Brace yourself for the chill of Denver’s winter air, a refreshing sensation that marks the arrival of festive spirit in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
With snow-dusted landscapes as your backdrop, explore the charming city renowned for its thriving craft beer scene and the Denver Christmas Market, a key event that lights up the city every December.
In this guide, I share essential details about the 2023 Denver Christmas Market, from dates, opening hours and location specifics to a selection of the regional specialities to delight in.
In Denver, Christmas brings life into the city streets as twinkling lights weave magic and warm spiced drinks fill the brisk air of the Christkindl market.
Denver Christmas Market 2023
At the Christmas market in Denver, officially known as Denver Christkindl Market, is a beautiful blend of traditional European charm and the vibrant spirit of Colorado.
Situated in Civic Center Park, the market is loved for its quaint wooden huts adorned with festive decorations, each teeming with unique wares.
The warmth of the artisan vendors, the wide array of handcrafted goods, the diverse food and drink selections, and the enchanting backdrop of Denver’s skyline make the market a special part of the city’s holiday festivities.
Dates and Location
Denver Christmas Market dates: 17th November to 23rd December 2023.
Location: Civic Center Park.
Opening times: 11am to 9pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Ice skating: Yes, at Skyline Park.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Handcrafted local goods; diverse food selection infused with Denver’s culinary tradition; stunning Rocky Mountain backdrop.
Recommended tour: History and architecture walking tour.
Specialities: Crisp Colorado apple cider, homemade Rocky Mountain elk sausage, freshly baked Denver doughnuts.
Where to stay: Thompson Denver is an excellent choice and it’s a 5-minute drive from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Denver Christmas Market
Choosing to stay in the bustling downtown area of Denver provides you with easy access to the Christmas market in Civic Center, not to mention the myriad of restaurants, shops and cultural landmarks at your doorstep.
In particular, I’d recommend the Thompson Denver; its favourable location and consistently high ratings make it an ideal choice for visitors to the Christmas market.
Location of Denver Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
A city tour of Denver provides an excellent opportunity to delve into the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. Even in winter, Denver, with its busy downtown, vibrant colours and remarkable architecture, is well worth the visit.
I recommend taking this city tour of Denver as it lets you discover many of the city’s highlights under the guidance of a local expert at a reasonable cost. This is particularly suitable for those making their initial visit to the city.
During a city tour, you’ll explore Denver’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, such as the historic Larimer Square, the picturesque Denver Botanic Gardens and the imposing State Capitol Building.
Alternatively, why not take this food tour to understand the local culture through its cuisine? Food tours are growing in popularity and for a good reason. It’s a fun way to discover and engage with a new destination or learn something new if you’re a resident.
Christmas in Denver
This video gives you a taste of the Christkindl market in Denver. As you watch, I hope you’ll get a sense of the festive atmosphere and enchanting surroundings that make the event so special.
Food at the Christmas Market
- Pretzels: Pretzels, often sold as large, twisted knots, are a staple at Christmas markets around the world. Made from dough that is twisted into a distinctive knot-like shape, then boiled and baked, these snacks have a distinctive chewy texture with a soft interior and a glossy, slightly crunchy crust. While not specific to Denver, they are a beloved snack at markets worldwide and often come in sweet or savoury versions.
- Roasted Chestnuts: As you wander the market, the scent of roasted chestnuts might draw you in. These small, brown nuts are scored with an X on the flat side and then roasted until their interiors become sweet, creamy and slightly crumbly.
- Bratwurst: A nod to traditional German Christmas markets, bratwurst is a type of German sausage made from pork, beef, or veal. It’s typically grilled or pan-fried and served with mustard and a piece of bread or in a bun. It’s an international Christmas market staple that adds a hearty, savoury option to the mix.
- Mulled Wine: Opt for a mug of mulled wine for a warming beverage. This warm drink is typically made from red wine, steeped with various mulling spices like cloves, star anise and cinnamon, and sweetened with sugar. It may also contain citrus peel like oranges or lemons.
- Colorado Apple Cider: For a more local option, you might want to try Colorado apple cider. It’s a warming, sweet, and slightly tangy drink that’s sure to lift your spirits; it is made by pressing locally grown apples and heating the resulting juice with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Kettle Corn: Kettle Corn is a sweet-and-salty variety of popcorn that’s a popular treat at many American festivals, including Christmas markets. The popcorn is typically cooked in a large iron kettle, hence its name, and then sweetened with sugar and salted, resulting in a deliciously addictive treat.
- Strudel: For a sweet end to your market exploration, look out for strudel. Originally from Central Europe but now found in Christmas markets worldwide, strudels are pastries made from thinly rolled dough wrapped around various fillings. Apple strudel is a classic choice, filled with tart, spiced apples and often served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Eggnog: A creamy, rich beverage, eggnog is a Christmas classic. It’s a sweet concoction made from milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites and egg yolks, often spiced with nutmeg. Some versions may contain rum or bourbon, though non-alcoholic versions are also popular.
- Gingerbread Cookies: A sweet conclusion to a hearty Christmas meal would be gingerbread cookies. These treats are made from a dough that combines flour, baking soda, and a mix of spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Shaped into various forms, the most popular being the iconic gingerbread person, they are baked until firm and then often decorated with icing.
What to Buy
- Handcrafted Jewellery: At the Denver Christmas Market, local artisans will design unique handcrafted jewellery. These pieces often incorporate elements inspired by the natural beauty of Colorado, with motifs from the Rockies and designs that reflect the state’s rich cultural history.
- Colorado Honey Products: Colorado’s rich floral biodiversity produces some of the most flavourful honey in the United States. Honey, beeswax candles and other honey-derived products make for a sweet gift that supports local beekeepers.
- Native American Crafts: Showcasing the rich culture and traditions of the region’s Indigenous people, Native American crafts make for unique and culturally significant gifts. Each piece tells a story of the region’s heritage, from intricate beadwork to hand-woven textiles and carved totems.
- Local Artwork: Denver’s thriving arts scene is reflected in the Christmas market stalls, where you can find works from local painters, photographers and mixed-media artists. Artwork ranges from small prints to larger pieces, all capturing the vibrant essence of Denver and its stunning surroundings.
- Handmade Soaps and Candles: Local artisans take pride in creating handmade soaps and candles, often using natural ingredients and essential oils derived from Colorado’s flora. These make for delightful gifts that evoke the fresh, clean scents of the Rocky Mountains.
- Rocky Mountain Photography: Denver’s dramatic landscapes are a photographer’s dream. High-quality prints of stunning local scenery, from mountain vistas to cityscapes, offer a visually pleasing memento of your visit to Denver.
- Local Craft Beers: Denver is well-known for its craft beer scene. Gift sets of local craft beers provide a taste of Colorado for the beer aficionado in your life.
- Christmas Ornaments: Traditional Christmas ornaments, often handcrafted and themed around Denver and Colorado, make for charming keepsakes. These can range from glass baubles depicting local wildlife to wooden ornaments carved into the shape of the state or popular landmarks.
For a broader this winter, my guide to the top Christmas markets across the US will help you explore more seasonal delights and enrich your holiday itinerary.
To help you navigate Denver with ease, you’ll find a wealth of information, travel tips and local insights on Denver, making it an excellent resource for your visit to the city.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Denver at Christmas.
- Opt for Renewable Energy Accommodation: Many Denver hotels are committed to green initiatives, incorporating renewable energy sources such as solar panels in their operations. Consider choosing such environmentally-friendly accommodations when visiting a Colorado Christmas Market.
- Reduce Food Waste: When dining at Denver’s food stalls or restaurants, consider ordering smaller portions to avoid wasting food. Many Denver restaurants, like Root Down, practise responsible food sourcing and have programs in place to compost kitchen waste.
- Conscious Shopping: Opt for locally-made, ethically-produced goods when shopping in Denver’s Christmas markets. Supporting local artisans reduces the carbon footprint of your purchases and sustains the local economy.
- Sustainable Diets: Denver has a growing number of eateries offering plant-based options, reducing the environmental impact of your meals. Restaurants like Watercourse Foods serve delicious vegan cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients.
- Use Sustainable Transport Options: Denver’s public transport system, including its extensive light rail and bus networks, is an environmentally-friendly way to explore the city. Consider Denver’s bike-sharing programme for shorter distances or simply enjoy a winter walk to get around.
The Denver Christmas Market starts from 17th November to 23rd December 2023.
The Denver Christmas Market is hosted in Civic Center Park, the heart of downtown Denver.
Denver Christkindl Market opens at 11am to 9pm daily.
Winter in Denver can be chilly, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Packing warm clothing, such as thermal layers, a waterproof winter coat, hats, gloves and boots for walking in the snow, is advisable.
In addition to the Christmas market, Denver offers a variety of winter activities, such as ice skating at Skyline Park, viewing the holiday lights at Denver Botanic Gardens, or enjoying winter sports in the nearby Rocky Mountains.
Yes, there are plenty of food stalls at the Denver Christmas Market catering to vegetarians and vegans, offering a variety of local and international cuisine.
Denver has an extensive public transport system, including buses and light rail. The city’s bike-sharing programme and pedestrian-friendly downtown make it easy to navigate for shorter distances.
If you would like to leave a review of Denver Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Denver, United States. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.