christmas events

Holiday Events in Phoenix 2023

From time-honored traditions like Zoolights and The Nutcracker to newer festive favorites, all is merry and bright at these exciting holiday events in Phoenix.

Click here for holiday events in Northern Arizona.

World of Illumination

Nov. 15 and Nov. 18 to Dec. 31, Tuesdays to Sundays: World of Illumination

Desert Diamond Casino, Glendale; Tempe Diablo Stadium

World of Illumination, producer of the world’s largest drive-through animated light show, has set up shop at a duo of Arizona locations this holiday season (Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale and Tempe Diablo Stadium). The Tempe attraction debuts Nov. 15; the Glendale light show starts Nov. 18. Visitors will experience a different show of dancing LED lights, towering structures and more at each location: the all-new Reindeer Road is set for Glendale and Cosmic Sleighride in Tempe. Best of all, it is all enjoyed from the comfort of your car. Shows run Tuesday to Sunday, from 6 to 10 p.m., through Dec. 31.
Cost: Starting at $39.99 per vehicle.
For more information:

Nov. 17 to Dec. 24: Santa’s Winter Wonderland

Scottsdale Fashion Square

From holiday character meet-and-greets to charitable giving opportunities, shoppers will find all they need and more at Scottsdale Fashion Square from Nov. 17 to Dec. 24. Santa’s Winter Wonderland is an annual delight, and those who pre-book a visit will receive a free personalized call from Santa before their visit, as well as a free personalized video afterward. (Plan your visit and pre-book by visiting On Dec. 3, families can take part in the Santa Cares Sensory-Friendly Event from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. or Santa Paws Photos from 4 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 20, Nov. 27 and Dec. 4. Plus, Scottsdale Fashion Square is once again teaming up with the Salvation Army to host the Angel Tree program, which runs Nov. 16 to Dec. 21. The annual Shop It Forward program is also underway, allowing shoppers to double down on their giving by benefiting local nonprofits with receipts from their purchases at the shopping center. Every purchase made at Scottsdale Fashion Square now through Feb. 15, 2024, is eligible for five points per $1 spent. Bonus points are available for select retail categories, and families visiting Santa can earn triple points on any photo package purchase from Nov. 16 through Dec. 24.
Cost: Varies per event.
For more information:

Nov. 17 to Dec. 31: Desert Farm Lights

Justice Brothers Ranch, Waddell

Starting Nov. 17, the West Valley will be set aglow once more by thousands of twinkling lights during Desert Farm Lights, a family-friendly holiday light installation that spans eight acres at Justice Brothers Ranch. Activations include a merry horse-drawn hayride, a DIY toy shop for little elves, giant snow globes to roast s’more in, kid’s inflatables and much more. Desert Farm Lights focuses on all attendees by offering low-sensory play nights this year as well as many accessible entertainment offerings.
Cost: General admission tickets are $20; free for children ages 2 and under.
For more information:

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess - Christmas Event - Princess Express - 1428808
Christmas at the Princess

Nov. 17 to Jan. 6: Christmas at the Princess

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Christmas at the Princess at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess takes place Nov. 17 to Jan. 6 and has been the highlight of the holiday season for Valley dwellers for 14 years. The annual, family-friendly holiday festival invites guests to enjoy ice skating, cozy fire pits, Lagoon Lights, the Princess Express Train, S’mores Land, beloved holiday characters, pictures with Santa, a multi-story musical Christmas tree and much, much more. New this year, the event will feature Aurora Ice, home of Scottsdale’s only glacier, where guests can slip into a warm parka and enjoy the game and lounge experience. And–get this–everything is made of real ice. The Aurora Ice experience is rounded out with hand-chiseled ice sculptures, picture-perfect photo ops and hot craft cocktails whipped up at the ice bar.
Cost: $35 per person; a variety of parking packages and add-on experiences are available (including Santa photos and ice skating).
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Nov. 18 to Dec. 31: Holiday Season at Desert Ridge Marketplace

Desert Ridge Marketplace, Phoenix

The holidays are in full swing at Desert Ridge Marketplace. The holiday event in Phoenix kicks off with a Maker’s Hive Market on Nov. 18, followed by the annual tree-lighting ceremony Nov. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. Guests can also enjoy 12 Days of Snowfall, Dec. 13 to Dec. 23, with magical snowfall nightly at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Photos with Santa, the epic Ember Lounge at The District Dome, endless decor and more are also on the activity-packed agenda.
Cost: Free to attend.
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Nov. 22 to Dec. 24: Holiday Season at Tempe Marketplace

Tempe Marketplace

Tempe Marketplace celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with its annual tree-lighting event (Nov. 22, 7 to 9 p.m.), with appearances from Santa, music performances and more; 12 Days of Snowfall (Dec. 13 to Dec. 24, at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.); pop-up art installations, live entertainment and photo ops; and much more holiday excitement.
Cost: Free to attend.
For more information:

Nov. 22 to Dec. 31, Select Dates: Arizona Lights in the Night


Arizona Lights in the Night holiday drive-through light show is back on select nights from Nov. 22 to Dec. 31, from 7 to 9 p.m. Guests can ooh and aah at more than million lights synchronized to holiday music alongside glittering candy canes, snowmen, presents and more. New this year is a VIP train ride that can take families through the light show for a one-of-a-kind ride.
Cost: From $26.95 per vehicle, available online and at the gate. VIP Train tickets are available for an additional fee depending on the night and must be pre-purchased online.
For more information:

ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo

Nov. 23 to Jan. 14: ZooLights

Phoenix Zoo

An annual tradition for many locals, this year ZooLights guests can expect new animal lanterns and light displays, a brand-new 200-ft.-long lighted tunnel and the largest floating tree in North America. ZooLights takes place nightly from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Cost: Tickets start at $30 ($25 for members).
For more information:

Nov. 24 to Dec. 24, Select Dates: Pratt Brothers Christmas

Rawhide, Chandler

Open Nov. 24 to Dec. 24 on select nights, from 6 to 10 p.m., Pratt Brothers Christmas at Rawhide will feature more than six million lights, a dazzling light show, a magical train ride, a nightly parade, jaw-dropping stunt shows, holiday shopping and live entertainment. Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass has even partnered with this family-friendly holiday experience, offering guests a luxurious stay, exclusive access to Pratt Brothers Christmas at Rawhide and a host of special surprises. 
Cost: $24.75 to $75 (a variety of event add-ons are also available for purchase).
For more information:

Nov. 24 to Dec. 30, Select Dates: Las Noches de las Luminarias

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Desert Botanical Garden’s Las Noches de las Luminarias is a long-time cherished holiday event in Phoenix, kicking off Nov. 24 with select dates through Dec. 30. Enjoy an evening filled with sparkling luminaria-lit trails and twinkling holiday lights, alongside musical performances and festive entertainment, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Food and drink is available for purchase.
Cost: General admission is $39.95.
For more information:

Nov. 24 to Dec. 31: Enchant Christmas

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale

Enchant Christmas–which takes place in various U.S. cities this holiday season–will transform Salt River Fields at Talking Stick into an exciting extravaganza for the whole family. Millions of sparkling lights, an ice-skating trail, live entertainment, Santa visits and a village marketplace for unique gifts await guests. Plus, new this year, the light maze invites event-goers to find the missing toys that a mischievous little elf named Eddie and his pal Sparky the reindeer have misplaced!
Cost: Tickets start at $31 for adults and $23 for kids.
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Nov. 24 to Jan. 8: Snowland

Great Wolf Lodge Arizona, Scottsdale

Great Wolf Lodge Arizona hosts its annual Snowland celebration, Nov. 24 through Jan. 8. Families will enjoy a winter wonderland with themed crafts, a nightly Snowfall Celebrations, selfie stations, seasonal games, visits with Santa and more. And, of course, guests have access to the resort’s indoor waterpark and get to admire its gorgeous holiday decor. Plus, families visiting Great Wolf Lodge Arizona can experience a one-of-a-kind holiday experience this year with the debut of Snow Globes at Snowland. These private holiday-themed globes immerse families in seasonal experience filled with festive décor, a light show, sweet treats and family fun. Inside the Snow Globes, families will have their very own hot cocoa bar with all of the fixings, a cookie-decorating kit and a host of festive holiday games to enjoy. While the entire Snowland experience kicks off Nov. 24, guests can get a jump start on the holiday festivities and begin enjoying the dazzling Snow Globes starting Nov. 17. Rates for the hour-long experience start at $99 and include a keepsake Great Wolf Lodge ornament. (Snowland is open to resort guests.)
For more information:

Santa Social at Scottsdale Quarter

Nov. 25: Santa Social

Scottsdale Quarter

Head out to Scottsdale Quarter on Nov. 25, from 2 to 8 p.m., for its annual Santa Social. Enjoy kids entertainment photos with Santa, caricature artists, face painters, special Christmas character appearances and end the day with the annual tree-lighting ceremony and a holiday feature film. The Arizona Animal Welfare League will be on property with furry friends up for adoption.
Cost: The event is free and open to the public; costs apply for Santa photos.
For more

Nov. 26 to Dec. 31: Scottsdazzle


Scottsdazzle–Old Town’s signature month-long holiday extravaganza and adored longtime Arizona holiday event–kicks off Nov. 25 with its Sing-Along & Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Scottsdale Waterfront. Then, throughout the season, locals can enjoy a packed, and wonderfully festive, Scottsdazzle calendar of craft workshops, wine tastings, dining events, family-friendly activities, traditional holiday celebrations and so much more.
Cost: Varies depending on event.
For more information:

Nov. 30: Tree-Lighting Ceremony

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa, Tucson

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa will once again be lighting up the Tucson sky with its annual tree-lighting ceremony, set for Thursday, Nov. 30, from 4 to 7 p.m., on the resort’s Meecha Lawn. Santa and his elves are expected, as well as hot cocoa and cookies, carolers, games and much more festive fun. The resort is encouraging attendees to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Casa de los Ninos.
Cost: Free to attend and open to the public.
For more information:

Dec. 1 to Dec. 22, Fridays: Holiday Nights in Lights

The Wigwam, Litchfield Park

Light up your holidays with a magical stroll through The Wigwam Resort, adorned with enchanting holiday lights for the season. Gather your family and take a leisurely walk along the resort’s festive light path every Friday in December (from 6 to 8 p.m.) before Christmas Day. As you admire the holiday displays, you’ll be dazzled by princesses dressed in their winter finery, caroling your favorite holiday tunes. End your enchanted evening at The Wigwam Bar with s’mores and hot chocolate.
Cost: Free to attend.
For more information:

Dec. 2: 15th Annual Festival of Trees

Southwest Center, Downtown Phoenix

On Dec. 2 from 6 to 9:30 p.m., the Greater Phoenix Equality Chamber of Commerce kicks off the holiday season by hosting the 15th Annual Festival of Trees at the Southwest Center. The holiday event in Phoenix will be emceed by Barbara Seville and will showcase a silent auction with a number of beautifully decorated holiday trees, wreaths, menorahs and other displays, all sponsored and decorated by local businesses. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Phoenix Gay Men’s Chorus.
Cost: $75 for general admission; $100 for VIP entry.
For more information:

Dec. 2: Winter Wonderland

W Scottsdale

W Scottsdale will transform into a Winter Wonderland for its annual event to commence the holiday season on Dec. 2. Guests will be captivated by the entertainment provided by live performers, and the hotel will be adorned with twinkling lights, exuding a frosty ambiance that transports guests to a world of wonder. Plus, W Scottsdale offers travelers a range of booking packages with exclusive perks from shopping to pampering.
Cost: Tickets start at $50 for non-hotel guests; hotel guest entry is complimentary.
For more information:

Dec. 7: The Festival of Hanukkah

Scottsdale Quarter

Join Chabad of Scottsdale for The Festival of Hanukkah on Dec. 7 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy delicious treats, entertainment and the lighting of the menorah.
Cost: The event is free and open to the public.
For more

Dec. 7 to Dec. 14: Chanukah in Carefree

Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, Carefree

Chanukah in Carefree hosts its seventh-annual nightly holiday celebration including menorah lighting and Chanukah songs for all eight nights of the holiday. During each evening of the event, a program will be hosted by a different organization. Coffee and hot chocolate will be served every night, and, on some nights, guests can even enjoy traditional eats like latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).
Cost: Free to attend; some evenings, donated items like non-perishable foods and small gifts are accepted for Valley organizations.
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Dec. 7 and Dec. 21: Santa Claus is Coming to Town at Heritage Night Market

Heritage at Sportsman’s Park, Glendale

From 5 to 9 p.m., enjoy live music, craft culinary food and beverage specials during this holiday-edition Heritage Night Market. Adults can watch the Thursday night football game while enjoying the Heritage beer garden and shopping a variety of local businesses. Plus, bring toys to support The Foster Alliance.
Cost: Free to attend.
For more information:

Ballet Arizona’s The Nutcracker

Dec. 8 to Dec. 24: Ballet Arizona’s The Nutcracker

Symphony Hall, Downtown Phoenix

Ballet Arizona’s The Nutcracker is as quintessential to Christmas as Santa himself. Celebrate this beloved show, Dec. 8 to Dec. 24, taking place at Symphony Hall in Downtown Phoenix with accompaniment by The Phoenix Symphony. Single tickets and premier packages are now on sale.
Cost: Varies depending on seat.
For more information:

Dec. 9: Winter Wanderland

Downtown Phoenix

Hosted by Downtown Phoenix Inc., Winter Wanderland transforms Downtown Phoenix into a holiday storybook setting with free holiday performances, colorful holiday lights and décor, food, drinks and other merriment. Each activation is within walking distance from the next in sequential order, with holiday-centric performances at Arizona Center, Herberger Theater Center, the Phoenix Convention Center, CityScape and more. Multiple locations throughout Downtown Phoenix will participate in the festivities on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The day will wrap up with PJs in the Park at Civic Space Park with a screening of two classic holiday movies: Merry Madagascar and Elf.
Cost: Free to attend.
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Dec. 9 to Dec. 30, Select Dates: Scrooge! The Musical

Tempe Center for the Arts

Arizona Theatre Company welcomes the holidays with Scrooge! The Musical–an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol–directed by Matt August and headlined by Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley. Taking place at Tempe Center for the Arts from Dec. 9 to Dec. 30, the musical is an extraordinary journey through the heartwarming magic of the season and suitable for ages 7 and up.
Cost: Varies depending on seats.
For more information:

Dec. 10: Holiday Cheer!

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

The newly formed nonprofit Scottsdale Symphonic Orchestra introduces its first holiday performance, “Holiday Cheer!,” on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4 p.m. Come early and enjoy festive music in the lobby provided by The King’s Carolers and visits with Santa while enjoying a hot cocoa bar and fun holiday-themed drinks. All performances for the 2023-2024 season will be held at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in the 853-seat Virginia G. Piper Theater.
Cost: Varies depending on seats.
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Dec. 10 and Dec. 17: Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions in Scottsdale celebrates the holiday season with fun Christmas characters–on stilts!–wandering the mind-bending museum Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring the family for festive photos and unique holiday fun.
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Royal Palms Resort and Spa

Dec. 12: Pawlidays Event

Royal Palms Resort and Spa, Phoenix

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 4 to 6 p.m., Royal Palms will host its annual Pawlidays event, featuring special treats from Tugs & Tails and festive sips for dogs and humans alike. Cocktails will be available for purchase, with a holiday-inspired Jimmy’s Holiday Spiced Sangria, in addition to complimentary puptails. Furry friends can also enjoy a complimentary professional holiday photo with Santa Paws with a $10 donation to the Arizona Humane Society. 
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Dec. 15 to Dec. 24: ‘Twas the Night Before by Cirque du Soleil

Arizona Financial Theatre, Phoenix

‘Twas the Night Before by Cirque du Soleil, a Christmas-themed show inspired by the joy of giving and the wonder of the holiday season, returns for its second year. The show will host 15 performances between Dec. 15 and Dec. 24 at Arizona Financial Theatre. The family-friendly holiday event in Phoenix will feature thrilling acrobatics performed by a cast of 26 artists and a soundtrack including Christmas favorites re-invented by Cirque du Soleil.
Cost: Varies depending on seats.
For more information:

Dec. 16: A Very Merry Eastmark 

Eastmark, Mesa

A Very Merry Eastmark, set for the Eastmark Great Park in Mesa from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 16, is a free, family-friendly event that invites neighbors to enjoy thrilling rides, entertaining games, crafts and a toy drive.
Cost: Free to attend.
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Dec. 17: Holidays at Uptown Plaza

Uptown Plaza, Phoenix

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 17, Uptown Plaza invites families to get into the holiday spirit by posing with Santa himself, making holiday crafts and interacting with the Dickens Carolers.
Cost: Free to attend.
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