Every year, as we move from October into November, communities along the Colorado’s Front Range, as well as all over the rest of the state, mark the transition from fall ghouls to winter celebration with a range of festive decorations, tree lightings, and other revelry to get you in the spirit. A perfect outing idea for family ventures, below is a list of many of the places you’ll be able to take in the sights and sounds of the changing seasons.
Blossoms of Light
The Denver Botanic Gardens, Nov. 18 – Jan. 7, 2023
Blossoms of Light has been The Denver Botanic Gardens’ trademark event for nearly 30 years. The gardens are transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland with a shifting display of lights and colors, including a 360-degree immersive light experience. The Gardens’ Chatfield Farms site is also transformed into a winter wonderland with enchanted displays of light and other holiday fun.
Denver’s Mile High Tree
Civic Center Park, Nov. 18 – Dec. 31
One of Denver’s most popular holiday events, centered around a 110-foot-tall, tree-shaped colossus magically lit with multicolored lights and ringed by enormous holiday ornaments. This also happens to be the largest art installation of this type in North America. This year will also be special in that you can experience two of the most popular attractions in one place: America’s tallest digital tree and the Denver Christkindlemarket.
Boulder’s Pearl Street “Switch on the Holidays”
Taking place on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall, this event offers live music as well as a countdown by Santa to the grand illumination along the Pearl Street Mall, Civic Area and around the Boulder County Courthouse. After the “switching on the holidays,” visitors can enjoy self-guided illumination tours, alongside the new Snow Much Fun virtual augmented reality experiences, provided in partnership with the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation department.
Denver Zoo Lights
Nov. 21 – Dec. 2 (members only) and Dec. 3 – Jan. 15, 2023 (for general public)
The dazzling animations of nature have been transforming Denver Zoo into Colorado’s wildest winter wonderland for decades. The event offers Ice-carving demonstrations, warm fire barrels, and delicious seasonal treats alongside More than 2 million lights that sparkle across the 80 acres. New additions this year to the lights collection will include Aurora borealis, a savannah sunset, and an electric jungle. A low-sensory night is also available.
Estes Park’s “Catch the Glow”
This annual event features carolers, ponies, hayrides, shopping, and Santa and his elves starting the day after Thanksgiving. The enchanted Catch the Glow Parade begins as night falls, leading to bands, floats, and dancers performing during the 45-minute illumination ceremony. Featuring over 40 participants, the parade will see hand-made floats from the Town of Estes Park and nongovernmental organizations, marching bands, fire trucks, and other specialty vehicles.
Hudson Gardens – An Extravaganza of Lights”
Nov. 25 – Dec. 31
Another year, another event where Hudson Gardens lights up a forest, celebrating the season with singing holiday tunes, dancing among the grove of gyrating Christmas trees, strolling through light tunnels, and taking in the enormous snowmen and illuminated reindeer.
Pueblo Parade of Lights
A 30-year holiday tradition in Pueblo, and one of the largest Christmas parades in Colorado, thousands of people come to line the streets as the parade travels from the Mesa Junction down Union Avenue to Main Street, before heading west to end at 6th and Court. The parade includes colorful floats, school marching bands, drill teams, decorated saddle club horses, and car club vehicles adorned with lights.
Greeley’s “Light the Nights” Parade
The city of Greeley and its neighbors have celebrated the beginning of the holiday season with a parade and lighting ceremony for the past 24 years. Families like up early to secure good spots from which to take in the more than 40 lighted parade entries. The Parade will run along 9th Ave starting at 14th St down to Lincoln Park, and afterwords, revelers gather in Lincoln Park for carols and trees light up the night.
Gunnison – “Night of Lights”
Downtown Gunnison’s historic district is decorated for the holidays each year for this event. The entire family will be left in awe along the art walk, with live entertainment booming throughout and bonfires to warm your fingers and toes while the hot chocolate warms your tummy.
Leadville – Parade of Lights
The Chamber of Commerce Parade of Lights is an annual event winding down the historic Harrison Avenue. As spectators march to the Lake County Courthouse, they can say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus, while taking in the many floats depicting scenes from a number of different holiday films. Local businesses in the area also go all out as they compete for the best holiday decorations.
Alamosa Celebration of Lights
In honor of Alamosa’s 15th annual Celebration of Lights, the city’s municipal building will be bathed in festive light. Children can have a conversation with Santa Claus and get to know one of his helpful elves.
Denver’s Parade of Lights
This Christmas extravaganza takes over the streets of Downtown Denver, so be sure to arrive early enough to grab a good seat. Attractions will range from simple floats to elaborately lit floats, to huge character balloons to superb marching bands to traditional horse units to vivid cultural exhibits. Santa Claus and Major Waddles the Penguin will also be making appearances. If you’re not able to make this event, or able to tolerate the cold temperatures, it will be broadcast on 9NEWS.
Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas
A race of the Santas will start on Breckenridge’s Main Street, followed by a holiday dog parade, the Children’s Moose March and holiday carolers. There is also a tree lighting countdown, and Santa’s visit.
Lyons Parade of Lights
Lyons is turned into a holiday fairytale through Christmas ambiance, featuring a parade beginning at 6:30 p.m. along Main Street (which is closed for the parade.) The parade features illuminated, colorful floats, many of which will be decorated in the theme of this year’s parade — “Starry Starry Night.” Keep in mind when making plans that this year will see a new parade route.
Colorado Springs Festival of Light Parade
One of the region’s most beloved holiday traditions, now in its 39th year, this festival features cultural and artistic programs, performances, floats, high school marching bands, groups on horseback, and Santa Claus himself all to help get the whole family in the holiday spirit.
Grand Junction Parade of Lights
This year, in honor of the 40th annual Parade of Lights in Grand Junction’s historic downtown, more than a hundred floats decorated with lights and decorations from local businesses, performing groups, and youth organizations will be on display. For first time visitors, arrive early for the 11 a.m. start of the winter festival, where charitable groups from the area line the streets offering seasonal treats and trinkets.
Holyoke’s Country Christmas and Parade of Lights
Experience small-town-style seasonal delight in northeast Colorado, where this year’s festivities will center around the story of “An Elf Christmas.” Along with the Parade of Lights, there will also be hayrides, a soup supper, hot chocolate stands, several shopping opportunities and discounts, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more.
Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Telluride – Christmas Eve Torchlight Parades
Last on our list, but certainly not least are these wonderfully festive parades! Ski slopes are lit up as staff from the ski resorts race down the mountains with torches. You can view the illuminated trail from one of Telluride’s many public streets, including Main, Pacific, and Columbia. It’s also rumored that Santa himself visits Telluride to relax after a night of distributing presents around the world. If you’ve been good, you might just sneak a peek of him.