There are plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit this season in Greater Phoenix. Whether you want to get a head start on your holiday shopping, view a tree lighting, build a snowman, or see a great holiday show, we’ve put together this big list of holiday events, and checked it twice, just for you.
Polar Express Train
The Polar Express comes to life on this train ride to the North Pole. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while listening to the magical story.
Details: Grand Canyon Railway 1201 W. Route 66 Ste. 200, Flagstaff. Adults: $29 Children (2 - 15): $19 "The Christmas Eve Limited" - Only departing December 24th Adults: $58 Children (2 - 15): $38 1-888-848-3511
A Christmas Carol
Based on the Charles Dickens story, this production is the Broadway version of the classic Christmas tale. Ebenezer Scrooge gets a visit on Christmas Eve from three spirits hoping to change his outlook on life.
Details: Broadway Palm Dinner Theater 5247 E. Brown Road, Mesa. Show only $28. Dinner and show $49 per person, $22 for children 12 and under. Call for showtimes 480-325-6700
Arizona Celebration of Lights
Arizona Celebration of Lights will feature more than seven million lights, fully lit tunnels and arches, animated and still displays, and more! The park will also feature Santa's Village which includes hot cocoa, concessions, one free photo with Santa and other photo opportunities.
Details: Arizona Celebration of Lights 5001 N. 99th Avenue, Glendale. Mon-Thurs 6pm-9pm. Fri-Sun 5:30pm - 10pm. Admission $15 per car Mon-Thurs. $20 per car Fri- Sun. 1-888-926-7404
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 3.5 million lights and more than 600 animal light sculptures.
Details: Phoenix Zoo 455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. 6:00-10:00 PM. "Any Night" Tickets - $12; Tickets valid Sunday through Thursday - $10; Children 2 and under free. 602-273-1341
Holiday Ice Rink
The CityScape outdoor ice rink is back for the holidays, enjoy outdoor ice skating on real ice. There will also be special visits from Santa, holiday entertainment and more!
Details: CityScape 1 E. Washington Street, Phoenix. Monday-Friday, 5pm-11pm. Saturday-Sunday, 3pm- 11pm. Admission is $10, includes skate rental. 602-772-3900
The Elves and the Shoemaker
This holiday themed version tells the tale of Santa and his elves helping out the hard working shoemaker and his wife.
Details: Great Arizona Puppet Theater 302 W. Latham Street, Phoenix. Wed - Fri 10am, Sat 10am and 2pm, Sun 2pm. Tickets $8 adults, $6 children. 602-262-2050
Gilbert’s Holiday Night of Lights
Get into the holiday spirit with the lighting of the 28 foot tree and experience ground displays, community entertainment, sweet treats, and a visit from Santa.
Detail: Gilbert Civic Center North Campus 50 E Civic Center Drive, Gilbert. 5:30 - 8:30 PM. Free admission and parking.
Las Noches de las Luminarias
The Valley's best holiday event comes to life at the Desert Botanical Garden with more than 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags and 10 musical groups performing nightly.
Details: Desert Botanical Garden 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. 5:30pm - 9:30pm. $25 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 3-12, under 12 free. 480-481-8188
This annual festival is host to a 20 ton snow field, gingerbread competition, live entertainment and a craft market. After visiting Santa wonder over to the food booths for roasted almonds, kettle corn and fresh tamales.
Details: Old Town Peoria 83rd Avenue just south of Grand Ave, Peoria. 5pm - 9pm. Free admission. 623-773-8627
A Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tale
Join Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and their friends in the Hundred Acre Woods for a celebration of friendship, caring and sharing with a Christmas theme.
Details: Valley Youth Theatre 525 N. 1st Street, Phoenix. Showtimes vary. $18.00 + $2.00 per ticket facility fee. 602-253-8188
Cactus Garden Holiday Light Tour
Guests of the Phoenician can enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate, followed by a guided tour of the resort's signature two-acre cactus garden, which will be adorned with lights for the holidays.
Details: The Phoenician. 6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale. Wed, Fri and Sat at 6pm. Free. 480-941-8200
This tribute to the holidays from the Phoenix Opera features highlights from the Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah as well as traditional and international holiday gems. Delight in the majesty of the Hallelujah Chorus and the tenderness of Silent Night.
Details: MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix. 7pm.Tickets $35. 480-478-6000
Revel in the beauty of O Holy Night, sing along with Jingle Bells, and even meet Santa as you and your family celebrate the season with the stars of the Phoenix Opera and the Phoenix Opera Orchestra.
Details: MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix. 2:30pm.Tickets $25. 480-478-6000
2011 APS Electric Light Parade
This spectacle of lighted floats and performance groups has delighted tens of thousands of spectators each year along the parade route, which runs down Central Avenue from Montebello, then heads east on Camelback to 7th Street where it heads south to its conclusion at Indian School Road.
Details: Central Phoenix Central Ave between Montebello and Indian School Road. 7pm. Free. 602-261-8069
Queen Creek Holiday Festival and Parade
The 29th Annual Queen Creek Holiday Festival and Parade will kick off the season with floats, entertainment, vendors, and fun kid activities.
Details: Queen Creek Library 21802 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek. 10am - 3pm. Free. 480-358-3769
Stroll in the Glow
Over 60,000 twinkling lights and ornaments will adorn the streets of Fountain Hills. Santa and his elves will arrive while carolers sing, and shops and boutiques along the Avenue are open late to greet visitors.
Details: Downtown Fountain Hills 12925 N. Saguaro Boulevard, Fountain Hills. 6pm - 9pm. Free. 480-837-1654
Holiday Pet Festival
The largest holiday pet event in Arizona will be an exciting day of interactive activities, demonstrations, exhibitions and animals galore. Bring your pets to this fun filled day featuring photos with Santa, shopping, live entertainment, a silent auction, pet fashion show, free nail trims, and a gingerbread house competition.
Details: WestWorld of Scottsdale 16601 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 10am – 5pm. Free.
The Irish Tenors
The Irish Tenors made up of members Ronan Tynan, Finbar Wright and Anthony Kearns perform with a show that blends Irish standards (Danny Boy, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling) with traditional Christmas carols.
Details: Celebrity Theatre 440 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix. 7pm. Tickets $40-$60.602-267-1600
Holiday in the Park
This new and exciting holiday event will feature crafts, storytime with Santa, fun holiday games, photos with Santa, luminaries in the park with caroling, entertainment, train rides and delicious holiday snacks.
Details: Anthem Community Park 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem. 5:00 pm- 8:00 pm. Free.
More than 500 musicians will join The Phoenix Symphony to present George Frideric Handel’s great oratorio “Messiah”.
Details: Grand Canyon University Arena 3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 7pm. Tickets $10-35.
Holiday Lights at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park
Take a train ride through many festive holiday light displays turning the Railroad Park into a winter wonderland. Opening night festivities will include a tree lighting ceremony, entertainment and a visit from Santa.
Details: McCormick Stillman Railroad Park 7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale. Free admission. Train and carousel rides are $2.00. 6:30 - 9:00pm. 480-312-2312
12K’s of Christmas
This annual event celebrates health, animals and Christmas. Find caroling and performances in the park all morning, and a Christmas bazaar with handmade holiday crafts. Also scheduled are a 12K, 6K and 1.2K run/walk, with children's choirs and other groups at every milepost performing Christmas songs.
Details: Freestone District Park 1045 E. Juniper, Gilbert. 8am to 1pm. Admission $25-45. 480-609-3978
Christmas Mariachi Festival
This festive event features an amazing spectacle with performances by hundreds of ballet folklorico dancers and youth mariachis celebrating the colorful pageantry of the Mexican Posadas. Each year there is a moving tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe who is serenaded by the greatest mariachis on earth.
Details: U.S. Airways Center 201 East Jefferson Street, Phoenix. 7pm. Tickets $43-73. 480-558-1122
Carefree 4th Annual Christmas Festival
This holiday festival features an electric light parade, a fireworks display, Santa, real snow, an outdoor Christmas market, evening concerts, community choirs, festival of trees, light nativity scene, theatre and dance, a kids zone, holiday dog walk and show, and much more.
Details: Downtown Carefree 1 Easy Street, Carefree. Fri and Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 10am-5pm. Free. 480-488-4812
Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade
Light up the night and be dazzled at the Valley's most unique holiday event. Featuring as many as 50 festively lighted boats of all sizes, and special guest Santa Claus.
Details: Tempe Beach Park 54 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. 7pm. Free. 480-921-2300 ext 19
Holiday Party in Paradise
Champagne brunch, demos and giveaways will be held to benefit the USO supporting our military families. Book any service the day of the event and receive 20% off!
Details: Paradise Medspa and Wellness 2060 W. Whispering Wind Drive Suite 170, Phoenix. 10am - 2pm. Admission $1.00. 602-266-8144.
The Grammy Award-winning Blind Boys of Alabama are living legends of gospel music. The group's joyful Christmas show offers up a rousing mix of holiday standards along with traditional gospel favorites and modern spirituals.
Details: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 East Second Street, Scottsdale. 8pm. Tickets $39- 49.480-874-4657
Holiday Brunch with Santa Claus at District American Kitchen and Wine Bar
This holiday brunch will feature a scrumptious seasonal dishes cooked to your liking, cookie decorating, and a special guest appearance from Santa Claus.
Details: District American Kitchen and Wine Bar inside the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown 340 N. Third Street, Phoenix. 10am – 2pm. Reservations required 602-817-5400
A free concert to celebrate Christmas and great music: Scottsdale Choral Artists, Scottsdale Arts Orchestra and soloists present highlights from Handel's epic masterpiece, Messiah.
Details: Paradise Valley United Methodist Church 4455 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley.7 pm Saturday, Dec. 10. Free. La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church 6300 E. Bell Road, Phoenix. 3 pm Sunday, Dec. 11. Free. 480-720-3398
Festival of Cheer
Designed to bring together all aspects of the community, both residents and businesses, to learn, share, and have fun while celebrating our different cultures, holidays, and backgrounds. Countries and cultures have different stations set-up throughout the Peoria Sports Complex for attendees to visit. There is a separate Play Land for children ages 12 and under with crafts, complimentary pictures with Santa, and over 20 tons of snow.
Details: Peoria Sports Complex 16101 N. 83rd Avenue, Peoria. 10am – 3pm.Tickets $5 for children, $7 for adults and $20 for a family pass of four. Children six and younger free. 623-584-4999
Arizona’s finest tamale-makers celebrate traditional Mexican culture during this two-day festival. Guests can taste and buy a wide selection of homemade tamales, and shop at a variety of booths that offer jewelry, arts and crafts.
Details: Downtown Phoenix Washington between 1st and 4th Avenue, Phoenix. 10am – 6pm. Free. 480-895-5383
Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold
12/13/2011- 12/15/2011, 12/18/2011, 12/20/2011, 12/22/2011
In an unusually jolly mood, Sister teaches her students the story of the Nativity and asks for their help to solve the greatest Christmas caper ever, who swiped the gold that those three wise men gave to the Baby Jesus.
Details: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 East Second Street, Scottsdale. 7:30pm. Tickets $29 – 39. 480-874-4657
Take care of your entire holiday shopping list in one night and support local business in the process by shopping over 50 local vendors with food, drinks, and handcrafted gifts. There will also be food trucks, live music and holiday carolers.
Details: Phoenix Public Market 14 E. Pierce Street, Phoenix. 4pm - 8:30pm. Free.
Breakfast with Santa at the Phoenician
Breakfast with Santa will feature a special menu, a commemorative digital photo with Arizona's authentic Old Saint Nick, and cookie decorating and holiday movies played on the big screen. Reservations required.
Details: The Phoenician 6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale. 9am – Noon.$45 for adults, $30 for children ages 3-12, under 3 free. 480-941-8200
Breakfast with Santa at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak
Breakfast guests will enjoy a special breakfast buffet and complimentary photos with Santa. Mrs. Claus will host a story-time and provide each child with a gingerbread activity book. Reservations are required.
Details: Rico's American Grill at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort 7677 N. 16th Street, Phoenix. 8am, 10am, and Noon. $27 for adults, $16 for 10 and under. 602-997-2626
Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding
This annual show features musicians, dancers, and comedians performing for local youth charities. This year’s special guests include Cheap Trick, Korn's Brian "Head" Welch, and Iron Chef America winner Mark Tarbell.
Details: Comerica Theatre 400 West Washington Street, Phoenix. 7pm. Tickets $35-65. 602-379-2802
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy cruises into town with its jumpin' and jivin' Christmas extravaganza.
Details: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 7380 East Second Street, Scottsdale. 7: 30pm. Tickets $39 – 49.480-874-4657
Enjoy festive Christmas Day dining with friends and family with a decadent three-course meal and wine pairing.
Details: District American Kitchen and Wine Bar inside the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel 320 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix. 11:30am - 9:30pm.$29 for adults, $15 for kids, and $15 for the 6oz wine pairing. 602-817-5400
Holidays at the Heard
Exciting performances and artist demonstrations introduce visitors to traditional and contemporary American Indian music, dance and art throughout the week.
Details: The Heard Museum 2301 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. 9:30am – 5pm Monday-Saturday. 11am – 5pm Sunday. Free with museum admission. 602-252-8840
Rock Theater originators will be performing holiday hits in this part theatrical show, part rock spectacle.
Details: Jobing.com Arena 9400 W. Maryland Avenue, Glendale. 3pm and 8pm. Tickets $34.50 - 60.50. 800-745-3000Comment