Every November lights are strung, 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 2021-2022 season. With a variety of walking and drive-through options, there is sure to be an event everyone can attend and feel safe at.
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 12 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!
- Some locations still have strict guidelines for you to follow this year. You are expected to follow all guidelines while attending the Phoenix Christmas events, so be sure to check each website before attending.
Now let the fun begin!
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, so it is a great time to get a jump on your Christmas shopping list.
Last year 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 still snap their photos while social distancing. One can only guess what they have in store for this season!
This year, the tree will be arriving the morning of November 4th, and the Anthem Outlets invite you to witness as they hoist the tree into place. Decorating the tree will take weeks, so be sure to return back on November 20th for the annual lighting ceremony.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
$72 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.
For a list of 2021 events click here!
Phoenix Holiday Lights
$39 per car during the week
$49 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! They have some of the best holiday lights 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 Candy Rush theme for the 2021-2022 season and I must say, it is better than last year’s Rockin Christmas!
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!
The other World of Illumination light show is located in Tempe. This season’s theme is Reindeer Road, creating a much different experience than the Glendale Candy Rush! 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.
$20 per person
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.
On select nights you’re able to choose the “cruise” option for $75 if you’d rather experience it from the comfort of your car. Either way, you won’t want to miss their light displays and synchronized light shows!
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!
Desert Botanical Garden
Start at $29.95
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.
It used to be that every holiday season downtown Glendale would transform into Arizona’s largest FREE light display, which popularly became family tradition for locals. The light show spanned 16 blocks through downtown hosting vendors and fun light displays.
This event has been re-named, condensed, and turned into Murphy Park Lights for the 2021 season and until further notice. This will be a downsized event taking place in Murphy Park featuring a giant Snowman and Christmas Tree.
$30 per car
If you’ve ever wanted to drive onto a race track, now is your chance! The Phoenix Raceway hosts a light show each year called Zoomtown Lights, allowing visitors to drive on the same race track used by elite NASCAR drivers! Check out their website for deals and ways to get $5 off your ticket!
*11/29/21 UPDATE: It doesn’t seem as if the Phoenix Raceway is hosting Zoomtown Lights any longer. I’d consider this event cancelled.
Salt River Fields
Prices vary- check online
The Salt River Fields hold their own light show, also 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 1st 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!
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 visit on December 4th, 11th, or 18th from 6-9 pm.
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 Around Phoenix
Queen Creek, AZ
$17 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 already visited this season and my family was at the farm for 3+ hours, easy!
If you have a party of 4 you can save money on tickets by purchasing them on Groupon! Simply search for Schnepf Farms on the app.
$12 per person weekdays
$15 per person weekends
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.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
$15 per person
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?
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 into one of the Wonders of the World.
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’ and 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 site 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.
Final thoughts on 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 the Princess, 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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