Celebrating the holidays in Phoenix is about more than just Christmas lights on a saguaro cactus. We've got timeless holiday concerts and performances, real outdoor ice-skating rinks, horse-drawn carriage rides, twinkling light displays, and you can even watch it snow in the desert! However you like to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year, there is a holiday event in Phoenix for you.
The Polar Express: Through January 4
Every winter the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express comes to life on a journey from the nighttime wilderness of Williams, Arizona, to the enchanted beauty of "the North Pole," where Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting with a keepsake present for every good boy and girl.
Christmas and Ice Skating at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: Through January 4
Christmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess festival events and activities are open to the public and include ice skating, a four-story tall Christmas tree, photos and visits with Santa, holiday menus and much more.
Nightly Snowfall at Westgate Entertainment District: Through December 24
The only place in the West Valley to see it snow nightly is at Westgate Entertainment District! Watch as Fountain Park magically turns into a living snow globe each evening with a snow show twice a night.
Photos with Santa Claus at Westgate Entertainment District: Weekends and select weekdays through December 24
Get your photo taken with Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas. Free gift for all kids visiting Santa!
ZooLights: Through January 12
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 3.7 million lights and more than 700 light displays. New this year is the Wizard of Oz Music in Motion show.
Enjoy the “spirits” of the season with these holiday drink recipes from The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.
Hot Buttered Toffee
1 ¼ oz. Baileys
½ oz. butterscotch schnapps
Hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and crushed toffee
After Dinner Mint
1 ¾ oz. peppermint schnapps
Hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream, crushed candy canes and mint
A Christmas classic returns to the stage, craft beer fans have lots to celebrate and a popular arts festival returns. Here are our top things to do in Phoenix this weekend:
ALAC Christmas Celebration and Mercado: December 6
Join the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix for a celebration honoring La Virgin de Guadalupe. The free celebration will also feature food booths, live painting and a holiday mercado.
PJs in the Park: December 6
It's a pajama party in the park this Friday night! Put on your warm flannel PJs and head to downtown's Civic Space Park free showings of Polar Express and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Stay warm with complimentary hot chocolate, holiday treats and a special visit from a certain North Pole resident.
Tempe Fall Festival of the Arts: December 6-8
The award-winning festival returns to the Mill Avenue District this year for a three-day weekend full of art and artists, live entertainment, street performers and more.
The Nutcracker: December 6-24
It wouldn't be Christmas in Phoenix without Ballet Arizona's The Nutcracker. The holiday classic returns to downtown's Phoenix Symphony Hall through Christmas Eve.
2nd Annual Phoenix Brewers Invitational Festival: December 7
Craft beer fans will want to flock to Heritage Square in downtown this Saturday! Over sixty breweries will be on hand with samples of their brews, including some of the rarest craft beers in the state. Beer isn't your thing? Arizona-based wine and spirits companies will also be at the festival plus a craft root beer garden.
There is a lot to see and do in Phoenix. But our city is also a hub for a number of memorable day trips throughout Arizona. One day-trip destination that never fails to wow visitors is Sedona, which is renowned for being one of the most scenic regions in the country.
Sedona is a red-rock playground where romantic weekends are perfected and photographers' dreams come true. Picturesque spas offer healing and restorative therapies, and off-road tours deliver adrenaline-inducing adventure. Sedona is also a place where families can make lifelong memories and shoppers can discover that perfect Southwestern gift.
We asked our friends at Visit Sedona to share a few of their favorite things to do in this beautiful city, and they put together the following list of can't-miss activities:
Top 10 Things to do in Sedona
1. Hike, with more than 200 trails to choose from.
2. Shop at more than 80 galleries, boutiques and stores.
3. Take a trolley tour.
Happy Thanksgiving! Our top things to do in Phoenix this weekend include the return of two holiday traditions and a stress free alternative to Black Friday shopping in downtown Phoenix.
ZooLights (November 28 - January 12)
Though the animals may be asleep, the zoo comes alive each night during the holidays. The Phoenix Zoo's annual tradition returns bigger and better this year with 3.7 million lights and more than 700 light displays, plus the new Wizard of Oz Music in Motion show.
Arizona International Auto Show (November 28 - December 1)
Gearheads, head downtown this weekend to the Phoenix Convention Center for the Arizona International Auto Show. Check out the latest cars, trucks and hybrids, and get behind the wheel of the latest models from automakers such as Ford, Lincoln and Volkswagen. On Sunday, admission is free for children age 12 and under who are accompanied by a paying adult.
Alternative Black Friday Vintage Market (November 29)
There's no need to wake up early and fight the crowds this Black Friday. Head to CityScape Phoenix from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. for this vintage market featuring more than 20 local vendors. Unwind at the mimosa bar at Chloe's Corner, enjoy brunch specials at Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails, and lace up your skates at CityScape's outdoor ice rink.
Las Noches de las Luminarias (Opens November 29)
It wouldn't be the holidays in Phoenix without Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden.
This holiday tradition returns Saturday with 8,000 luminarias, creating a peaceful glow through the garden's paths. Complementing the luminarias this year is the Chihuly in the Garden exhibit.
The Phoenician Resort 5K Turkey Trot (November 30)
After you've had a couple days to indulge on turkey and leftovers, burn off some of those calories with a leisurely 5K through the Phoenician's Canyon golf course at the foot of Camelback Mountain. Wear your best Thanksgiving costume for a chance to win prizes.
Kick back with tequila, take in a local parade, or pick up one-of-a-kind holiday gifts with our top things to do in Phoenix this weekend:
Arizona Antique Market: November 22-24
Get a jump start on your holiday shopping or find that one-of-a-kind antique for yourself at the Arizona Antique Show. Vendors from across the country will be on hand selling antiques from a variety of eras and styles.
Gilbert Days Parade: November 23
Celebrate the town of Gilbert's heritage with the annual Red, White & Blue Parade, the premiere event of the Gilbert Days festival.