Out of all of the fun holiday traditions you may be looking forward to this year — viewing lights may be one of the safest. Searching out Christmas lights is usually a socially distant activity on its own — but this year, organizers are taking extra steps to make sure everyone can have a fun and safe experience. If you’re stuck on where to go first — consider visiting one of the light set-ups on this list for a great way to get in the holiday spirit this year.
Winter Aglow on Glenarm
Where: Denver Pavilions, 500 16th Street Mall, Denver
When: November 27 – December 19
Cost: Free to visit
The Lowdown: One of Denver’s most popular shopping destinations — Denver Pavilions — is home to a socially distanced holiday extravaganza. Since the Denver Parade of Lights couldn’t be held normally this year — you can visit some of the popular floats on Glenarm Street, which are surrounded by brightly decorated lights. On Friday and Saturday evenings — you can even enjoy live music, visits with Santa and a free family photo if you have a receipt from any of the Denver Pavilions stores. To find out more, visit the Denver Pavilions website.
The Mile High Tree
Where: 16th Street Mall at Welton Street, Denver
When: November 20 – January 2
Cost: Free to view
The Lowdown: Next time you find yourself downtown — make sure to stop by The Mile High Tree. This 110-foot tall tree doubles as an immersive art installation. The tree is the largest of its kind in North America and was made by a Spanish lighting production company. While the tree is illuminated nightly — on specific days throughout December —the tree is open for the public to step inside and features light shows and holiday music. To find out which days the tree is open and to learn more, visit here.
Christmas in Color
Where: Water World, 8800 North Pecos Street, Federal Heights
When: Now – January 3, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $30 per vehicle
The Lowdown: If you’re looking for what is perhaps the safest way to celebrate the season — or you simply don’t want to walk around in the cold — Christmas in Color is for you. This drive-through installation can be enjoyed from the comfort of your car — you’ll make your way through millions of Christmas lights all while listening to synchronized festive tunes from your car radio. If Federal Heights is too far from you — there’s a second installation at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison. Tickets are $30 per car and you can find more info here.
Winter Wanderland at Cherry Creek
Where: Cherry Creek North, 2401 East 2nd Avenue, Denver
When: November 19 – January 3
Cost: Free to visit
The Lowdown: Consider doing some holiday shopping in Cherry Creek this year if you’d like to catch the shopping center’s outdoor art installations. At Cherry Creek North — you’ll find a 16 block long walk with twinkling displays as well as eight Christmas trees synchronized to music. Along with the walk, be sure to visit Prismatica — a fascinating art installation designed by RAW Design. The installation features 25 lit up prisms that visitors can rotate themselves and will leave the surroundings drenched in color. To find more information and a map of the installations, visit here.
Winter Wonderland at Golden
Where: 1010 Washington Avenue, Golden
When: December 4 – February 15
Cost: Free to view
The Lowdown: Historic downtown Golden has illuminated its streets with approximately 45,000 lightbulbs. A giant Christmas tree outside of the visitors center is the perfect way to start exploring this festive display. Explore the banks of Clear Creek to find even more dazzling displays. Each Friday, the city displays a different ice sculpture in its town center. You can also visit the local holiday market, where you’ll find handmade gifts and crafts. Of course, the surrounding shops offer endless options for drinks, sweets and gift shopping. To learn more, visit here.
Merry & Bright Lights at Union Station
Where: Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver
When: November 28 – January 3, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Cost: Free to view
The Lowdown: Merry & Bright Lights is making its debut this year. This new light show is projected directly onto the exterior of Union Station. The light show features work by local artists such as Maya Dite-Shepard, WAVEFORM.exp and Estee Fox. Some of the surrounding restaurants are doing outdoor dining — so grab a loved one and a warm coat and head over to Union Station for a particularly festive holiday experience. You can find more info here.
Colorado Youth Outdoors Drive Through Event
Where: Colorado Youth Outdoors, 4927 County Road 36, Fort Collins
When: November 27 – December 31
Cost: $20 per car
The Lowdown: Fort Collins is now the site of a new drive-through art installation — Winter Wonderland — that donates part of its sales to local nonprofits. This mile-long drive-through installation features thousands of twinkling lights as well as wildlife-themed sculptures. On certain days throughout December, Colorado Youth Outdoors will donate all sales to a specific nonprofit organization. To make a reservation and learn more about the nonprofits that will be supported, visit here.
Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Where: 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, Colorado Springs
When: December 11 – January 1, closed December 24
Cost: $14 per adult
The Lowdown: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is the site of 85 light sculptures spread over 50 acres. The outdoor areas of the zoo remain open — so visitors can enjoy both the animals and the lights. Santa will be available for socially distanced wish-making — and Sky Ride will be open to members of the same household. Grab a cup of hot cocoa while you wander the grounds for a festive way to spend the season. More info can be found here.
Blossoms of Light
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, Denver
When: November 20 – January 16
Cost: $18 – $21
The Lowdown: Held at Denver Botanic Gardens — this holiday lights installation has been around for over three decades. If you visit, you’ll find that the Denver Botanic Gardens has been decorated with extraordinary lights that your whole family will love. Refreshments are even being offered — warm up with a hot coffee or a custom grilled cheese sandwich. If you’re looking for a similar event in the suburbs — you can find the Trail of Lights event at Chatfield Farms in Littleton. Because of the pandemic — tickets must be bought in advance as capacity is limited. You can find more info here.
Where: Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele Street, Denver
When: November 23 – January 3
Cost: $15 – $25
The Lowdown: If you’ve never been to Zoo Lights before — this holiday staple is a must-see. Each year, the Denver Zoo adorns its grounds with thousands of light displays. The Denver classic is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Tickets are selling out fast — although a few time slots are still available in early January. Tickets can be found here.