Hello, happy post-blizzard day to you, too. Now that we can finally see blue in the sky above us, we can now dig ourselves out of our snow caves and get back into the world. Not for work, though, no, not that—The only reason we should abandon blanket nests and hot chocolate is for sparkly lights and hot chocolate, all of which NoCo has in abundance. If you need a place to bring your in-laws, your kids, or just your inner child, here’s where you can go to get some of that holiday lights aesthetic in your life.

Fort Collins

1) Downtown Holiday Lights

Location: Old Town, Fort Collins


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Now, this one’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever been around Fort Collins for the holidays, and it’s honestly one of my favorite parts of living here. Each year, Old Town Fort Collins gets lit up with thousands of lights that are strung through the trees, down the alleyways, and on top of buildings, where they’ll keep glowing until February of 2020. The lights make it look as though there’s stars caught in the tree branches, and feels so magical you’ll think you got your letter to Hogwarts. You can see these lights along College Avenue from Magnolia St. to Laporte Ave., as well as along Walnut Ave., Linden St., Pine St., Old Town Square, Oak Street Plaza, and Mountain Ave.

2) Gardens of Lights on Spring Creek

Location: 2145 Centre Ave., Fort Collins  

 

 

 

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Do you remember how in the movie ‘Avatar’ (the one with blue people, not the M. Night Shyamalan one) all the plants had this iridescent glow to them? Well, the Garden of Lights on Spring Creek are bringing us right to Pandora with a stunning display of lights, turning their gardens into an otherworldly experience. The gardens will be open from 5-9 p.m. each evening from Dec. 13-29, except for on Christmas.  While there, visit with Santa and enjoy live music while you admire the lights—they’ve also added a new attraction called the “Color Blossom Show” on the Great Lawn. You can get tickets online, in person, or over the phone; they cost $11 for adults, $9 for seniors or military personnel, and $8 for kids (2-17) and students (with IDs).

3) Anheuser Busch Brewery Lights

Location: 2351 Busch Dr., Fort Collins


Did you think that breweries were just for beers and a good time? Well, you’re right, but this one wants to make sure the stars aren’t just inside your head, but everywhere else, too. Anheuser turned themselves into their own winter wonderland this holiday season, boasting everything from fire pits, tree mazes and s’mores to a fantastic array of lights that bedeck every surface. They even offer a Kids Zone (with $1 train rides) and special tours if you like a bit more structure in your holiday celebrations. You can visit the most festive brewery around every Fri-Sun from 5-9 p.m. until Dec. 29.

4) Winter Wonderland at the Mishawaka

Location: The Mishawaka Amphiteater, 13714 Poudre Canyon Hwy., Bellvue  

 

 

 

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Your favorite hipster concert venue is back with a holiday vengeance, and I don’t regret their decision at all. For their second year in a row, the Mish has transformed itself into an explosion of light and color, including new, additional installations just for kids. They’ll also have a special winter forest, outdoor s’mores stations, ornament creation areas and hot drinks (including the Mish owner’s family Wassail recipe. What’s Wassail, you might ask? That is a wonderful question). You’ll be able to see the wonderland from sundown to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun throughout December. And, better yet, it’s entirely free.

5) Front Range Holiday Lights

Location: 2720 Council Tree Avenue, Fort Collins


Still think malls are on their way out? Well, you may be right in general, but not about the Front Range Village. After all, how can a place be fading out of grace when it has Santa and Christmas carolers? The Front Range typically brings out their lights around December 1, and will include a number of holiday activities throughout the month (such as the aforementioned carolers and scavenger hunts).

Loveland

1) Winter Wonderlights

Location: Sky Pond Dr., Loveland  

 

 

 

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Loveland’s holiday Winter Wonderlights is a spectacle that’s truly worthy of the name. Every night until January 1, you can walk through a sculpture garden adorned with 80,000 lights—if that doesn’t scream “’Tis the season,” then I don’t know what will. But beyond soaking in the glowing artistry, Winter Wonderlights also presents a 30-minute music and light show each night that features six songs that play in synch with a moving, 20-ft.-tall Christmas Tree. But as if that wasn’t enough, the garden also presents Winter Wonderlights Live nights for a few select weekends, which include additional activities and live performances along with their usual fare. It’s a lot of holiday cheer contained in one garden and I haven’t even mentioned the giant inflatable igloo.

2) Christmas Walk in the Woods

Location: 1750 Savage Rd., Loveland


If any of you are fans of the spooky season, then you might be familiar with Creepy Walk in the Woods. This walk in the woods is the significantly less creepy sister to that event, and is run by the same people. They’ll also never be guilty of false advertising, as they offer exactly what you think they would: A lovely walk over the river and through the woods, all of which are sparklingly lit and, more often than not, filled with carolers. On select nights, Santa will also be joining visitors.  The Woods will be open from 5-8 p.m. from Dec. 13- Dec. 31, and will only be closed on Christmas Eve and Day. Tickets cost $4 per person, while the special nights will cost $12 per person—But children 5 and under enter for free. You can get your tickets here.

Greeley

1) Greeley Lights the Night Parade

Location: 9th Avenue and 15 St. to Lincoln Park (Greeley)  

 

 

 

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Greeley’s aiming to start their holiday season off right with this blitz of a parade on Nov. 30. This is their 24th annual celebration with over 70 participants. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., viewers will get to see a lighting ceremony accompanied by Santa. And, once again, the event is completely free for those of us celebrating on the cheap.

2) The Greeley Grizwalds

Location: 354 50th Avenue Ct., Greeley


Honestly, I’m just surprised these guys haven’t made it into the Guinness Book of World records yet. Still, this home-grown light display is definitely one to take the kids to, as the Grizwalds are practically a NoCo tradition in their own right. This family sets up their own holiday lights each year, and let’s just say they do not do things by halves. Synched to music that pipes through your radio, this nightly holiday extravaganza plays from 5:30-9:30, Sun.-Thurs., and from 5:30-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. On display until the new year, the Grizwalds get to show off their 180,000+ lights, not to mention their giant Christmas tree, multicolored arches, and animated Santa and elves. It’s a lot, and more than worth checking out if you want to wow your relations.

Windsor

1) RainDance Community

Location: 2191 Covered Bridge Pkwy, Windsor  

 

 

 

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The RainDance Community development rang in the holiday season four days ago with an impressive light display of their own. From glittering trees reflected in the community’s lake to the lit covered bridge that plays music as you walk beneath it, you won’t be disappointed by what this community has to offer.

Happy holidays, everyone! Maybe we'll get to see a few of these before the next snowstorm rolls through.