As the days grow shorter and a crisp chill fills the Rocky Mountain air, a sense of giddiness descends upon Estes Park, Colorado. The "Catch the Glow" holiday season here is nothing short of magical and is filled with 7 whole weeks of constant festivities. It's a time when the community and visitors come together to celebrate and, quite literally, catch the glow. So bundle up, grab your hot cocoa, and read on to find out how to experience the wonderful snow globe of Estes Park.
The Holiday Passport
First off, get your digital hands on the Estes Park Holiday Passport. This is your ultimate map to the holidays in Estes, featuring special offers and pointing you toward the businesses going all out for the holidays. “Check-in” as you make your way around town and have the chance to win prizes from November 17th to December 31.
Glow in the Park
A new twinkling tradition is here! Watch as Bond Park bursts to life with seven weeks of holiday cheer and two special weekends of pure fun. From November 18 to January 1, you're invited to wander through breathtaking light displays, pose for life-sized photo opportunities, and marvel at the colossal pole light tree that dazzles with synchronized light and music shows every 30 minutes each night!
But that's not all – the holiday magic continues on December 9 when you return to Bond Park for the Frosty Beer Fest. This lively festival celebrates the season with live music, local brews, food trucks and interactive games. The fun doesn't stop there, though! On December 16, bring your kids for the Daytime Family Holiday Celebration, where they can meet Santa and frozen princesses. After sharing their wishlists with Santa, there are many activities to choose from, including a ride on a mechanical reindeer, an inflatable slide, a petting zoo and a world of entertaining games!
All across town, coffee shops, bars and restaurants are putting out their most festive drinks. Miracle on 7 is Estes Park's very own Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar located at Cousin Pat’s Bar & Grill. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally-developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to, Miracle is sure to get even the grouchiest grinch in the holiday spirit.
Catch the Glow Parade
Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, a crowd of up to 20,000 merry folks lines Elkhorn Avenue in downtown Estes Park, all eager to immerse themselves in the enchantment of "Catch the Glow," a whimsical holiday parade.
Stay at Mcgregor Mountain Lodge
Book the Old Fashioned Christmas package and stay in one of these charming cabins at either Mcgregor Mountain Lodge or Castle Mountain Lodge. Admire the mesmerizing holiday light show, venture into the backcountry to find that picture-perfect Christmas tree, and make time for a special visit from Santa. Your snowy holiday dreams are about to come true for both you and your kiddos.
Stay at the YMCA of the Rockies
Have time for all of your favorite holiday traditions with a stay at the YMCA. Drink hot cocoa in between laps on the ice skating rink, make a holiday scented candle, drive through thousands of lights, hangout with Santa and even go snowshoeing with a private bonfire and s’mores as your finale. This is the perfect place to gather your family as you’ll be able to choose from cabins to hotel-style lodge rooms.
The Nutcracker at the Stanley Hotel
Experience the enchanting Christmas magic at The Stanley Hotel with "The Nutcracker" - a perfect family event. After the performance, you'll have the chance to meet the dancers, get autographs, and even enjoy a special visit from Santa on Sunday, December 10th. The Stanley is overflowing with activities this holiday season, book your stay and make a whole weekend out of it!
Stroll the tree-lined streets of Elkhorn, and you’ll do more than just window shop. Get lost in the wilderness wonder of Mad Moose, where reindeer napkin rings and unique wooden carvings give a nod to our love for mountain motifs. Venture to Trendz at the Park to uncover an eclectic gift collection that breaks the souvenir shop's mold. The best part, you ask? Every purchase supports our beloved mountain community. For those who love the holiday classics, stop by Simply Christmas, where you can personalize a ‘happy camper’ ornament to commemorate your Estes Park adventure. If you’ve got an art enthusiast on your list, waltz into Aspen and Evergreen, where local Colorado artists showcase their mesmerizing masterpieces. For a festive shopping outing, join Bear & Bee for their two-day Holiday Makers Market, filled with handmade items made by local artists, fun crafts, and even gift-wrapping services!