Polar Express comes to life when the train departs the Williams Depot for a journey through the dark and quiet wilderness for a special visit to the “North Pole.” Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while listening to the magical story. Watch the joy on the children’s faces when the train arrives at the North Pole, where Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting! Santa will board The Polar Express and hand each child their own special gift. Make this a family holiday tradition. Call today to make your reservations because space is limited to those who truly believe in the spirit of Christmas!
Skate under the stars and electric city views, as W Scottsdale transforms its wet pool deck into a winter wonderland. Announcing CHILL, a 2,100 square foot hybrid ice skate rink that will replace the wet pool this season. Stay and play this winter, sip on cool cocktails and lounge in a private cabana.
Take a western photo with Santa, make Christmas wreaths and crafts, find your perfect Christmas tree, enjoy a wagon ride or make s’mores and sip on hot chocolate by the fire. There will be something to make this season special for everyone at Corral West.
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 3.5 million lights and more than 600 animal light sculptures.
This year the Valley’s largest real ice rink will be at CityScape in downtown Phoenix. Guests can enjoy special deals with their skate rental wristband at many CityScape locations. Guests can also purchase beer, wine and hot chocolate from Chloe’s Corner to enjoy in the park while they watch the skaters. Don’t miss Adult Skate every Saturday night from 9-11pm with DJs, ice dancers and more.
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is putting extra icing on the holidays with its new Desert Ice Holiday Rink located at the picturesque Cactus Garden. The 5,400 square foot rink, made with real ice, is open daily to the public.
Even though December in Phoenix doesn’t feel too wintery, one annual tradition lets everyone know that the holiday season is here: Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden. Following the Hispanic Christmas tradition, more than 8,000 brown paper bags containing lighted candles line the garden’s paths, creating a peaceful and romantic glow amid the saguaros and other desert flora. Eleven bands of all genres, such as Dickens carolers, Mariachi PasiÃ³n and Big Nick and the Gila Monsters, perform throughout the garden each night. Those 21 and older can sip on hot spiked holiday drinks, and food is available for purchase.
Out of thin air, flakes of fluffy white snow will float down from the sky, transforming the AMC Fountain and Fireplace at Desert Ridge Marketplace into a living snow globe. Just as mysteriously as the snow appears, it disappears without a trace – leaving behind magical holiday memories that will last a lifetime.
The Resort will transform into a winter wonderland as 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.
The art of “PaintScaping” which comes from “painting the landscape” merges a virtual world with the existing world by projecting images onto buildings that act as the canvas for characters, colors, and objects as living and moving parts of its features. Founded by an award-winning computer animator, PaintScaping will make the Westin Kierland Resort its newest canvas, integrating the features of the main building and adding emotion with computer generated holiday characters, snow and cheer.
Are you on the good list or the bad list? Come meet jolly Old Nick himself and find out. Starting at $16.99, get your photo taken with Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas. Free gift for all kids visiting Santa.
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 attracts about one million visitors every year, and features hundreds of thousands of colorful lights, a large nativity display, and holiday dioramas that blanket the garden area of the Mesa Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Wonderland of Oz” Gingerbread Village (11/30/2012 – 1/6/2013)
The public is invited to the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in North Phoenix to be amazed at a dazzling masterpiece of gingerbread, gumdrops, chocolate and sugary icing.
The 2012 40-foot x 20-foot “Wonderland of Oz” Gingerbread Village in the Grand Lobby features 20 handmade gingerbread houses and scenes from the epic film including Dorothy’s encounters with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion along the Yellow Brick Road.
Golfland’s King Arthur’s Quest miniature golf course is decorated with thousands of holiday lights for the season. There will also be photos with Santa on Saturdays and specific snow days.
This SEAson, SEA LIFE Arizona will transform into a winter wonderland on weekends in December and every day between December 17th-25th. There will be holiday storybook reading followed by light snow flurries at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on days of the event. Craft activities will be available in the play area, as well as holiday decorations throughout the aquarium and visits from Sharky Santa.
Christmas Day all adults get in for the kids price (when purchased at the admissions counter).
Watch the magic come alive while feasting on a hearty breakfast. Children can visit with Santa while enjoying their favorite holiday music.
Phoestivus is a fun evening of holiday cheer in Downtown Phoenix and an opportunity to purchase gifts for your loved ones from 50+ local vendors. Bring friends and family to enjoy dinner from the food trucks and drinks at the Phoestivus beer garden sponsored by Phoenix’s own Phoenix Ale Brewery. They will be brewing a special seasonal ale just for Phoestivus.
For your amusement, you will witness the World’s Largest Phoestivus Pole, Feats of Strength, Airing of Grievances, Holiday Carolers and so much more.
There’s only one place in Arizona where you can spend your holidays with The Temptations, Elvis, Tina Turner, Garth Brooks, and many more, or at least the next best thing to these legendary acts. Back by popular demand, Casino Arizona welcomes the much celebrated tribute show, Showstoppers Live! Holiday Spectacular.
The Showstoppers Live! Holiday Spectacular features America’s greatest tribute performers recreating some of the most beloved holiday performances of all time. Audiences will have the chance to sing along to songs that have become radio staples during the holiday season, including Elvis’ rendition of “Blue Christmas,” Whitney Houston’s version of “Little Drummer Boy,” and of course, the ever-popular “Santa Baby” by Marilyn Monroe. Get in the holiday spirit this season with Casino Arizona and hear classics from music’s greatest artists that are sure to put you in a merry mood.
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) will present “Holiday World Tour,” a celebration of the winter holiday season highlighting a broad sampling of the world’s music and cultures for a whole month this holiday season.
The program, sponsored in part by PetSmart, is a celebration of the season for the entire family. This cultural offering presents live entertainment by local professional musicians and talented students, mini tours and presentations exploring holiday traditions from around the world, holiday-themed menus in the Café at MIM, and spectacular seasonal decorations adorning the museum’s interior. In addition, multiple world-renowned musicians will perform holiday concerts in the acoustically superb MIM Music Theater.
Renowned director Neil Goldberg, creator of the groundbreaking Broadway hit “Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy,” re-imagines the holiday season with “Cirque Dreams: Holidaze.” An international cast of over 30 multi-talented and brilliantly costumed artists come to life and perform astonishing feats of disbelief. Experience gingerbread men flipping mid air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires, snowmen daringly balancing, icemen powerfully sculpting, penguins spinning, puppets dancing and reindeer soaring high above a landscape of holiday wonderment. The perfect way to come in from the cold, forget the holiday stresses and rediscover the magic of the season.
Celebrate the Holiday Season at District American Kitchen and Wine Bar with a visit from Santa Claus during a seasonal brunch. The brunch buffet will feature a ham carving station, gourmet omelets made-to-order, a bloody Mary bar, bottomless mimosas, and much more. Families can decorate holiday cookies, take pictures with Santa Claus, admire a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and watch a miniature train meander through an elaborate gingerbread house village.
Come aboard The Desert Belle Tour Boat on Saguaro Lake in Mesa, Arizona. For 90 minutes enjoy the beauty of Saguaro Lake with Santa on board. Bring your camera and take lasting memories of Santa on Saguaro. Don’t miss this event, get your tickets today. www.desertbelle.com
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.
It’s once again time for Santa to step off his sleigh to host Kimpton’s annual Santa Paws Event which will be held for the first time at the new Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape. This event gives pet owners a special way to seize the season by taking snapshots of their fuzzy buddies posing with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Santa Paws is free and open to resort guests as well as Valley residents. Pet owners should bring their own cameras to capture photos of their pets (perfect for holiday cards, keepsakes and, of course, refrigerator art). In the spirit of the season, attendees are encouraged to join Hotel Palomar in giving back to the Arizona Humane Society, who will be accepting pet supply donations. Throughout the event, folks are invited to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa and nosh on seasonal eats from Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails while special treats will be available for the four-legged guests, too.
Kick off the holidays with breakfast under the sea. Join Sea Life Arizona for the first-ever ‘Tis the SEAson Breakfast where kids and adults alike will be dazzled by the holiday spirit. Enjoy a light breakfast among sharks, rays and tropical fish in the Bay of Rays. Create a SEAsonal ornament to take home, meet Sharky Santa, participate in a storybook reading followed by light snow flurries and take a souvenir photo and receive all day admission to the aquarium.
The Arizona Rattlers Inaugural Holiday Drive will feature free pictures with Santa Claus, various children’s activities, bounce houses, a toy drive and blood drive. Fans from across the valley can spend time with members of the 2012 World Champion Arizona Rattlers Arena Football team, Sidewinder dancers and Stryker D. Rattler. Season ticket packages will be available for sale and current season ticket holders will receive $25 in Stryker bucks for the team shop if they refer a friend to purchase season tickets. The first 100 people to donate a new toy will receive a special Rattlers gift. All toy donations collected will be given to the Salvation Army and 3TV Arizona’s Family Christmas Angel program.
Your favorite holiday tradition continues as The Phoenix Symphony and Chorus, led by Virginia G. Piper Music Director Michael Christie, perform Handel’s Messiah in churches and venues throughout the Valley.
The 15th Annual Live Animal Nativity and Petting Zoo will feature 1000’s of Christmas lights, 100’s of village houses, and 100’s of nativities from 1/2 inch to life size. Also, come meet the mini donkey and his friends.
In this modern re-imagination of Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” you will follow the journey of Darren in his attempts to dodge the spirit of the season. An over caffeinated “spirit-in-training” makes it her mission to re-ignite Darren’s long absent passion for the holidays. Will Darren’s frozen heart melt for his festive co-worker Trish? Or will the strain of his own holiday tragedy overshadow the true meaning of the season?
Participate in this unique family event that celebrates health, fitness and the joy of Christmas. This event will be on Saturday December 15th at Gilbert’s Freestone District Park. Bring the kids and pets (leashed), and enter a team of four in the 1.2k “Santa Sled Run” (walk/stroll). Or run/walk 6k or 12k, along the scenic and safe Western Powerline Trail. To get you in the spirit of Christmas, there will be carolers at the start / finish and at every “k” along the route – school children, girl scouts, performing arts schools, and musical groups. And the Christmas Bazaar features a variety of Christmas gift items.
Clay Aiken highlights the holiday season Thurs., Dec. 20, at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino’s Ovations LIVE! Showroom, as he delivers his “Joyful Noise 2012” tour. Starting as the sensation of season two on “American Idol,” Clay has become a top-selling recording artist, starred on Broadway in Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” released numerous hit CDs and was the first runner-up on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice.” With popular holiday albums “Merry Christmas with Love” and “All Is Well: Songs for Christmas,” his show is the quintessential holiday treat.
A Southwestern tradition, Holidays at the Heard is a great way to spend time family and friends. Exciting performances and artist demonstrations introduce visitors to traditional and contemporary American Indian music, dance and art throughout the week.
All valley residents are invited to share in the splendor of over 20,000 poinsettias in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes in magnificent holiday displays. There will be self-guided tours of poinsettias in the greenhouse, professional or personal photography opportunities (bring your own camera), tractor driven wagon rides, food available for purchase, Christmas boutiques, crafts, kids area, face painting, Santa and much more!
Part daytime dining; part open-air market, LON’s patio will transform into an outdoor marketplace complete with produce from local farmers, such as Crow’s Dairy and McClendon Farms; cooking demos of holiday classics, including turkey on the grill, sweet potatoes and a holiday cocktail will be presented by LON’s culinary team, with tastings for $5 each; and a variety of products used in the LON’s kitchen will also be for sale, including house-made granola, herbal truffles and Himalayan salt rocks.
‘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.
The Moscow Ballet has been touring its production of Tchaikovsky’s children’s classic in the United States and Canada since 1993. Originally choreographed by Bolshoi Ballet veteran Stanislav Vlasov, it showcases the stately Russian dance. In this version, the little girl is named Masha (not the more usual Clara), and is performed by an adult ballerina, which lets the story lean more toward a romance between the young heroine and her Nutcracker-turned-Prince. The tour also features dozens of children, in roles such as snowflakes, drawn from the local community.