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Our Top 3 Picks for Celebrating the Holiday Season in Aurora

Published
Nov 28, 2023

The holidays are officially here and we’ve pulled together a list of the top activities to get you and yours into the holiday spirit. There’s no doubt that Aurora is just the right blend of urban amenities and natural wonders, and as the third-largest city in Colorado, it’s brimming with attractions and activities for all ages. 

Here at Painted Prairie, we’ve curated our top three must-do holiday activities to celebrate the season in Aurora – trust us, you won’t be disappointed!

Gaylord Rockies Resort – ICE! A Christmas Story

The Gaylord Resort is always up to something during the holidays, and this year is no different. Located just steps away from Painted Prairie, the Gaylord’s holiday offerings are always a hit with family and friends of all ages. 

ICE!, the annual holiday tradition at Gaylord Hotels, runs through Jan. 1, 2024. Using more than two million pounds - or 1,000 tons - of ice, the Warner Bros. holiday classic, ‘A Christmas Story™' is brought to life in ice sculpture form by a team of 40 world-class ice artisans from Harbin, China. The holiday celebration continues with performances from “Cirque: Spirit of Christmas,” ice slides, Christmas activities and a visit from Santa Claus.

In addition to the amazing ice sculptures, guests can also take rides down the two-story-tall ice slides and traverse through ice tunnels and arches. The ICE! experience concludes in a separate area dedicated to the Nativity scene, meticulously carved, and shaped in a dramatic display of crystal-clear ice.

“Cirque: Spirit of Christmas” returns for another year with dazzling costumes, breathtaking aerial performances, and feats that defy gravity. The original Gaylord Hotels production will feature high-flying stunts, acrobatic feats, elaborate staging, and a dramatic musical score directed by renowned Broadway Director Neil Goldberg. 

For tickets, more information, or to book an overnight stay, guests may visit ChristmasatGaylordRockies.com. Painted Prairie residents with access to the Painted Prairie app can get 20% off admission to ICE! A Christmas Story, and Cirque: Spirit of Christmas by logging in and clicking the Steals & Deals button for more information.

Camp Christmas – Stanley Marketplace

It’s quite possibly the quirkiest holiday tradition in Colorado. Camp Christmas is back at The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace. Brought to you by Hanzon Studios and Denver Center of Performing Arts (DCPA) Off-Center, Camp Christmas is open through December 24. 

Immerse yourself in a 15,000-square-foot, 360-degree kaleidoscope of yuletide cheer with just the right amount of camp; it’s everything you love about the holidays wrapped into one sparkling experience.

At Camp Christmas, you can leave your worries behind, discover your holiday superpower, visit Santa, and sample craft cocktails from the Base Camp and Fairy Bars. You can wander through a surreal mashup of nostalgic scenes, scratch your head at playful pun trees, and, most importantly, reconnect with the joy of the season. 

For more information and to buy tickets, click here. All ages are welcome. Children 2 and under are free. Everyone must have a ticket.

The Pond Ice Rink at Southlands

There’s something about a wintertime open-air skate sesh that just gives us all the holiday feels (and chills). The Pond at Southlands is one of Aurora’s holiday and winter traditions perfect for any age and ability. Open through February 25, you can ice skate all the way through Valentine’s Day. Advance session tickets are available for $14. To make a reservation, click here.

After your skate, head over to one of the fire pits located along S. Main Street and warm up with family and friends, or stop in to grab a bite or sip at one of the many amazing restaurants throughout Southlands Mall. Don’t forget the shops! Snag those last minute gifts for your holiday gift lists. Southlands Mall is located at 6155 S. Main St., Suite 260 Aurora, Colorado 80016. 


Looking for a bit more choices for holiday activities? Check out this list from Visit Aurora for more holiday fun.

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