Christmas in Phoenix: A Starry Holiday Season

By Swathi Ramaswamy on May 08, 2018
* Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and book something (there is never any extra cost to you for using these links).

Phoenix might not be the first place that comes to your mind when you think of a snow-covered Christmas, but the pleasant chill is what makes the holiday season here more enjoyable. People can go around enjoying the festivities of Christmas in Phoenix and soaking in the southwestern feel of the season without shivering in the cold.

PC: Wikimedia Commons

The change in the temperature does not hamper the vibe of the celebrations even a little bit. From the celebration of the Native American culture down south to live street music to the good old ice skating – there is no dearth of Christmas things to do in Phoenix.

1. Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend

Right from the weekend of Thanksgiving until the month of January, the downtown quarters of Glendale get decorated with a thousand sparkling lights and all sorts of festivities to celebrate the holiday season. Every Friday and Saturday night, the streets are made pedestrian-only, so that the entire city can come down and participate in the month-long fun activities. There are live music concerts, flowing drinks and street food, and thrilling horse carriage rides. If you cannot make it on the weekends, the decorations are still there lighting up the streets everyday, you can drop by and click some selfies any day of the week.

The event comes to a closure with a full-blown block party, featuring colossal hot air balloons that are set free from different parts of Glendale. The party celebrations at Glendale are an absolute no-miss.

2. Holidays at the Heard, Heard Museum

Located in the centre of the city, the Heard Museum opens its gates every holiday season for the visitors to enjoy a true-blue southwestern Christmas in Phoenix. Starting from Christmas, the museum celebrates authentic American Indian culture for a week, along with lots of art, craft, dance, and music. There are live dancing shows twice every day, performed by artists, folk dancing, hula-hoop dancing, fancy dancing, it comes in all varieties. The visitors are welcome to explore the usual exhibits of the museum and indulge in some art and craft activities. If there is some time to kill, you can look for unique Christmas gifts in the gift shop selling numerous authentic Indian American trinkets or enjoy some freshly baked bread.

3. CitySkate Ice Rink at CityScape

No Christmas celebration is complete without the stark white arena of an ice skating rink. The city does not get much snow during the holiday season, but this doesn’t stop the skating enthusiasts! Come Christmas; Phoenix rewards its residents and visitors alike with the smooth surface of CitySkate ice skating rink at the annual winter celebrations at the CityScape shopping and dining complex. All you need to do is rent a pair of skaters, strap them on and take a slide along the rink to the cheerful music of carols, under beautiful Christmas light decorations in Phoenix. When you are done, feast on some traditional holiday goodies like cookies, hot cocoa, or apple cider.

4. Las Noches de las Luminaries festival at the Desert Botanical Garden

The Las Noches de las Luminaries festival is one of those Christmas celebrations in Phoenix that many people look forward to for a serene and peaceful way to celebrate. The lush green grounds of the Desert Botanical Garden are adorned with festoons of lights on the trees and along the pathways and other luminaries or strings of lights all across the garden. The whole place is illuminated like a dreamland with more than 7000 lights, drawing crowds for a lovely outdoor stroll. Stationed as well as mobile musicians will be there all evening to entertain you with classic holiday carols, and light snacks and drinks are served for refreshments. Tables can be pre-booked in the holiday-themed garden restaurant, which serves authentic Christmas menus all night long in the soothing light of a thousand candlesticks. It does not matter if you are not a member. Tickets for the public go online from as early as October.

5. Lights of the World at Arizona State Fairgrounds

‘Lights of the World’ held at the fairgrounds is an exuberant show of millions of lights, set up to commemorate different holiday cultures and traditions. Inspired by lantern festivals of China, this event celebrates the culmination of all cultures and ethnicities from across the world and pays tribute to the American melting pot – the idea that made America what it is today. The festival is not only about giant light figures and balloons but is a great carnival suitable for all ages and cultures. There are rides to enjoy, games to play and prizes to win, daily performances to watch and non-stop live music to sway your head to while enjoying the Christmas treats.

6. The Nutcracker at Ballet Arizona

The Nutcracker is an inseparable part of the Christmas celebrations, and The Phoenix Symphony takes on the stage at Ballet Arizona every year to tell the story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. The Christmas show at Phoenix is among the best ones in the country. The little elves and the magical fairies glide on the stage gracefully with spot-on costumes, makeup, set pieces, narration, and music to give you one of the classiest representations of the fairy tale. The show runs for almost a month and so, attending it is one of the best things to do in Phoenix in December. You can also indulge in other activities like shopping before the performance and a nice family dinner later.

So, in case you happen to be in Phoenix on the most beautiful night of the year, do not waste it on dinner at an expensive restaurant. These experiences are attached to the city’s spirits itself – take some time out and enjoy them to the fullest.

Related Articles