Our biggest event of the year is October 7—Prairie Harvest Fest!

At Painted Prairie, we’re pretty big on traditions. Every year since 2020, we’ve had a special tradition here that has continued to shift and evolve as the neighborhood grows -- Prairie Holidays. This year, the tradition continues on December 3 from 4 pm to 6 pm at the Crimson Pavilions at High Prairie Park, with a special tree lighting ceremony at 5 pm.

Prairie Holidays has always been our way of celebrating the season, honoring the diversity of our neighbors, and bringing people together in the spirit of the holidays. Besides, what better way to celebrate the season than with your neighbors and friends? 

It’s a special time where we get together with friends for holiday cookies, s’mores by the fire pits, hot cocoa, coffee, and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

If you can’t make it to this year's Prairie Holidays event, don’t pout or cry, you have another chance to catch Santa before he gets ready for a night of preparing for gift drops! 

At that very first Prairie Holidays celebration, Santa and Mrs. Claus recorded a special message just for the neighbors at Painted Prairie. We may be guessing here, but ever since the Claus’ recorded that video, Painted Prairie has been Santa’s first Colorado stop on Christmas Eve night! Coincidence? We don't think so.

Relive that first Prairie Holidays as the jolly couple share a special moment with the Painted Prairie community by reading the holiday classic "Twas the Night before Christmas," suitable for all kids aged 1 to 100 (or older)! Share your traditions and favorite family holiday stories on Instagram or Facebook by snapping a photo, posting, and tagging Painted Prairie (@paintedprairieco on Instagram)!

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.

This time of year, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the blessings in our lives. It's a season of gathering with loved ones, savoring delicious meals, and counting our many reasons to be grateful. 

In a special look into the traditions and thoughtful reflection on the theme of gratitude, Painted Prairie residents Jacci Cradle and Gabriele Dos Santos Prasse remind us that cultivating a spirit of gratitude and holding onto family traditions, is not just a once a year “thing.” It takes practice and a whole lot of honing in on what is truly important in life. Both women were kind enough to speak with us in greater detail about what this time of year looks like for them and their families.

Jacci Cradle

What traditions do you cherish during this time of year? How do you celebrate these traditions?

Traditions during this time of year are very important to my family. We cherish coming together to celebrate with loved ones, sharing meals, and giving back to the community. One of our cherished traditions is volunteering at local organizations, like food banks or shelters, to support those in need. We also enjoy decorating our home, spending time with family and friends. These traditions reinforce the values of giving, togetherness, and community, which are so important to us.

What are you grateful for this year? What brings you joy during the holiday season and throughout the year?

I am profoundly grateful for the love and support of my family, the opportunity to make a positive impact on people's lives through various means, and for the chance to meet and connect with people from all walks of life. What brings me joy during the holiday season and throughout the year is seeing the spirit of kindness and generosity in people, especially young people, who are actively engaged in their communities and working towards a better future. Their energy and determination remind me of the limitless potential in our society.

What makes Painted Prairie feel like home for you and your family?

Painted Prairie has become a place that feels like home for my family because of the strong sense of community and the diverse and inclusive atmosphere. It's a place where we can connect with neighbors, support local businesses, and truly feel like we belong. The shared values of unity, diversity, and sustainability in the community align with what our family holds dear. It's a place where children can thrive, and we can contribute positively to the community.

How do you cultivate a habit of gratitude not only in November but throughout the entire year?

Cultivating a habit of gratitude is not something that should be limited to just November or the holiday season. Throughout the entire year, my family and I make it a point to reflect on our blessings regularly. We do this by keeping a gratitude journal, sharing what we're thankful for during family dinners, and making an effort to express our appreciation to those around us. Acts of kindness and giving back to the community, whether through volunteering or other means, are also essential for fostering a sense of gratitude throughout the year. This practice reminds us of the importance of empathy, compassion, and working together for a better world.

Gabriele Dos Santos Prasse

What traditions do you cherish during this time of year? How do you celebrate these traditions?

The Thanksgiving tradition is one of our favorites. We celebrate with delicious food around friends and family.

What are you grateful for this year? What brings you joy during the holiday season and throughout the year?

We're thankful for officially moving to Colorado (4 months ago) and finding a great community to settle in. What brings us joy? Being able to do what we love and care for our family!

What makes Painted Prairie feel like home for you and your family?

We love being in an active community that brings us together at the different events throughout the year. We have been fortunate to enjoy the farmers markets, the neighborhood BBQ, the pancake breakfast, the family painting class, movies at the park and the Fall Festival! Our son and dog also love all the parks!

How do you cultivate a habit of gratitude not only in November but throughout the entire year?

We make time for uninterrupted family dinners and give thanks for those moments!

At Painted Prairie, we strive to promote a community of kindness and encourage our residents to extend that kindness beyond our neighborhood borders. We will continue to share stories about the people of Painted Prairie, our community, and what makes living here so special.

Want to live in a place where you have the opportunity to enjoy ample and open green spaces, AND enjoy an easy commute?

Our editors found future and current residents who fell in love with the quality of life that living at Painted Prairie affords. Take a moment and learn why they chose the nation’s best master-planned community to build a home and a life.

We are sure you will agree that loving where you live makes all the difference in the world for a happy, balanced life.

Enjoying the Views and the Commutes

Taylor and her fiancé, Joshua, are future Painted Prairie residents who chose the community after spending a year hanging out with their best friends who are early residents. The couple fell in love with the neighborhood, its parks, the views, and the variety of house options.

“My favorite part of Painted Prairie is definitely the mountain views,” she said. “I feel like you can see them from almost anywhere in the neighborhood! We have always wanted to live in a neighborhood we could grow into and really feel like we are a part of, and we’ve definitely found that at Painted Prairie.”

The couple are under contract for a KB Home Villas model. The home is the perfect fit for the young couple who are busy planning their wedding and working. It was important for Taylor to grow into a community as they begin their lives together.

“We just knew we wanted to be a part of the community,” said Taylor. “We quickly fell in love with the beauty of the neighborhood, and the location, as it’s not too far from my job at Children’s Hospital. My fiance works from home, which allows him to get out and enjoy the parks on his breaks. We love and believe in Painted Prairie’s vision. We can’t wait to watch it come to life and be a part of all the fun to come!”

Finding a Home That Checks All the Boxes

Was it love at first sight at Painted Prairie? For Liz and her husband, Paul, well, actually yes! 

As a former Central Park resident and Realtor, Liz was already familiar with the community. As she researched Painted Prairie’s location, amenities, and builders, for her real estate clients, Liz began to daydream about living in Painted Prairie herself. 

On a whim, Liz and her husband Paul, a Southwest Airlines employee, walked into the Washburn model at David Weekley Homes to ask about current inventory. The couple instantly fell in love with the layout and the surrounding amenities in the neighborhood. A day later, they learned a Washburn home was up for grabs after the original buyers canceled their contract. 

“We were under contract the next morning,” said Liz. “We had no plans to move, but when the home became available, we knew it was a good decision. The floor plan checked so many boxes for our family, including a larger kitchen, dedicated office, larger bedrooms and closets, with the opportunity to design the basement in the future. With two teenage girls, we needed more space!”

The family loves the current parks and future amenities such as the dog park and Town Center – which will all be within walking distance. The added bonus? Paul’s commute is less than 15 minutes to DIA. The location, current and future amenities, and the design of the neighborhood all solidify Liz’s decision to move to Painted Prairie.

“We lived in Central Park for eight years and experienced firsthand the excitement of new parks, builders, building a home from dirt, and the idea of a community coming to fruition,” said Liz. “We were able to visualize the future of Painted Prairie and knew it was the right place for our next move.”

Painted Prairie is located near many of the major employment centers in the area, with more coming as employers move to the area. Only 17 minutes from downtown Denver, nine minutes from Anschutz Hospital, and eight minutes from DIA, the community is approximately a 15 to 20 minute drive from anywhere in the north and central Denver Metro area. 

The weather may have been frightful, but the company was delightful! A cold front couldn’t stop the holiday cheer on December 5 when neighbors came together to celebrate the start of the holiday season. 

Residents enjoyed hot cocoa and coffee drinks, smores by the fire, The Original Dickens Carolers, and a special guest who stole the show -- Santa! 

From all of us at Painted Prairie, we wish you holidays filled with laughter, love, and treasured memories. 

Local living with a global perspective

Without question, Painted Prairie is a special place. What makes it so special? One reason is its location. Situated just minutes from DIA and Downtown Denver, the neighborhood is the perfect place to find adventure locally or globally. 

What truly makes Painted Prairie one of the best places to live in Colorado is its proximity to the arts, cultures, and cuisines of people from all over the world. More than 120 languages are spoken in Aurora, and the city is widely praised for its diversity. We are proud to be the home for many of Denver's diverse residents!

Weekday and weekend adventures close to home

Planning a day rich in culture and history is easy in Aurora (and you will quickly realize that one day is not nearly enough to enjoy everything Aurora has to offer). It doesn’t matter if you are 2 or 82, you will find something for everyone to do in Colorado’s third largest city. 

Aurora Cultural Arts District: Colorado’s only arts district

One of our favorite spots to visit is the Aurora Cultural Arts District. Home to the only cultural arts district in Colorado, the organization works to bring people together through the arts. Supporting local artists as well as immigrants, the district is home to three operating performance venues and over 50 working artists. Check out the Plan Your Visit tab for more information about current events and activities. 

Recently, 5280 Magazine shared Visit Aurora’s take on what makes Aurora one of the best places to experience a global perspective right in your own backyard. Take a look, make some notes and get out and explore, and while you’re at it -- tag us on Instagram and Facebook at @paintedprairieco.

See you around town!

Photo Credit: Visit Aurora

It takes more than sticks and bricks to build a community, it takes people. In a few short months, Painted Prairie has become a great place to live, work, and build lasting friendships.

One example of this, is the recent collaboration between Centennial’s Ana’s Norwegian Bakeri and Roselle Hisbiscus Delight, an all-natural beverage company owned by Painted Prairie resident, Rosemarie Aarnes.

The two local businesswomen met while participating in Painted Prairie’s first Micro Pop-Up Market. From there, a friendship and now, business relationship grew. Ana agreed to carry Roselle’s Hisbicus drink at her bakery and the rest is small, local business matchmaking history.

“So excited to feature Sorrel by Roselle Hibiscus Delight!” said Ana in a recent social media post. “This drink reminds me of Gløgg, a traditional Christmas drink found in Norway. There is an Original option, Chia Seeds option, and Sugar-Free option. Made with Organic, Non-GMO ingredients, made locally in Colorado.”

Rosemarie is equally excited to be a part of Ana’s store. “We love Ana and her bakery,” says Rosemarie. “She is selling our drinks at her store. Like we always say, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work!”

We love it when our residents and our vendors make long last connections and friendships.

Whether you are a family of four or a family of one, Painted Prairie’s community gardens offer healthy lifestyle choices, a sense of community, and an easy way to enjoy the Colorado outdoors

Did you know?

Painted Prairie has two community gardens — Columbine and Indian Paintbrush Gardens. Both gardens are located within easy walking distance from anywhere in Painted Prairie. These gardens offer a place to gather, make family memories, or spend quiet time alone with your very own plot of homegrown vegetables.

Whether you are growing for your own family or to donate to a local food bank, community gardens offer more than a sustainable food source. Our community garden plots are for anyone new to urban farming and who want to connect with the outdoors in a healthy, nutritious way.

While not a new concept, community gardens are popping up all over the country, including right here in Colorado. From urban areas to the suburbs, national trends show that these small urban garden spaces are growing faster than in previous years. According to a blog post by The Trust for Public Land, in 2019, the number of community garden plots in city parks has increased 44% since the group started keeping track in 2012. Currently, there are approximately 20 community gardens in Aurora, Colorado, that provide food and community connections for residents.

It is that connection to the earth, the respite from life’s stresses, and the shear joy of growing and harvesting our own food that brings the neighborhood together at Columbine and Indian Paintbrush Gardens. Long before DIA was a blip on the radar, the early pioneers who settled this land joined together to grow their own food and live a simple, sustainable life. Our community gardens are designed to attract residents (and butterflies), and are another way Painted Prairie is tying into the agricultural roots of the community.

Painted Prairie’s Bring on Spring event, May 1, 2021 kicks off with our first How-to Garden Clinic

How do I start my own urban garden?

If you are ready to jump into urban gardening at Painted Prairie, we have a few easy steps to get you started:

  1. Your Location: Will you be able to walk or bike to your garden plot? Simply knowing that you can walk out your door and be in your private plot in a matter of minutes, is important to maintaining your garden.
  2. Your Diet: What vegetables do you eat on a regular basis at home? Planting vegetables that your family regularly consumes is a great way to start. Exploring new vegetables to try is always encouraged, and helps your kids try new tastes.
  3. Your Know-How: Do you have a green thumb? It doesn’t matter if you are a new gardener or a seasoned pro, there are many resources available to both amateurs and Master Gardeners alike. For a limited time, Painted Prairie will host monthly gardening clinics hosted by the Dig and Dream Garden Club to help you get started. In addition, the CSU Extension Office is an invaluable resource for gardeners of all levels. To sign up for our first How-To Garden Clinic, click here to RSVP.

If you are interested in renting a garden plot for the summer, reservations are available by contacting John with Advance HOA via email at [email protected]. Remember, gardening is fun and a great way to get to know your neighbors and enjoy the Colorado outdoors at the same time!

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