Every year, we have readers ask us about holiday events in Phoenix. Since Phoenix is the 5th largest city in the USA, there are a plethora of holiday-related festivities...and many Tucson residents enjoy making the drive up to the Valley for a short day trip or staycation.
We've tried to narrow down the picks on this page to holiday events that are worth driving for. These events include concerts, plays, light displays, breakfasts and brunches, and hotel packages.
Events are organized alphabetically by city within the Phoenix metro area. Depending on where you live in Tucson and where are you are heading in Phoenix, you're looking at a drive between 90 minutes and 2.5 hours.
HOLIDAY EVENTS IN GLENDALE, ARIZONA
Glendale is a suburb slightly northeast of Phoenix. The population is just shy of 250,000 and holiday events within Glendale tend to be of a smaller scale. Glendale Glitters, however, makes our list for a fun, free light display in a charming downtown area.
Glendale Glittersin Downtown Glendale
Location: Downtown Glendale
Dates: November 25, 2020 - January 9, 2021
Hours: 5:00pm-10:00pm Nightly
Parking: Parking is free in downtown Glendale. Once this free parking fills up, patrons are welcome to explore close-proximity paid options on various private properties. If patrons don’t mind parking a bit further, they’re also welcome to park at Glendale Community College where they can board a complimentary shuttle to the event.
Glendale Glitters is "Arizona’s largest free holiday light display and a beloved family tradition." Charming downtown Glendale is illuminated by more than 1.7 million twinkling lights across 16 blocks.
HOLIDAY EVENTS IN MESA, ARIZONA
Mesa is the 35th largest city in the United States (right behind Tucson at #33). As such, you'll find several larger-scale holiday events to go to.
Arizona Lights in the Night Drive-ThruEvent
Location: 1901 N. Alma School Road, Mesa, Arizona 85201
Vertuccio Farms presents over 2 million dazzling lights, all of which are synchronized to a variety of Christmas classics. Lights at the Farm™, "Arizona’s largest walk-thru synchronized Christmas Light Show," stretches over 10 acres of Vertuccio Farms - providing a spectacular walk-through, interactive journey.
Take photos with Santa (select dates) and write your Christmas Wish List to Santa.
"Christmas Crafts and Cookies" Kids Events are held every Monday Night during Lights at the Farm™.
Skate on the Holiday Skating Rink. *additional cost
Immerse yourself and your family in photo-ready Giant Holiday Ornaments.
Take the kids to see our Barnyard Animal Display with Interactive Lights.
Stroll through the different Holiday themed areas, including the Tunnel of Lights attraction and the 30’ tall Christmas Tree.
Show your appreciation for Military Heroes by writing a ‘Thank You Letter’ that will be delivered to the troops.
Purchase Hot Cocoa or Coffee, Kettle Corn, Cake Pops, and other Holiday Treats.
Merry Main Street in Downtown Mesa
Location: Downtown Mesa
Dates: Kicks off on Nov 27, 2020 and runs through Jan 2, 2021
Hours: See website for complete calendar.
Parking: Parking in downtown Mesa is free (there are some time limits during weekdays).
Cost: Free admission and parking. Some activities are fee-based.
Merry Main Street is a nearly month long celebration that features a nearly four-story tall Christmas tree, Mesa Christmas Market, and Santa’s sELFie Village.
The following attractions are part of Merry Main Street:
Winter Wonderland Ice Rink. Downtown Mesa features a more than 5,000 square foot ice skating rink, which is open daily for thousands to enjoy the amazing winter weather while skating under the stars. Cost is $10/person and includes one hour of skate time and ice skates. Tickets must be pre-purchased in advance for a specific day and time.
Mesa’s Christmas Tree. Merry Main Street would not be complete without a giant, four-story Christmas tree.
Visits with Santa. Free visits with Santa on Fridays and Saturdays! Bring your cell phone or camera for pictures.
Santa’s sELFie Village. Take a moment to create a special holiday card photo at the holiday tree or one of the other Santa sELFie stations.
Santa Fly-in at Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
Location: Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, 2017 N Greenfield Rd, Mesa, AZ 85215
Date: December 5, 2020
Cost: $15 adult, $12 seniors (62+) and veterans, $5 children (5 - 12). Children under 5, disabled veterans, and active military are free.
Support the City of Mesa Fire Department’s Toy Drive. Bring one unwrapped toy and get in free! Bring in a spare canned good and get $1 off admissions.
Bring the kids and watch Santa arrive at Airbase Arizona in a vintage warbird. There will be treats and smiles for everyone.
HOLIDAY EVENTS IN PHOENIX, AZ
Most Tucson people think of "Phoenix" as all of the suburbs on this page combined into one because you can seamlessly drive between cities without even knowing it. The below events, however, are in Phoenix proper.
ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo
Location: Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, Arizona 85008
Dates: November 7, 2020 through January 31, 2021
Parking: Free parking is available at the Phoenix Zoo in the main Papago Park parking lot off of Galvin Parkway. If the main lot is full, additional free parking is available at Sun Devil Municipal Stadium, located at the southwest corner of Van Buren and Priest.
Enjoy one of the most beloved holiday events, ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo. This year, there are two ways to enjoy millions of twinkling lights, animated animal sculptures, and the Wildlife Lantern Safari. On select nights, you can cruise through ZooLights in your car. On alternate evenings, you can walk through the event. Advance ticket purchase is recommended.
HOLIDAY EVENTS IN QUEEN CREEK, ARIZONA
Queen Creek, which is just southeast of Chandler and Gilbert, is a smaller community with a population of under 40,000.
Queen Creek Holiday Festival & Parade
Location: Festival activities will take place around the Queen Creek Library at 21802 S. Ellsworth Road.
Date: December 5, 2020
Hours: Details TBA
Cost: Free admission.
Now in its 38th year, this annual holiday festival features carnival rides, live entertainment, food and beverage stations, commercial vendors, free photos with Santa, a tree lighting ceremony, and a community parade.
HOLIDAY EVENTS IN SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
Scottsdale is know for its pristine streets, lush landscaping, and luxurious resorts. Unsurprisingly, Scottsdale's holiday events are among the best in the state.
Christmas at the Princess
Location: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 E Princess Dr, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, 85255
Dates: November 20, 2020 through December 31, 2020
The resort becomes a true winter wonderland with an ice skating rink, Santa’s Secret Headquarters, The Princess Express Train, S’mores Land, and more! New this year, Christmas at the Princess is adding more space than ever, as well as plexi-glass shields between compartments on the Princess Express trains!
Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Location: McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Dates: November 27, 2020 through January 3, 2021
Closed: December 24th, 25th and 31st
Cost: $15 per person; FREE admission for children 2 years old and younger. The ticket fee is for a one hour block of time at 6:00pm, 7:15pm, or 8:30pm. Tickets include train and carousel rides and access to the holiday photo pod garden.
Hop on board the Paradise & Pacific Railroad and experience a winter wonderland of holiday lights and displays. No trip to the park is complete without a spin on the historic Charros Carousel or a cup of hot cocoa from Hartley’s General Store!
New this year, to adhere to safety protocols, the event will feature limited-capacity, one-hour blocks at 6:00pm, 7:15pm, and 8:30pm nightly and rides will be loaded at 50% capacity.
Holiday Lights at Salt River Fields
Location: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Dates: November 23, 2020 through December 31, 2020
Hours: 5:45pm-10:00pm Nightly
Cost: $35.99-$355.99 per car, carriage, limo, or bus
Note: Tickets may be available at the door based on availability, but it is recommended that you pre-purchase them online.
Celebrate the season with this unique and dazzling 1.2 mile drive thru light show experience! With more than 5 million lights, this treasured family holiday tradition is ready to dazzle with music instead of just traditional still displays. Load up your family and friends to watch the action of lights, all from the warmth of your car or inside one of our magical carriages!
The route is 1.2 miles long and takes a little over 30 minutes to go through at the 3 MPH speed limit.
Scottsdazzle in Downtown Scottsdale
Location: Old Town Scottsdale
Dates: November 27, 2020 through January 1, 2021
Hours: See website for complete calendar.
Parking: There is free public parking in the public parking garage located South of Camelback Road next to Nordstrom.
Cost: Strolling through Old Town Scottsdale is free. See the calendar for pricing of specific events.
Nightly Snowfall: Experience snowfall every night at 7:00pm and 8:00pm near The District Stage at Tempe Marketplace, starting November 27th! Be safely spaced and watch as snow magically falls from the sky, turning Tempe Marketplace into a living snow globe. Plus, enjoy snowfall every hour from 11:00am-8:00pm on Christmas Eve. *Excludes Christmas Day
Candy Cane Lane: Capture sweet holiday moments at Candy Cane Lane at Tempe Marketplace. Enjoy edible-inspired art installation with nearly 100 treats, towering four-feet to eight-feet tall, November 27-December 31, 2020. Step into a safely spaced and delicious holiday dreamland filled with giant gumdrops, larger-than-life lollipops, colossal chocolates, gigantic gingerbread men, a new fruit roll-up slide, and a hot cocoa pond, complete with massive marshmallows.
Starry & Bright Star Tunnel: Snap starry nights with sparkling lights at Tempe Marketplace, November 18-December 31, 2020. Safely stroll through a super-sized, 40-foot-long star-shaped tunnel.
World of Illumination
Location: 2200 W Alameda Dr, Tempe, AZ
Date: November 14, 2020 - January 3, 2021
Hours: 6:00pm-10:00pm Nightly
Cost: $29-$39 (plus taxes and fees) per vehicle
Note: Online tickets only; no tickets sold at the gate.
Explore World of Illumination’s Arctic Adventure at Tempe Diablo Stadium, where you’ll meet 32-foot tall Sunny the Snowman and his tundra-bound friends. You’ll be delighted by your favorite holiday music and polar Christmas characters — a reminder you’re not in the desert anymore. Nostalgic and memorable, the world’s largest animated drive-through light show is a storybook adventure for kids of all ages.
Which holiday events are you looking forward to in Phoenix?
TucsonTopia contains both paid and non-paid mentions of businesses and organizations in and around Tucson, Arizona. Any reference made here to local businesses, services, classes, etc. is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement. We encourage you to do your own research before participating in an event or engaging with a local business or organization. The intent of TucsonTopia is to provide ideas for family-friendly activities, events, and resources. Participants assume all risks for any activities they engage in. TucsonTopia is not responsible for any injuries or problems that may arise from partaking in any of these events and activities.