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Five Mile High Holiday Light Displays Making Spirits Bright

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Written by Suzy Guese

This blog post was updated on August 20, 2018.

Denver is already a mile above the rest. This city doesn’t really need bright holiday light displays to stand out.

At the same time, Denver gets into the season with millions of twinkling lights, parades, and special events.

However, it is the light displays that make Denver shine for miles and miles. Spirits are bright here during this special season and perhaps a little more so due to the altitude.

Travelers arriving on December flights to Denver should be sure to check out these spectacular light displays:

Denver City and County Building: The largest lighting display in the city take place nightly at the Denver City and County Building.

At around 6 PM, a rainbow of lights brightens the neoclassical building. The bell tower even plays carols each night. It might seem a little over the top or perhaps an overzealous usage of flood lights, but even Scrooges must admit the 600,000 lights make for classic Denver at the holidays.

Denver Zoo Lights: Families or animal lovers traveling to Denver can appreciate this Mile High City holiday tradition. The Denver Zoo hosts Zoo Lights from December 9th to January 1st every night from 5PM to 9PM. Across over 38 acres of lights, the Denver Zoo lights up over 150 animated animal sculptures. You might see monkeys swinging from trees and giraffes hiding in the bushes. True to its nature, the Denver Zoo presents a safari of lights for the holiday season.

Denver Botanic Gardens: The Denver Botanic Gardens put on the Blossoms of Light for the holiday season. The already popular city attraction lights up in over one million colorful lights in elegant designs across the gardens. The Gardens’ amphitheater also brightens up with thousands of lights. Throughout the season, events are held in the evenings. You can also select to buy the 3-D HoloSpex glasses. These nerdy glasses transform the lights into various holiday shapes. This year, the light show boasts four new ice sculptures as well.

Neighborhood Lights: Denver has several historic neighborhoods with their fair share of light displays. The Denver Post features a light map you can peruse to see where some of the best house displays are in the Denver area. If you come across a house not on the map, you can add it to the newspaper’s map.

Lights on the 16th Street Mall: While it is Denver’s most touristy area, the 16th Street Mall certainly gets into holiday light displays. The mile long pedestrian stretch in downtown Denver boasts around one million white lights. This is a good spot to do your holiday shopping with coco in hand as Skyline Park and Larimer Square along the mall also light up for the occasion. If you don’t mind being a shameless tourist, take a horse drawn carriage to admire all of the brightness.

About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at

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