There are plenty of things to do in Colorado when the most wonderful time of the year rolls around. Some of the simplest joys of the season are the spectacular lighting festivals held throughout the state.
Downtown Boulder’s Switch on the Holidays: Nov. 18, 2018
Every night on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall is a unique experience, but Switch on the Holidays is one of the best. The popular pedestrian thoroughfare crowds with people as live music fills the air and Santa counts down to the grand illumination of the street, courthouse and star atop Flagstaff Mountain.
Catch the Glow Holiday Celebration and Evening Parade: Nov. 23, 2018
Kick off the season in Estes Park on the day after Thanksgiving with carolers, pony rides, hay rides, shopping and, of course, Santa and his elves. When dusk falls, the magical Catch the Glow Parade begins. It’s a 45-minute lighting ceremony with bands, floats and dancers.
Pueblo Parade of Lights: Nov. 24, 2018
This event is a well-established holiday tradition in Pueblo. Cheerful onlookers bundle up in coats, hats and mittens to watch nearly 100 lighted floats, antique cars and marching bands pass by. Following the parade, Santa is available to visit with children.
Greeley Lights the Night Parade: Nov. 24, 2018
Kick off the holidays in downtown Greeley, where more than 40 lighted parade entries make their way past families who line up early to get the good spots. After the parade, everyone gathers in Lincoln Park for carols and to see the park's trees light up.
Leadville Parade of Lights: Nov. 30, 2018
Ambling down Harrison Avenue in Leadville, floats depict a variety of popular holiday tunes and Santa and Mrs. Claus ride in the parade to the Lake County Courthouse, where they will visit with kids, listen to Christmas wish lists and pose for photos. Area businesses are competing in a holiday decorating contest, so the whole city sparkles for the occasion.
Night of Lights in Gunnison: Dec. 22, 2018
Gunnison's historic downtown lights up for the holidays each December as well. Bonfires will warm your tootsies and hot cocoa will warm everything else, while an art walk and live entertainment make sure you've got plenty to keep your family busy.
Denver Parade of Lights: Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2018
No other holiday celebration in Denver can hold a candle — or strand of twinkling lights — to the grandeur that is the Denver Parade of Lights. Arrive early so you can claim your corner to watch the impressive floats, festive marching bands, diverse dancing groups and local celebrities take over the streets of downtown. In case you’re not up for the cold or the crowds, this one is broadcast live on 9NEWS.
Lighting of Breckenridge: Dec. 8, 2018
The Summit Choral Society sings timeless holiday carols, the Race of the Santas starts on Breckenridge's Main Street, cookies and hot cocoa are served, trees are lit, the Bernese Mountain Dog Parade knocks everyone's socks off with its cuteness and Santa visits the Barney Ford Museum.
Colorado Springs Festival of Lights Parade: Dec. 1, 2018
Downtown Colorado Springs is the place to be for the 33rd annual parade and lighting ceremony. Floats, high-school marching bands, groups on horseback and Santa Claus himself bring the holiday spirit at this family favorite.
Grand Junction Parade of Lights: Dec. 1, 2018
Historic Downtown Grand Junction celebrates more than 30 years of the Parade of Lights with more than 100 lighted floats from local organizations, businesses, performers and youth groups. Those in the know show up early for the Winter Festival (starts at 11am), where local non-profit organizations line the streets selling holiday goodies and crafts.
Country Christmas and Parade of Lights: Dec. 3, 2018
Experience the delight of the season’s small-town-style in the northeast Colorado town of Holyoke. The most popular activity of the night is the Parade of Lights, which features floats decorated according to the annual theme. There are contests for best float, tree and window display. Children can give their wish lists to Santa at the Vets club where the local fire fighters serve up a hot chili supper.
Alamosa Parade of Lights: Dec. 22, 2018
Bikes, cars and floats cover themselves in holiday lights and roll through downtown Alamosa to bring holiday cheer to San Luis Valley families and visitors.
Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade: Dec. 24, 2018
The slopes light up as nearly 100 Telluride Resort employees glide gracefully down the dark mountain, torches in hand. Watch the glowing trail from town; popular viewing spots in Telluride are Main Street, Pacific Street and Columbia Avenue. Rumor has it, that after a long night of delivering presents around the world, Santa comes to Telluride for some much needed R-and-R — so you might just catch a glimpse of the man in red.
Photo Credits: Downtown Boulder and Miles.