Every November lights are shining, music is ringing, ice rinks freeze, and Arizona is instantly transformed into Christmas cheer. If you’re filled with holiday spirit there will be no shortage of ways for you to spend Christmas in Arizona this year!
This post covers the major Phoenix holiday events that are open for the 2023-2024 season from a local’s experience. With a variety of walking and drive-through options, there is sure to be an event everyone can attend and enjoy.
One major misconception of Arizona is that we don’t have 4 seasons, let alone snow on Christmas. While that may be true for Phoenix, there are other cities perfect for visiting colder temperatures and fresh snowfall. These are covered at the end of the post!
Follow along! As I experience the Phoenix holiday events this year I’ll be sharing them on my Instagram stories! Be sure to check out my highlight reel for any that you’ve missed.
Best Phoenix Holiday Events
Below I’ve included 15 of the BEST Phoenix Holiday Events to attend this year.
If you’re looking for other places to experience Christmas in Arizona, you can jump ahead to see what else I have in store for you.
Before Attending Phoenix Holiday Events:
Before you get started, there are a couple things to note:
- Some events require you to purchase tickets ahead online. Be sure to visit their site for specific requirements. I’ve linked each one for you.
- Dates differ per event– be sure to look on their website to see when they are open for the season so you don’t miss out!
Now let the fun begin!
1. Arizona’s Tallest Christmas Tree
Let’s kick off the holiday season with a bang! Every November the Anthem Outlets host Arizona’s tallest Christmas Tree. Each year the tree lighting ceremony brings in crowds to kick off the Phoenix holiday season together. The outlet stores always have great deals going on too so it is a great time to get a jump start on your Christmas shopping list.
During previous years they had an extravagant Santa’s House set up. The kiddos were able to stand in front, with Santa standing on the porch behind, and snap their photos. One can only guess what they have in store for this season!
What we do know is that this year’s tree is 70 feet tall and 20 feet wide featuring 10,000 bulbs and 5,000 ornaments. They’ll even top it off with a 3 foot copper star. Also, they have a special surprise in store for us- Anthem Outlets invites you to their annual lighting CONCERT on Saturday, November 18th which features a performance from a former contestant on The Voice. See you there!
Check out AZ Family’s article on the event!
2. Frontier Christmas
Sharlot Hall Museum
$5 for adults
Okay so I know Prescott is a bit of a drive from Phoenix, but I just have to share about the Frontier Christmas event! Sharlot Hall Museum is one of my favorite museums in Arizona and on December 2nd they host their annual Christmas Event.
Take a day trip to enjoy true winter temperatures and maybe even some snow while you snack on some cookies and cider. Sharlot Hall Museum is known for their Living History days and on this day they’ll have Living History interpreters hosting a wonderful day for you.
A lot of things during Living History are hands on, for instance during Frontier Christmas you can print your own Christmas cards!
Check out their event calendar here and mark the date!
3. Christmas At The Princess
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
$80 per car of 4 people
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is one of the top resorts in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area and each year they put together one of the best Phoenix holiday events to attend. If you want to see what they’re all about without purchasing a stay, there is no better time to visit than during Christmas at the Princess.
For the Christmas season they go all out with their very own light show, ice skating rink, marsh-mellow roasting, pictures with Santa Claus, and more. You’ll want to purchase your tickets ahead of time and look at their maps online for parking.
Check out Christmas At The Princess Website for more details!
Phoenix Holiday Light Events
4. World Of Illumination – Reindeer Road
$40 per car during the week
$50 per car on weekends and holidays
Online reservations required
World of Illumination is the World’s largest drive through light show and only has a few locations across the U.S., so we’re fortunate to have them here in Arizona. They have some of the best holiday lights shows in Phoenix.
WOI hosts epic light shows every year at 2 different locations in the valley, both with different themes. The west side location- Glendale- has a Reindeer Road theme for the 2023-2024 season and I must say, it is going to be a good one!
Online reservations are required which makes it easy to pull up in your car and enter the light show. Check out their other location below!
5. World Of Illumination – Cosmic Sleigh Ride
One of the other World of Illumination light shows is located in Tempe. This season’s theme is Cosmic Sleigh Ride, creating a much different experience than the Glendale Reindeer Road! So if you wanted to visit both, it would be worth it.
Visiting during the week is cheaper and they usually have daily specials happening during the week too. Be sure to check out their website for more information, location maps, and to reserve your spot.
Are these drive through light shows really worth the cost?
Yes! World of Illumination does an amazing job at synchronizing the lights to the music and creating a path that won’t bore you. If you want to enhance your experience, below are a few things I suggest:
- Before driving through, pick up your favorite coffee or hot chocolate from Dutch Bros, one of Arizona’s most favorited coffee shops.
- Designate a driver for you who wants to drive, or doesn’t worry about missing the show as they focus on the road.
- If you have a truck, take it! And deck out the bed of it with blankets and pillows to create a cozy spot to sit and gain a better view of the lights.
6. Phoenix Zoo Lights
$30 per person online
Zoo lights is one of Phoenix’s biggest traditions, making it one of the best Christmas events in Arizona. Held by the Phoenix Zoo, in partnership with SRP, they don’t miss an inch when it comes to stringing up lights! The entire zoo is lit up with colored lights and animals that coordinate with the area you’re traveling through.
In previous years they had the select drive through nights, however, this year it doesn’t seem like they are offering it. Instead, they are offering ‘sensory nights’ on select nights. This option has slight modifications including smaller crowds, quieter music, and reduced flashing lights. If you like this option, be sure to purchase a ticket that includes ‘sensory’ in it!
I have to admit Zoo Lights is one of my favorites because it was my husband and I’s first date. I had no idea what the event even was and he took me here. We’ve visited each year since!
Enhance Your Experience!
The Phoenix Zoo has several cafe/grill options once you walk in. Find a coffee or hot chocolate to purchase so you stay toasty during your walk!
7. Los Noches De Las Luminarias
Desert Botanical Garden
Start at $39.95
Right next to the Phoenix Zoo is the Desert Botanical Garden, which also hosts their own light show each season consisting of 8,000 luminaires. They have a variety of special event dates such as member only dates, first silent night (winter solstice), and more.
Visit their website for event dates and online reservations.
8. Glendale Glitters
Glendale Glitters is back! It seems over the last few years they’ve tried to re-brand and change up the event…but now it is back to Glendale Glitters just like the good ‘ol days. But this time it is only a 2 day event.
On November 24th-25th downtown Glendale will be hosting an extravagant light display with what they’re promising as ‘unique and unseen before features’. They’ll also have live music and visits with Santa Clause!
If you’re looking to get out and see some Phoenix Christmas Lights as you stroll the streets and shop Black Friday deals, this may be a fun way to do it! Read more about it on the website.
9. Salt River Holiday Lights
Salt River Fields
Prices vary- check online
The Salt River Fields hold their own light show called Holiday Lights but offer a much different experience! It is a 1.2 mile drive through light show that dances to the sound of music.
You have the option to drive through in your own car or one of their electric carriages! Beginning December 3rd Santa’s Village will be up and running. After your ride you can visit the village and grab some hot chocolate, beverages, and snacks while you shop the shops.
Check out their options and purchase your tickets online!
10. Enchant The Mischievous Elf
Salt River Fields
Starting from $31
This Phoenix Holiday Event is new to me this 2023 season as I’ve never heard of it before but am most definitely planning on attending!
The Salt River Fields are hosting a giant light maze, stunning village, ice skating, children play places, and more. Be sure to check out their website because the village looks like something out of Disney! There will be no shortage of photo ops during this event, I’m sure.
One thing I really appreciate is that they have multiple different specialty nights where you can bring your dog, be saluted as a military service member, wear your ugly sweater, and more.
Free with option to purchase tickets for special events.
Scottsdazzle is a month long event and has a little bit of everything for everyone. The city hosts several different events to choose from- some free while others require tickets.
The main (and free) thing to do here is attend the Stroll along the Scottsdale Waterfront and witness the holiday lights, public art installations, and local vendors. You can walk under the lights any night, but if you want to catch the art installations and local vendors, be sure to check out their events online for particular nights.
Popular events you can purchase tickets for and attend are Wine Dazzle, Wonderland Whiskey Tasting, Holly Jolly Painting Parties, and Sparkle and Spin Scavenger Hunts!
Farm Holiday Events In Phoenix
12. Christmas At Schnepf Farms
Queen Creek, AZ
Starting at $18.95 per person
Schnepf Farms never disappoints as they go big for the holidays! They are a popular Fall Festivity, however you don’t want to miss Christmas at Schnepf Farms. They put on arguably the best holiday event in Phoenix.
A giant slide, food, ice cream, candy shop, Santa’s workshop, train ride, light show, and more! There is plenty for the family and people of all ages to enjoy. I take my husband and friends every season and we’re always at the farm for 3+ hours, easy!
13. Lights At The Farm
Starting at $20.25 per person
If you want to experience Arizona’s largest walk-through synchronized light show, visit Vertuccio Farms ASAP! They host 10 acres of holiday light displays, a skating rink so you can test your skills on the ice, food to fill your belly, and even more family fun entertainment.
14. McCormick-Stillman Holiday Lights
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Purchase online prior
Join in on the Phoenix holiday tradition this year with a ride through McCormick-Stillman Railroad park! You’ll get to take a train ride through a winter wonderland of holiday lights and displays! The ranch also has a carousel for the kids and hot chocolate for purchase to keep warm. Are you ready to make it a family tradition?
15. Desert Farm Lights
$20 per person
NEW as of last season is Desert Farm Lights. I visited last year and was actually impressed considering it was their opening year. I’m expecting 2023 to be even better!
Desert Farm Lights is located on a farm in Surprise, Arizona. They deck out the area with lights, a giant maze, food vendors, petting zoo, and more.
Check out their website and purchase tickets online before arriving!
BONUS EVENT: Polar Express Train Ride
Although a little far out from the Phoenix valley, I couldn’t NOT share this one with you. The Grand Canyon Railway embarks from Northern Arizona into the Grand Canyon, giving you a one of a kind train ride experience.
During the Arizona holiday season it is one of the most exciting events to take part in for they call it the ‘Polar Express Train Ride’. Visitors dress up in their festive pajamas and take a ride! Check out their website for pricing and more info.
Other Places To Experience Christmas In Arizona
For some of us Christmas in Arizona is an escape from the cold, wintery weather from other states. And the rest of us, well, we’re on the hunt for something other than 60 degrees, rock, and palm trees.
Luckily Arizona has a variety of landscapes and climates. In fact there are parts of Arizona that experience 4 seasons! If you’re looking to get out of Phoenix and experience new, or different Christmas events in Arizona, then you’re in the right place.
Below are some of Arizona’s best Christmas cities to visit outside of Phoenix.
Lake Havasu City
With average temperatures ranging from 75 degrees in November and 64 degrees in December, traveling to Havasu for Christmas events wouldn’t exactly be getting you any snow. However, they do have a variety of fun holiday events that you don’t get in Phoenix or elsewhere.
Their biggest annual Christmas event is Festival of Lights held at the London Bridge. It begins at the end of November and runs through the beginning of January, with lights shutting off at 10pm nightly. You’re able to take a stroll under the bridge or take your boat out for a night cruise.
Lake Havasu City also hosts several Christmas Carol nights, holiday concerts, and 5k walks. Check out their calendar for a full list of events!
Tucson has a whole calendar of their own Christmas events to choose from! The city isn’t any colder than Phoenix or Lake Havasu, but still very comfortable weather for being outside.
One of the biggest arts and shopping events in Tucson is the Annual Winter Street Fair in mid December. We’re talking craft booths, unique art pieces, food vendors, face painting, massage chairs, and more!
Other Christmas event favorites are the Reid Park Zoo Lights, Holiday Lights at Tohono Chul, and A Southwest Nutcracker. Check out this website for more holiday events in Tucson!
Did you know that Prescott was designated Arizona’s Christmas City by Governor Mofford in 1989? And yes, they get snow.
For a full Christmas experience you may want to visit Prescott- cooler temperatures, snowfall, and Christmas lights all around. Not to mention the locals are all filled with Christmas cheer!
Visit their online calendar for city events this year such as the Annual Christmas Parade, Courthouse Lighting, and the Acker Musical Community Showcase.
Flagstaff is another great city to spend Christmas in Arizona because you’ll actually get to witness cooler temperatures and some snowfall. Located at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff experiences all 4 seasons and hosts Snow Bowl, the go-to for local skiing.
In the heart of downtown Flagstaff Lights at the Station deck out their display for everyone to enjoy. Grab some hot chocolate or coffee and walk around to get a full experience. Afterwards try hopping around the local breweries and taste some local beers.
Other popular destinations for a classic Christmas in Flagstaff are the Riordan Mansion and Lowell Observatory. They host historic and holiday themed tours! You may also want to stop by the Little America Hotel for they’re said to have an impressive display of holidays lights.
For a list of scheduled events in downtown Flagstaff, check out their event calendar.
Imagine the red rock Sedona is famous for dusted with snow. It is truly a one of a kind sight and can take some spontaneity to time a visit just right. Either way, Christmas in Sedona, with our without snow, won’t leave you disappointed.
The Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village is decked out with over 6000 luminaires during the Festival of Lights. Live music plays while you sip on hot cider or hot chocolate and enjoy the Christmas lights.
For a different experience around the city, considering take a ride on the Sedona Christmas Trolley. You’ll be transported around the open-deck trolley to get 360 degree views of the holiday decor throughout the city.
Recap: Phoenix Holiday Events
With all the Phoenix Holiday events going on it can be hard to choose which ones to attend, especially with all the other great options around Arizona. Don’t worry, though, because they happen every year! Whatever you aren’t able to fit in this season, you can do next year.
If you were to ask me my favorite events that I attend every year, I’d have to tell you Zoo Lights, Christmas at Schnepf Farms, visiting the tallest Christmas Tree, and any one of the drive through light shows.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to see some light shows! I hope you enjoy, and have a very happy holiday season this year.
Which Phoenix holiday events do you plan on attending this year? Comment below!
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