World of Illumination

Tempe’s Can’t-Miss Christmas Events

From the world’s largest drive-through animated light show to a larger-than-life candy wonderland, Tempe’s events calendar is chock-full of festive fun this holiday season.

World of Illumination

Through Jan. 3, Tempe Diablo Stadium transforms into a twinkling winter wonderland with the fourth-annual World of Illumination. The awe-inspiring attraction is the world’s largest drive-through animated light show, synchronized to holiday music and featuring a 500-ft.-long tunnel of lights. Open Monday through Friday, 6 to 10 p.m., and holidays and weekends, 6 to 11 p.m. Book online reservations.

Centerpoint Plaza in Downtown Tempe

Downtown Tempe

With a centerpiece of a 40-ft. holiday tree at Centerpoint Plaza, Downtown Tempe has decked the halls this holiday season with thousands of dazzling lights along Mill Avenue. As you admire the lights and décor, shop local and pop in Tempe’s many small businesses for your gifting needs.

Arizona Mills

From socially distant Santa pics to a variety of ways to give back this holiday season, a stop at Arizona Mills should be on your holiday wish list. Through Dec. 24, enjoy a safe and socially distanced Santa visit for families as part of the Simon Santa Photo Experience, open Monday through Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Click here to make reservations. To spread joy during your shopping trip, stop by the Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree through Dec. 23. Take a tag off a tree (which has a wish list from a Valley child), find a gift from one of the 185 retailers in the mall and return the gift to the volunteers. You can also support a great cause and have the elves at the Salvation Army Gift Wrapping station, located near H&M, take care of your wrapping needs by Dec. 23.

Candy Cane Lane at Tempe Marketplace

Tempe Marketplace

A one-stop shop to grab a bite to eat, check out live music and, well, shop, Tempe Marketplace is also one of the Valley’s most festive holiday destinations. Through Dec. 31, dream of a white Christmas with the Nightly Snow Fall from 7 to 8 p.m. near the District Stage and take in the sweetness of the season with Candy Cane Lane, an edible-inspired art installation filled with larger-than-life lollipops, giant gingerbread men, candy canes, gumdrops, chocolate kisses and more. For an IG-worthy moment, take a walk through the Starry + Bright Star Tunnel—a 40-ft.-long illuminated star tunnel near the holiday tree.

Christmas Sweater 5K Run by Four Peaks Racing

Get your finest Christer sweater and running shoes ready! On Dec. 19 at Kiwanis Park North Soccer Field, the Christmas Sweater 5km 2020 will kick off at 8 a.m. Various protocols will be in place to keep runners safe and comfortable; for instance, no spectators will be allowed, and there will be no finisher medals, awards or water stations.

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