The streets and buildings of Downtown Denver will light up for the holidays during the center city’s Grand Illumination starting at 6 p.m. Friday.
Hundreds of thousands of sparkling lights and entertainment will mark the festive occasion from Denver Union Station to the City and County Building, including the 16th Street Mall, Skyline Park, the D&F Tower and more. The following details the places to enjoy the illumination of Downtown Denver.
Light the Lights City and County Building – One of the holiday season’s longest running traditions, the 9NEWS Light the Lights event, takes place at the City and County Building, when one of the most popular holiday lighting displays in the region will once again transform this historic building.
Performers will entertain the crowd from 6 to 7 p.m., including MIX, The University of Colorado Denver’s elite a cappella group; CU Buffoons, the oldest a cappella group at the University of Colorado at Boulder and SOAR, a youth and adult choir offering the opportunity for at-risk youth to be mentored by adult performers. Benjamin Wood, baritone with the Boulder Opera Company, will perform the finale.
The City and County Building lighting display is entirely lit with LED lights and uses an estimated one-third of the energy it did in previous years. The building will be illuminated at 5:45 p.m. nightly through Jan. 25.
A dramatic light display set to holiday music will play at 5:45 p.m. each night. At 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, volunteers will play holiday tunes from the historic bell tower. A special bell session will play at 7:14 p.m. Dec. 24 for the “Bells for Peace” organization as part of an effort to have bells around the world play “Silent Night” to honor the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Eve truce during World War I. Bells in each country will be played at 7:14 p.m. in their respective time zone.
Denver Union Station – Beginning at 6 p.m., there will be special events at Denver Union Station, presented by LoDo District, Inc. and sponsored, in part, by Comcast. Entertainment will include local a cappella singers, the Mistletones, a visit from Dinger Claus (the Colorado Rockies Mascot decked out in holiday uniform) and much more. At 6:30 p.m., a countdown will mark the lighting of a 35-foot Douglas-fir tree. Sparkling lights also will illuminate the historic Denver Union Station in the heart of Lower Downtown.
16th Street Mall – More than 100,000 energy-efficient LED lights will turn the 16th Street Mall into a beautiful promenade, lighting more than 200 trees along the 1.25 mile length of the Mall. Highlights along the 16th Street Mall include Denver’s historic D&F Tower, adorned with LED lights, wreaths and bows and Skyline Park featuring trees with more than 50,000 lights.
14th Street – Along 14th Street, more than 180 trees will be decorated with nearly 25,000 white LED lights, enhanced by more than 32,000 brightly colored LED lights in trees on Curtis (green and blue) California (red, gold and orange), and Larimer streets (green and purple).
Two of Downtown Denver’s major retail destinations, Larimer Square and the Denver Pavilions, will be illuminated with festive décor and will host holiday entertainment and special events throughout the season. The sparkling canopy display over Larimer Square features nearly 4,000 lights.
In addition to the lights, visitors to Grand Illumination can sing along with the Jingle Singers who will be playing five colorfully painted pianos along the 16th Street Mall as part of the Your Keys to the City program.
Grand Illumination is a collective effort of the Downtown Denver Partnership, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, Downtown Denver Events, Inc., 9NEWS, the City & County of Denver, the LoDo District, Inc., Comcast and the Regional Transportation District.