Colorado Thanksgiving Getaway to Denver offers the Grand Illuminations

Live in Colorado or visiting this winter? The mountain towns are spectacular holiday destinations. But Denver offers even more holiday festivities and fun. Denver holiday events include spectacular light displays to holiday markets, ice skating and more. Here are our favorite Colorado Christmas lights for families that you won’t want to miss this winter!

Best of Colorado Christmas Lights

Here are our favorite places to enjoy festive Christmas lights in Denver!

Blossoms of Lights at Denver Botanic Gardens

I have lived in Colorado for twenty years and this summer was my first visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens. Shame on me! While I really wanted to go during the Chihuly exhibit last year, I was not disappointed at all in my visit this summer. The Gardens are beautiful. And, I did manage to find one remaining Chihuly sculpture. The holiday season is another special time to visit.

Holiday lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens: Blossoms of Lights
The holiday colors of the Blossoms of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens. © Denver Botanic Gardens. Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin

Denver Botanic Gardens’ light events return with festive cheer during the holiday season. This annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms the York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. With fresh and exciting new features, along with some fan favorites, this year’s display will be brighter and more expansive than ever before. This family-friendly event has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Front Range families.

This lights extravaganza has new features and more lights. Including a refreshed interactive light display in the UMB Amphitheater. The field of LED lights are sound-reactive, allowing visitors to change the color themes and movement patterns between pre-programmed holiday song cycles. In addition carolers stroll the Gardens on select evenings.

Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo. Photo Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights is back for its 28th year, and sure to be bigger and better than ever! Running from November 29 – December 30, 2019 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. the holiday magic spans across over 70 acres. This Denver holiday spectacular boasts more than two million lights, nightly entertainment, sweet treats, animal encounters and a Festival of Lanterns. Plus illuminated animal sculptures swing through trees, jump across lawns, hide in bushes and appear in places where they’re least expected.

9NEWS Parade of Lights

December 6, 2019 (8 p.m.) and Dec. 7, 2019 (6 p.m.), the 9NEWS Parade of Lights is the signature event of the downtown Denver holiday season. The countless sparkling lights, marching bands, giant balloons, majestic floats and delightful characters will once again wow hundreds of thousands. Viewing along the parade route is free, and grandstand tickets are sold for seating in front of the beautifully illuminated City & County Building.

Denver’s Union Station offers families the opportunity to visit with Santa this holiday season. Photo courtesy Denver Union Station.

Grand Illumination Kicks Off Holidays at Union Station

Denver Union Station officially launched the holiday season on November 29, 2019 with Denver’s  Grand Illumination celebration. Visitors won’t want to miss the landmark train station’s NEW outdoor Christmas tree, a 40 foot tall tree featuring more than 7,000 holiday lights. The event features a vintage holiday performance by the Denver Dolls, holiday jingles by the Denver Bronze and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Denver holiday lights at the Gaylord Rockies LIGHT!
Walk through a winter wonderland carved from more than two million pounds of colorful ice at Gaylord Rockies. Photo courtesy Gaylord Rockies.

Gaylord ICE! at Gaylord Rockies

New for Christmas 2019, the Gaylord Rockies has brought Gaylord ICE! to Denver. The Gaylord hotel transforms into a holiday wonderland, featuring a variety of seasonal activities, live entertainment, and grand décor. The centerpiece of these Christmas celebrations is a winter wonderland carved from more than two million pounds of colorful ice.

Be sure not to miss the Cirque Dreams Holidaze show at the bubly Theater while there. This riveting theatrical experience includes awe-inspiring holiday productions with astonishing aerialists, singers and dancers. It’s a cirque adventure and Broadway musical set to a Christmas theme.

LIGHT! at Gaylord Rockies is a spectacular interactive holiday experience. Visitors walk through indoor and outdoor paths of magical illumination and music. A forest of fully-lit, color-changing trees, colorful lights and dancing snowflakes pave your way to excitement.

Most importantly, the kids will most certainly also want to spend some time on the ice bumper cars, ice tubing or ice skating at Glacier Point.

Spend the night, or the weekend to be able to have the full experience. Be sure to check for Local Colorado Resident Offers.

Outdoor decorations light Denver’s first pedestrian Alley at Dairy Block. Denver holiday lights that can now be enjoyed year round. Photo courtesy The Dairy Block.

Holiday Festivities at The Dairy Block

The Dairy Block, Denver’s vibrant new micro-district in the heart of Lower Downtown, is festively ringing in the holiday season. Outdoor decorations lighting Denver’s first pedestrian Alley, carolers, along with new shopping and dining outlets, visits from Santa and a pop-up shop celebrating local experiences.

Kris Kringle will be spreading holiday cheer – and posing for FREE family photos – at Santa’s Dairy Block Workshop on Saturday, Dec. 7th, 14th & 21st, 2019.

Furthermore Santa’s Dairy Block Workshop will feature a complimentary photo booth where families can take adorable pictures with Santa, the chance to meet his reindeer, plus live entertainment by elves & carolers, complimentary candy canes and more.

The Maven at Dairy Block, an independent, modern hotel delivering 172 industrial-chic guest rooms & an energetic lobby is encouraging guests to STAY COZY this holiday season. They are offering special room rates starting at $179 per night, plus fun value added packages.

Mile High Tree

Denver’s new Mile High Tree is a 39-feet in diameter art installation in Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The conical structure hosts up to 140 guests at a time for an immersive viewing experience within the tree itself. The tree is surrounded by oversized holiday ornaments and includes a dazzling lights. The tree features nightly free public light shows choreographed to multi-cultural holiday music every 15 minutes throughout the evening through January 31, 2020.

Insider Tip: Looking for a fun holiday tradition for the family? Consider getting a permit and heading out to the forest to cut your own Christmas tree!

Christmas in Color Comes to Colorado with Denver Drive Through Christmas Lights

November 22, 2019 – January 4, 2020 hop onto your warm vehicle and experience Christmas color from the comfort of your car. Drive through acres of more than 1.5 million lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music listen to through through your radio. Drive by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more.

Take your pick of two locations for Denver drive through Christmas lights in the metro Denver area. Glowing tunnels and twinkling lights bring the magic of Christmas to Water World at 8801 N. Pecos St, Federal Heights. See how the Bandimere Speedway is transformed into a winter wonderland at 3051 S Rooney Rd, Morrison.

Other Holiday Things to Do in Denver

Christkindl Market

The Christkindl Market from Nov. 22–Dec. 23, 2019 on 16th Street Mall includes vendors from Germany and other countries. Also including local artisans, offering high-quality, handcrafted gifts such as traditional hand-carved wooden figurines, handmade candles and ornaments. Traditional German food will tempt your taste buds. Sip on warm Glühwein (hot spiced wine) as you listen to traditional Christmas carols and live German music. Entry is free and the entire family is invited to enjoy this great tradition!

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park

One of the most popular holiday events in Denver, the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park in downtown Denver provides ice skating and family fun. The rink is free and open to the public with the option to bring your own skates or rent a pair at a minimal cost.

Christmas in the Colorado Mountains

While Denver boasts the biggest and brightest holiday lights in the state, Colorado’s mountain town offer their own holiday charm during Christmastime. Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to the mountain towns of Colorado and discover other special places to spend Christmas. We may be biased. But we do think that our hometown of Vail is one of the most special places to spend the holidays. From snowy alpine village ambiance to historic parades and fireworks, it is a great place to get into the Christmas spirit.

Things to Do in Denver for New Year’s Eve

Many of these fun holiday events continue through New Year’s Eve. So, here are some great additional ideas for family-friendly things to do for New Year’s.

There are so many holiday things to do in Denver, Colorado downtown and beyond. Here's our family-friendly round up of the best Denver holiday events for this winter! #Denver #Holidays #Colorado

Colorado Christmas Lights and Denver Holiday Highlights

One thought on “Colorado Christmas Lights and Denver Holiday Highlights

  • December 3, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Very nice article on Christmas lights to see in Denver!


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