Looking for holiday lights in Colorado? Here’s when and where to see them

· Nov. 22, 2023, 12:00 pm
A rather large Christmas tree at the Cherry Creek Mall. Dec. 8, 2017.A rather large Christmas tree at the Cherry Creek Mall. Dec. 8, 2017.(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
A rather large Christmas tree at the Cherry Creek Mall. Dec. 8, 2017.

Communities across Colorado host a variety of holiday-themed light shows, tree lightings, and other displays to help residents and visitors get in the spirit of the season. 

We have compiled some of the places where you can take in the sights and sounds.

This is a growing list. Is there an event you know about that isn’t listed below? Email [email protected].

DENVER AND THE FRONT RANGE

“Blossoms of Light” at the Denver Botanic Gardens (and at Chatfield Farms)

Nov. 17 – Jan. 7, 4:30-9 p.m. (closed Nov. 23 & Dec. 25)

Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens is a highlight of the year at the York Street facility, which becomes a shimmering winter wonderland. In line with the gardens’ principle of sustainability, all lights used are LED. While you’re there, you can enjoy a seasonal snack or a hot beverage at one of the gardens’ two cafes.

Denver’s Mile High Tree at Civic Center Park (and Christkindlmarket)

Nov. 17 – Dec. 31

Mile High Tree: Two of Denver's most popular holiday celebrations take place in Civic Center Park. The focal point is a seven-story immersive art structure that is 110 feet tall and 39 feet in diameter. It is 10 feet higher than the highest Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center history and is decked out with 60,000 LED lights. Free public light displays set to multicultural Christmas music. You can experience two of Denver's most popular holiday attractions in one place. America’s tallest digital tree and the Denver Christkindlmarket.

Boulder’s Pearl Street “Switch on the Holidays”

Nov. 19

Switch on the Holidays kicks off the holiday season with the flip of the switch to illuminate lights along the Pearl Street Mall, Civic Area, and around the Boulder County Courthouse. After the switch, there are ongoing self-guided holiday lighting tours for the entire season, including the Snow Much Fun Virtual AR Experiences, presented in conjunction with the City of Boulder Parks & Recreation department.

Denver Zoo Lights

Nov. 24–Dec. 1: Members-only dates

Dec. 2–Jan. 7: General admission run 

Dec. 31: Sensory-Friendly Night

For 33 years, the Denver Zoo Lights has transformed Denver Zoo into Colorado’s wildest winter wonderland. Now, with 80 acres boasting over three million lights Ice-carving demonstrations, warm fire barrels, amid the 3,000 residents who call the zoo home.  A low-sensory night is also available.

“An Extravaganza of Lights” at Hudson Gardens

Nov. 24 – Dec. 31

Hudson Gardens has two brand new light shows including a cathedral of thousands of LED lights. Ring in the new year with us as the exhibit transforms into the Light Up the New Year show that includes vibrant displays, a laser garden, and upbeat music.

Denver’s Parade of Lights

Dec. 2

Arrive early so you can claim your spot to watch this Christmas extravaganza take over the streets of Downtown Denver. The attractions range from simple floats to elaborately lit floats, to huge character balloons to superb marching bands to traditional horse units to vivid cultural exhibits. And, of course, Santa Claus and Major Waddles the Penguin will make an appearance. In case you’re not up for the cold or the crowds, this one is broadcast live on 9NEWS.

Brighton’s annual tree lighting

Dec. 2

The City of Brighton's annual Tree Lighting at Founders Plaza on Main and Bridge streets.

This event will feature a Winter Market with unique artists, crafters, and artisan food vendors beginning at 1 p.m. and lasting until  6 p.m. Other activities include free face painting, the Teddy Bear & Friends Tree and Santa Comes to Town.

Luminova Holidays at Elitch Gardens

Nov. 24

At Luminova, see over 4 million dazzling lights, plus attractions such as a 65-foot Christmas tree, 25-foot snowman that never melts, and a 300-foot candy cane tunnel. There will also be several interactive activities, including light-up hopscotch, light swings and visits with Santa. 

Camp Christmas 

Nov. 16 – Dec. 24

After a virtually sold-out run in 2019, the season's campiest and quirkiest holiday tradition is coming back to Stanley Marketplace! Camp Christmas will immerse you in a 15,000 square foot, 360-degree kaleidoscope of holiday pleasure! Find your inner holiday superhero, see Santa, and enjoy specialty drinks at our Base Camp and Fairy Bars.

Lakewood Lights

Dec. 1

Light up the season in Lakewood at the lighting ceremony. Take a stroll through the decorations while sipping cocoa and snacking on cookies while listening to live holiday music. Make an ornament or visit with Santa to remember this joyous season.

Aurora’s holiday tree lighting

Dec. 5

The event at the Aurora Municipal Center features a tree lighting, vendors, live entertainment and a visit from a special guest.


NORTHERN COLORADO

Holiday Lane Downtown & Holiday Lane Drive Greeley

Dec. 2 & 9

The Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce and its partners are launching two new multi-weekend events include a larger Lincoln Park lighting ceremony, Small Business Saturday, maker's workshops, and more. 

Opening on Saturday, Dec. 2, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Holiday Lane Downtown at Lincoln Park, 8th & 9th Streets features holiday displays and performances from local dance companies, marching bands, and more.

Holiday Lane Drive opens on Saturday, Dec. 9 5:30-8:30 p.m.

At Island Grove Regional Park: Please enter on 11th Ave. and D St.

Loveland's Winter Wonderlights

 Nov. 18

At Winter Wonderlights, walk through over 200,000 lights, glittering bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated African stone sculptures, and nightly 30-minute music and light displays. Nine songs and moving lights on the 23-foot LED mappable Christmas Tree make up the light and music performance. On select weekends, Winter Wonderlights LIVE nights feature special programming, the inflatable igloo stage, and local merchants.

Lyons Parade of Lights

Nov. 24

The Town of Lyons is intriducing a new, tree lighting event this year.  The festivities will be in the southwest corner of Sandstone Park, at the corner of Railroad Ave. and 4th Ave.at 5:00 p.m.

Then, on Dec. 2nd the Holiday Parade of Lights begins at 6:30 p.m. along Main St. (which will be closed for the parade).Enjoy illuminated, colorful floats, fire engines, horses, dancers, and Santa Claus.  The theme of this year’s parade is “Small Town. Big Heart.”

Estes Park’s “Catch the Glow”

Nov. 24

The annual "Catch the Glow" Parade in Estes Park lights up this year at 5:30 p.m. as an estimated 20,000 people gather on Elkhorn Ave. to witness the colorful holiday parade, visit Santa, and meander through downtown Estes Park. The parade contains over 40 units, including Estes Park and nonprofit handcrafted floats, marching bands, fire trucks, and other specialty vehicles.


SOUTHERN COLORADO

Pueblo Parade of Lights

Nov. 25

This event is a 30-year holiday tradition in Pueblo and one of the largest Christmas parades in Colorado. Starting at Abriendo and Union Ave., down Union Ave., to City Center Drive to Main Street ending on 6th Street this event features colorful floats, school marching bands, drill teams, decorated saddle club horses, and car club vehicles adorned with lights.

Alamosa Christmas Light Parade

Dec. 23

Christmas cheer spreads along Main Street in Alamosa for this community gathering

All new December babies will receive a stocking cap, Christmas stocking, and candy cane socks.

Colorado Springs Festival of Light Parade

Dec. 9

Traditionally held on the first Saturday in December, the Colorado Springs parade will be moving back in a week for 2023. Local businesses and community organizations of all sizes create more than 100 entries decorated with hypnotic lights and decorations in line with the 2023 parade theme, ‘Sounds of the Season.’

ElectriCritters at the Pueblo Zoo

Nov. 24

The Southern Colorado area's biggest Christmas light display! The annual tradition at the Pueblo Zoo features thousands of lights and over 150 imaginative designs and animated displays. The money raised helps take care of and feed the more than 400 animals at the Pueblo Zoo.

Sensory Friendly Night on Dec 13 from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Open Daily | Dec. 16-23 & 26-27 from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. with the last admission by 8 p.m.

CLOSED Dec. 24 & 25


MOUNTAIN REGIONS AND WESTERN SLOPE

Leadville’s Parade of Lights

Dec. 1 

The annual Chamber of Commerce Parade of Lights winds down historic Harrison Ave. in Leadville. In the march to the Lake County Courthouse, for hot chocolate and cookies, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“Night of Lights” in Gunnison

Dec. 1

The historic district of downtown Gunnison is also decorated for the holidays each year with “Night of Lights.” Santa lights the tree at 6:30 before settling in at the Elks lodge for visits. 

Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas 

Dec. 2

The Race of the Santas starts on Breckenridge's Main Street as hundreds of Santa look-alikes run down Main Street to kick-off the holiday season. The day includes a holiday dog parade, the Children’s Moose March and holiday carolers, and a chance to embrace your inner Norse god as Ready Paint Fire hosts a Ullr Helmet Decorating Party. It’s all topped off by a countdown to a tree lighting and Santa’s visit.

Grand Lake’s annual tree lighting ceremony

Nov. 24

The event in Town Square Park includes a festive evening of carol singing, hot chocolate and cookies, a visit with Santa, and other holiday treats.

Grand Junction Parade of Lights

Dec. 2

The Parade of Lights in Grand Junction's historic downtown is the biggest parade of the year! Thousands line Main Street as 100 lighted entries enchant viewers. This year’s theme is Jurassic Holidays. Get in the holiday spirit and enjoy the beautiful shop windows of the Downtown businesses.

Christmas Eve Torchlight Parades at Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Telluride

Dec. 24

Staff at Winter Park, Copper Mountain, and Telluride ski resorts race down the mountains with torches, lighting up the slopes. View the illuminated trail from one of Telluride's many public streets, including Main, Pacific, and Columbia. Supposedly, Santa visits Telluride to relax after a night of distributing presents around the world. If you're lucky, you might see him there.

Winter on the Mountain 

Nov. 10 

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Winter on the Mountain offers gondola rides to the top of the mountain, live music and entertainment, a half-million magical lights, ice sculptures, rides, attractions, delicious food and drink, and visits from Santa. 

Silverthorne's annual Tree lighting 

Dec. 1

The Silverthorne Pavilion holiday tree lighting and art market includes holiday carolers, music, and holiday crafts. Plus visits with Santa himself!


EASTERN COLORADO

Holyoke’s Country Christmas and Parade of Lights

Dec. 4

Experience the delight of the season small town-style in the northeast Colorado town of Holyoke. This year’s festivities center around " A Charlie Brown Christmas.” In addition to the Parade of Lights, there will be hayrides, a soup supper, hot chocolate stands, several shopping opportunities and discounts, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more. 

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