filled with handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and festive goodies. Perfect for holiday shopping!
Savor the flavors of Germany with traditional dishes like bratwurst, schnitzel, and pretzels. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a warm, spiced mulled wine called Glühwein.
Enjoy live performances featuring traditional holiday music and dance. It’s the perfect backdrop for soaking in the festive atmosphere. Join in on various holiday-themed workshops, from ornament making to cookie decorating.
Go ice skating on Evergreen Lake
Lace up those skates, embrace the mountain chill, and enjoy a quintessential snowy experience with ice skating on Evergreen Lake. Nestled in the charming mountain town of Evergreen, a scenic 30-mile drive from Downtown Denver, the lake is a picturesque wonderland in winter.
Surrounded by towering pine trees and snow-capped peaks, Evergreen Lake’s scenery is picture-postcard perfect. When the lake freezes, it becomes a massive, natural ice-skating rink. Whether you’re an experienced skater or just starting, this frozen lake offers an enchanting setting to twirl and glide.
You can try ice fishing on Evergreen Lake if you’re into angling. It’s a serene way to enjoy the winter scenery while waiting for a catch. You can also experience the magic of a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the lake, complete with jingling bells and cozy blankets.
Soak away your stress at Indian Hot Springs
Enjoy a warm and soothing escape at the Indian Hot Springs. Nestled in the mountains of Idaho Springs, it’s the perfect spot to unwind and soak your cares away.
The Indian Hot Springs boasts natural mineral baths with different temperatures to suit your comfort. Immerse yourself and let the minerals work their magic. It’s perfect for easing muscle tension, improving circulation, and unwinding.
If you want to take your relaxation to the next level, indulge in a spa treatment. From massages to facials, there’s a range of options. Don’t miss the geothermal caves; they provide a cozy and cave-like atmosphere, perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation.
After your soothing soak, take some time to explore the charming town of Idaho Springs. You’ll find quaint shops, cafés, and a lovely historic district with beautiful old buildings.