We've just finished a dark year in Denver, but there's light at the end of the COVID tunnel as we head into 2021. What better time to have an illuminating adventure at one of the light shows along the Front Range? Several are still up through this first weekend of January.
Find free shows at the top of this list; ticketed displays are at the end.
Night Lights Denver
Through January, 5:15 to 10 p.m. daily
1601 Arapahoe Street
Night Lights Denver has been brightening spirits on the 16th Street Mall for over a year, but the new holiday display is something special, full of holiday- and winter-themed work by Colorado-based artists for "the people's projector" that uses the Clocktower as a canvas. The new lineup includes pieces by Estee Fox, Erin Anderson, Steve Smith, Maya Dite-Shepard, Michael Sperandeo, Chandler Bree Dolan, Waveform.exp, Rainbow Militia, ArtToyz, Wendy Shattil and others. Watch for updates here; this free display gets glowing reviews!
Winter Wanderland Light Walk and Prismatica
Through January 3, daily
Cherry Creek North
Wander the streets of Cherry Creek North and take in the half a million lights twinkling in the trees; eight of the trees are adorned with dancing lights choreographed to festive music. At Gart Plaza (Milwaukee Street and East Third Avenue), you'll find the Prismatica, a temporary art installation of 25 pivoting prisms bursting with light and dancing with color; it was designed by RAW Design in collaboration with ATOMIC3. Find out more here.
Lumonics Mind Spa: Light Intersection
Through January 30
UnderStudy, 700 14th Street
One of the big losses this year was artist Dorothy Tanner who, along with her late husband, Mel Tanner, made light sculptures designed to create a state of comfort, relaxation and creativity. Many of them are currently presented in a “fishbowl”-style installation at UnderStudy, located at the Colorado Convention Center — which is closed, but you can see the Lumonics exhibit through the window. Find out more here.
Free, outside Denver:
Downtown Holiday Lights
Through February 14, nightly
Old Town Fort Collins
Every night through Valentine’s Day, 22 blocks of Old Town Fort Collins will be lit up with holiday lights strung through the tree tops, illuminating holiday deals. Find out more here.
Ticketed shows with paid admission:
Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens
Through January 16, nightly
1007 York Street
Get a dose of pure beauty and holiday magic at the annual light display at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The venue is keeping admission numbers low and there are no interactive components this year — but there is plenty to marvel at as you walk the path through the illuminated gardens. Take a break near the end of the trail and purchase treats such as gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, hot cider and soup from on-site Hive cafe. Keep in mind that masks are required at all times for those ages three and up — which isn't so bad given the chill that usually graces the season. Tickets run $16 to $21; get them here.
Christmas in Color
Through January 3, nightly
Water World, 8801 Pecos Street
Bandimere Speedway, 3051 South Rooney Road
Visit Bandimere Speedway or Water World for a drive-through Christmas-light experience that involves no contact beyond the party in your car. Tune in to a special station to hear holiday music that's synchronized to the lights, so while you drive slowly through the dazzling colors, the illuminated features (toys, trees, candy canes) dance along. Feel free to sing, too: No one but your family will hear that off-tune rendition of "Jingle Bells." Tickets are $30 per car; purchase them in advance here.
I Love Christmas Movies at Gaylord Rockies
Through January 3, daily
6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard, Aurora 720-452-6900
There have been a lot of safety protocols put into place for this year's Gaylord holiday fest, which is themed around Christmas movies. The interactive exhibit showcases scenes from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Elf, Polar Express and more; there's also snow tubing, ice skating, gingerbread house kits and snacks for purchase. Tickets start at $13.99 for kids and $24.99 for adults. Get them here.
Trail of Lights
Through January 3, daily
Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton
The country cousin to Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms pairs magnificent holiday lighting with attractions designed for family-friendly fun: a play area, illuminated antique tractors, singing Christmas trees and synchronized music. Two separate paths — one that goes straight to the playground and a longer route perfect for exploring the historic buildings preserved in the park — wind through the lighted areas, and somewhere in between it all, you can stop for a hot chocolate and kettle corn treat. Dress warmly, mask up and take your credit cards; find info and timed-entry tickets, free to $13.50, here.
Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo
Through January 9, nightly
2300 Steele Street
The annual tradition continues with a few changes, including one-way paths through the giraffes, zebras, monkeys and hippos, where a million lights twinkle along the zoo's eighty acres. While booking your time slot ($25 adult, $15 child, free under three), make the visit brighter with a special add-on package like the Holiday Animal Adventure, which, for between $235 and $300, gets your party an exclusive meet-and-greet with the Zoo’s Animal Ambassadors, including the hawk, porcupine, snake and more. Or book the simple VIP package that includes access to warm-up areas, a souvenir mug, cocoa or cider, a cookie kit, animal demos and HoloSpex glasses for $50. Get your tickets here.
Holiday Lights Mini Golf
Through January 10, 5 to 9 p.m., nightly
Adventure Golf & Raceway, 9650 Sheridan Boulevard, Westminster
During the holiday season, Buccaneer Bay, Adventure Cove and the Lost Continent miniature golf courses are transformed with over 100,00 interactive lights. While you play through, you can enjoy hot chocolate (spiked is an option for adults). The cost is $10 adults, $8 children (4-12), under 4 free. Find out more here.
Know of more light shows around town? Send information to email@example.com. And don't miss our lists of family-friendly activities and holiday markets.
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