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Holiday Festivals Around Arizona

Lit up Christmas treeIt’s official. We’ve entered the holiday season. It’s a magical time of year; the weather is beautiful and holiday events are packed into November and December that are sure to get you into the holiday spirit! There are so many holiday events in Arizona that will make your holidays merry and bright. Whether you want to spend time with friends, entertain out of town relatives, or do something special with your little ones, you’ll find plenty of things to do to keep you entertained for the holidays.

Prescott Holiday Light Parade

In 1989 former Governor Rose Moffard declared Prescott as “Arizona’s Christmas City.” It’s easy to see why with all the events that this growing city offers throughout November and December. On Saturday, November 30th, at 6:00 PM, the 24th annual Holiday Light Parade begins at South Cortez and Carleton Streets. All floats will be adorned with colorful lights accompanied by Christmas music. After the parade, head down to Mile High Middle School for an after-party complete with a bonfire and Christmas music.

Phoenix Zoo’s Zoolights “Glow Wild”

Nightly from 5:30 PM to 10:30, beginning November 27th through January 19th one of Phoenix’s favorite traditions is Zoolights, presented by the Phoenix Zoo. You’ll be enchanted with light displays throughout the zoo—including a special lakeside music-in-motion show, millions of twinkling lights, a holiday tree, live reindeer, sounds of the season, live entertainment, a 200-foot Polar Slide, and Jengo, a talking giraffe that interacts with the crowd. New this year is the Wildlife Lantern Safari with over 60 creatures created to emulate Chinese Lanterns to both delight and dazzle zoogoers.

Polar Express

Don your favorite Christmas jammies and board the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express train in Williams for a 90-minute round trip ride to the “North Pole” where Santa Claus and his reindeer await with a special magical gift for boys and girls. Enjoy hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies while the Polar Express story is read to travelers. Once you return from the North Pole, spend time with Mrs. Claus, experience the Light-O-Rama holiday light show synchronized to holiday music, chat with elves, or dare to stand on the Naughty or Nice Meter to find out if you’ll have coal in your stocking come Christmas morning. Reservations are required and go fast!

Christmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

You don’t have to be a guest of this resort hotel to get in on the holiday fun. Every winter this gorgeous desert resort turns into an enchanting Winter Wonderland with loads of holiday décor and four million twinkling lights. General admission tickets include rides on the Princess Express Trains around the resort’s lagoons to view millions of LED lights, the Copper Canyon Village Light Show which features a 5-minute show projected onto the resort’s façade, and a Christmas tree featuring over 70,000 LED lights synchronized to classic holiday music, holiday character interactions, a Nativity Garden, S’mores Land campfires for roasting marshmallows in the Christmas Tree Forest, and rides including the Christmas Carousel, Ice Slide, and Ferris Wheel. Other activities including photos with Santa, Ice Skating, Build-A-Bear workshops, and tasty eats and treats are available additional fees. General admission is $55 with self-parking. Includes up to 6 wristbands to participate in the holiday activities.

Tempe Fantasy of Lights Parade

The 25th Annual Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade begins Friday, November 29th. Festivities including live entertainment and Holiday Market beginning at 4:00 PM. The parade starts at 6:00 PM at Mill Avenue and 3rd Street commenced by the parade’s Grand Marshal. The parade route makes a U-shape traveling to 7th Street, headed west through Centerpoint Plaza and north on Maple back to 5th Street.

Riparian After Dark

Head down to Gilbert in the East Valley December 6th & 7th, 13th & 14th, and 20th & 21st to stroll along the trail at Water Ranch lake lined with hundreds of candle-lit luminarias and holiday displays. In addition to lights, each night carolers, school choirs, and other live holiday entertainment will delight and get attendees into the holiday spirit. The event is free but donations for local charities are accepted and encouraged. The Riparian Preserve is located at 2757 E. Guadalupe Rd. Ample parking is available at the Southeast Regional Library.

Glendale Glitters

Beginning November 29th through January 11th from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM nightly, this free event features over 1-million multi-colored twinkling LED lights throughout Old Towne Glendale and Catlin Court. Enjoy some shopping, dining, and picturesque moments by the giant holiday tree. The event kicks off with the Spectacular Weekend on November 29th with entertainment, food, snow, a petting zoo, and an appearance by the Jolly Old Elf himself, Santa! The several-weeks long event concludes with Glitter and Glow on January 11th from 4:00 – 10:00 PM where over 20 tethered hot air balloons will be on display along with local musicians to entertain.