You don’t need frigid winter weather to get in the spirit of the season. Enjoy holiday events in Phoenix, including concerts and performances, outdoor ice-skating rinks, open air shopping markets and festivals, twinkling light displays and even a few places to watch it snow in the desert.

 

Activities

 

Las Noches de las Luminarias: Select days November 25-December 30

Eight thousand hand-lit luminaria bags and thousands of white twinkle lights will set the Desert Botanical Garden aglow for 21 magical evenings. Join a Southwest holiday tradition that features the sights and sounds of nine entertainment ensembles.

 

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The Polar Express: Select days November 11-January 6

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.

 

CitySkate Holiday Ice Rink: November 25-January 7

Get into the spirit of winter by skating on a real ice rink in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Central Avenue is transformed into an ice skater’s dream, decorated with a massive holiday tree and thousands of twinkling lights.

 

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Winter Wonderland at Butterfly Wonderland: Select dates November 24-December 29

Guests will enjoy awe-inspiring 7 foot tall live angels throughout the conservatory in addition to festive décor and live holiday music.

 

Skate Westgate: November 21-January 7

Partake in the timeless holiday tradition of ice skating on Westgate’s real ice rink. Back again this year is the ever-popular, horse-drawn carriage rides that are free to all guests. Adding even more magic to the holidays, snowfall happens twice nightly and Santa Claus is on-hand to listen to Christmas wishes.

 

Peoria's Old Town Holiday Festival: December 1

Experience a snow day in Peoria at their annual holiday festival this December. Highlights include real snow, an appearance from Santa Claus himself, and a kids zone. Listen to live entertainment. participate in the tree lighting ceremony, and decorate cookies to get in the holiday spirit.

 

F.Q. Story Holiday Home Tour & Street Fair: December 2-3

Come enjoy a stroll through one of Phoenix’s oldest and most desirable historic neighborhoods, decorated for the holidays. This year’s tour features homes on Lynwood Street. Saturday night event features a holiday-inspired evening with carolers and beautiful streets lined with luminarias. Sunday’s event features a holiday street market and food vendors.

 

Holiday Festival at the Falls: December 7

The Falls Water Village will be transformed into one of the greatest holiday menageries of the season!  Enjoy festive carols sung by the young students of Phoenix Yamaha Music School while meandering your way through treat stations, arts & crafts booths, games and more. Plus, bring your camera for photos with Santa Claus.

 

12k’s of Christmas: December 9

This family festival celebrates health, fitness and the joy of Christmas, while supporting local animal rescue groups. The event includes a 12k run, 6k run/walk and a 1.2k Santa “Sled Run”, plus a Christmas Bazaar, Santa’s Pet Village with pet adoptions, and live Christmas entertainment in the park and along the race course.

 

Enchanted Island’s Winter Wonderland Express: December 16-17

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 each day and receive free hot cocoa and candy canes.

 

Hometown Christmas Parade in Glendale: December 9

The Hometown Christmas Parade is an old-fashioned event for the whole family to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and all its glory. 

 

'Tis the Season: Holidays at MIM: December 16-17

Join MIM for their annual holiday program featuring musical performances and holiday-themed activities. The weekend will also highlight a special menu at Café Allegro, gifts for purchase in the Museum Store, face painting, and much more.

 

Story Time at Desert Ridge Marketplace: December 6, 13 and 20

Bring the kids out to get in the holiday spirit and enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies, story time readings of holiday classics with Mrs. Claus, dancing and exercises and special guest characters.

 

ChillFEST at OdySea in the Desert:  December 21- January 6

Lace up your skates and hit the ice rink this winter at OdySea in the Desert. Enjoy a premium skating arena, skate rentals, daily family fun activities, and s'more roasting. 

 

Snow Week at the Arizona Science Center: December 26- January 1

Snow Week is back this December at Arizona Science Center for seven days of science wonder. Over 60 tons of snow will blanket Heritage and Science Park’s grassy hill in white. The Center will have daily demos including special ‘explosive’ demonstrations and kid-friendly activities throughout the the week.

 

Holiday Lights

 

Illumination: November 15-January 14

Illumination is Arizona’s largest holiday drive-thru light show that is fully synchronized to your favorite music. This 1-mile long driving attraction will feature millions of holiday lights synchronized to holiday music throughout 14 acres of the newest state of the art holiday lights and displays.

 

ZooLights: November 22-January 14

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. Enjoy millions of lights, hundreds of displays and performances throughout the zoo.

 

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Fantasy of Lights Parade: November 24

This Tempe holiday tradition features floats, balloons, clowns, novelty units, marching bands, and the arrival of Santa Claus. The parade proceeds through Downtown Tempe and concludes with a tree lighting ceremony.

 

Christmas Lights at the Farm: December 9 and 21

Take a stroll down the lane as you view festive farm inspired Christmas light displays in the pecan grove. On Dec. 9 and Dec. 17, you can enjoy Christmas lights plus farm festivities! Leave room for holiday treats as there will be plenty of food, hot chocolate, cider and wine for sale to keep you warm as you explore The Farm on these two magical nights.

 

Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade: December 9

Light up the night and be dazzled at the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade, featuring as many as 50 festive boats of all sizes. Get your holiday shopping done as 6th Street Market vendors will fill up Tempe Beach Park. Browse through hundreds of hand-crafted items. Fireworks will illuminate the night, too. Special guest, Santa Claus, will listen to children’s gift requests in Tempe Beach Park. 

 

Mesa Temple Gardens Christmas Lights: November 24-December 31

This display conveys the peace and goodwill of the season with a unique and spectacular exhibit of hundreds of thousands of lights, uniquely illuminated palm trees and flower gardens, and a large nativity scene.

 

Glendale Glitters: November 24-January 6

Glendale’s award-winning holiday lighting event has become a family tradition across the state. 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. Weekend festivities include events in downtown Glendale each Friday and Saturday though December 16.

 

Festival of Lights: November 25-January 1

The incredible desert landscape on Chandler Boulevard from 24th Street to Desert Foothills Parkway is decked out with more than 1 million miniature white lights.

 

Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park: December 1- January 7 (excluding December 4, 24, 25, and 31)

Take a train ride through many festive holiday lights and displays that turn the Railroad Park into a winter wonderland. Opening night festivities will include a tree lighting ceremony and entertainment, and Santa will be at the park until December 23.

 

Holiday Nights in Lights at The Wigwam: December 8, 15 and 22

All aboard! Enjoy a train ride through a festive holiday lit path, opportunities to take pictures with Santa, entertainment by local bands, choirs, and dance teams and sweet treats available for purchase.

 

Performances

 

Holiday Pops with the Phoenix Symphony: December 1-3

Join The Phoenix Symphony and The Phoenix Symphony Chorus to experience this festive concert of seasonal favorites and the ever-popular Holiday Sing-Along.

 

A Christmas Carol at Hale Centre Theatre: December 1-2, 4-9, 11-16, 18-23

A Hale Centre Theatre holiday classic, the heart-warming version of Dickens’ classic tale of redemption, is magically brought to life on stage. This production is rich with traditional carols, stunning costumes, and memorable characters that are guaranteed to enrich the holiday season for you and your family.

 

Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen: Saturday-Sunday, December 2-17

Performed at the Herberger Theater, this Hans Christian Andersen classic to music by Sergei Prokofiev has become a local holiday tradition for the entire family.

 

Phoenix Children's Chorus Holiday Concert: December 2-3

Celebrate the season as the angelic strains of the Phoenix Children’s Chorus 400-member choir rings in the holiday season with their annual Holiday Concert Series.

 

Celebration of Christmas at Dream City Church: December 7-10, 13-19

Celebration of Christmas is an extraordinary Broadway-style performance featuring a full live orchestra, exciting dance numbers, awe-inspiring aerial stunts, flying angels, and so much more.

 

A Christmas Carol: December 9-10, 14-17, 19-24, 26-28

Travel back in time with Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys through his past, present and future to find the importance of family, friendship and love. Brimming with rousing musical numbers, splendid costumes and side-splitting Bah Humbugs, A Christmas Carol will have you and yours wrapped in the spirit of the holidays.

 

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Dave Koz Christmas Tour: December 13

A Mesa Arts Center holiday tradition, multi-grammy nominee and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz returns for a 20th anniversary tour that promises to be extra-special, reuniting Koz with two members of the original lineup – David Benoit and Peter White.

 

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker: December 14

Experience the exquisite artistry of world-class Russian dancers, playful puppets and the unmatched splendor of hand crafted sets and costumes in a holiday tradition that brings the Christmas spirit to life.

 

The Nutcracker: December 8-10, 15-17, 21-24

Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they embark on a thrilling adventure of dancing toys, mischievous mice, waltzing flowers, and sparkling snowflakes. Ballet Arizona rings in the season with Ib Andersen’s The Nutcracker, creating memories to cherish forever. 

 

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas: December 16

Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting.

 

Shopping

 

Ornament Marketplace: November 24-26

Enhance your holidays with wonderful Native-themed ornaments hand-crafted by American Indian artists from the Heard Museum Shops during this annual event.

 

Stagecoach Christmas Village: December 8-10

Celebrate the holiday season, featuring a wide variety of jury selected fine arts and crafts. Enjoy open air shopping, dining, wine tasting and musical entertainment in the high Sonoran desert surrounding Cave Creek and Carefree.

 

Mesa Arts Festival: December 9-10

Shop for the holidays at this event featuring original works of art for sale from regional and national artists in various mediums; live entertainment showcasing on two stages; live artist demonstrations; family activity area and culinary delights.

 

Phoestivus Open Air Market: December 14 and 21

Give the gift of local, handmade goods for the holidays this year. Phoenix Public Market hosts this annual holiday market in downtown Phoenix, which focuses on locally grown and produced goods.

 

Food & Cooking

 

Gingerbread House Cooking Class at The Hermosa Inn: December 16-17

Join the chef of Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn on a holiday journey of creating your very own gingerbread house. Once the gingerbread house walls are built, creations can come to life with the endless, edible materials to use.

 

Breakfast with Santa The Farm at South Mountain: December 9

Show Santa you belong on the nice list over breakfast at The Morning Glory Cafe. Bring along your camera to take a photo before a mouthwatering feast and kids craft activities.

 

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