holiday lights; photo by chris ainsworth via unsplash

Top 5 Holiday Light Displays in Denver

December 22, 2020

Lights! There’s something innate about our attraction to shiny objects. Luckily, visiting outdoor light displays is still an activity everyone can enjoy safely. And Denver has some amazing holiday lights to visit. This is the inaugural year for Cherry Creek North’s Winter Wonderland, which features an interactive light art sculpture. It is the second year for the Mile-High Tree, which Denverites fell in love with almost immediately (Note: different location this year but still downtown). There’s a new forest at Denver Pavilions too, as well as the oldies but goodies at Denver Botanic Gardens and Denver Zoo.

Walking Distance from Campus


inside Mile-High Tree

The Mile-High Tree

Denver’s new holiday tradition involves a huge hollow tree covered in lights. You can admire the light display, which shifts in color and pattern, from afar—or from inside. People can enter the towering tree and get mesmerized by a light show timed to festive holiday songs. This is the largest installation of its kind in North America. It’s joyful, jolly, and a splendor for the senses.

Location: 16th Street Mall at Welton Street
Dates: Nov. 20, 2020 ­– Jan. 2, 2021
Cost: Free

Timed Performances:

Thursday, Dec. 10: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 11: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 12: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 17: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 18: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 19: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 24: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 25: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 26: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 27: 5 – 8 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 31: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 1 (2021): 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 2 (2021): 5 – 9:30 p.m. (closing day)

Winter Aglow 2020

Winter Aglow on Glenarm

Walking distance to campus, Winter Aglow on Glenarm presents a brightly lit forest. Walk around to see three popular Parade of Lights floats: the Santa Float by Ent Credit Union, the Gingerbread House by Xcel Energy, and the KOSI 101.1 Denver’s Christmas Station Float. Floats are illuminated through Dec. 31, 2020.

Location: Denver Pavilions (15th Street and Glenarm Pl.)
Dates: Now – Dec. 31, 2020
Cost: Free

Central Denver Area


Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens

Blossoms of Light

Blossoms of Light transforms Denver Botanic Gardens into a luminous landscape. Sculptural shapes and artful lights in many different colors create twinkling tableaus. Stroll through the winding paths to discover wild wonderlands. December is already sold out, but January tickets are still available.

Location: Denver Botanic Gardens
Dates: Nov. 20 – Jan. 16 (closed Dec. 25)
Cost: $16 – $21; children 2 and under are free
Cherry Creek North Winter Wonderland

Cherry Creek North Winter Wonderland 2020

New this year, Cherry Creek North’s Winter Wonderland 2020 is an outdoor light walk throughout the shopping and dining area’s 16 blocks. The festive display includes a one-of-a-kind interactive light art installation. Enjoy half a million lights and eight displays choreographed to music.

Location: Cherry Creek North
Dates: Nov. 19 – Jan. 3
Cost: Free
Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo

Zoo Lights 30th Anniversary

Celebrate safely at the zoo while strolling on wide paths flanked by multi-colored lights. Animal shapes made of lights are also lit up throughout the zoo, making it particularly fun for kids. Some of the creatures are even hidden in the trees, so make sure to look up.

Location: Denver Zoo
Dates: Nov. 23 – Jan. 9 (evenings)
Cost: $15 – $25