How can the holidays be anything but happy in Jackson Hole? A myriad of merry abounds from beneath the twinkling lights encircling the famous elk antlers in Town Square to the steep slopes of the area’s trio of ski resorts — Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain and Grand Targhee.
Country Living magazine recently named Jackson Hole one of America's "20 Best Small Towns for Christmas." Ranked No. 4, the article says of Jackson Hole: "No town lights up for the holidays quite like Jackson. The town at the base of the Tetons has a spectacular Town Square any time of the year, with monumental arches of elk antlers at the four corners. But around the holidays, the arches are wrapped in strings of lights to illuminate the nights with a festive glow. Stick around until New Year's Eve if you want to see the torch parade of ski instructors snaking down the mountain at the town's two ski resorts."
Here are a few activities to help make your seasonal vacation bright.
Horse-drawn Sleigh Ride, Anyone?
From December 17th and every day thereafter —except Christmas Day — visitors can get up close and personal with the thousands of wapiti who call the elk refuge home each winter. You will see other wildlife as well, such a fox, bald eagles and coyotes. Rides are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Each red sleigh can carry up to 16 people. There are cushioned benches to sit on although you may want to bring a warm blanket to drape over your legs; dress warmly and bring your camera. Tickets are sold from a white trailer in the parking lot at the Jackson Hole Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at 532 North Cache St., and shuttles to the refuge leave every 20 to 30 minutes. (Read More)
Jolly Old St. Nick holds court in the StageStop Building on Town Square every night starting December 17th, from 5 to 7 p.m. until Christmas Eve, when he then needs to depart to fly around the world.
Generations of Jackson families and frequent travelers have pictures taken with Santa during "Santa on the Square." Christmas music, hot chocolate and cookies are all available.
You can also communicate with Old St. Nick through his direct mailbox outside the Stage Stop building. Children and adults alike can bring their Christmas wishes to Jackson, drop them in the big, red mailbox, and sleep well knowing that they'll go to The North Pole with fast, 24-hour shipping. If you want to hear back from Santa, be sure to include a return address with your letter.
Santa Claus will also be dropping by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort — he is literally scheduled to rappel out of the Aerial Tram! — on Christmas Eve at 4:30 p.m. On the 23rd and 24th, kids can skate with Santa at the Village Commons Rink from 3 to 4 p.m. And on Christmas Day, you and the kids can even ski with the big man in red on Teewinot between 10 a.m. and Noon. Look for him near the base of the gondolas and on Teewinot around 10 and afterward on Casper and Apres Vous.
Meet Snow King’s Santa on Christmas Day. He will be riding the lifts from 9 to 11 a.m.
in the morning and hitting King Tubes from Noon to 2.
Do Some Last-Minute Gift Shopping!
Check out Jackson’s amazing list of locally-owned shops that are filled with curated collections of treasures that include everything from one-of-a-kind art to T-shirts for the kids. There are jeans and cowboy boots for all, or if you’re game, go for the locally crafted jewelry or a chic handcrafted cowboy hat. Most shops are owned by local characters or informed local outdoor experts who will help you choose something great as they share a love for Jackson Hole.
We suggest shopping local, buying local at Teton Mountaineering, MADE, Belle Cose, JD High Country Outfitters, Skinny Skis, Valley Bookstore, Workshop, Two Grey Hills, New West Knifeworks and Grit General.
Hanukkah begins this year at sundown on Sunday, December 18th and continues through Monday, December 26th. Here a few ways to celebrate the Festival of Lights in and around Jackson Hole.
The famous Jackson Hole Playhouse—named one of the "Top Attractions in Jackson Hole" by TripAdvisor—will present its annual Christmas show from December 15th through January 7, 2023; (No shows on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, however.) The dinner theater's musical comedy offering for the holidays is called "The Christmas Survival Kit."
Tickets for dinner and the show in the Playhouse's Saddle Rock Saloon are $99 for adults, $79 for children ages 13 to 17, and $59 for children ages 5 to 12. The show only (i.e. no dinner) costs $50 for adults, $40 for youth and $30 for children. Call the box office at 307-733-6994 between noon and 4 p.m. MST, or visit jhplayhouse.com.
Cathedral Voices Chamber presents its free "Sounds of the Season" concert at The Center for the Arts Theater on December TBA at 4 p.m. The Jackson Hole Brass Quintet, Jackson Hole Symphony Orchestra and Star Valley Voices and the Teton Music School Youth Choir will also perform.
A Canadian Brass Holiday Concert will be presented on December TBA by the Grand Teton Music Festival at the Center for the Arts; 7 p.m.
The Silver Dollar Showroom at The Wort Hotel is the go-to venue for a few special holiday events featuring music from a couple of iconic Jackson Hole bands and musicians. "Old Tyme Christmas," presented by the Jackson Hole Historical Society, will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on December TBA. Cookies, cocoa and holiday drink specials will be available. "Holiday Cocktails and Music with Tasha & The Goodfellows" will be held from 7 to 10:30 p.m. on December TBA. No cover. Must be 21+ for this event. There will also be an Ugly Sweater Party with One Ton Pig featuring holiday bluegrass tunes from 7 to 10:30 p.m. on December TBA. There will be drink specials and prizes for the ugliest sweater. Must be 21+ for this event.
The Jackson Hole Community Band's Free Winter Holiday Concert will be held at 7 p.m. on December TBA at the Center for the Arts.
Don't miss Cowboy Christmas Karaoke from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar on Town Square on December TBA.
On December TBA you can enjoy the Jackson Hole Cathedral Voices Holiday Concert, also at the Center for the Arts at 4 p.m. "Sounds of the Season" music will be performed by Cathedral Voices, the Jackson Hole Brass Quintet, Jackson Hole Symphony Orchestra, and the Jackson Hole Youth Orchestra.
New Year's Eve Celebrations will happen at both the Silver Dollar Showroom in the Wort Hotel and the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
New Year’s Eve: ‘Parades’ and Pyrotechnics
Start your New Year’s Eve off in an amazing way by viewing a mountain torchlight parade at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain or Grand Targhee. Each parade is followed up by an equally awe-inspiring fireworks display.
Snow King hosts the oldest, longest-running citizen torchlight parade in the country. For more than 50 years, intrepid, expert Jackson Hole skiers have ridden to the top of the mountain and then—torches in hand—made their way slowly down the Town Hill in dramatic, fiery fashion.
The parade starts at 6:15 p.m. and the fireworks are at 7.
Over in Teton Village, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is set to host a “Glow Worm Parade” at 5:30 p.m. for children up to age 14. Glow sticks substitute for torchlights as the kids traverse down the Eagles Nest run from the top of the new Sweetwater Gondola. Around 6 p.m. the resort’s employees and guests will treat revelers to their traditional torchlight procession on Apres-Vous, with a fireworks show to follow at 7 p.m. over the Village's parking lot, facing Sleeping Indian.
Over in Alta, Wyoming, at Grand Targhee Resort, the Kid’s Glowstick Parade starts the New Year’s Eve fun off at 4:30 p.m. The adult’s torchlight event fires up at 5:30.
Bonus Holiday Fun
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is hosting their Holiday Round-Up—Free family-friendly apres-ski events during Christmas week.
On December TBA, GLOW Nights begin. This is a month-long exhibit of original art installations that use colored and white light as a medium to celebrate the unique phenomena found in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).
On December TBA and TBA treat the kids to Snow Cats & Avalanche Dogs at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's Kid's Ranch, from 4-5 p.m., for a behind-the-scenes look at the resort's coolest stuff. Meet an avalanche dog and handler and take a tour of a snowcat. Free!
Parents and children just want to have fun and celebrate the holidays, but sometimes it’s not the same kind of fun. If you are looking to have an adult night out but feel bad for leaving the kiddos behind, don’t! They can have fun, too, at Kids Night Out on December TBA from 6 to 9 p.m. with the Kids Ranch staff. The night includes games, outdoor sledding, and even a pizza party. Let them get wound up with the counselors, then chill out with a movie and bean bags just in time for you to swing in. Free, but reservations are required at a JHMR sales location. Reservations are available until 4 p.m. on the 30th, or until full. Kids must be between 5 and 12 years old.
Free skating on the Village Commons ice rink on December TBA and TBA featuring free skate rentals and skating between 4-5 p.m.