Holiday Activities

While Phoenix may not be a winter wonderland, there are plenty of winter activities around town that will get you in the holiday spirit. Check out these holiday activities for some festive fun in the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas.

Christmas At The Princess

As one of the best and brightest places to celebrate the holiday season, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is set to be more spectacular than ever. This AAA Five Diamond resort transforms into a winter wonderland in the desert during its annual Christmas at the Princess festival, November 22, 2016 – January 1, 2017. Christmas at the Princess features a four-story musical tree, Desert Ice Rink, Princess Express Trains, Lagoon Lights, plus new holiday characters, shows and attractions including Santa’s Secret Headquarters. Christmas at the Princess is open to the public. General admission is complimentary for hotel guests who also receive express VIP access to the rides and attractions. General admission/parking for non-hotel guests is $35 for self-parking for up to six people and $55 for valet without dining. Valet/general admission is complimentary when dining at any of the resort restaurants (Bourbon Steak, La Hacienda, Ironwood American Kitchen or Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar) with a $75 spend. General admission includes access to Enchanted Plaza with the four-story musical tree, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” video show, a walk-through experience of 3 million Lagoon Lights and the Nativity Garden. To ride all of the attractions including the Princess Express Trains, Polar Glide and the Christmas Carousel require a $10 wristband per person (or discounted to $5 with a parking voucher). Skating, photos with Santa, shopping, dining and spa are priced separately.
For more information about Christmas at the Princess, visit

Glendale Glitters

This award-winning festival is one of the best-loved events for Arizona families year after year! Visitors of all ages will delight in holiday entertainment, delectable food, hand-crafted holiday gifts, a children’s snow field and petting zoo, shopping and, of course, visits with Jolly Ol’ St. Nick. The glittering magic of Glendale’s holiday light display remains lit nightly through January 7, 5-11pm each evening. Historic
Downtown Glendale is located at 58th and Glendale avenues. For December weekends (Dec. 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17) free parking is available throughout the downtown area. Event attendees will have the option and convenience of paying for preferred parking in the two downtown garages, located at City Hall, at 59th and Glenn Drive and Bank of America Building, at 58th and Glenn Drives.
For more information about Glendale Glitters, visit


Celebrating their 25th year, the Phoenix Zoo will host it’s annual Zoolights display through January 8th, 5:30 – 10:30 p.m. nightly. Presented by SRP, this year, ZooLights shines with millions of lights, a three-story lighted tree, hundreds of glimmering light displays, lakeside Music-in-Motion shows and more. Featured attractions include the Polar Slide, Stingray Bay, Carousel and Camel Rides, Photos with Santa Claus, Snowfall nightly at 7pm, the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4-D Experience® and festive food and drinks. Pricing varies depending on the night with member pricing starting at $10.95 and nonmembers starting at $12.95.
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For the seventh year in a row, close to 200,000 holiday revelers will descend upon CityScape Phoenix starting Nov. 25 to take part in the seven weeks of CitySkate, the Valley’s largest and most popular real outdoor ice rink, presented by APS. Central Avenue is transformed into an ice skater’s dream with a massive 36-foot holiday tree dramatically placed in the center of the rink along with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. Bystanders watching over the rink from Patriots Park will enjoy a nightly snowfall at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. Santa will make an appearance every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for photos from 4pm until 8pm. New this year, guests can expect experiential holiday décor placed throughout CityScape that is interactive and selfie-worthy, like massive lighted presents that you can walk through. Plus, ArtLink will have art installations and murals on display from local artists. Grab a cup of hot cocoa from the Hot Chocolate Bar at Patriots Park that will be operated by various Arizona nonprofits as a fundraising effort. General Admission 11:30am – 1:30pm is $10 per person; 5:00pm – 11:00pm is $15 per person; Military, Seniors and Children 8 and under are $10 per person; Children 3 and under are free; Sunday Student Discount (with ID) is $10 per person (only on Sundays).
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The Nutcracker

2016 Ballet Arizona’s The Nutcracker returns to Symphony Hall December 9 to December 24. Surrender to the grand sweep of Tchaikovsky’s score and the wonders of childhood. Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they embark on a thrilling adventure of dancing toys, mischievous mice, waltzing flowers, and sparkling snowflakes. The show is approximately 2 hours including a 20 minutes intermission. Showtimes are available December 9 – 24th, EXCEPT Dec 12, 13 and 19th. Ticket prices start at $25 and vary based on seat location and showtime.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Las Noches de las Luminarias

Eight thousand hand-lit luminaria bags and thousands of white twinkle lights will set the Desert Botanical Garden aglow this winter for 21 magical evenings. This Southwest holiday tradition features the sights and sounds of nine entertainment ensembles, including the return of Simply Three. Enjoy dinner at the Garden with family and friends and stroll the paths with a warm cup of cider or cocoa, as you celebrate the season. Las Noches de las Luminarias will be open 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. on the following evenings: December 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 20-23, 26-31. Tickets for members are $25 for adults, $10 for children 3-12 and children under 3 are free. Nonmembers will pay $30 for adults, $12.50 for children 3-12 and children under 3 are free.
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Skate Westgate

“Skate Westgate” is the first of its kind in the West Valley. Kids and adults can partake in the timeless holiday tradition of outdoor ice skating that will run for seven weeks through January 8. There will be daily deals, themes and promotions posted on Westgate’s website from participating Westgate restaurants and retailers. Skate Westgate will be open Sunday – Thursday, 5pm-11pm and Friday & Saturday, 5pm-midnight through December 18th. December 19th through January 8th hours will be Monday – Sunday, 3pm-midnight. Prices include skate rental and a 2 hour skate session. General admission is $13 for ages 7 and up, children 4-6 are $10 and children under 4 are free with the purchase of an adult general admission ticket. There are also military, student, senior and group rates available. In addition to the ice skating, there will be FREE horse-drawn carriage rides (just like in NYC’s Central Park), FREE nightly snowfall (7pm & 8pm) and FREE visits with Santa that includes downloadable photos.
For more information and a complete pricing list, visit

Santa HQ

Santa is all about the experience and this year Scottsdale Fashion Square has again partnered with HGTV to present “Santa HQ.” Families are invited to experience the wonder of Santa’s workshop in the digital age. Exciting interactive technology transforms and customizes the experience. This engaging new version of a visit with Santa uses digital tools to offer an augmented reality environment and a thoroughly new, enhanced social media experience for families. At Santa HQ, kids will be “scanned” as they arrive to determine if they’ve been “naughty or nice,” enter an observatory where they will use special tablets to view Santa’s magical world – the night sky or Santa’s elves at work, for instance – be able to take an “ELFIE” (a photo opp as a dancing elf) and much more. Photo packages are also available starting at $34.99. Santa HQ will be open 7 days a week during mall hours November 12 – December 24, 2016 and is located in the Food Court.
Get more information and make reservations to see Santa at


The holiday season will be significantly more festive this year as the City of Scottsdale debuts a month long holiday celebration aptly named: Scottsdazzle. Scottsdazzle will incorporate several signature events scattered throughout December as well as other ongoing festivities. Featured festivities include an I Spy Santa ArtWalk, a Santa Wine-Around and free horse and carriage rides on Thursday night Art Walks in December from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Also, many merchants and restaurants will offer holiday specials, cocktails, discounts and much more.
For more information about Scottsdazzle, visit

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