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Bar Helix is running the “12 Negronis of Christmas” for the month of December
Adam Larkey/Eater

10 Festive Destinations for Holiday Eating and Drinking

These Denver-based and mountain stopovers will satisfy seasonal cravings

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Bar Helix is running the “12 Negronis of Christmas” for the month of December
| Adam Larkey/Eater

Holiday treats have come a long way from the glühwein and fruitcake of yore. Across Denver and into the mountains, those looking for seasonal fare can find it in the form of a giant gingerbread house, a champagne cascade, and a wrapping paper-covered pop-up serving cocktails. Yes, all of these things exist to those who will pay for them.

Those looking to just people-watch can perch above the tree at Denver’s Union Station. Or be transfixed by the illuminated blossoms at the Botanic Gardens. And for those seeking an old-world experience, gather at the brand new downtown Flea Market. All of these activities come with cups of cocoa and spiked punch, fresh-baked cookies, holiday meals, or fancy candies. Remember, there are only a couple of weeks each year when this type of adult behavior is accepted.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

EMP Winter House at the St. Regis Aspen Resort

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Starting December 15, the Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort will transform into New York-based Eleven Madison Park’s first winter seasonal pop-up restaurant. The party here goes through April, including daily menus of Swiss-inspired après-ski cocktails, dinner, and dessert. See alpine fondue, schnitzel, and chestnut mont blancs. Don’t miss the yurt village.

EMP Winter House [official]

Miracle at Avanti Wolf Bar

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Back for a second year in Denver, the Miracle pop-up bar is as popular as ever with hours-long wait times to enter into a decked-out covered patio on Avanti’s upper level. Once inside, there’s wall-to-wall photo ops and kitschy warming drink specials.

Jonathan Phillips/Eater

Denver FLEA at Union Station

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The outside of Union Station has gone full on Christmas market with a four-weekend running Denver Flea event. Local makers are backed by live music, and shoppers can stroll the tents while sipping hot cocktails and trying bites from restaurants such as Ultreia.

Denver FLEA/Facebook

Cooper Lounge

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Picture every holiday movie that has ever filmed in a transit center, and you’ll have Union Station around Christmas. Go for the decorated tree, the festive lights, the random holiday benefit, and the surprise (YouTube it) engagements. The upstairs Cooper Lounge is the best vantage point.

The Cooper Lounge/Facebook

The Brown Palace Hotel

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This classic Denver hotel celebrated its 31st champagne cascade this holiday season. Go now for the lights and that chandelier, afternoon carolers, and breakfast with Santa.

The Brown Palace Hotel’s annual holiday decorations, including a champagne cascade
The Brown Palace

Snowdrift at Adrift

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Can’t get into Avanti’s Christmas Miracle? Across town at the tiki spot Adrift, “Snowdrift” bar is in full swing. The themed South Broadway room has taken on a second layer of decor, with Santa hats topping totems and an igloo surrounding the beach bar. Cocktails include You Butter Not Pout with bourbon, Jamaican rum, cinnamon, butter, grapefruit, and banana.

Adrift/Facebook

Bar Helix

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Our 2018 reader’s choice winner for bar of the year is putting on a special month-long event this December. Drinkers can work their way through an all-Negroni cocktail list during the “12 Negronis of Christmas.” Once they’ve tried them all, prizes will be awarded in the form of bottled cocktails and gift cards. If it’s all too much, there’s also the “baby Negroni” tasting option.

Adam Larkey/Eater

Denver Botanic Gardens

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Now through January 1, the Denver Botanic Gardens transform into a wonderland (think Sugar Plum Fairies) for Blossoms of Light. Grab a souvenir mug for hot chocolate or cider and some roasted nuts before touring the grounds at nighttime to the tune of Christmas carolers.

Blossoms of Light features a large holiday lights display as well as hot food and beverages
Denver Botanic Garden

Stanley Marketplace

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Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace displays festive wreaths, a Christmas tree, and a holiday photo station this season, creating a fine backdrop for gift shopping and after-dinner browsing at shops like Miette et Chocolat.

Wreaths for charity at the Stanley Marketplace
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The Broadmoor

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A 13-foot gingerbread resort is welcoming visitors at the Broadmoor hotel this season. The 34-year tradition of building a festive gingerbread structure culminated this year in a replica of the 100-year-old resort itself. At 120 square feet, it’s a proper tiny house, made of 958 pounds of powdered sugar, 89 pounds of butter, and 78 pounds of assorted candy, gumballs, and fruit jellies.

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is covered in lights for the holiday season
The Broadmoor

EMP Winter House at the St. Regis Aspen Resort

EMP Winter House [official]

Starting December 15, the Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort will transform into New York-based Eleven Madison Park’s first winter seasonal pop-up restaurant. The party here goes through April, including daily menus of Swiss-inspired après-ski cocktails, dinner, and dessert. See alpine fondue, schnitzel, and chestnut mont blancs. Don’t miss the yurt village.

EMP Winter House [official]

Miracle at Avanti Wolf Bar

Jonathan Phillips/Eater

Back for a second year in Denver, the Miracle pop-up bar is as popular as ever with hours-long wait times to enter into a decked-out covered patio on Avanti’s upper level. Once inside, there’s wall-to-wall photo ops and kitschy warming drink specials.

Jonathan Phillips/Eater

Denver FLEA at Union Station

Denver FLEA/Facebook

The outside of Union Station has gone full on Christmas market with a four-weekend running Denver Flea event. Local makers are backed by live music, and shoppers can stroll the tents while sipping hot cocktails and trying bites from restaurants such as Ultreia.

Denver FLEA/Facebook

Cooper Lounge

The Cooper Lounge/Facebook

Picture every holiday movie that has ever filmed in a transit center, and you’ll have Union Station around Christmas. Go for the decorated tree, the festive lights, the random holiday benefit, and the surprise (YouTube it) engagements. The upstairs Cooper Lounge is the best vantage point.

The Cooper Lounge/Facebook

The Brown Palace Hotel

The Brown Palace Hotel’s annual holiday decorations, including a champagne cascade
The Brown Palace

This classic Denver hotel celebrated its 31st champagne cascade this holiday season. Go now for the lights and that chandelier, afternoon carolers, and breakfast with Santa.

The Brown Palace Hotel’s annual holiday decorations, including a champagne cascade
The Brown Palace

Snowdrift at Adrift

Adrift/Facebook

Can’t get into Avanti’s Christmas Miracle? Across town at the tiki spot Adrift, “Snowdrift” bar is in full swing. The themed South Broadway room has taken on a second layer of decor, with Santa hats topping totems and an igloo surrounding the beach bar. Cocktails include You Butter Not Pout with bourbon, Jamaican rum, cinnamon, butter, grapefruit, and banana.

Adrift/Facebook

Bar Helix

Adam Larkey/Eater

Our 2018 reader’s choice winner for bar of the year is putting on a special month-long event this December. Drinkers can work their way through an all-Negroni cocktail list during the “12 Negronis of Christmas.” Once they’ve tried them all, prizes will be awarded in the form of bottled cocktails and gift cards. If it’s all too much, there’s also the “baby Negroni” tasting option.

Adam Larkey/Eater

Denver Botanic Gardens

Blossoms of Light features a large holiday lights display as well as hot food and beverages
Denver Botanic Garden

Now through January 1, the Denver Botanic Gardens transform into a wonderland (think Sugar Plum Fairies) for Blossoms of Light. Grab a souvenir mug for hot chocolate or cider and some roasted nuts before touring the grounds at nighttime to the tune of Christmas carolers.

Blossoms of Light features a large holiday lights display as well as hot food and beverages
Denver Botanic Garden

Stanley Marketplace

Wreaths for charity at the Stanley Marketplace
Facebook

Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace displays festive wreaths, a Christmas tree, and a holiday photo station this season, creating a fine backdrop for gift shopping and after-dinner browsing at shops like Miette et Chocolat.

Wreaths for charity at the Stanley Marketplace
Facebook

The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is covered in lights for the holiday season
The Broadmoor

A 13-foot gingerbread resort is welcoming visitors at the Broadmoor hotel this season. The 34-year tradition of building a festive gingerbread structure culminated this year in a replica of the 100-year-old resort itself. At 120 square feet, it’s a proper tiny house, made of 958 pounds of powdered sugar, 89 pounds of butter, and 78 pounds of assorted candy, gumballs, and fruit jellies.

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is covered in lights for the holiday season
The Broadmoor

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