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).
You may also want to check out the Mile High Tree in Sculpture Park at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The seven-story tall “tree” features more than 60,000 lights with a light and music show every 30 minutes nightly from November 30 through January 31. You can even step inside the tree.
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.
Aurora Municipal Center is a bright festival of with sparkling lights on the building exterior and walkways.
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 24 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 15 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 Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“Light” Christmas at Cherry Hills Community Church is a drive-through light display. Experience the story of Jesus — the “Light that Leads You Home” — through a spectacular Christmas light display. Cars will able to drive the entire campus where there will be multiple scenes that share the story of one family’s Christmas traditions through the generations. Open from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (closed during services) through December 22. Free, but it is strongly suggested you get a ticket here for timed entry. Once you’ve reserved your free ticket, download the Light at Cherry Hills app from the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the address, any details and a photo, if you have one.
Commerce City Homes
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.
Severson Holiday House
3855 E. Mineral Place, Centennial, 80122
Thousands of lights, lasers figurines and holiday glasses to use and return for others to enjoy. Window display with many different Christmas adventures. Runs nightly from 4:45 p.m to 10:30 p.m.
Light’s At Schally’s
7148 S. Grant St., Centennial, 80122 (98.1 FM)
Some 32,000 LED lights dance to music from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Donations made to Salvation Army.
2780 S. Harrison St., Denver, 80210
More than 6,700 lights, animation and music at times. Santa is stuck upside down on the chimney with kicking legs and his elf has a call-out that says “sorry boss.” This piece was custom welded by Joe Fortna’s father. Rudolph is in the yard with Santa’s sleigh and is a bit concerned.
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.
Kandy Kane House
6611 Quay Ct., Arvada
Elaborate display that has grown over two decades. Dozens of LED figures, including snowmen and reindeer, along with palm trees and flamingos. There are buckets set out for nonperishable food donations.
90th Court Christmas Extravaganza
9164 W. 90th Ct., Westminster, 80021
Home displays more than 5,000 individual LED Christmas lights, including color changing and sparkling lights, blowups and projectors. Every year the display draws hundreds of visitors, bringing Christmas joy to everyone who witnesses it.
Westminster Family Light Show
11407 W. 103rd, Westminster, 80021 (93.5 FM)
Traditional and non-traditional music synced to 8,000 lights.
If you want to see more decorated private homes, check out the Denver Post’s Holiday Lights Photo Map.