The key to a great date is simplicity. Especially in December, it’s smart to keep things lighthearted—and cheap. A stroll through one of the twinkling light displays on the Front Range creates the perfect setting for a romantic evening of holding hands and quiet conversation.
Blossoms of Light
For a low-key and quiet winter date, my husband Ben and I strolled through Blossoms of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It’s one of my all-time favorite holiday traditions. This year, however, the glowing gardens felt a little more romantic when we ditched our kids, and bundled up for a couples-only date.
After purchasing timed-entry tickets, we followed a marked path through a series of sparkling trees, glowing orbs, and big, bright sculptures. Most of Denver Botanic Gardens’ 24 acres are decorated, and the display seems to get better every year.
Along the way, there are stations with hot chocolate, and on select evenings, you might encounter carolers, too. (A full beverage menu is available at Offshoots Café.) The secluded Japanese Garden, with its minimalist lighting scheme, is the perfect spot for a kiss (no mistletoe required). For the grand finale, stand hand-in-gloved-hand in a field of sound-reactive LED lights, listening to the wind whip over soft holiday music.
To avoid the crowds, visit on a weeknight, and be willing to brave the cold. Snowy nights might demand extra layers, but they make for great photos and impromptu snuggles.
Larimer Square Yuletide Window Walk
Another option is to peruse Larimer Square’s Yuletide Window Walk, with displays created by a group of local artists. The free event transforms the windows of Larimer Square boutiques—between 14th and 15th streets—into festive works of art beneath Larimer Square’s iconic canopy of lights.
Start with a wine flight and appetizers at CRÚ Food & Wine Bar then check out the holiday windows on Larimer Street before hopping in a horse-drawn carriage. Irish Rose Drafts operates holiday light rides along 16th Street Mall, which is decorated with more than a million lights. For dinner, there are plenty of restaurants on Larimer Street, and most stores will be open late for post-dinner shopping.
If you need to escape Denver for a night, put Winter Wonderlights on your date-night itinerary. In Loveland, the spectacular light show illuminates Chapungu Sculpture Park nightly, with special performances on Friday and Saturday evenings. The display utilizes art in the park along with 60,000 holiday string lights, LED mappable snowflakes, and a 20-foot LED Christmas tree.
It’s easy to make a night of it. Winter Wonderlights is within walking distance of more than 70 shops and restaurants located at The Promenade Shops at Centerra, which also houses an outdoor ice skating rink—another excuse to hold tight to each other.
Need to Know:
- Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street is open through January 1, 2019, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets, which often sell out, are $13 for nonmember adults and $11 for adult members.
- Larimer Square Yuletide Window Walk is on display through January 1, 2019. Free.
- Winter Wonderlights at the Chapungu Sculpture Park in Loveland is open through January 1, 2019, 5 to 9 p.m. The event is free, however a donation of a canned food item or an unwrapped toy is requested.