Glenwood Springs Ushers in the Holidays with Festival of Lights, Shopping & More

The 29th Annual Lighting Ceremony takes place in Glenwood Springs at the Hotel Colorado on Friday, Nov. 23. Festivities include a fun-filled day and night of holiday cheer complete with music, visits from Santa and culminates with a firework display and the illumination of thousands of lights!

Annual Lighting Ceremony is a Glenwood Springs Holiday Tradition

For nearly 30 years Glenwood Springs residents and visitors have gathered at one of the town’s most recognizable landmarks—the Hotel Colorado—for the traditional start of the holiday season. The event, always scheduled for Friday after Thanksgiving, draws thousands of people to watch as the magic happens. It’s the moment when Santa Claus appears at the Hotel Colorado. As the crowd gazes at the jolly man in red, colorful fireworks light up the night sky, while simultaneously—with the flip of a switch—the courtyard, towers and roofline of the historic hotel are suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. It’s a moment of ooos and aahs; one that never fails to mesmerize and charm onlookers.

Attend the 2018 Annual Light Ceremony on Nov. 23 at the Hotel Colorado

On Friday, Nov. 23, this year’s Festival of Lights event kicks off at 1:30 p.m. inside the Hotel Colorado with festive live music, fireside history lessons from Walter Devereux and a chance for youngsters to meet Santa Claus run from 3 to 5 p.m. Symphony in the Valley plays holiday tunes in the lobby from 5 to 5:45 p.m., and kids have another chance to visit with Santa from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can also stop by the Christmas in the Rockies craft fair. At 6 p.m., activities transition outside to the Main Stage where dignitaries will welcome guests and performers, including the Rocky Mountain Scots and the Denver Dolls. At 7 p.m. Santa leads the highly anticipated fireworks countdown.

Downtown Wine & Wassail Walk

The City of Glenwood Springs is also celebrating the start of the holiday season with a Wine and Wassail Walk in downtown Glenwood Springs from 3 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 23. The convivial event is an opportunity to gather at your favorite Glenwood Springs stores to both shop and taste free samples of wine, liquor, cider and non-alcoholic beverages. For those sampling alcoholic beverages, remember to bring along your identification. Participating businesses include: Simply Massage, Treadz, the Bleu Door Boutique, Murphy Brown Boutique, the Book Train, the Chocolate Mousse, Bullocks and Providence Apothecary. Cooper Wine & Spirits will hold a tasting from 5 to 7 p.m.

Shop Small in Glenwood Springs

With the holiday lighting ceremony officially kicking off the season, now is the time to get serious about making headway on your holiday shopping list. Glenwood Springs is chock-full of shopping experiences from one-of-a-kind boutiques to specialty shops, all with carefully curated inventories that make it easier to find the perfect presents for everyone on your gift-giving list. Some stores will stay open later than usual on Friday night during the Festival of Lights. Small Business Saturday follows on Nov. 24. This annual early-holiday shopping day began in 2010 to promote neighborhoods and small, independently-owned businesses. To avoid a joy-draining experience, get your holiday shopping done early in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Enjoy the Best of Glenwood Springs

The Thanksgiving weekend is also a great time to take in Glenwood’s top attractions and activities. Cap off an evening with a hot springs soak at the town’s two outdoor geothermal springs: Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and Iron Mountain Hot Springs. For something different, try a detoxifying, hot spring infused steam bath in underground caves at the Yampa Vapor Caves. Other evening things-to-do include taking in a show at the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue or listening to live music while you dine at the Riviera Supper Club & Wine Bar. For indoor family fun, puzzle your way out of an escape room, treat yourself to a day at the spa or learn more about Glenwood’s fascinating history at the Frontier Historical Society Museum.

We’re counting down the days to the annual Festival of Lights at the Hotel Colorado. Join us for a season filled with all your favorite things in Glenwood Springs. Learn more and plan your holiday vacation today at

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