It's been a tough year, but this holiday season is going to be lit ... up by beautiful lights.
It seems a little difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year. We've had to cancel some of our plans, like visiting family, and a lot of people are just plain worried about the pandemic. In the hopes of lightening up your holiday season, we're sharing some of the best and brightest holiday lights that you can see in Denver.
These attractions and events all adhere to the new red-level guidelines. In fact, most of Denver's holiday events were designed to meet these stricter rules, just in case. You can even see some of these lights from the safety of your own vehicle.
*Some of these attractions will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Make sure to check the event websites to get more information about dates, ticket prices, and COVID-19 safety precautions. Keep in mind, masks are required at most of Denver's holiday events and in all public spaces where social distancing is not possible.*
So let's brighten things up a bit. Here's where you can get your dose of holiday cheer this year:
When: Nov. 20—Jan. 16
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens
It just wouldn't be the holidays without this long-standing Denver tradition! Blossoms of Light has lit up the Denver Botanic Gardens for over 30 years, and this year is no different. Well, except that face masks are required (for everyone 3 and up) and tickets will be timed to allow for social distancing. Tickets must be purchased in advance, so be sure to plan ahead.
When: Dec. 4–31
Where: Denver Zoo
Another holiday-must in Denver is the magnificent Zoo Lights display, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. According to their website, Zoo Lights sells out every year so you're highly encouraged to purchase tickets ASAP. Face masks are required and guests are asked to socially distance themselves from other groups and follow the one-way traffic indicators.
When: Nov. 20—Jan. 2
Where: 16th Street Mall at Welton Street
The Mile High Tree is lighting up the 16th Street Mall once again, with a few strict social distancing measures in place to protect guests and staff. The tree will be lit up all season and is open for program viewings on certain dates. These dazzling light and music displays can be watched from the street but if you want to go inside, guests can enter in "pods" of 5 people or less.
When: Permanent Installation
Where: Daniels & Fisher Tower
Night Lights Denver is an immersive art experience that features rotating content from local, national, and international artists. Every evening from Tuesday through Saturday, you can find unique art projected onto the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower. Dubbed "the people's projector" and partnered with the Downtown Denver Partnership, the goal of this experimental art platform is to elevate innovative artists and give people a free, unique art experience.
When: Nov. 27—Dec. 31
Where: Downtown Denver
The 9News Parade of Lights will also go forward this year, though it'll be a little different (and in our opinion, maybe even better). According to their website, "this year’s Parade will be a multi-week, socially safe extravaganza of activities across downtown." They have an app you can download that shows you the parade map so you can plan your own route on any given day. On December 4, you can even enjoy a 9News hour-long special that celebrates past parades and features music, special guests, and of course, Santa.
When: Nov. 19—Jan. 3
Where: Cherry Creek North
Doing some holiday shopping in Cherry Creek? While you're in the area, make sure to take an evening stroll through the Winter Wonderland Light Walk and take in over half a million lights across 16 blocks. The Winter Wonderland features eight dazzling light displays choreographed to music. Use the hashtag #WinterWanderland2020 and tag @cherrycreeknorth in your photos for a chance to be featured on their social media.
When: Nov. 27—Jan. 3
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms
Head out to Littleton to see the Colorado countryside lit up with twinkling lights. Aside from your choice of glittering, winding paths to explore—there are lots of great features this year, including a 3-sided light tunnel and a children's play area with synchronized music. Face masks are required and tickets must be bought in advance. Tickets are limited to 30-minute time windows to stagger guest arrival and promote social distancing.
When: Nov. 28—Jan. 2
Where: Denver City & County Building
If you love Denver just as much as the holidays, the Denver Lights & Sights Walking Tour is for you. Every evening from Thursday through Saturday, this two-hour guided tour takes you to several of the places mentioned above, and you'll hear some unique facts about the city along the way. Starting at the City and County Building and ending at Union Station, it's designed to give you all of the best views and photo ops of famous, lit-up landmarks. The reduced tour size (10 people max) makes for a safer, more engaging experience.
Which holiday lights are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments!