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
Lights on the Farm and 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 26, 2021 and runs through Jan 2, 2022
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 month-long celebration that features a nearly four-story tall Christmas tree, a 12 ft. menorah, outdoor ice rink, and plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment for everyone.
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.
Visits with Santa. FREE visits with Santa Fridays and Saturdays! Bring your cell phone or camera for pictures.
Santa’s Merry Makers Marketplace. Looking for the perfect holiday gift this season? There is no place like Downtown Mesa! Join the elves on two weekends to shop from local crafters and artisans. Then continue your shopping with the many unique stores along Main Street.
Mesa Polar Express. Sing songs, enjoy cookies and, best of all, meet Santa on Mesa's Light Rail car! Wear your pajamas and enjoy the season in the childlike and festive tradition of the Polar Express.
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 24, 2021 through January 15, 2022
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.
Cost: $16-$20/person. Ages 2 and under are free.
Note: On select nights (Nov 29 & 30 and Dec 6 & 7), you can drive through the zoo. $75 per vehicle.
Experience millions of twinkling lights, dazzling animal sculptures, and two Music-in-Motion Light Shows on our main lake.
HOLIDAY EVENTS IN QUEEN CREEK, ARIZONA
Queen Creek, which is just southeast of Chandler and Gilbert, is a smaller community with a population of 68,500.
Queen Creek Holiday Festival & Parade
Location: Festival activities will take place around the Queen Creek Library at 21802 S. Ellsworth Road.
Date: December 4, 2021
Hours: 2:00pm-7:00pm. Parade is at 3:30pm. Tree lighting is at 6:00pm.
Cost: Free admission.
Queen Creek Holiday Festival & Parade features a parade, carnival, tree lighting ceremony, live entertainment by talented locals, free photos with Santa, a kids zone, and food and commercial vendors! Bring the whole family and start the holiday season off right!
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 16, 2021 through January 2, 2022
Average NightlyRate: Overnight stays begin at $775+/night. Alternatively, guests can also opt to visit for the day ($72 for self-parking and general admission).
Christmas at the Princess is arguably the best Christmas event in the state of Arizona. Beginning in mid-November, the resort transforms into a winter wonderland with festive decorations, an ice skating rink, Santa’s Secret Headquarters, The Princess Express Train, The Village, Snow Mountain, Alpine Skate Trail, The Chair Lift, S'mores Land, Holiday Character Experiences, Twinkle Town, Nativity Garden Narrated Light Show, and over 6 million twinkling lights!
Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Location: McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Dates: November 26, 2021 through January 2, 2022
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 and a half hour block of time from 6:00-7:30pm or from 8:00-9:30pm. Ticket includes unlimited 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. Santa will also be at the park nightly through December 23 to visit and take photos with.
Holiday Light Experience at Salt River Fields
Location: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Dates: November 19, 2021 through January 1, 2022
Hours: 6:00pm-10:00pm Nightly
Cost: $35-$350 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-through light show experience! With more than 5 million lights, this treasured family holiday tradition is ready to dazzle with musical and magical displays. Load up your family and friends to watch the action of lights, all from the warmth of your car!
The route is 1.2 miles long and takes a little over 30 minutes to go through at the 3 MPH speed limit.
Scottsdazzle Holiday Extravaganza in Old Town Scottsdale
Location: Old Town Scottsdale
Dates: November 27, 2021 through December 31, 2021
Hours: See website for complete calendar.
Parking: Parking in Old Town is free! On-street parking has no meters or fees, just time limitations.
Cost: Several Scottsdazzle events are free and family-friendly! See the calendar for pricing of specific events.
Tis the season for Great Wolf Lodge Arizona's annual Snowland celebration filled with winter festivities, November 19, 2021 through January 5, 2022. The beloved annual celebration immerses families in a winter wonderland with daily snow showers in the Grand Lobby, seasonally themed crafts, holiday stories and songs.
Holiday traditions and family memories are created during the seasonal celebrations with highlights of Snowland including:
NEW Snowland Cabanas: Featuring elaborate holiday-themed decor, these special Snowland Cabanas come complete with a Christmas tree and falling snow! Each Cabana also includes a wreath-shaped tube to use on the Crooked Creek lazy river and a special retail bundle with commemorative ornaments, keepsake mugs, assorted flavors of candy canes, vouchers for holiday-inspired beverages, and more. $10 of every Snowland Cabana booking is donated to Make-A-Wish.
Appearances and photo opportunities with Santa
Daily lighting of the menorah candle during Hanukkah
'Twas the Night Before Snowland' Yoga Tails to start the day
Frosty Fest Family Dance Party each evening
Family moments including Snowland Bingo, Trivia games, and the popular “Craft Kit to Go” program that gives guests the opportunity to pick up a craft to complete in-room
HOLIDAY EVENTS IN TEMPE, ARIZONA
Home to Arizona State University, Tempe is a hip and walkable town adjacent to Phoenix.
Holidays at Tempe Marketplace
Location: 2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe AZ
Date: November 18, 2021 - December 31, 2021
Hours: See the website for full calendar and hours.
Nightly Snowfall: Experience snowfall every night at 7:00pm and 8:00pm near The District Stage at Tempe Marketplace, starting November 24th! Watch as snow magically falls from the sky, turning Tempe Marketplace into a living snow globe. Plus, enjoy snowfalls every hour from 11am-8pm on Christmas Eve.
Candy Cane Lane: Step into a delicious holiday dreamland filled with giant gumdrops, larger-than-life lollipops, colossal chocolates, gigantic gingerbread men, and a hot cocoa pond, complete with massive marshmallows. Capture sweet holiday moments at this edible-inspired art installation with nearly 100 treats, towering four-feet to eight-feet tall.
Holiday Skating: Enjoy free holiday skating near Dave & Buster’s for children 5 and older. Skates are provided, just bring socks.
Starry & Bright Star Tunnel: Cozy up this holiday season and venture through the beautiful life-sized Starry + Bright Star Tunnel!
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.