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Christmas in Phoenix- The Best Phoenix Christmas Events for 2023

Christmas in Phoenix- The Best Phoenix Christmas Events for 2023

Winter is truly the most wonderful time of the year in Phoenix. The hot summer days transform into perfect daytime temperatures averaging 75℉. A Christmas in Phoenix is the ideal escape for your winter holidays.

Phoenix offers a wide range of light displays, holiday shows, and winter festivals, including some with real snow! Check out all the events and activities that families love during the holidays and Christmas events in Phoenix. Updated for 2023!

Christmas in Phoenix- The Phoenix Best Events for 2023

Illuminate the Season with Light Shows and Displays

christmas in phoenix zoo lights
Photo via by Phoenix Zoo

Feel the magic of the holidays through some of the amazing light displays around town. Check out Arizona’s largest drive-through light show, Illumination. This state-of-the-art display dances to synchronized holiday music.

Illuminations’ Reindeer Road takes place at Tempe Diablo Stadium November 15 – December 31, 2023. Tickets can be purchased online.

Enjoy the holiday light displays at The Phoenix Zoo’s Zoolights.  Millions of lights and hundreds of illuminated displays enchant families as they wander the zoo grounds.

This year the spectacle runs on select nights from November 22, 2023 through January 14, 2024. From 5:30-10:30pm you can stroll the zoo and marvel at the beautiful lights. Advanced tickets are required.

Photo by flickr/Dale Cruse

Las Noches de Las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden offers guests a chance to experience the gardens by the glow of candles and twinkling lights. 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags line the paths while handbells and mariachis play songs of the season. This year’s event takes place on select days November 24 – December 30, 2023 advanced purchase tickets are required.

What better way to experience Christmas events in Phoenix than on a train? At McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park ride through fantastic light displays on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad. The event has limited capacity so purchase tickets ahead of time because they will sell out so. Nightly rides are provided November 24th through January 7, 2024.

Last year Scottsdale welcomed a new attraction, Enchant at Salt River Fields. Search for Santa’s reindeer in the world’s largest light maze. Along the way, marvel at the 100-foot Christmas tree and giant displays.

In addition to the lights, families can enjoy ice skating, entertainment, dining and shopping. Kids will love the Little Elves Play Place where they can make crafts, play games, and hear stories from Mrs. Claus before visiting Santa at Santa’s Landing.

Enchant runs November 24-December 31, 2023.

Tempe’s Fantasy of Lights Parade and Fantasy of Light Boat Parade dazzle spectators with twinkling lights, Santa, and fireworks. The street parade is December 9, 2023 and the boat parade is on December 10th at Tempe Town Lake.

Mesa Temple Lights

Another area favorite light display takes place from November 24 – December 31 at the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights. Each evening the grounds sparkle with thousands of twinkling lights and scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. Stop inside the visitor center to see the Mesa Temple International Nativity Display, featuring over 100 nativities from countries all over the world.

You won’t want to miss all the holiday events going on at Phoenix resorts! The Wigwam and Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort each host a festive Breakfast with Santa.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and Westin Kierland Resort & Spa provide winter festivals complete with a spectacular animated light show every evening throughout the holiday season.

Celebrate Christmas in Phoenix with Ice and Snow

Christmas events in Phoenix snow
Photo by Tiffany Vaughn

Families can still experience a bit of winter fun while enjoying the beautiful winter weather of Phoenix. Skate outdoors at CitySkate at CityScape or Westgate in Glendale throughout the month of December and the beginning of January.

Mesa will also have an ice skating rink through the holiday season right outside City Plaza.

In December, The Children’s Museum of Phoenix hosts Visits with Santa where children can tell Santa their wishes and enjoy periodic snow flurries in the atrium.

Ride a small train to a Winter Wonderland at Enchanted Island the weekend before Christmas. Once you arrive you can sled, visit Santa, and feast on cocoa and candy canes.

Additionally, visitors participate in some snowy science experiments during Arizona Science Center’s annual Snow Week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Check for hotel availability in Phoenix.

Get in the Spirit with Christmas Performances

Christmas events in Phoenix Nutcracker
Photo Courtesy of Evolve Marketing

Experience the timeless tradition of The Nutcracker ballet. One of the best places to enjoy the show is with Ballet Arizona December 8 – 24, 2023. The nationally recognized dancers continue to captivate audiences year after year.

The Phoenix Ballet also puts on a spectacular performance of The Nutcracker featuring live music by the Phoenix Symphony select weekends in December at the Orpheum Theater.

The Phoenix Symphony performs their annual Holiday Pops concert (December 1-3) at Symphony Hall with the Phoenix Symphony Chorus. Families will love listening to holiday favorites and especially joining in for a sing-along.

The Great Arizona Puppet Theater presents The Night Before Christmas (December 6- 24, 2023) through puppetry in a musical performance all ages are sure to love.

Watch your favorite holiday movie come to life with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at Herberger Theater Center. Through the magic of projection and stunning costumes, families are transported to the North Pole.

Reimagine a classic with Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatic performance, “‘Twas the Night Before…”. In this entrancing show, performers bring the Christmas spirit through lovable characters and exciting stunts. The performance runs from December 15 – 24, 2023 at the Arizona Financial Theatre.

Traditional and unique holiday plays can be found at venues across the valley such as Mesa Arts Center and Tempe Center for the Arts. Shows change annually so be sure to check their websites for this year’s performance information.

Christmas Events in Phoenix for the Whole Family

christmas events-in-phoenix-festival-by-proven-media-services
Photo Courtesy of Proven Media Services

Local communities really know how to celebrate Christmas in Phoenix. For over twenty years, 16 blocks of downtown Glendale twinkle with over 1.5 million lights every night during the Glendale Glitters Festival.

Festival attendees visit Santa, play in the snow, listen to live music, dine, and shop. This free event is a favorite with local Arizona families.

The Scottsdazzle holiday extravaganza kicks off with a tree lighting and sing-along celebration the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The whole month of December Old Town Scottsdale is filled with activities, entertainment, and festive décor.

Mesa joins in the festival fun with Merry Main Street. Experience the Mesa Santa Express in the Light Rail train. Visit Santa on the weekends, shop local vendors, and stop enjoy the dazzling light display at the Mesa Temple.

And we can’t forget Peoria’s Old Town Holiday Festival. For one night only (December 9, 2023) Old Town Peoria is transformed to a magical world of snow, Santa, and fun activities. 

Enjoy Breakfast with Santa

Photo by Flickr/USAG- Humphreys

Can’t get enough of Kris Kringle? Let the kids get some face time with the big guy at The Wigwam Resort during their annual Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy a breakfast buffet full of kid and adult favorites, including a fresh pancake bar and hot cocoa.

Limited seating allows families plenty of time to get pictures and have the little ones tell Santa everything they want for Christmas. Between bites of food and whispers to Santa, children are entertained with a variety of holiday crafts activities.

Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak also hosts a breakfast with both Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Rico’s American Grill. While Santa tells stories and listens to Christmas wishes, Mrs. Claus helps with cookie decorating and gingerbread activity books.

At the HD South Breakfast with Santa, snap a photo with Santa, enjoy a hot breakfast , and participate in holiday themed crafts.

Look for the best hotel prices for Christmas events in Phoenix.

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Christmas and Holiday fun for families in and around Phoenix
Tiffany Vaughn