How to Spend Winter in Denver
Colorado has a reputation. We have the best powder for skiing and snowboarding in the country. And we agree–shade intentionally thrown your way Utah and Idaho. Heck, ask some of the non-natives at Booyah what brought them to Colorado and we bet around 50% of them are going to talk about hitting the slopes. But unless you’re one of those folks that cross-country skis around Cheesman Park, Denver itself does not equal a shred utopia.
If we’re being honest, sometimes we don’t want to wake up at 5:00 AM to brave winter traffic on I-70 to get a day of turns in. Once you take skiing out of the winter equation though, many visitors, and locals, might be left scratching their heads wondering what else there is to do in winter in Denver. So loosen those bindings and unclip those uncomfy boots as the Booyah team talks through their favorite things to do in and around Denver. Happy chilly season!
Winter Activities in Denver
Snowshoeing and Winter Hiking in Denver
Snowshoeing and winter hiking around Denver was easily the most popular suggestion amongst the team. So while it may be cold outside, it’s not stopping our team from getting out there. Account Coordinator Noah Dumas agrees and also brings up a good point about affordability, “Going snowshoeing is always a great way to be outdoorsy during the winter and doesn’t cost nearly as much as a ski pass.”
As for specific spots or trails, our Account Director Christine Aultz calls out Castlewood Canyon not just for the critters her kids like to run into but also for a sentimental reason, “I got married there on a giant boulder that the kids have now nicknamed ‘Marriage Rock’.”
Search Strategist Kate Miller adds to the advantages of hiking and snowshoeing, saying, “Snow hiking/snowshoeing: all the views you’d get from skiing & snowboarding but with the time to actually enjoy them rather than just whizzing by them. There are tons of trails in the surrounding areas of Denver so you’ll never run out of hikes, PLUS it’s a dog-friendly activity.”
Kate’s pooch wasn’t the only four-legged friend to get a shoutout. Our team’s doggos were a huge factor in hiking being a popular winter choice. Kourtney Reeves, Nick Capocelli, Meagan Traver, and Devin Rafferty all mentioned that their pups are priorities when planning a Denver winter activity.
Organic Manager Erin Westermann got the ice skating convo up and running, mentioning, “Ice skating is a fun alternative to skiing! In the winter, there’s a skating rink downtown and ice skating on Evergreen Lake about a half hour outside of Denver. Both locations offer rentals and those walker things if you’re just starting out.”
While Erin was thinking of us people who aren’t real graceful on the ice, Senior Account Manager Kaity Klonowski flexed her skills instead, “I also like to go ice skating, I used to figure skate when I was younger, so it’s fun to keep up with that.”
Denver Sporting Events
Figure skating isn’t the only thing happening on the ice though. While we do have a few hockey players on our team, watching hockey gets the Booyah team hyped. Plus we’re in the perfect place to do it as we can support our local NHL Champions the Colorado Avalanche.
We aren’t short of diehard fans here (looking at you Drew Kleppe and Emma Dell), but Noah expands on why Avs games are perfect for winter in Denver saying, “Avs games are a must during the winter for me. They provide the feel of the winter season and always have an exciting atmosphere!”
But wait just a second, the Avs aren’t the only professional sports team dunking on the rest of the country during winter. We’ll hand it over to Media Supervisor Lindsay Rinner to give the Nuggets the justice they deserve, “Nuggets games!!! NBA season is all winter long and indoors and the Denver Nuggets are #1 in the West right now, basketball is very underrated in Denver, it’s Broncos territory but the Broncos suck.”
Sorry Broncos fans but the truth can hurt.
Believe it or not, the Booyah team considers ourselves a rather cultured bunch. We go to museums, we like art, and Denver is an exciting up-and-coming art hub. The Denver Art Museum, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the American Museum of Western Art are all great spots to check out. However, Avery Langhoff, a Senior Search Manager at Booyah, specifically called out the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art as a favorite.
Also, a relative newcomer to Denver is Meow Wolf. We hesitate to even call it a museum (it’s more of an experience) but without ruining the eye-popping surprises in there, we’ll just say it’s a must-see.
Lights Around Denver
Denver features two beloved seasonal light displays, one at the Botanic Gardens and the other at the Denver Zoo, affectionately called Zoo Lights. A few of our employees added a heart emoji or two after talking about these two. How’s that for an endorsement?
While out-of-towners may be disappointed to find out that snowmobiles are not a normal mode of transport in Denver, there are plenty of tours just outside the city. Florida native (and previously mentioned Broncos truther) Lindsay paints us a nice picture of why this is one of her favorites, “Snowmobiling is so fun for normie Southerners like me that don’t ski.”
A Variety of Shows
Winter might mean the closure of our famed music venue Red Rocks, which during the warmer months pulls some of the greatest musicians and comedians in the world for outdoor entertainment, but it doesn’t mean that shows in Denver stop altogether. Senior Coordinator Jade Reiman lists concerts around Denver as a must during winter. While some of our teammates called out specific venues like Mission Ballroom and the Bluebird.
But shows aren’t limited to music. Coordinator Niamh Healy shouts out Denver’s stellar comedy scene, while Coordinator Carmen Mabee recommends ski and snowboarding movie premieres at the Boulder Theater. Carmen also loves a lesser-known activity on CU’s campus, “The Fiske Planetarium in Boulder is also super underrated!”
Denver Arts n Crafts
As a fan of the Contemporary Art Museum in Denver, it may not surprise readers that Avery also likes to focus on her own art projects (“mainly collaging and crocheting”) during the winter, but she definitely wasn’t alone in thinking of winter as the perfect time to get creative.
Denver Breweries and Beverages
If skiing is number one on the list of activities Colorado is known for, breweries might be number two. And cruising around Denver and seeing taprooms of local breweries like Odell, Cerebral, Tivoli, and Great Divide it starts to really make sense.
Nick and Jasmine Larsen both mention brewery tours as a favorite winter activity while Lindsay recommends parking it in front of the firepits on Improper City’s patio.
Senior Organic Manager Emma Dell also gives some love to game bars around the city. Specifically mentioning Tabletop Tap, Pindustry, and the Pinball Pub as places to go.
There are, of course, tasty beverages that aren’t beer, and are even sans alcohol. Senior Coordinator Kaley Stevens recommends that “tea at the Brown Palace is a must in the winter”, but she does mention that reservations can be hard to come by. So if you want to get those pinkies out at tea time, plan ahead.
Hot Springs in Colorado
Hot springs definitely represent an obvious pick for winter. Problem: cold, snowy weather but want to be outside, solution: get in some pipping hot water and bask a little. Both Senior Director Charl Oosthuizen and Search Manager Jasmine Larsen mentioned hot springs as a favorite winter activity. When asked about a favorite spot, Charl, simply (but elegantly) said, “So many.”
We’d recommend looking into spots near Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs.
The Denver Food Scene
People used to hate on Denver’s food scene. “A cheeseburger town” it was called. Although we do love a cheeseburger, our palette has expanded. So much so that our Programmatic Trading Strategist Lee White calls Denver his “culinary paradise” and loves trying new restaurants in the winter. Jasmine and Jade agree that eating your way through Denver is always a worthy activity.
As for specific spots? Recent Denver defector Kourtney Reeves mentions that she misses her favorite ramen spot, JINYA, while Content Strategist Zack Davisson calls out Fish n Beer, “you may not think of Denver as a seafood mecca, I certainly didn’t and would intentionally avoid seafood here, but Fish n Beer completely changed my mind. Check it out guys.”
Not every activity fits perfectly into a little box like the ones above. Others just get mentioned in passing by our team. Here are a few of our favorite miscellaneous Denver winter activities.
- Jade mentions thrift shopping and day trips to Boulder and Nederland.
- Kaity shouts out hot yoga “because it’s nice and warm and it feels good to stretch out in a hot room when it’s so cold outside.”
- Niamh says she loves doing a staycation with friends where they rent an Airbnb in the mountains and chill for a weekend.
- Avery loves going to the movies, promoting the AMC Movie Pass, while Zack does the same for Alamo Drafthouse.
But our favorite unique pick comes from Devin Rafferty. “Personally, I love to chop wood for the wood stove, that’s my favorite of all time.” Pic for proof.
We Get It Team, You Like Skiing and Snowboarding
Even though this article was supposed to be all about spending winter in Denver without skiing and snowboarding, our team couldn’t resist bringing it up. Just look at these quotes from Carmen and Coordinator Jacqueline Robledo when asked specifically about things to do besides skiing and snowboarding:
- “When I am not snowboarding I like to watch other people ski or snowboard.” -Carmen
- “Other than that, you know I be boarding on the mountain weekly.” -Jacqueline
Clearly, a winter in Denver is incomplete without hitting the slopes. Interested in our favorite mountains? Check out Booyah’s word map below for a few popular picks.