Things to do in Denver: Free museums, ice skating, Camp Christmas, 9News Parade of Lights

Note: Events are subject to change or cancellation due to COVID-19 precautions and mandates. Masks are required at all times in indoor, public spaces in Denver. Advance online reservations are generally necessary. See the latest at

Ice skating and 9News Parade of Lights

Friday. With outdoor events looking more and more attractive by the day, this weekend’s Winter in the City kickoff at the Southwest Airlines-sponsored Downtown Denver Rink is a great excuse to lace up solo or with the family.

The rink, which opened Nov. 24 at 16th Street and Arapahoe Street in Skyline Park (at the base of the D&F Clocktower), stays frozen regardless of the weather, adding some winter ambiance to this unseasonably warm December. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Rentals for adults are $9, and $7 for kids 12 and under. Bring your own pair and skate for free. Skate walkers are available for $5.

Also check out the 9News Parade of Lights, the city’s biggest holiday parade and one that’s free to watch along the winding route. It begins at the City & County Building and snakes through downtown, with maps and details at The 40-float parade, which will be rebroadcast throughout December, starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. — John Wenzel

Free as a bird — or a painting of a bird

Friday-Wednesday. The metro area enjoys various free days at top museums each week, thanks to the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). This week, families can visit Dinosaur Ridge (Friday, Dec. 3), Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum (Dec. 7) and Clyfford Still Museum (Dec. 8) at no cost. See for details.

But the free days outside of that are also a boon for the culturally-curious. For its 25th anniversary, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is bringing back Penny Saturday for Colorado residents on Dec. 4, with reservations at Starting at 10 a.m., visitors can see Jason Moran’s “Bathing the Room With Blues” or Deborah Roberts’ “I’m,” both must-sees, according to Denver Post fine art critic Ray Mark Rinaldi.

Free at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany St. More: 303-298-7554 or — John Wenzel

Long-delayed holiday cheer

Friday. Many holiday programs on stage right now have been delayed for up two years, especially new works. That’s the case for several nonprofits this week, including the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, which hasn’t performed as a group since March 2020.

“Holiday Follies: Classics, Carols, and Camp!” brings the nearly 100-member group back for newly curated shows running through mid-December. See them through Saturday, Dec. 4, at Denver’s Central Presbyterian Church (two shows, the later one also livestreamed); Dec. 10 at Boulder’s First United Methodist; and Dec. 12 at St. Andrew United Methodist in Highlands Ranch.

Shows early next year include collaborations with the Denver Women’s Chorus, their sister group and another foundational LGBTQ group in Colorado. Tickets for the holiday performances are $15 for students, $25 for adults and $75 for VIP seating (select shows). More: 303-325-3959 or — John Wenzel

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