Some may say it’s too early, but here in downtown Boulder, we are gearing up for a winter wonderland! With all the festivities happening, be sure to mark your calendars and get excited for, what I consider to be, the best time of the year!
Every year, downtown Boulder Switches on the Holidays in late November through January with special events, activities, and promotions throughout downtown. Locals and visitors head downtown to participate in incredible events happening all across the downtown district.
To kick off the winter-long festivities, Switch on the Holidays is happening this Sunday, November 19 at 5 p.m. Help downtown brighten the season as we flip the switch that illuminates lights along the Pearl Street Mall, Civic Area and around the Boulder County Courthouse. Joining us for the annual lighting of the entire downtown will be youth and adult members of the Boulder Ballet, singers from the Boulder Chorale, Santa, Mrs. Claus and downtown's very own Freezie the Snowman! The event will start at 5 p.m. Attendees can participate in visits with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center until 7 p.m.!
After the big switch, you'll also get to experience our ongoing self-guided holiday lighting tour for the entire season, including the Snow Much Fun Virtual AR Experiences, presented in conjunction with the City of Boulder Parks & Recreation department! This year, friends from the North Pole can be found on each block of the Pearl Street Mall, the East End and the West End (as well as the Civic Area near the library). Each block will feature signage containing a special QR code that opens a wintery experience with fun filters via Instagram. There will be 9 installations total - from dancing gingerbread cookies to polar bears, penguins and even an arctic orca!
Starting November 19th, participate in the fun holiday scavenger hunt, Find Freezie! Head downtown to participating businesses between November 19 and December 9, 2023. Freezie the Snowman will be hiding inside these businesses. If you stumble upon Freezie, scan the attached QR code to be entered to win one of several $25 or $50 gift cards from participating businesses! We encourage children (and adults!) of all ages to participate. Be sure to check our Find Freezie webpage to view participating businesses, rules to play and more!
Did you hear? Santa’s coming to (down)town! On Friday, November 24 and every Saturday from November 25-December 23 from 11am-2pm, hang out with Santa at St. Nick on the Bricks! Kids of all ages can enjoy FREE visits with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center (1303 Pearl St, Boulder). Bring your holiday wishlist and a camera to capture priceless holiday memories. Before or after meeting Santa, take a free ride on the 100% Electric Tebo Train aka the Snowflake Express. Children ages 10 and under (along with accompanying adults) will chug along Pearl Street in this one-of-a-kind experience. The Snowflake Express boards in front of Wells Fargo (1242 Pearl St). The last train leaves the station at 2 pm. Please note that the train may not run in the event of inclement weather. Updates will be made here.
Mark your calendars because Small Business Saturday (Weekend) is coming November 24-26! You heard that right! Here in downtown Boulder, we love our small businesses so much that they deserve an entire weekend to be celebrated! In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help businesses with their most pressing need — getting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The single-day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before. Small business owners are resilient, resourceful, hard-working and essential to the vibrancy of our community. Find that perfect gift as you stroll throughout the district to shop at over 100 specialty retailers and enjoy some holiday cheer at a variety of restaurants! Remember that downtown Boulder is made up of over 80% locally owned and operated businesses...that's a BIG reason to Shop Small!
The annual Freezie Fest is happening on Saturday, December 9! From 11am-3pm on the Pearl Street Mall, enjoy a celebration of winter and all things Freezie! With free train rides, visits with Santa, fun crafts and so much more, don’t miss out on this awesome holiday event. Freezie Fest is also the last day to play Find Freezie (November 19 - December 9). Winners will have a chance to pick-up their gift cards during Freezie Fest.
Come have some fun downtown at the Lights of December Parade on Saturday, December 2 from 6:00-7:30 pm! Join us for floats created and decorated by local businesses and community groups. This winter parade features marching bands, lit fire engines, holiday carolers and much more. The grand finale includes an appearance by the jolly old man himself - Santa Claus!
Looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones? Be sure to check out our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide with amazing gift inspiration, insider knowledge on specials, and ways to support local businesses. If you're still struggling with a hard-to-gift person, consider a Downtown Boulder Gift Card good at over 100 shops and restaurants throughout downtown Boulder. Available in denominations from $10 to $500, the gift card offers flexibility and convenience. Learn more and buy a gift card here!
As you can see, we have a jammed-packed winter schedule of fun things to do with your loved ones downtown. We can’t wait to welcome you to your new holiday happy place!
Got any questions? I’d be happy to help. Feel free to reach out to me, Rebecca, at email@example.com!