As Phoenix, Arizona residents, we aren’t likely to experience a white Christmas unless we travel for the holidays. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t make the most out of the holiday season! We have put together a list of only a few of the places you can go to get into the holiday spirit this year. Grab the ones you love and head out to these eight holiday light displays and festivities near Phoenix, AZ in 2017.
Las Noches de Las Luminarias
Where: Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
When: November 24 to December 30
Time: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Cost: Adults $30, Children (3-12) $12.50, under the age of three are free, discounts available for members
Warm up this holiday season with a stroll through luminaria-lit desert gardens while sipping on a warm cup of cider or cocoa. With more than 8,000 luminaria bags and thousands of white lights, you’ve never seen the desert look so beautiful. Each night features unique entertainment ensembles, as well as buffet and restaurant options.
Lights of the World Lantern Festival
Where: Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix
When: November 16 to January 2
Time: 5 to 10 p.m.
Cost: Adults $18, 65+ $16, Child (3-13) $15, Children under 3 are free. Acrobat Tickets (Separate) $8. Discount tickets available now at all Phoenix area Walgreens locations
The largest light and lantern festival in North America brightens the Downtown Phoenix skies November 16 through January 2 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Combining the age-old Chinese tradition of lanterns with cutting-edge technology and lights. The Lights of the World lantern displays extend from 18 to 60 feet, showcasing features of different cultures and civilizations around the globe. With over 11 exhibits and 75 stunning displays, Lights of the World promises an unforgettable exploration of global cultures and cuisine. Lights of the World also possesses a litany of other entertainment features, carnival rides and games, a daily performance showcasing acrobatics, dance, and music concerts.
Where: Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
When: November 22 to January 14
Time: 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Cost: ZooLights Any Night Ticket $17.95, ZooLights Any Night Ticket with Dinos in the Desert $21.95, Discount nights are available, check the website for details
ZooLights shines with millions of lights, a three-story lighted tree, hundreds of glimmering light displays, lakeside Music-in-Motion shows and more! While your favorite zoo animals are sleeping, their glowing counterparts come alive alongside carousel and camel rides, photos with Santa and a nightly snowfall at 7 p.m. For an extra cost, the Dinosaurs in the Desert display is available for viewing during ZooLights.
Illumination: Symphony of Light
Where: 27701 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix
When: November 15 to January 14
Time: Opens at 6 p.m. Sunday -Thursday’s they will allow cars to drive in up until 10:30 p.m. and on Friday, Saturday and Holidays until 11:30 p.m.
Cost: $29.50 per vehicle of up to eight people
Experience Arizona’s largest holiday drive-thru light show! Take your whole family on a 25-minute ride through a mile of lights synchronized to holiday classics over FM radio. The ride culminates at Holiday Boulevard, a winter playland featuring a walk-thru ornament, food trucks and a giant snowman. Ticket price admits an entire car with an additional $10 price for the walk-up activities.
Where: Historic Downtown Glendale, 5835 W. Palmaire Avenue, Glendale
When: November 24 to January 6
Time: 6 to 10 p.m.
Each holiday season, Downtown Glendale glitters with the power of 1.5 million lights. Each weekend features food trucks, a petting zoo and visits with Santa. The largest free light display in Arizona is awesome, but don’t forget to take the time to visit downtown’s mom-and-pop restaurants and unique shops.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Where: McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
When: December 1 to January 7
Time: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: Train rides $5 and carousel rides $2
The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park light display features a special train ride through a winter wonderland and kids can stay for visits with Santa. The park’s Model Railroad Building will also be on display. This might be the coolest place to bring the kids to see Santa. Experience a one-of-a-kind visit with Santa in a historic train car. Santa will be at the park opening weekend, Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2 and then nightly Dec. 8 through Dec. 23.
Mesa Arizona Temple
Where: 525 E. Main Street, Mesa
When: November 24 to December 31
Time: 5 to 10 p.m.
Construction isn’t going to put a damper on the Mesa Arizona Temple’s annual Christmas light display. You, your family and friends will enjoy: hundreds of thousands of colorful lights; uniquely illuminated palm trees and flower gardens; an inspiring nativity scene; a display of Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem; recorded messages in English and Spanish and a modern Visitors’ Center open to all. This spectacular annual display, provided by volunteers, is free of charge each evening of the holiday season. Visitors can also catch Christmas concert performances each night in December through Christmas.
The Polar Express Train Ride
Where: Grand Canyon Railway, Williams Depot, 235 N Grand Canyon Blvd, Williams
When: Dates still available November 22 to January 4, check the website and reserve your spot
Time: Departs 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Sunday- Thursday Adults $41, Children $31; Friday and Saturday Adults $53, Children $43
Okay, so this isn’t exactly close to Phoenix, but it is an experience your family will never forget should you decide to go, we just had to share.
The evening wilderness of Williams, Arizona transforms into ‘the North Pole” every winter for local families. Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting with a keepsake present for every good boy and girl. Watch your children’s faces light up when the train arrives, and enjoy hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies while listening to this timeless story.
Grand Canyon Railway’s The Polar Express is a magical, nighttime train adventure to the “North Pole.” During the holiday season, The Polar Express departs the Williams Depot in Williams, AZ at select dates and times, and takes you and your family on a journey through the moonlit wilderness.
Much like in the book and movie, guests can expect a lively bunch of elves, chefs and other characters to provide constant entertainment. Photo-ops are plentiful as you are encouraged to sing, dance and act out old fashioned holiday songs, and read along to The Polar Express story by Chris Van Allsburg. Fill up on chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate provided by Santa’s chefs just before you arrive at the North Pole.
Upon arrival to Santa’s Village, the train will fill with anticipation as Santa makes his way through the cars, visiting every boy, girl, mom and dad, leaving them with a special gift. Santa will visit each car as the train returns to the Williams Depot.
To book a train or package, visit the Grand Canyon Railway website.
These activities are only a small handful of things you can enjoy with your family this holiday season! We hope you have an opportunity to enjoy some. Happy Holidays from Virginia Auto Service!