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A Driving Tour of Christmas Holiday Lights in South Metro Denver: Littleton, Englewood, and Centennial
Christmas Holiday Lights in Littleton, Englewood and Centennial
This little drive will take you past a few of south Denver's major light displays. You'll start at Southglenn Mall and then head to far south Englewood at the Kloewer residence (5041 S. Elati), move south and west through downtown Littleton on Littleton Boulevard, and end up at the Hudson Gardens lighting display.
Lights at the Southglenn Mall
6991 S Vine St, Centennial, CO 80122
This shopping area makes a good starting place since it’s easy to find (at the corner of University and Arapahoe) and has quite a few places to grab a bite or a drink before you set off. The center street of this outdoor mall (in front of the theater) has a nice, tasteful display of lighted trees, as well as a fireplace and a skating rink. They also have a Santa inside that you can visit, and lots of other special events and services, such as Clydesdale carriage rides, carolers, and even Santa photos with your pet. Check their website for dates and times.
If you want to grab a bite, or get a hot drink before you go out, there are several restaurants. Local favorites are the Mellow Mushroom pizza joint and the Peet’s Coffee and Tea. You can also get sushi, pizza, soup, stir-fry, salad bar, and all kinds of drinks at Whole Foods Market.
Lights on House at 6636 S. Lafayette
As you head west on Arapahoe Road the cool white lights that decorate the trees and the roofline will catch your eye off to the right. Make a right on Lafayette, and you will see a tree and yard decked out with all manner of things—Cookie Monster and Big Bird with the sleigh, penguins, Minnie Mouse, a reindeer pushing a lawn mower. Make sure you take a look at the windows to catch a glimpse of the Grinch lurking about. If you get out of the car and walk around to see the display, you can also hear the Christmas music that’s piped from the porch.
If you have time, wend your way through the neighborhood for a bit. While the other houses aren’t as elaborate, there are still some feats of engineering (how did they get those red lights so high on that tree?) to admire. This neighborhood seems to have more decorating spirit than most of the ones I’ve seen in Littleton.
Just make sure you head back west on Arapahoe Road so that you can turn left (south) on Broadway.
Lights 6636 S. Lafayette, Centennial, CO
Synchronized Lights and Music on 7148 South Grant Street
Once you have turned left onto Broadway, turn left again at the second street, which is East Easter Avenue (about 2,000 feet from the intersection of Broadway and Arapahoe.) The third street on your left from there will be Grant. Turn left, and 7148 Grant Street will be on the left.
This display has 35,000 lights which are synchronized to music transmitted on the radio at 98.1 FM on your dial. Thanks to Caleb Schallenmuller who pointed out his display to me. It’s quite the sight.
The lights are bright, with bold colors, and the music is definitely on the energetic side of the spectrum. My little phone camera doesn’t do justice to the depth of the color, but you can see that he has quite a few features to work with for his synchronized lights: roof lines, stars, trees, arches. The photo doesn’t show it, but there is also a big triangular tree shape to the right which has various strands that light up. He gets quite a bit of variety, and quite a bit of the flashing “Wow factor” from this display. I’ve included a brief video excerpt which will give you an idea of the mood of the display. Again, you really have to see it in person to get the full effect of the bright lights.
Excerpt of Light Show at 7148 S. Grant St
The Kloewer's, 5041 S. Elati, Englewood, CO 80110
This home, two blocks west of Broadway and one block north of Belleview, has a postage-stamp yard, but the Kloewers manage to pack just about every inch of it with lights, figurines, and all manner of Christmas décor.
You can see the lights from your car as you drive past, but you're going to want to get the kids and bundle out so that you can walk around and get the full effect. The brightly lit outline of a train, which adorns his driveway fence, is the highlight of this display.
Right across the street is another display that is not as elaborate, but still has quite a bit to see.
Holiday Lights at 5041 S. Elati, Englewood, CO 80110
Detour - Synchronized Light Show at 5136 S. Pennsylvania Street
It's becoming a little bit cumbersome to provide driving directions to each of these stops, so I'm going to include some little detours you can take that are close to the main shows. I figure almost everyone has a way to do GPS navigation by phone, so I'll include the addresses, and you can ask your phone how to get there.
This pleasant show is just a little east of the Kloewer's house. The modest-sized house is absolutely covered with lights, with a few trees and such for emphasis. If you like more traditional Christmas music, this is the place for you. They've chosen a nice selection of standards with instrumental and vocal selections (in contrast to the shows which are heavy on rock.) It's charming, and I especially like the addition of the brighter twinkle lights. It give the whole thing quite a bit of character. You can see an excerpt from their "Little Drummer Boy" selection below to get an idea of what the show is like.
To get back on the tour, go back to Belleview and head west.
Synchronized Light Show 5136 S. Pennsylvania St.
Lights on Littleton Boulevard
Once you have finished taking in the Kloewer's display, head north until you come to the next major street, which is Belleview. If you turn right (west) on Belleview Avenue and go about 8 blocks, you will reach Windermere Street. Turn left (south) and go .7 miles until you reach Littleton Boulevard. Then turn right (west) and continue on down Littleton Boulevard.
As you travel west on Littleton Boulevard (which changes its name to Main Street), you will come to a bridge festooned with lights, the entrance into the glittering display of downtown Littleton. Craft shops and trendy restaurants line either side of the street, each with one or two deciduous trees out front. Many cities string lights on trees, but the city of Littleton seems to be in a contest to see how many thousands of lights they can put on each tree. They avoid being overwhelming by sticking to a simple color palette of warm white lights.
When you reach the end of the fourth block, the street curves to the left, and as you come out towards Santa Fe Dr., you'll see the grand finale: several large evergreen trees lit from top to bottom with brightly colored lights. The shops in this little area also make it a point to add to the display with lights outlining roof lines and gables.
Holiday Lights in Littleton: Tree at the End of Littleton Boulevard
Holiday Lights: Shop on Littleton Boulevard
Lights on Home on Caley Ave
As you travel past the lights on Littleton Boulevard, move over to the left lane so that you can turn left when you get to Santa Fe. Take your first left on Church Ave.; then go about three blocks and turn right on Prince Street. If you like the Peanuts (R) gang, turn left in about .7 of a mile onto Caley Avenue. After two blocks, look off to your left to see the house at 2240 W. Caley Ave. There are several little scenes of Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy and the whole gang.
Often, these little dioramas go up late, even as late as the 20th of December, so check back later if you don't see them. Also, they don't seem to be set on a timer, which means that they go on and off whenever the homeowner gets to them. Still, it's worth taking a little 2-block detour if the Peanuts characters warm your heart.
Christmas Holiday Lights at 2240 W. Caley Ave.
Detour: Jazzy Santas on Datura Street
Here's another little detour with lights you don't see every day. It's just 3 or 4 blocks east of the Peanuts Christmas on Caley Ave. Turn north on Datura, and within a block, you'll see these jazzy Santas on the east side of the street. Then, just go back to Caley Ave. and travel west to pick up the next bunch of lights.
Jazzy Santas on Datura St.
Lights on Prince Circle
After you've seen the Peanuts (R) display, do a U-turn to get back to Prince Street and turn left. Turn right on Prince Circle. You are looking for 6872 S Prince Circle. The decorations here are all brightly-colored outlines. You'll see a train set, some playing penguins, a child sledding, a snow globe, and a Nativity set. You'll also see Santa up on the roof, with reindeer's hooves in motion.
One year, this display wasn't set up, but I'm glad to see it's back.
Holiday Lights on Prince Street
2017 note: I haven't seen the sleigh appear on top of the roof yet, but the candles are all there.
In about a half mile, keep your eye out for a rather large display on the left. You'll see a lighted Santa and his reindeer on the roof. The fence posts along Prince Street have been turned into red candles with lighted snowflakes for flames.
This house has a nice, integrated look which uses just a few colors and makes for a cheery and tasteful display.
Display on Prince Street
Christmas Holiday Lights on Jackass Hill
That's right. It's called Jackass Hill Road, an apparent homage to the mules who were pastured there during WWI.
Despite the name, this street is home to a collection of suburban homes, many with a balcony that faces the road. The people who live in them have started and maintained a charming tradition: they decorate their balconies with words for the season. Look off to the right as you are coming down the hill, and you will see one house with a lighted "JOY," another with "PEACE," "HOPE," and several others. See how many you can spot!
When you get to the light on Mineral Ave., you can turn right. Then in just a few block, turn right again, and you will be on Santa Fe Drive.
Off to the left, you will see the Aspen Grove mall which has several tasteful snowflakes decorating the stores.
In about 2.5 miles, you can turn left into Hudson Gardens. this is the only place that charges a fee, but it is worth it to see the amazing light display.
Christmas Holiday Lights at Hudson Gardens Event Center, 6115 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, CO 80120
Hudson Gardens is a crown jewel for Littleton, a botanic garden with beautiful vistas and landscaping. Starting in October, they string lights on the trees, bushes and bridges and turn the place into a lights extravaganza. One thing I especially like about their display is that many of the trees are next to a pond which reflects the lights.
They change the colors and design every year, so you will see something different from the pictures I've included. The photos do give you an idea of how big the trees are and how many lights they put on them.
The tickets are a little less than other metro area attractions and you can take a picture with Santa free. The venue sells hot beverages and has wagon rides available. If the lot is full, there is a large lot across Santa Fe where you can park for free. Just make sure you cross at the light, since Santa Fe is such a busy street.
Holiday Lights at Hudson Gardens, Littleton, CO
Best of South Metro Lights
Our family has lived in South Metro Denver for 20 years, and these sites are our picks for best lighting displays in the area. In about two hours and 10 miles, you can see them all.
Keep reading for more about light displays across America.
If You Want More: Denver Botanic Gardens
In 2017 CNN chose Denver Botanic Gardens as one of the 7 best places to see lights in the United States. The Gardens are a bit of a drive from South Denver, but relatively quite close if you consider that the other sites they chose are in places like Las Vegas and Austin. Our family has been going to the Gardens’ Blossoms of Light for about 10 years now, and they manage to be impressive and classy at the same time. We especially like the new field of changing lights. Depending on how they are programmed, they give you the feeling of the ground undulating around you. They do charge, so check their website for hours and prices.
Blossoms of Light - Denver Botanic Gardens 2016
© 2014 Adele Jeunette