During the holiday, the city is awash with sparkling color as shops and homes (and even cars) deck their halls (or roof racks) with the bright lights of Christmas. It’s truly spectacular, and a sight that shouldn’t be missed. You may have noticed, after reading our recent Winter itinerary and our Santa blog, that we’re just a little bit excited about celebrating the holidays. Okay, obsessed. We are obsessed with Christmas. But if you’re scouring the internet for holiday events and activities, you probably are, too. Welcome to our world. (It’s so jolly!) We’ve laid out a perfect plan for enjoying the holiday lights in Colorado Springs, tailored for the Christmas-enamored (and maybe even a few Grinchy folks).
Gather Supplies at Garden of the Gods Trading Post
You’re going to need fuel for your Yule adventure and we think there’s no better place to gather supplies than a location called a “trading post”. Its name harkens back to the days of the Oregon Trail, only better because we have wi-fi and electricity. At the Trading Post, pick up all the hot beverages your heart desires — we recommend peppermint mochas. If you have kids in your crew, maybe hot chocolate is a better option, otherwise you’ll be reading bedtime stories until 3 a.m. You can totally score a burger and beer while you’re there, but if you’re anxious to get moving, snag a pound of Christmas fudge for the road.
Electric Safari at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
The zoo crew is staying up way past bedtime to welcome visitors to a special evening of lights, animals and fun. There are 85 light sculptures spread across the zoo’s 50 acres, and that’s only the beginning. Santa will be there for photos, the giraffes and budgies will be awake for bedtime snacks and the Sky Ride will be running to carry sightseers to the top of the zoo. Bundle up, because it gets cold on the mountain — you can find some warmth at the warming stations, too. Their carousel is open for rides and the Grizzly Grill has delicious dinner options and hot cocoa. Dec. 6 – 8, Dec, 13 – 23, Dec. 25 – Jan. 1, 2020; 5:30-8:30 p.m. NOT open on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Get the full details, prices and schedule of events here.
Mountain Illumination Festival at Cave of the Winds
Make Cave of the Winds Mountain Park a stop on your holiday to do list. They’ve installed a quarter of a million lights high atop Williams Canyon for their Mountain Illumination Festival! Get a up-close look at the lights when you walk through their illuminated winter wonderland. Enjoy mouth-watering treats when you stop at our bonfire for hot chocolate and s’mores!
- November 29-Dec 1st, Dec 5th – 8th, Dec 12th – Jan 1st: $25 for cars up to 10 people/$30 for vans with over 10 people. Nightly 6-9 p.m. Weather permitting. Please, no tour buses or RVs
Shopping in a Winter(Light) Wonderland: Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs
Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs seem to have an unspoken competition for who can be the most festive during the holidays, and every resident and business owner must be in on it. The winner? You. Bundle up and stroll streets lined with a huge selection of local businesses and restaurants all filled with Christmas cheer. On certain days, you (and your kiddos) can meet Santa, too. There are special sales to help you find the perfect gift for your budget and the variety of shops simply can’t be beat. In the evenings, many of the bars and restaurants have live music for the 21+ set to enjoy over a cocktail or two.
The Closer: Ice Skating in Acacia Park
A few years ago, someone had the genius idea to introduce outdoor ice skating to downtown Colorado Springs. For a mere $10 a person, you get a pair of skates and unlimited skating, which means you can basically skate as long as you can handle the weather. There are daytime hours, but there’s something so Hollywood about zipping around under the holiday lights to the sounds of Christmas music in the heart of a bustling city. Don’t worry if you’re not a pro, the rink is beginner-friendly and even provides buckets to help kids learn to balance. As far as fun goes, we think that it’s the perfect closer to your holiday light excursion.
As you can see, Colorado Springs is loaded with ways to catch the beautiful Christmas lights and capture the joy of the season. We hope you’ll find our options fun, festive and filled with holiday cheer!