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Holiday events in Phoenix are about more than just Christmas lights on a saguaro cactus. We’ve got timeless holiday concerts and performances,  real outdoor ice-skating rinks, horse-drawn carriage rides, twinkling light displays, and you can even watch it snow in the desert! However you like celebrate the season, there is a holiday event in Phoenix for you.

Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen: Weekends through December 21
The Hans Christian Andersen classic to music by Sergei Prokofiev has become a don’t-miss Phoenix holiday tradition for the entire family at the Herberger Theater.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides at Westgate Entertainment District: Weekends through December 27
Enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides around Westgate Entertainment District throughout the holiday season.

Las Noches de las Luminarias: Select dates through December 30
Las Noches de las Luminarias returns to the Desert Botanical Garden as thousands of paper lanterns line the paths, creating a peaceful glow throughout the garden.

Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden

Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden (Photo Credit: Adam Rodriguez)

3-D PaintScaping at Westin Kierland Resort and Spa: Through December 31
The art of “PaintScaping,” which comes from “painting the landscape,” merges a virtual world with the existing world by projecting images onto buildings. The walls of the Westin Kierland come alive with holiday images, including elves decorating the balconies and snow falling in the desert, all set to holiday music. Resort guests, locals and visitors are all invited.

Mesa Temple Gardens Christmas Lights: Through December 31
The annual Mesa Temple Garden Christmas Lights display conveys peace and goodwill of the season with a unique and spectacular exhibit of hundreds of thousands of lights that serve as a backdrop for the sounds of the holidays. The event features hundreds of thousands of colorful lights, a large nativity display, and holiday dioramas.

The Polar Express: Select dates through January 3
Every winter the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express comes to life on a journey from the nighttime wilderness of Williams, Arizona, to the enchanted beauty of “the North Pole,” where Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting with a keepsake present for every good boy and girl.

Holiday Lights at the Wigwam Resort: Through January 3
Expanding upon the holiday light tour from 2013, The Wigwam has added a second walking light tour through the historical grounds. Each night, guests and locals can enjoy the magic of the holidays at The Wigwam.

CitySkate at CityScape Phoenix: Through February 2
Close to 100,000 holiday revelers will descend on CityScape Phoenix to take part in CitySkate, a real outdoor ice rink in the heart of downtown.

CitySkate

CitySkate at CityScape Phoenix (Photo by Instagram user @treyspiece)

Christmas and Ice Skating at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: Through January 5
Christmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess festival events and activities are open to the public and include ice skating, a four-story tall Christmas tree, photos and visits with Santa, holiday menus and much more.

Glendale Glitters: Through January 10
The stunning display of 1.5 million lights illuminates 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale, making it the largest free holiday light display in Arizona.

ZooLights: Through January 11
When the sun goes down and the animals go to sleep, the Phoenix Zoo magically transforms into one of the largest holiday lighting events in the Southwest with 3.7 million lights and more than 700 light displays. New this year is the Wizard of Oz Music in Motion show.

ZooLights

ZooLights

12 Days of Christmas: December 5-7, 11-14, 18-20
A Brelby original comedy, with a classic Christmas love story of a man trying to win back the woman he loves with 12 days of Christmas.

The Nutcracker: Through December 28
A holiday celebration to share! Dancing toys, mischievous mice, waltzing flowers and sparkling snowflakes dance to Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score performed by The Phoenix Symphony.

San Tan Valley Loop of Lights: Through December 25
The San Tan community has joined together in the effort to spread the Christmas spirit to everyone by putting extra effort into their homes with Christmas lights and decorations. Come drive or walk Loop Of Lights any evening. A neighborhood loop light parade will take place at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 20.

The Festival of Lights: Through January 1
From Thanksgiving until the New Year, Chandler Boulevard from 24th Street to Desert Foothills Parkway is illuminated with more than a million white LED lights. Our incredible desert landscape is decked out with miniature white lights and with clusters of white strands high amongst the treetops.

A Swingin’ Christmas: December 9, 16, 23
Set in the style of a classic television Christmas Special, this concert will put you “In The Mood” with such Yuletide gems as “Happy Holidays,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “White Christmas,” and so many more.

Celebration of Christmas Theatrical Performance at Phoenix First Assembly: December 4-15
The Christmas Express is journeying to your favorite holiday destinations and you’re invited to join the fun. This all-new Broadway style production is filled with exciting music, live animals, thrilling stunts, and so much more. Pack your bags and don’t forget your imagination, as you experience the joy, tradition, hope, and majesty of the most wonderful time of the year.

Breakfast with Santa at The Wigwam Resort: December 6, 13, 20
Watch the magic come alive while feasting on a hearty breakfast at Litchfield’s. Children can visit with Santa while enjoying their favorite holiday music.

Story Time with PBS at Desert Ridge Marketplace: December 10, 17
Bring the kids out to get in the holiday spirit and enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies, story time readings of holiday classics, dancing and exercises by The Little Gym and special guest characters presented by PBS Channel 8.

Phoestivus Market: December 10, 17
Phoestivus is a fun evening of holiday cheer in Downtown Phoenix and an opportunity to purchase gifts for your loved ones from more than 100 local vendors.

Phoenix Ale Brewery will be hosting the beer garden and will have their special Phoestivus Ale. More than a dozen food trucks and live music are also part of the festivities. And no Phoestivus would be complete without the Feats of Strength and good-natured Airing of Grievances.

Musical Theatre of Anthem’s 2014 Holiday Show: December 12-14
Enjoy the musical theater of Anthem as it performs its annual holiday show. Popular holiday music will be performed by 35 youth members, ages 9 through 19.

Carefree Christmas Festival: December 12-14
The festival is three days of events, including an electric light parade, fireworks, Santa and real snow, live music, Christmas concerts, community choirs, theater and dance, late night shopping, and a Christmas gift market.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Holiday Lights: December 12-23, 26-30 and January 1-3
Take a train ride through many festive holiday lights and displays turning the Railroad Park into a winter wonderland. Opening night festivities will include a tree lighting ceremony, entertainment and a visit from Santa. Santa will be at the park through December 23.

Hometown Christmas Parade in Glendale: December 13
See the Hometown Christmas Parade filled with classic floats, singing groups, and more.

Avondale Holiday Celebration and Western Art Walk: December 13
Visit the Avondale Holiday Celebration and Western Art Walk with musical performances, food vendors, activities and rides. Make sure you bundle up for the snowy event in the park and take pictures with Santa.

12K’s of Christmas: December 13
Join in for this locally-produced event that celebrates Christmas and raises money to help the animals. The 12K’s of Christmas hosts the largest pet adoption event in the East Valley. Along with friends from Maricopa County Animal Care & Control, there will be at least 25 animal rescue groups in Santa’s Pet Village.

For the fitness minded, run or walk in the 12K, 6K or 1.2K event with carolers at every “K”. Strollers and leashed pets welcome.

Festival of Cheer: December 13
Celebrate the season at Centennial Plaza Park by playing in 20 tons of snow. Take pictures with Santa and experience the cultural traditions of the holidays at the different stations throughout the park.

Mesa Arts Festival: December 13-14
The annual festival will feature original works of art for sale from local, regional and national artists in various mediums; live entertainment showcasing local and national talent on two stages; live artist demonstrations; the Bookmans Family Activity Area and an array of culinary delights.

Christkindlmarkt: December 13-14
Be a part of the holiday cheer at the Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures. Enjoy traditions of the season with musical acts, food and beverages, and gifts.

Breakfast with Santa at Rico’s American Grill: December 20-24
The resort’s annual Breakfast with Santa will be offered over four days at Rico’s American Grill. Guests will enjoy seasonal photos with Santa and holiday story time, while Mrs. Claus treats children to whimsical cookie decorating, gingerbread activity books, and a tasty breakfast buffet. Reservations are required.

Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade: December 13
Light up the night and be dazzled at the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake, featuring as many as 50 festively-lighted boats of all sizes. Nearly 30,000 spectators attend, and METRO light rail’s LED installation on the Tempe Town Lake Bridge will provide a special display. The event concludes with a dazzling fireworks grand finale.

Annual Holiday Brunch at Clear Light Buddhist Center: December 14
Join us for our annual holiday brunch and gift exchange. Bring your favorite vegetarian dish to share with others to see what people are already bringing and to list your dish please click here. If you would like to participate in the gift exchange, gifts can range from $5-$15. Everyone is welcome!

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker: December 17
Wearing intricately-detailed costumes, many with shimmering Swarovski crystals, the award-winning principal dancers and corps de ballet bring Tchaikovsky’s master score and the holiday season to life!

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour: December 17
Dave Koz is home for the holidays. This year Dave celebrates with his friends; guitar and vocalist, Jonathan Butler, singer/songwriter 80s hit man Christopher Cross and R&B great Maysa.

A Phoenix Boys Choir Holiday: December 19
Hear a musical celebration of holiday traditions from many cultures in “A World of Carols,” along with excerpts from Baroque composer George Frederic Handel’s “The Messiah” including the traditional Hallelujah Chorus. The enactment of the timeless poem “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” is back, complete with elves, reindeer and a visit from Mr. Claus.

Wrap It Up Christmas Sale at Oulets at Anthem: December 19-21
Outlets at Anthem will be helping you finish you last-minute holiday shopping with a sidewalk sale. Just because you haven’t found that perfect gift doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time and money. Get all your favorite gifts in one place at great price.

Enchanted Island’s Winter Wonderland Express: December 20-21
Hop aboard the Winter Wonderland Express Train to a Snow-Filled Enchanted Island with tons of fresh snow and sled riding. Visit Santa Claus at the north pole from Noon-5 p.m. each day and receive free hot cocoa and candy canes. Enjoy Christmas decorations, go sled riding and play in tons of fresh snow.

Gingerbread House Cooking Class at The Hermosa Inn: December 20-21
‘Tis the season to be jolly as LON’s pastry chef guides participants in the art of creating and decorating their own holiday gingerbread house. Once the walls are built, guests’ creations – and sweet tooth – come to life with the endless, and edible, materials. Snacks and beverages will be provided.

Elf on the Shelf Holiday Tea at Litchfield’s: December 21
Ring in the holiday season with a special visit from Santa’s Elf, a reading of The Elf’s Story, letter writing to Santa, holiday goodies, activities and music to entertain all.

Christmas Day Brunch at bistro 24: December 25
Eat, drink and be merry with a delicious holiday buffet brunch in bistro 24 on Christmas day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Choose from breakfast starters, seafood, carving stations, tasty holiday desserts and much more.

Christmas at LON’s: December 25
Celebrate Christmas with a pre-fixe menu prepared by the LON’s culinary team and toast to the new holiday memories that will be created with family and friends.

Christmas Brunch and Dinner at ZuZu: December 25
ZuZu is open all day on Christmas. Stop by for breakfast from 6:00 a.m. to noon and enjoy the regular menu or a special feature of green corn tamales. Dinner is served from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., with the regular menu available along with lobster bisque, slow-roasted herb-crusted prime rib and more.

Christmas Day Ballroom Buffet Dinner at The Wigwam: December 25
Set in the Wigwam Ballroom, guests will enjoy a festive spread featuring Christmas favorites such as roasted sirloin of beef and pineapple and honey glazed ham.

Artisan Markets’ After the Holidays Celebration: December 26-28
Browse an array of unique hand-crafted items from local and regional artisans.

Snow Week at the Arizona Center: December 26 – January 1
How much fun would tons of snow in downtown Phoenix be? Never stop wondering during Snow Week at Arizona Science Center! They’ll be celebrating the season with more than 30 tons of snow in Heritage and Science Park, ice sculptures, gingerbread houses, candy day, and so much more.