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 (please include the address and a photo, if this is a private home):
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.
Westminster City Hall is adorned in thousands of colorful lights through the end of December. The Westminster Christmas tree is simply breathtaking.
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 18 through the end of January. Also, the tree trunks at Civic Center Park (west of Broadway between Canyon and Arapahoe) are wrapped in holiday lights.
Loveland Winter Wonderlights is 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 16 through January 1.
Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins is open every Friday through Sunday from November 15 to December 29. 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. 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.
We’re looking for homes to showcase, so if you know of one please email email@example.com with the address, any details and a photo, if you have one.
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.
8954 W. 78th Cir., Arvada, 80005
More than 90,000 LED lights.
7519 Braun Way, Arvada, 80005
Pruitt’s Christmas Village Light Show
6645 Alkire Ct., Arvada, 80004 (89.1 FM)
Show plays continuously Sunday to Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday & Saturday 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Includes 18 songs and 6 videos that play in the front window. Thousands of lights and 20 inflatables.
6187 Jellison Way, Arvada
This is the 26th year for the light show. Rudolph and all his friends including the misfit toys. Homemade snow cave. Lots and lots of lights and music. Vintage to new decorations. No blowups, only good old fashioned Christmas sculptures.
66th & Balsam
8205 W. 66th Ave., Arvada
3070 Hudson St., Denver, 80207
More than 65,000 lights synched to music.
Rock In The Ranch
9711 Bucknell Way, Highlands Ranch (90.5 FM)
20,000 lights synchronized to 5 rock songs. Show runs Monday to Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Lights on Laredo
3063 S. Laredo Cir., Aurora, 80013
Santa and Garfield on the roof to a skydiving bear and a parrot in a palm tree. ‘Thomas the Train’, Santa in the outhouse. You can actually see the glow from a block away. Be sure to grab a candy cane for the kids hanging on the tree before you go.
15131 E. 18th Pl., Aurora, 80011
More than 3,000 lights in the tree. The front yard has blowups and some are animated. The real thing to see here is Santa’s Workshop. Look in the window of the workshop and see Santa’s elves making toys and decorating a Christmas tree. Santa also appears in a video.
Severson Holiday House
3855 E. Mineral Place, Centennial, 80122
The Stricker’s Winter Wonderland
6636 S. Lafayette, Centennial, 80121
Borrow a pair of Holiday Specs to view the lights and return them when you leave. Santa and his sleigh, The Grinch and Whoville and Santa’s elves hard at work.
The Knolls Neighborhood
3871 E. Geddes Ave., Centennial, 80122
Synchronized light show with more than 30,000 lights, across three houses in The Knolls Neighborhood. A combination of LED and Incandescent lights as well a blow molds from the 80s. Leaping arches, a mega tree as well as traditional elements. Look for Santa waving from the window.
4479 S Jebel Way, Centennial
This year’s theme is “Puppy Dog Christmas” with more than 127 figurines.
Lone Tree Light Show
354 Neptune Ct., Lone Tree, 80124
Now in its 8th season offering lights synchronized to holiday favorites.
Westminster Family Light Show
11407 W. 103rd, Westminster, 80021 (93.5 FM)
Traditional and non-traditional music synced to 8,000 lights.
5781 Echo Park Circle, Castle Rock, 80104 (91.7 FM)
Thousands of lights synchronized to music. Shows run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. ts and is synchronized to music.
772 S. 21st Court, Brighton, 80601 (88.1 FM)
Take a drive to this Winter Wonderland and see the winding river where the penguins are playing. Tune into 88.1 to listen to music performed by the famous singing Christmas Trees. Don’t forget to wave to Santa. Runs from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
104 53rd Ave., Greeley, 80634
If you want to see more decorated private homes, check out the Denver Post’s Holiday Lights Photo Map.