Driving or strolling through a fairyland of outdoor light displays is a holiday treat that costs no more than gasoline or shoe leather. And there’s no place prettier than Denver/Boulder, especially when the snowy backdrop is the real deal. Here are a few of the best FREE ones around town. We’re updating continuously, so send us your suggestions:
Downtown Denver: Christmas is a time when even those most ardent suburbanites come downtown. The opulent light display decorating the City and County Building (at Civic Center Park) from the ground floor to the dome has been a holiday tradition since 1935 and the lighting is spectacular by any measure. Sparkling lights also illuminate the historic Union Station in the heart of LoDo. More than 100,000 lights festoon the trees of the 1.25 mile-long 16th Street Mall. Ride the FREE mall shuttle and gaze at the magical scene. Strings of white lights strung across Larimer Street between 14th and 15th Streets provide a brilliant and festive setting for great dining and shopping (window or otherwise).
Golden will be brighter than ever this year, with holiday lights along Washington Avenue, Clear Creek and in Clear Creek History Park. Thousands of holiday lights will illuminate the historic buildings and park – inside and out – for a festive place to make new memories. Enjoy the lights nightly at dusk through January.
Historic Downtown Littleton decks itself out in millions of multi-colored lights that adorn the trees along Main Street. Shop the merchants as you stroll block after block.
Boulder’s Switch On The Holidays festoons the Pearl Street Mall and several blocks to the east and west of the pedestrian zone with 35,000 LEDs and 300+ illuminated ornaments. The plaza in front of the Boulder County Courthouse (between 13th and 14th Streets) features lighted trees, an “electric fountain” and a canopy of lights. Above the city, a lighted star shines from Flagstaff Mountain, a local tradition since 1947. See the lights from November 19 through the end of January.
Loveland Winter Wonderlights is a new attraction at Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra. Each night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., visitors will revel in holiday string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated African stone sculptures, the only 20’ LED mappable Christmas Tree in the state and 30-minute music and light shows each evening starting at 5:30 p.m. It’s open from November 18 through January 7.
Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins is open every Thursday through Sunday from now to December 30. Guests 21+ will receive a wristband good for four FREE 6 oz. beer samples. During the family-friendly event, be dazzled by the Digital Light Show, find your way through the Holiday Tree Maze, explore the newly expanded Family Zone and warm up by the fire while roasting s’mores available for purchase on-site. Brewery Lights will also be open on Tuesday, December 26 and Wednesday, December 27. The Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins Brewery and Tour Center is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
All these displays, often synchronized to Christmas music, are put on by regular people, at their own expense, and it takes an incredible amount of time and creativity. So visit and let them know you appreciate it. Some are collecting money for charitable causes. If a radio station is listed, tune your car radio to that station to listen to the coordinated music. Please be considerate of these folks’ neighbors.
If a website or Facebook page is listed, make sure to visit and check out the hours, start dates, and any additional information that you need to know.
The Strickler’s Winter Wonderland
6636 S. Lafayette St., Centennial, 80121
Donations accepted for Franklin Elementary School
Severson Holiday House
3855 E. Mineral Place, Centennial, 80122
Light’s at Schally’s
7148 S. Grant St., Centennial (98.1 FM)
Accepts donations for Salvation Army
7519 Braun Way, Arvada, 80005
Caleb Claus’s Candy Cane Lane
679 S. High St., Denver, 80209
7741 E. 137th Ave., Thornton 80602 (95.5 FM)
5061 Yates Circle, Broomfield (91.3 FM)
Every bulb on the house is individually controllable and can be any color at any time. The result is 10 minutes of awesome Christmas music with dazzling lights and effects. There are both outdoor speakers or listen on your radio.
If you want to see more decorated private homes, check out the Denver Post’s Holiday Lights Photo Map.