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?
Oh, what fun you can have in a one-horse open sleigh, jingling and (slowly) dashing across the snowy expanse of the National Elk Refuge.
From December 13th 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 and cozy, colorful wool blankets to drape over your lap during the one-hour ride. Dress warmly and bring your camera. Tickets are sold in the parking lot at the Jackson Hole Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at 532 North Cache St., (look for the white trailer) and shuttles to the refuge leave every 20 to 30 minutes. (Read More)
Jolly Old St. Nick normally holds court in the StageStop Building on Town Square every night starting December 12th, 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. The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce is excited to keep the tradition alive in a safe, community-based manner, and requests that you don't gather in large groups while taking advantage of this experience.
Communicate with Old St. Nick through his direct mailbox outside the Stage Stop building on Town Square. 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!
Your family can have breakfast with Santa at the Wort Hotel on TBA. It's first come seating and reservations are required by calling 307-733-2190.
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, 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.
Hanukkah begins this year at sundown on Sunday, November 28th and continues through Monday, December 6th. Here a few ways to celebrate the Festival of Lights in and around Jackson Hole.
There will be a menorah lighting with Chabad Jewish Center of Jackson Hole on December 2nd at 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Four Seasons Resort Hotel in Teton Village; free; Hanukkah treats, dreidels and mini-menorahs available.
The annual giant menorah lighting on Town Square will be hosted by Chabad Jewish Center at 7 p.m., December 4th. Hanukkah treats including latkes and jelly doughnuts will be available for free as well as dreidels and mini-menorahs.
The famous Jackson Hole Playhouse—named one of the "Top Attractions in Jackson Hole" by TripAdvisor—will present its annual Christmas show from December 10th through Jan. 8th 2022; (No shows on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, however.) The dinner theater's musical comedy offering for the holidays is called "Christmas Survival Kit."
Tickets for dinner and the show in the Playhouse's Saddle Rock Saloon are $100 for adults, $80 for children ages 13 to 17, and $70 for children ages 5 to 12. The show only (i.e. no dinner) costs $55 for adults, $40 for youth and $30 for children. Seating is distanced and very limited, so act now! Call the box office at 307-733-6994 between noon and 4 p.m. MST, or visit jacksonholeplayhouse.com.
The Grand Teton Music Festival presents "An Evening with WindSync" on December 20th at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts. Ring in the holidays with this diverse holiday program featuring WindSync, an ensemble of five outstanding wind musicians. Tickets are available at jhcenterforthearts.org
The Silver Dollar Showroom at The Wort Hotel is the go-to venue for two special holiday events featuring music from a couple of iconic Jackson Hole bands. "Holiday Cocktails and Music with Tasha & The Goodfellows" will be held from 7 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 16th. 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 Tuesday, December 21st. 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 7:30 p.m. on December 17th at the Center for the Arts; 7:30 p.m. Masks required.
On December 18th you can enjoy the Jackson Hole Cathedral Voices Holiday Concert, also at the Center for the Arts at 7 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. Masks required.
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 torchlight parade in the valley. Since the 1950s, 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.
Please check jacksonhole.com for up-to-date event information, due to changing Covid-19 safety policies at the resort and within Teton County.
Bonus Holiday Fun
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is hosting their Holiday Round-Up—Free family-friendly apres-ski events during Christmas week.
On December 18th, 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). Enjoy free ice skating with free skate rentals on Teton Village's ice skating rink from 4 to 5 p.m. on December TBA.
A Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will commence at 5 p.m. on Friday. December 24th in the Hotel Terra ballroom.