Best Things to Do for Thanksgiving in Colorado

Thanksgiving in Colorado

If you’ve got family coming into town for Thanksgiving in Colorado this year, you most likely have more than just a meal to plan. Or maybe you’re staying in this Thanksgiving and looking for something to keep you occupied or something that will stop the kids from developing cabin fever on their extra days off from school. Thanksgiving is a great time to enjoy a delicious meal, spend time with friends or family, or simply take advantage of a couple of days off. It’s also a great time to get out and take advantage of some of the events, festivities, and activities that Colorado has to offer, and here are just a few to get you started.

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

Work Off That Thanksgiving Feast!

Sign up for the Denver Turkey Trot, an affordable run that draws over ten thousand participants annually. Money raised from this particular Turkey Trot goes toward the United Way, so you’ll be helping out a great cause. Still, if you’re not in Denver, there are similar events throughout the state, like the Turkey Trot 5K in Colorado Springs, the Turkey Day 5K Fun Race in Frisco, or the annual Durango Turkey Trot. Some of the events take place on the morning of Thanksgiving Day, and others take place over the weekend, so you can choose whether you want to get a head start on that workout or pay for all that pumpkin pie after the fact.

Thanksgiving Ski Areas

Hit the Slopes for Thanksgiving in Colorado

Do you know what makes a lot of Coloradoans thankful each year? The ability to get their money’s worth out of their ski passes. If you need to work off some of those calories from the Thanksgiving feast, there’s no better way to do it than at one of Colorado’s world-class ski resorts. Traditionally, around Thanksgiving, most big resorts open for the season. However, early snow means Colorado’s ski resorts, especially the high-elevation resorts, open as soon as possible. Most of these resorts will be open on Thanksgiving Day. If bingeing on turkey and mashed potatoes isn’t your thing, you can beat the crowds by heading out to the slopes to ski or snowboard while everyone else still sleeps off their tryptophan-induced comas. Some of the big guns are still holding out for Thanksgiving weekend. If you want to get in on the freshest snow and the first turns of the season -

The resorts listed below will be open during Thanksgiving week:

These dates have yet to be updated, but it's a good approximation.
  • ARAPAHOE BASIN - October 23
  • ASPEN MOUNTAIN - November 23
  • BEAVER CREEK - November 24
  • BRECKENRIDGE - November 11
  • COOPER - November 17
  • COPPER MOUNTAIN - November 17
  • CRESTED BUTTE - November 24
  • ECHO MOUNTAIN - October 14
  • KEYSTONE - November 7
  • LOVELAND - October 31
  • PURGATORY - November 23
  • SNOWMASS - November 25
  • TELLURIDE - November 23
  • STEAMBOAT - November 23
  • WINTER PARK - November 17
  • WOLF CREEK - October 16
  • VAIL - November 11

Thanksgiving at Denver Botanic Gardens

Get a Head Start on the Holiday Season

Obviously, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a perfect opportunity to take advantage of holiday deals and start crossing items off those Christmas shopping lists, and local retailers all throughout the state will undoubtedly be taking part in the excitement. But even if shopping isn’t your deal, there are still plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit on Thanksgiving weekend. Here are some suggestions:
  • At the Denver Botanic Gardens, you can enjoy a nighttime jaunt through the winding paths of the gardens at Blossoms of Light, an annual event full of gorgeous lights and steaming mugs of hot cocoa.
  • In Georgetown, guests of all ages, but especially families with kids, will love taking a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad to see Santa’s Lighted Forest and meet the big man in red himself!
  • Every Thanksgiving weekend, Estes Park showcases its annual Catch the Glow Holiday Celebration, complete with hay rides, holiday shopping, and a grand parade. I
  • In Pueblo, the Parade of Lights features over one hundred intricate parade floats, performers, and more, all lit up in their holiday finery.
Thanksgiving is truly the start of the holiday season, and the long weekend after Thanksgiving is a great time to see the cities and towns around you light up in celebration.

Thanksgiving Snow Hike


REI is a big name here in Colorado, where our outdoor activities range from ice climbing to white water rafting and everywhere in between. Every year since 2015, REI pointedly closes its doors on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Alternatively, it encourages its employees and customers to #OptOutside instead of participating in the massive consumerist extravaganza. Whether you decide to give back to nature or simply enjoy it, there’s a whole world of beauty and fun here in our fine state. Thanksgiving weekend is a wonderful time to explore it. Get ready for a weekend of adventure as you take the family for a hike—or, depending on the weather, a snowshoeing excursion—or enjoy a scenic drive to one of Colorado’s four national parks. Try and spot some wildlife, build a snowman in a park, take the dog for a walk in the woods, or go for a scenic trail run to work off some of that delicious pumpkin pie. Colorado is one of the most beautiful places in the world (okay, maybe we’re a little biased…), and what better time is there to stop and take it all in than over Thanksgiving weekend?

Thanksgiving in Colorado - Choose Your Adventure

When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving in Colorado is a great excuse to spend time with the people you love, doing something fun. Maybe that means sitting around the kitchen table playing cards, tubing or sledding at a nearby park or recreation area, touring a local brewery or distillery, or maybe even something like taking a dog sledding tour or bundling up and driving to the middle of nowhere to see the stars light up the night sky. No matter how you’re looking to spend your long weekend, there are plenty of things to do in Colorado for Thanksgiving. That's most definitely something to be thankful for.

by Emily Krempholtz

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