Towering mountains and blankets of snow dusting the streets, lawns, and trees of Colorado make this state an idyllic location for a Christmas getaway. Ski towns, such as Breckenridge and Aspen, and major cities, including Denver and Colorado Springs, welcome visitors with a winter wonderland. As for places to stay, Colorado vacation rentals range from trendy lofts in downtown areas to log cabins at the base of ski slopes. Each town celebrates the holidays in its own way. Here’s a look at the seven best Christmas getaways in Colorado.

1. Durango

Home to the Polar Express, Durango is an enchanting town in which to spend your Christmas holidays and one of HGTV’s “Top Ten Christmas Towns.” Take your kids on the Polar Express, a holiday-oriented train ride with the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Arrive at the station in your pajamas. As the train pulls away, Santa’s helpers hand out cookies with hot cocoa, and the book Polar Express is read over the sound system. At the end of the first half of the ride, kids enjoy hundreds of lights in Santa’s village, and then Santa boards the train to greet everyone. While in town, check the schedule for live music concerts filled with Christmas songs, and enjoy a nightly stroll to see the lights.

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2. Aspen

Spending Christmas in the ski town of Aspen ensures a white Christmas for your family. This quaint mountain village features the 12 Days of Aspen that begins on the 20th of December and runs through the end of the year. Find a variety of free activities each day, including gift-making events, free family ice skating, and live music concerts. On December 28th, enjoy a torchlight parade, and on New Year’s Eve, look to the sky for the stunning fireworks that welcome in the new year. In the evenings, stroll along the streets to see the festive wreaths and sparkling green, red, and gold lights that line the downtown area.

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3. Breckenridge

Enjoy guaranteed snow on Christmas day when Breckenridge is your vacation destination over the holidays. This ski village uses its authentic Victorian architecture to create an idealized Christmas village. As you wander through the downtown streets, enjoy the songs of carolers dressed in Victorian clothing and the quaint wreaths and decorations. Visit early in December for the Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas, where you can see hundreds of Clauses running down the snow-covered streets. Take your family out for a carriage ride with a cup of hot chocolate, and snuggle under a warm blanket. Many of the shops in the downtown area offer unique last-minute gift ideas, so you can easily complete your shopping before Christmas day.

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4. Denver

Spend your holidays enjoying fresh air and stunning views in the Mile High city, Denver. This major city offers high-end gifts from upscale stores and unique items from local shops. The Denver Zoo blazes in a riot of colored Christmas lights sculpted to look like animals and a visit with Santa with the Denver Zoo Lights attraction. Take in a showing of “The Nutcracker” presented by the Colorado Ballet. Watch the Parade of Lights, a 2-mile-long parade in the early evening where you’ll see marching bands, floats, and Santa Claus.

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5. Cascade

Groups traveling with small kids or true Santa Claus believers must consider the town of Cascade for their holiday trip. This town offers a Christmas-themed amusement park, Santa’s Workshop. After a couple hours of riding the rides, take the kids to visit Santa, or catch the Elmer the Elf Show. Take The Pikes Peak Cog Railway Santa Claus Train to the top of the mountain, where you are met by Santa and his elves. There are plenty of activities and live music to enjoy before the ride back down the mountain.

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6. Colorado Springs

Find Christmas cheer around every corner when you choose to spend the holidays in Colorado Springs. Your family can book an afternoon on the Santa Express. The dress code is pajamas, and the destination is the North Pole. Along the way, enjoy a steaming cup of hot cocoa and cookies, and then meet the big man himself, Santa Claus. Mark the last few names off your shopping list with a stop by the Holiday Market, featuring a large selection of handmade items from local artists. At Acacia Park, you can slip on ice skates and practice your spins at this seasonal outdoor ice skating rink.

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7. Georgetown

Imagine what Christmas was like in a small town in the early 20th century, and you get an idea of what to expect when you select Georgetown as your holiday destination. Filled with historic buildings, the downtown area features colorful lights and festive decorations. Walk along the streets, or take a ride in the vintage carriage that is pulled by horses. For two weekends in December, the Georgetown Christmas Market provides last minute Christmas gifts, roasted chestnuts, and live carolers to get you in the holiday spirit.

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