Five things to do in Colorado Springs this holiday season 

Fall break is right around the corner, and before we know it, the semester will be over. If you’re planning to stay in Colorado Springs for fall or winter break, here are five things you can do to celebrate this holiday season, organized from least to most expensive.  

Festival of Lights Parade – Saturday, Dec. 9 at 5:50 p.m., Free 

The Festival of Lights Parade is a beloved yearly tradition in the Springs in which local businesses and organizations build bright and colorful parade floats and travel down Tejon St. to kick off the holiday season.  

This year’s theme is “Sounds of the Season.” Following the parade, the street will remain closed until 9 p.m. to accommodate two food truck villages. 

 Expect large crowds and plan accordingly for parking downtown. For details on where to park and a map of the parade route, visit the Festival of Lights website

Watch “Elf” in theaters – Out Friday, Nov. 24, $8.75 per ticket 

When it’s too cold to go outside, get cozy with a classic Christmas movie. Cinemark is re-releasing “Elf” in theaters for a short time in honor of the film’s 20th anniversary. The Fine Arts Center will also be showing “Elf the Musical” from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31, for those who want the live experience.  

If “Elf” isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of newer holiday films coming to theaters this season. “It’s a Wonderful Knife” and “Glisten and the Merry Mission” are both out now. “Thanksgiving” will be out Nov. 17 and “Silent Night” will be out Dec. 1 at Cinemark and AMC theaters.  

You can buy your tickets here

Ice Skating in Acacia Park – Nov. 10 – Jan. 31, $10 per person including skates 

If you’re looking for something fun and cheap to do on a chilly winter day, head downtown to Acacia Park for a day of ice skating with friends and family. Tickets cost $10 per person including skate rentals. First responders and military personnel get $1 off tickets. 

The ice rink is officially open for business and will remain open through the end of January. Visit their website for more information on hours of operation and special events.  

Painting with a Twist – Anytime, $20-$60 

One of the best things about this time of year is gift giving. A great way to show someone you love them is to make them a homemade gift, like a painting!  

Spend a day painting and sipping on some wine (if you’re 21 or older) to decompress from the stress of the holiday season. You can do it yourself or bring some friends, and in the end, you’ll have a beautiful painting.  

While Painting with a Twist is open year-round, there are numerous upcoming winter and Christmas themed events, which you can purchase tickets for here

The Nutcracker – Friday, Nov. 24 – Sunday, Nov. 26, $42-$67 

If you’re searching for some magic this holiday season, you might find it at a moving performance of “The Nutcracker.” Though this is a more expensive option, it’s a favorite of Colorado Springs natives. 

For just one weekend, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic presents Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” a ballet performance based on the infamous Christmas story by E. T. A. Hoffmann. Dress up and head out for a night on the town and a breathtaking show. 

You can purchase tickets for the show here.  

Each of these are great options for getting out of the house and celebrating the holidays, but if you’re short on cash or you want to stay in, you can adapt each recommendation to fit your needs. Watch a movie in your living room, invite some friends over to paint or decorate your own house with festive lights. Happy holidays! 

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