Christmas lights in Denver make it a magical place to visit during the holiday season. From the grand illuminations downtown to the quaint tree-lighting ceremonies in communities just outside Denver, you’ll find many celebrations to help get you into the holiday spirit.
Can’t-miss holiday events are light displays at the zoo and both Botanic Garden locations, along with night parades in downtown and Brighton.
Check out our top suggestions of beautiful light displays around the Mile High City.
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Location: Downtown Denver
This November, the switch for the downtown Christmas lights gets flipped, signaling the beginning of the holiday season. Shortly after that, colored lights will illuminate the historic Union Station and its Christmas tree in front. Several other locations around downtown Denver will turn their lights on also.
This year's event features a night market at Union Station as well as holiday entertainment. Activities start at 4 pm with the lighting at around 6:15 pm. Make sure to stay after the lighting to celebrate until 9 pm.
Date: Dec. 6th & Dec. 7th
Location: City & County Building
The annual Light the Lights with 9NEWS takes place at the City & County Building. During this event, more than 2,000 feet of LED lights turn on to start the holiday season. The event starts at 6 pm with music and entertainment. They turn the lights on starting at 6:45 pm.
To see all the downtown Christmas lights in Denver, take an evening stroll from Union Station (1701 Wynkoop Street) to the City & County Building (1437 Bannock Street) at Civic Center Park. Lights are on display nightly through New Year's Eve.
Since 1975, Channel 9NEWS has put on the festive Parade of Lights for the people of Denver. The two-mile parade includes creative holiday floats, marching bands, performance groups, and appearances by Santa Claus and Major Waddles the Penguin.
Limited grandstand seating at the City & County building is available for $16 and up.
Dates: Nov. 29 - Jan. 3, 5 - 9 p.m. (includes 12/24, 12/25, & 12/31)
Location: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.
See the bright, colorfully lit trees, gardens, and more in the Botanic Gardens' winter wonderland. Put on the HoloSpex glasses to see the twinkling lights in a whole new way. Depending on how long you linger at each display, it should take about 25 to 45 minutes to see everything.
Be sure not to miss the O'Fallon Perennial Walk and the Romantic Gardens during this Christmas lights in Denver event!
Dates: Nov. 29 - Dec. 22, 4:30 - 8:30 p.m. (last entry at 7:30 p.m.)
Location: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms, in Littleton
Santa and his crew will be visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens this holiday season. They will be stopping by the Chatfield Farms location every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night between November 24 and December 15. They will be open nightly between December 16 and the 22nd.
You can visit with Santa, meet some of his reindeer, and do crafts with Mrs. Claus.
In addition, you can also enjoy the gorgeous holiday lights on display throughout the gardens, go on a hayrack ride, and visit the craft vendors in Santa's workshop.
Dates: 11/30 - 12/31
The historic town of Golden is hosting its annual Olde Golden Christmas. It includes parades (every Saturday in December), visits from Santa, and other fun activities.
As part of this celebration, the entire historic district in Golden will be glowing with holiday lights. Clear Creek History Park will also have plenty of lights on display.
The official tree lighting is on the evening of December 6 and will take place after the Candlelight Walk, which starts at 6:30pm.
Dates: 1/29 - 12/30
Location: Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St.
Cost: $13 and up
During the holiday season, a twinkling and festive light display covers 70 acres of the zoo. This is a ticketed event separate from zoo admission and includes animal encounters; Santa meet and greets; and lit animal sculptures that swing, jump, and hide around the zoo. During certain days, you can also get value pricing during this Christmas lights in Denver activity!
Location: Downtown Brighton at 100 Main St.
The Brighton Festival of Lights takes place in historic and charming downtown and features a parade, tree-lighting ceremony, and winter festival. The theme for this year's night parade is "A Hometown Holiday Tradition" and features more 75 entries. Start the day downtown at 10 a.m., check out the winter festival activities starting at 2 p.m. at City Hall, and snag your spot for the parade beginning at 5 p.m.
Location: Centennial Center Park, 13050 E. Peakview Ave.
Head to Centennial in south metro Denver for its annual holiday lighting celebration. The festive event features an appearance by Santa, school choirs, holiday treats, and the lighting of its grand Christmas tree.
Date: 11/24, will stay lit through December
Celebrate the holidays in Boulder this year. They will be lighting the Boulder County Courthouse and the Pearl Street Mall on Sunday, 11/24 starting at 5pm. The lights will stay on throughout the holiday season. In addition to the lighting ceremony, make sure to stick around for a visit with Santa.
In addition to these Christmas lights in Denver events, you will find a variety of other Christmas and holiday activities. Click the links below to learn more about each one.
Christmas in Denver: Are you planning to be in the Denver area over Christmas? If so, you will find several fun things to do on Christmas Eve as well as many great places to enjoy a meal with your family on Christmas Day. Find my insider's guide with all the details here.
December Calendar: This December, you will find dozens of fun things to do all around the Mile High City. They include holiday theater performances, nutcracker shows, and so much more. Click here for a calendar for this December.