NOTE: This was originally posted December 2015. 

Get in the Spirit with a Denver Holiday Lights Tour

Aspire Tours offers a one-of-a-kind family outing to sample Denver’s dazzling displays

     The holiday season is often so packed with parties, to-do lists and family obligations that it can be hard to achieve a festive mind-set. But Aspire Tours guide Lacey Freeman may have just the antidote: a Denver Holiday Lights Tour.

     “It’s supposed to get people in the spirit,” she says. “And, to me, the spirit is loving Denver.”

     Dressed from head to toe in jolly apparel straight from Santa’s elves’ closet—bright-red tights overlapped with green, knee-high Christmas socks; a red Christmas skirt and shirt; and topped off with the requisite Santa hat—Freeman launches into an excerpt from Clement Clarke Moore’s classic holiday poem, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

          “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer!” She begins, inviting the group to join her. The 10 guests join in the chorus:

          “Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!”

           Departing from (and ending at) the festive green-and-red-hued Union Station, the tour van heads to holiday-lights hotspots throughout Denver. From Larimer Square to Civic Center Park, continuing through Capitol Hill and surrounding neighborhoods then ending at the Botanic Gardens to witness Blossoms of Light, the tour allows an “illuminating” glimpse of the City’s best displays.

     And while the tour spans more than two hours, admittedly a tough sell for many kids, the tour also stops at various points throughout, including the Denver Christkindl Market—where guests have time to buy hot cocoa, or various German goodies like pastries and soup—Civic Center Park to snap photos of the magnificent, multi-hued Denver City and County Building; and an extended stop at the Gardens.

     “It’s fun for families because it gives you an opportunity to see holiday lights in and off-the-beaten-path way,” Freeman says. In addition, she says, “I feel like kids can learn about this time of year and what it means for other people around the world.”

     Throughout the tour, she asks fun trivia questions, such as, “What do you think Japanese families eat for a Christmas meal?” As well, the tour includes some history of the holiday seasons, and encourages guests to share their own holiday memories and traditions.

     “We just want to get people in the holiday spirit and have it be really fun for families and groups of friends,” says Aspire Tours co-founder Kimberly Smith.

     Oftentimes the holidays mean chaos and stress for families, says co-founder Kathrin Troxler, so the experience is intended as a respite.

     “When you go on a tour like this, you can sit back and relax so you have time to have fun and get into the Christmas spirit,” she says.

     “What I want to do as a tour guide is give the gift of a really good time,” Freeman says. “It’s not always about gifts but about experiences and having fun with the people you love. I hope that this is something that can create a lasting memory for families.”

     The Denver Holiday Lights Tour runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tues., Thurs., Sat. and Sun. through Dec. 31. Tickets cost $59 per person; reservations can be made up to two hours before the day’s scheduled tour. Private tours are also available. For more information, call 720-583-0654 or visit