Tis’ the Season!
The Best Places to See Christmas Lights in Colorado Springs
Everyone has a special neighborhood where they go to see the Christmas lights in Colorado Springs — the neighbors that do it up a little bit extra, or a team of neighbors up the street who collaborate for Christmas cheer. However, sometimes you just want to make it an immersive experience filled with music and atmosphere and a whole lot of fun. When it comes to the best places to see Christmas lights, our local attractions have stepped up with gusto and created lots of opportunities for you to maximize your holiday and get super primed for the season. Read on to learn about a few of our personal favorite places for creative Christmas celebrations.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari
One of the coolest Christmas traditions in the Pikes Peak region is the annual Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Electric Safari. The zoo decks the halls, trees, statues and just about any other structure you can imagine with thousands upon thousands of Christmas lights. It creates an epic sparkling winter wonderland to visit after hours when the zoo has closed for the day. It is sure to wow any visitor, no matter their age. On top of that, many of the party animals (the ones who don’t tuck in right when the sun goes down) are still out and about, making the visit doubly fun. The zoo sets up warming stations and fun activities and we strongly advise you bring cocoa or cider. Not just to keep your hands warm, but also because it’s cool. Hot. You get the idea. Advanced, timed tickets required. Do not delay in securing your slot. The zoo also offers a special Electric Moonlight event on Thursday, Dec. 9 from 5:30-*:30 p.m. It’s an adults-only evening filled with live music, fine spirits (booze, not the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future) and samplings of tasty foods. Santa still pays a visit because even adults need to share a Christmas list once in a while. Advance e-tickets are required. Book fast, these tickets go quickly.
Dec. 3-5, 10-23, 25-Jan. 1, 2022
5:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Reserve your tickets at CMZoo.org
New for 2021: Giant Illuminated Animals!
Photos by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
A Glittering Cave of the Winds Christmas Celebration
It might sound odd to think of a popular cave system celebrating Christmas, but Cave of the Winds has officially set the standard. The popular show cave located above Manitou Springs has created an immersive holiday experience that blends the thrill of exploring the caves with the magic of the Christmas season. You and your fellow visitors will be invited on a traditional cave tour lit only by the festive holiday Christmas lights that adorn the pathways. Along the way, you’ll hear engaging Christmas stories that are sure to get everyone in the holiday mood. You’ll also get the chance to join in on some old fashioned caroling. To say it sounds magnificent in the strange and varying acoustics of the cave system is an understatement. You really must experience it for yourself to understand just how unique it can be. Santa will also be hanging out at the caves, listening to wishes and snapping photos for $10. Advance tickets required.
Friday and Saturday evenings Dec. 3-18
Reserve your tickets at CaveoftheWinds.com
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Christmas Light Magic in Manitou Springs
Manitou Springs is arguably one of the coolest little towns in Colorado and they love to get festive for the holidays. The town gets gussied up with lights and garland and welcomes visitors all season long. Not only is the town sparking and fabulous, they amplify the awesomeness with weekend music from strolling brass bands (carols, of course) and a visit from the Big Guy himself, Santa Claus. While the visiting location will depend on the weather (Colorado is always gonna Colorado), families can make last minute pleas to the gifty sleigh-master on Saturday, Dec. 18 from noon-2 p.m.While you’re there, be sure to shop till you drop in the local stores for unique gifts, art, jewelry and toys you won’t find anywhere else. On Dec. 11, you can also enjoy a Christmas kick-off with the town’s annual holiday parade, where holiday lights and sounds abound with festive happiness.
Learn more at ManitouSprings.org
The weekends are where it’s at for maximum Christmas action, but you can find some traffic-free chill time by taking an extra-long lunch break and heading over during the weekday hours or popping in on a weeknight.
Gold Camp Christmas Headframe Lighting
If you don’t mind a bit of an extra drive, Cripple Creek offers one of the most interesting Christmas light displays in the state. Every year, they deck the 100-year-old mine headframes that dot the region with enormous holiday lighting displays that you can view on your own private drive through the countryside. Some of the light structures are as large as 20 feet tall! Make a holiday playlist to pipe through the car stereo, fill a thermos with cocoa and hit the road to explore. Download a self-guided map at STCFG.com. Since you’ll be all the way up in the mountains anyway, you can make an evening of it by stopping into the Butte Theater for “A Cripple Creek Christmas Carol,” a fun take on a timeless tale. The town itself is incredibly charming this time of year, so take a stroll, do a little shopping and maybe press your luck if you feel so inclined.
Learn more at VisitCrippleCreek.com
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Cowboy Christmas Jubilee at the Flying W Ranch
While the Flying W Ranch’s chuckwagon suppers are a nod to the past, the Christmas celebration has just enough modern to make it extra special. Twinkling white lights embrace the breathtaking property with a warm glow against the well-lit rock formations. It’s truly a remarkable sight and is only made better by the exceptionally tasty Christmas dinner you’ll be served as you make merry together. While everyone loves the hearty chuckwagon meals that are served during the traditional summer events, the Christmas meal is quite special. With choices like sirloin steak and chicken breast accompanied by tender asparagus and red-skinned mashed potatoes, you’ll feel like Scrooge himself has dressed your table after his night spent with the spirits. A special dessert is also served, but they’re keeping it a secret. A jubilee at the ranch just wouldn’t be complete without the sweet sounds of the Flying W Wranglers, so be prepared for a captivating Christmas show complete with your fav carols and a bit of cowboy banter. While you’re there, be sure to shop till you drop in the local stores for unique gifts, art, jewelry and toys you won’t find anywhere else. On Dec. 11, you can also enjoy a Christmas kick-off with the town’s annual holiday parade, where holiday lights and sounds abound with festive happiness.
Reserve tickets at FlyingW.com
Holiday Lights (and More!) in Old Colorado City
If you want to enjoy a Dickens-meets-Old West Christmas, you won’t have to go too far — Old Colorado City has been maximizing that mash-up for as long as any local can remember. Old Colorado City dresses up in Christmas lights and holiday décor with a particular focus on one treasured area, Santa’s chill zone in Bancroft Park. Old Saint Nick digs OCC so much that he visits every weekend throughout the holiday season, meeting and greeting hopeful children and hearing all their most important Christmas wishes. You can catch Mr. Claus from noon-5 p.m. every weekend through Dec. 19 and get a photo taken to remember the magical moment. When you’re not getting fancy with Santa, you can also peruse one of the town’s many shops for inspiring holiday gifts or stop in to enjoy a meal at a locally owned restaurant. Everyone has their own take on the season, making OCC the place to be for holiday fun.
Learn more at ShopOldColoradoCity.com
Old Fashioned Christmas at Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs
Miramont Castle is the reigning Queen of Victorian Christmas in the Pikes Peak region. While the attraction may not exactly count as a place to experience Christmas lights, it needs to be shared. The Queen demands it, after all. Trees decked with ornaments, mantles draped in garland and tiny holiday touches make every tour into an exciting Christmas adventure. The castle refers to the décor as “lavish” and they are not exaggerating. We recommend taking the tour even if you’ve visited the castle in the past. While you’re there, you should absolutely schedule yourself for afternoon tea in the Queen’s Parlour Tea Room. They offer daily reservations Tuesdays-Sundays, and the service is lovely. While they have simple sips, you should really go for the high tea. It offers multiple tea options and some of the tastiest finger foods you’ll eat, like scones and cream and those little, tiny sandwiches that you eat with your pinky up.
Visit MiramontCastle.org to learn more
Local’s Tip: Free Colorado Springs Lights Guide Map
Click here for must see homes and businesses with fantastic lights
There are countless ways to celebrate this season and we hope this list will help you find a brand-new family tradition for enjoying the Christmas lights in the Pikes Peak region.
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