Located one mile above sea level and at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Denver has established itself as one of the most exciting and fastest-growing cities in the nation. The city has gained international attention for its strong outdoor scene, its beautiful architecture, its prominent Western culture, and its vast array of tasty restaurants and happening breweries. But this isn’t all Denver has to offer—over the past few years, the spread of LED Christmas lights has helped make Denver one of the top “Christmas cities” in the world.
Denver’s relatively low light pollution (at least for a city of this size) helps make evening Christmas light displays even a little bit more magical. Additionally, with an average annual snowfall of 56.4 inches (nearly five feet) per year, there is also a reasonable chance that the holiday lights will be enhanced even further.
While you can find impressive LED Christmas light displays seemingly anywhere in the Front Range region, we think there are a few areas that really stand out. In this article, we will list 10 of our favorite neighborhoods in Denver for seeing Christmas lights. If you can’t decide which one sounds most appealing to you, don’t worry—you’ll have plenty of time to see them all.
1. The Denver Zoo and Botanical Gardens (City Park)
The Denver Zoo and the Denver Botanical Gardens are probably two of the best places to see Christmas lights in the entire state of Colorado. Both locations, draped in LED Christmas lights and complete with fantastic flora and fauna, offer a family-friendly light-viewing experience that is sure to be quite memorable.
2. Cherry Creek
Cherry Creek offers an eclectic blend of old and new homes, resulting in the perfect setting for viewing Christmas lights. Each holiday season, the commercial district becomes decked out in Christmas lights, as do many of the streets surrounding it. While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to visit the Cherry Creek North Ice Rink (located in Fillmore Plaza).
3. Five Points
Five Points is a neighborhood that is, without a doubt, currently on the rise. Building on its foundation of a long and colorful history, Five Points has been increasing in population and attracting visitors from all directions. You’ll find Christmas lights near Coors Field and all throughout the neighborhood. There are also quite a few craft breweries in the neighborhood, making for the perfect night out.
LoDo is one of the most densely populated parts of the city, making it easy to find tasteful Christmas light displays almost everywhere you look. The neighborhood has an interesting combination of small, medium, and large-sized housing, meaning that the lights you’ll see will be very diverse. If you’re in the area for a Nuggets or Avalanche game, be sure to give the lights in LoDo their fair share of attention.
5. Cheesman Park
Complete with Spanish revival architecture, swanky homes, and—of course—the adorable city park itself, Cheesman Park has established itself as a staple in the Denver Christmas light circuit. The neighborhood’s rich history has given its trees plenty of time to grow, creating a display that feels both storied and authentic. In Cheesman Park alone, there are more than 1,880 trees from 57 identified species.
6. Capitol Hill
After being named the capital of the centennial state, Denver quickly grew to national prominence. The Capitol Hill neighborhood—naturally, located next to the Capitol and City Hall—is the perfect area for viewing some of Denver’s most notable sights and Christmas lights. The city center, which contains an impressive collection of classical architecture, is the ideal location for an evening stroll with a fresh cup of hot cocoa in hand.
Over the past few years, Denver’s Highland neighborhood has become so much more than a place for free parking (though much of that still exists). Highland currently has some of the newest restaurants, bars, and shops in the city, which has attracted quite the hip crowd. This winter, take a few minutes to explore this rapidly growing neighborhood and enjoy some of the most detailed lighting displays in the city.
8. River North (RiNo)
As Denver has grown, River North—located just east of Coors Field—has become quite the hub for art and culture. Complete with ample murals, abstract art shows, and plenty of craft beer, a night out in RiNo is one you’ll be sure to remember. Choose a few breweries, grab a few friends, and see the types of Christmas lighting that only an artsy neighborhood like RiNo can provide.
9. Windsor Gardens
Each year, the good people of Windsor Gardens hold a competition to see who can create the most appealing Christmas light display. From the moment you step out of your car and begin exploring Windsor Garden’s historic and magnificent streets, it becomes immediately clear that this competition is one that the residents take very seriously. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to explore multiple blocks and see which displays you’d deem the winner.
10. Central Business District (CBD)
The Central Business District is known for its commerce and its skyscrapers, but its tasteful Christmas displays deserve some love as well. Between the shops on 16th Street Mall, the many plazas, and multiple spots to meet Santa, you’ll find fascinating lights almost everywhere you look. The Gas and Electric Building, designed by famed American architect Louis Sullivan, is even more beautiful than usual during the holiday season.
Conclusion - Best Christmas Lights in Denver
Denver is a spectacular city throughout the course of the entire year. However, with the Rockies in the distance and snow falling in the background, the holiday season is a time of the year where living in Denver is even more special. Take a chance to explore these exciting neighborhoods and discover everything that Denver has to offer.