Garden of Lights – A Holiday Lighting Celebration You Can’t Miss

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Festival highlights

Nestled in the heart of Fort Collins, Colorado, the Garden of Lights stands as a beacon of holiday cheer and a testament to the beauty of illuminated artistry.

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About the Garden of Lights

The Garden of Lights is a premier festival of lights that celebrates the holiday season’s joy and splendor. With over 200,000 LED lights, this Christmas event transforms the Gardens on Spring Creek into a mesmerizing wonderland, perfect for an evening to create cherished memories with family and friends. 

Aside from the  breathtaking lights, visitors are also treated to unique holiday experiences, including visits from Santa, performances by the Sugar Plum Furries Dog Troupe, LED entertainers, and melodious holiday carolers, all complemented by warm holiday drinks.

The following are the captivating lighting displays from this unmissable event:

  • Illuminated Flower Beds: A vibrant showcase of color, lighting up the night in a spectrum of hues.
  • Light Sculptures: Artistic representations of flowers, butterflies, and garden creatures, brought to life with the glow of LED lights.
  • String Lights: Delicate lines of light that weave through the gardens, creating a sense of enchantment.
  • Fairy Lights: Tiny, twinkling lights that add a magical touch to the surroundings, evoking a sense of wonder.
  • Icicle Lights: Mimicking the winter season, these lights drape from branches and structures, offering a cool, sparkling effect.
  • Glowing Trees: Trees wrapped in lights, transforming them into luminous beacons within the darkened garden landscape.

Festival Dates

The unveiling of the 2024 Garden of Lights festival dates remains on the horizon, leaving enthusiasts in eager anticipation. Held traditionally in December, this event transforms the holiday season into an illuminated celebration, drawing families and friends together under the canopy of over 200,000 twinkling LEDs. It is an annual occasion that promises enchantment and communal joy, set against the backdrop of Fort Collins’ winter landscape.

For the latest information on dates and other details, please visit the festival’s official website.

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An image inspired by the breathtaking Garden of Lights at Fort Collins, Colorado

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Garden of Lights finds its home at The Gardens on Spring Creek, located at 2145 Centre Ave, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. This venue, nestled in the heart of Fort Collins, offers a sprawling canvas for the festival of lights, where visitors are treated to a dazzling array of light displays and installations. 

The Gardens on Spring Creek serves as a magical setting for this holiday celebration, inviting guests to wander through its illuminated pathways and experience the joy and beauty of the season.

The nearest airport to The Gardens on Spring Creek is Denver International Airport (DIA), which is approximately 70 miles south of Fort Collins. This proximity makes the festival easily accessible to both local and international visitors.

Options from Denver International Airport to The Gardens on Spring Creek:

  • Rental Car: Rent a car from the airport and drive directly to Fort Collins via I-25 North, a journey that typically takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Shuttle Service: Book a seat on one of the shuttle services that operate between DIA and Fort Collins, offering a convenient way to travel without the need for a car.
  • Rideshare: Use rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft, which provide direct transportation to Fort Collins, though prices can vary based on demand.

Getting to the Festival by Train from Other Cities:

  • From Denver:
    • Take the Amtrak bus service from Denver Union Station to Fort Collins Downtown Transit Center. From there, local bus services or rideshare options can complete your journey to The Gardens on Spring Creek.
  • From Boulder:
    • Boulder residents can utilize the FLEX regional bus service to Fort Collins, then switch to local transport options to reach the festival location.
  • From Colorado Springs:
    • Visitors from Colorado Springs can take a bus or drive to Denver Union Station, then follow the above instructions from Denver to Fort Collins.

If you liked this festival, you can also check out these other captivating light festivals:

Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival

Lewis Ginter Lights

Festival Hours

The Garden of Lights welcomes visitors into its magical realm from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, offering an evening filled with spectacular light displays and festive joy. However, it’s important to note that the gates close at 8:00 PM, so make sure to arrive with enough time to fully enjoy the experience. 

This schedule allows families and friends to gather under the twinkling lights, creating unforgettable holiday memories in the heart of Fort Collins.

How Much Does It Cost to Visit the Garden of Lights

While the excitement for the 2024 Garden of Lights builds, details including ticket prices are still under wraps, awaiting announcement alongside the festival dates. To give prospective visitors an idea, the ticket prices for the 2023 season were warmly received by attendees. Adults and children aged 12 and over were admitted for $10, making it a budget-friendly holiday outing.

For families planning their visit, children between the ages of 5 to 11 were welcomed for just $5, while the youngest guests, those 4 and under, enjoyed free admission. This pricing structure ensures the festival is accessible to families of all sizes. Moreover, members benefited from a 20% discount, adding extra value for those who frequently partake in the Gardens on Spring Creek’s offerings.

Stay tuned for the latest updates on ticket prices.

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An image inspired from Garden of Lights

Weather and What to Wear

December in Fort Collins, Colorado is characterized by its crisp winter air and the possibility of a picturesque snowfall, setting a perfect backdrop for the festival. Temperatures during this time can be quite chilly, typically ranging from a low of around 15°F (-9°C) to a high of 45°F (7°C) during the day. This range suggests that evenings at the festival can be cold, especially as the sun sets and the lights begin to truly sparkle against the night sky.

To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience at the Garden of Lights, visitors are advised to dress warmly. Here are some recommended clothing items:

  • Heavy Coat: A must-have to keep the cold at bay while you wander through the illuminated gardens.
  • Warm Hat and Gloves: Essential for maintaining body warmth, especially on particularly cold nights.
  • Scarf: Adds an extra layer of warmth and protection against the wind.
  • Insulated Boots: Ideal for keeping your feet warm and dry, particularly if there’s snow or if you’re standing for extended periods.
  • Layers: Wearing layers allows for flexibility with the fluctuating temperatures throughout the evening.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

Finding the perfect place to stay enhances your Garden of Lights experience, and Fort Collins offers a variety of hotels to suit every preference and budget. Here are detailed options to consider:

La Quinta Inn by Wyndham Fort Collins

  • Location: 3709 E Mulberry St, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
  • Description: A budget-friendly, 2-star hotel offering comfortable accommodations with convenient access to local attractions.
  • Amenities:
    • Free parking, ideal for guests traveling by car.
    • Complimentary breakfast to start your day right.
    • Indoor pool for relaxation and fun.
    • Free Wi-Fi, keeping you connected during your stay.

Hilton Fort Collins

  • Location: 425 W Prospect Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States
  • Description: This 4-star hotel provides a luxurious stay with modern rooms and top-notch services, located close to Colorado State University.
  • Amenities:
    • Indoor pool, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring.
    • Fitness center to keep up with your workout routine.
    • Free Wi-Fi, ensuring guests stay connected and entertained.

Fort Collins Marriott

  • Location: 350 E Horsetooth Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80525, United States
  • Description: A stylish 4-star hotel that combines comfort with convenience, featuring contemporary rooms and excellent dining options.
  • Amenities:
    • Free Wi-Fi for easy internet access throughout your stay.
    • On-site bar where guests can enjoy a variety of drinks.
    • Fitness center to help you stay active.
    • Restaurant offers delicious meals without needing to leave the hotel.

Where to Eat

Exploring the vibrant culinary scene of Fort Collins is a must-do for visitors to the Garden of Lights, with a plethora of dining options catering to all tastes. Below are some top picks for restaurants near the festival:

The Melting Pot

  • Location: 334 E Mountain Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
  • Description: A cozy fondue restaurant chain known for its intimate dining experience, featuring heated pots of cheese, chocolate, or broth for an interactive meal.
  • Foods Served:
    • Variety of fondue options including cheese and chocolate.
    • Serves vegetarian dishes, catering to diverse dietary preferences.

The Colorado Room

  • Location: 642 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
  • Description: A locally owned bar and grill, this establishment is famed for its relaxed atmosphere, adorned with art and offering ample outdoor seating alongside a selection of local craft beers.
  • Foods Served:
    • Buffalo chicken, for those craving a spicy kick.
    • Beef cheesesteak, a hearty and fulfilling option.
    • Curry chicken salad, offering a flavorful lighter fare.

The Crown Pub

  • Location: 134 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States
  • Description: An English-style brewpub that stands out for its inventive cocktails and creative takes on traditional tavern fare, complete with outdoor seating.
  • Foods Served:
    • Blackened bacon and blue, for a unique twist on classic flavors.
    • Relleno royale, blending traditional ingredients with inventive culinary techniques.
    • Balsamic Portobello sandwich, offering a delicious vegetarian option.

More Things to Do in the Area

Fort Collins is not just about the Garden of Lights; the city boasts a variety of attractions and activities that promise fun and discovery for visitors of all ages. Here’s a closer look at some must-visit spots:

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The Gardens on Spring Creek

  • Location: The festival’s home, 2145 Centre Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States.
  • Description: Spanning 18 acres, The Gardens on Spring Creek is Fort Collins’ vibrant botanical garden, offering a serene escape with beautifully curated plant collections.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Stroll through diverse garden themes.
    • Participate in educational programs.
    • Attend special events beyond the Garden of Lights.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

  • Location: 408 Mason Ct, Fort Collins, CO 80524, United States.
  • Description: Established in 2008, this all-ages museum blends science, history, and culture into an interactive learning experience.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Engage with hands-on exhibits.
    • Experience the digital dome theater.
    • Learn about local history and natural sciences.

Fort Collins City Park

  • Location: 1500 W Mulberry St, Fort Collins, CO 80521, United States.
  • Description: A sprawling green oasis in the city, featuring a lake, public pool, sports fields, picnic areas, and a playground, making it a perfect spot for outdoor activities.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Enjoy water sports on the lake.
    • Have a picnic in scenic surroundings.
    • Play sports or relax in the vast open spaces.

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Garden of Lights

The Garden of Lights in Fort Collins, Colorado, is a seasonal spectacle that captures the essence of the holiday spirit with its dazzling display of over 200,000 LED lights. This enchanting event offers not just a visual feast but a comprehensive holiday experience, complete with visits from Santa, performances, and warm holiday drinks. 

Nestled in the beautiful setting of The Gardens on Spring Creek, it provides a perfect backdrop for creating lasting memories with family and friends. As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, the Garden of Lights stands as a beacon of joy, inviting all to embrace the warmth and wonder of the season.

FAQ

Is parking available at the Garden of Lights?

Yes, there is parking available for visitors at The Gardens on Spring Creek. It is recommended to arrive early as spaces can fill up quickly during peak visiting hours.

Can I smoke at the Garden of Lights?

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted within The Gardens on Spring Creek or at the Garden of Lights event to ensure a healthy and enjoyable environment for all visitors.

Are pets allowed at the Garden of Lights?

Pets are not allowed at the Garden of Lights, with the exception of service animals. This policy is in place to ensure the safety and comfort of all guests and the exhibits.

What should I do if I lose an item during my visit?

If you lose an item during your visit, please contact the event staff or visit the lost and found area. It’s helpful to provide a detailed description of the lost item for easier identification.

Is the Garden of Lights wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the Garden of Lights and The Gardens on Spring Creek are wheelchair accessible. There are also accessible parking spaces available near the entrance.

Can I take photos or videos at the Garden of Lights?

Photography and video recording are encouraged at the Garden of Lights! However, the use of drones or professional photography equipment may require prior approval from the event organizers.

Are there any food or drinks available at the event?

Yes, the Garden of Lights often features holiday drinks and sometimes food vendors. Guests are also welcome to bring their own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

What happens if it rains or snows?

The Garden of Lights is a rain-or-shine event, and many find the lights even more beautiful in the snow. However, in the case of extreme weather conditions, please check the event’s official website or social media channels for updates.

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An image inspired by the Garden of Lights

Sources: https://northfortynews.com/category/art-lifestyle/garden-of-lights-winter-holiday-lights-festival/ 

https://www.fcgov.com/gardens/garden-of-lights 

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