Durango has long been known for its convivial atmosphere, but the holiday season is when our mountain town truly shines. It can be overwhelming to keep up with all the holiday events planned in our region, but fret not! Our friends over at Visit Durango have done all the groundwork for us and gotten the scoop on this year’s festivities in Durango and La Plata County. They’ve partnered with our local business community to bring you Holiday Station, a month-long celebration of this region's special events, concerts, parades, and more!
So whether you're looking to steep in an intimate holiday atmosphere or prefer a more raucous opportunity to be “merry,” Durango’s holiday event calendar has something for everyone!
There are plenty of opportunities if you’re determined to see Santa before his big night. Kick off the holiday season with family-friendly fun on November 24 at 5:30 p.m. at Buckley Park for free cookies and hot chocolate, caroling, and even taking a picture with Santa himself (make sure to bring your own camera!). Another fan favorite for adults and children is to don one’s coziest pajamas and board the Durango Narrow Gauge’s annual Polar Express train. It brings the magic of the Polar Express book to life with a festive trip to the “North Pole,” complete with cookies and hot chocolate, Christmas Carols, and (spoiler alert) a hello from Santa himself. And for our furry friends who have been nicer than naughty this year, pets can have their picture taken with Santa, too! Creature Comforts will be offering two sessions–one in November and the other in December–for your pets to have their picture taken with Santa.
You're in for a treat for those who enjoy the holiday tradition of seeing Tchaikofsky’s Nutcracker Ballet. The Community Concert Hall will once again host the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara and the San Juan Symphony for their exquisite rendition of the holiday classic on December 8, 9, and 10. The San Juan Symphony will also present the Majesty of Christmas at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on December 15, with showings at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. But if you’re looking for more toe-tapping holiday tunes, join the Bar D Wranglers for their Christmas Jubilee at the Community Concert Hall, or lend your voice to the holiday merriment with some pop-up caroling! Folks will meet at the Durango Welcome Center twice throughout December and walk downtown to spread their holiday cheer.
Need help finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list? Kick off gifting season with one of Durango’s favorite evenings of the year for Noel Night on December 1 from 3-9 p.m.! This community-wide celebration promises live music and entertainment, festive events, and holiday treats galore! Wander downtown and explore all the holiday conviviality our community has to offer. If you’re looking for artisanal gifts, stop by the Christmas Art Fair at Subterrain! They’ll have a wide assortment of gifts from local artisans, plus tasty beverages to keep you merry while you shop! Both the Holiday Food and Craft Bazaar at the Durango/La Plata County Senior Center AND the Bizarre Bazaar at Studio & will celebrate handmade crafts, goodies, and the wonderful artists who created them. Everyone wins when you support your local businesses, artisans, and eateries!
If you prefer to make your own bespoke holiday offerings, there are plenty of opportunities! For the 21-and-over folks, check out the Sip & Create Fused Glass Happy Hour at Sun Sapphires on November 25, where you can enjoy happy hour while learning how to create your own fused glass art piece! Or make your own festive cork wreath at the Subterrain while enjoying a glass of locally produced wine or cider–with mocktails available, too! For a little more family-focused gift-making, check out The Hive’s Open Studio Gift-Making Workshops that will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from November 28 through December 5. Join them for all three weeks of the series or drop in the day of to make wonderful holiday gifts creations such as watercolor cards, small resin pendants, and hand-crocheted scarves!
Sharing is Caring
And there will be so many wonderful ways to spread the holiday spirit throughout our community, starting with buying your tree! Head to the Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad to purchase your Christmas tree, and feel good knowing that your purchase will help support the San Juan Mountain Association’s fundraising efforts toward their education and stewardship programs. And while you’re at the train’s campus, check out the Festival of the Trees and Wreaths at the Museum the first week of December and soak in the holiday atmosphere! Peruse the enchanted forest of trees decorated by the event’s sponsors and bid on the festive decorations and gifts–the proceeds help support Community Connection’s mission to support people with disabilities to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. And on Christmas Day, Manna’s Soup Kitchen will be hosting their annual Christmas Brunch. Anyone in the community is welcome to enjoy a meal on campus or take a grab-and-go meal for themselves, a friend, a family member, or a neighbor! As for gifts for tots, Twilight Toys and Durango Treasures will be offering 25% off toys and games to be donated to kiddos in our community who could use some holiday cheer!
Ring in the New Year
But don’t forget to save some merriment for New Year’s Eve! The event calendar abounds with festivities to bid farewell to 2023 and usher in 2024 in style. Kick off the year's final night at Purgatory Resort with one of the community's favorite traditions: The Torchlight Parade! From 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Base Area, patrollers and ski instructors will come down the mountain, lighting the night with bright torchlights. Stick around for the epic show thereafter!
You can also head to Subterrain for a night of glamor, with tunes, tasty beverages, and a celebratory ball drop at 10 p.m.!
For information on any and all of these wonderful events, go to Visit Durango’s special holiday event calendar.