From Union Station to the 16th Street Mall to the Botanic Gardens and the Santa Fe Arts District, Denver plans on turning it on for the holidays.
Millions of holiday lights will be used to get Denverites in the Thanksgiving/Christmas spirit as the city and private groups kick off their annual festivities, beginning with the Grand Illumination on Friday, November 26.
The kickoff event of the season, the Grand Illumination will light up the downtown area from Union Station to the City and County Buildings. The City and County Building along will be decked out in more than 600,000 holiday lights and carols will be played from the bell tower every night.
The Grand Illumination will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Union Station with live entertainment and conclude at 6:45 p.m. at the City and County Building with the lighting countdown. At Union Station, choirs and food from LoDo area restaurants will keep visitor entertained.
In addition to the festivities, the public can view the more than 1,000,000 lights that will run the length of the 16th Street Mall and Curtis Street between 14th and 16th, as well as the holiday lights that will adorn Larimer Square and the Denver Pavilions. Entertainment and special events will be held at both locations.
Meanwhile, Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe, will boast as 22-foot tall Christmas tree with lights synchronized to holiday tunes as well as 26,000 lights. The park will also be the site of the Southwest Airline Skating Rink.
Outside of the downtown area, the Denver Botanic Garden will present their “Blossoms of Light” display beginning on December 3 that includes special illuminated displays of their Henry Moore sculpture. For those looking to make the season a bit more special, the Garden will offer their Engagement Package with a private table for two, sparkling cider, cupcakes, a personalized sign and other accessories to make the moment special. The Garden will also feature special musical entertainment on select night.
Also later in the season the Santa Fe Arts District presents their Luminarias de Santa Fe on December 3, a display of hundreds of glowing luminarias, which are paper bags filled with a candle and weighted down by sand, lining the street.
Also on December 3, 9News will host their Parade of Lights beginning at 8 p.m. at the City and County Building at 14th and Bannock Streets and continues on a two-mile route through the streets of downtown Denver. The parade will feature marching bands, floats and balloons. The parade will be repeated on December 4 and 6 p.m.
Elsewhere, the Denver Zoo and the Butterfly Pavilion will host their holiday festivals beginning December 10 and 11, respectively. The Zoo Lights festival will feature more than 150 animated animals, music and other entertainment. The Butterfly Pavilion will also feature an illuminated environment amid thousands of butterflies.
Downtown Denver hotels are also getting in on the act with special hotel deals for visitors.