Top Holiday Festivals & Upcoming Events in Phoenix 2015

Nothing says winter in the desert like hundreds of Phoenicians brought together by ice skating, parades, plays and light show spectaculars. That’s right, ’tis the season to get out the calendar and make room for the Valley’s best holiday celebrations! To help you out, we’re counting down our favorite upcoming events in Phoenix for 2015.

Top Holiday Festivals in Phoenix 2015

Holiday festivals in Phoenix 2015

Holidays at the Heard

Holidays at the Heard Museum is an annual Southwestern tradition celebrating the spirit of the holidays and native cultures. It all starts the day after Christmas and continues for a week, allowing guests plenty of time to experience authentic American Indian culture. Visitors can also enjoy 12 exhibit galleries as well as two exhibits featuring hands-on craft activities and artwork. Guests can enjoy fresh fry bread as the Native dancers perform hoop dancing and fancy dancing twice daily. While you’re there, take a tour of the museum’s current exhibit galleries and explore hundreds of homemade, authentic Native crafts at the gift shop.

2301 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004 |(602) 252-8840 | Visit  Website for more details

CitySkate Holiday Ice Rink at CityScape

November 28, 2015 to January 11, 2016

Twinkling lights and a freshly iced ice skating rink will ring in the winter at the annual CitySkate event at CityScape Phoenix in late November. Guests can rent ice skates and take a spin around the rink, snack on holiday treats like cookies and hot chocolate, enjoy the twinkling lights and holiday cheer, while , listening to the cherished sounds of holiday carolers – all in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The ice skating rink is located at the CityScape center and stays open until January. The ice skating rink is conveniently located near downtown shops and dining.

1 E Washington St #300, Phoenix, AZ 85004 | (602) 772-3900 | Visit Website for ticket purchasing & more details

Handel’s Messiah at The Phoenix Symphony

Handel Messiah’s is an annual Christmas tradition around the world, making a profound musical statement of Christian faith with the popular “Hallelujah” chorus highlighting the stage. The Phoenix Symphony Chorus and soloists, lead by Music Director Laureate Michael Christie, bring the spiritual concert to lovers of Christmas classical music throughout the valley. Be sure to check for specific times and venues, as the schedule changes every year.

(602) 495-1999 | Visit Website for Valley locations & showtimesPhoenix Zoo Lights


November 23, 2015 to January 10, 2016 | 5:30 – 10:30 p.m.

ZooLights is easily one of the biggest holiday light displays in the region. The Phoenix Zoo turns on 3.8 million lights and 700 dazzling displays strung throughout the zoo with and an orchestrated light show that happens every hour. But it’s more than a grand light display; visit the stingray touch tank, take a ride on a camel, or the carousel. Warm up with hot chocolate and cider and treats from various kiosks throughout the zoo as you encounter many animated displays (a new one every year). Both kids and adults will enjoy exploring the various animal-themed items at the gift shop, which stays open late on ZooLights nights.

445 N. Galvin Pkwy. Phoenix, AZ 85008 | (602) 286-3800 | Website

APS Electric Light Parade

Sat, Dec 05, 2015 7 to 9 p.m.

The 29th annual parade themed “Trim the Trees for the Holiday” lights up the streets of central Phoenix with floats wrapped in over 2,000 dazzling lights. Patrons who snuggle up along the streets will also see lighted balloons, marching bands, and even Santa at this free, must-see annual event. Find your spot early and you may even catch some holiday treats!

Parade route starts near Central Ave. and Montebello Ave | Free | 602-262-6437 | Visti Website for more details

Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend

November 27 & 28, 2015

Glendale launches into the holiday season with its weekend-after-Thanksgiving spectacular, but that’s just the beginning. Every Friday and Saturday night until Christmas, concerts, activities, foods, and horse-drawn carriage rides. Nearly one-million twinkling lights will decorate the downtown area for all to see. Even if you can’t attend the weekend festivities, the decorations are still worth seeing! Other celebrations include Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bell Rockin’ Nights. The closing ceremonies, held on January 10, are known as the Glitter & Glow Block Party. Over two dozen hot air balloons located throughout the streets of downtown Glendale, and over a dozen bands and street performers stretch for blocks in all directions around Murphy Park at this thrilling event.

Visit for event times and details

Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade

November 28, 2015 | 6PM

Santa at Tempe Festival of Lights parade 2014

Image credit: USA Today

It’s that time of year again when downtown Tempe becomes kicks off the Christmas season just two days after Thanksgiving. In its 23rd year, the annual Fantasy of Lights Parade will feature up to 40 floats, marching bands, clowns, and other novelty units. This year, special student announcers from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast Journalism will be announcing the floats as they pass.  The parade will start at the corner of 3rd St and Mill Avenue. The route will proceed south on Mill to 7th Street west on 7th Street to Maple, and north on Maple to 5th Street to the end. The finale happens at Centerpoint Plaza where the Fantasy of Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place and Santa himself makes his annual appearance. Spectators are encouraged to come camera ready for selfies with Santa! (hohoho!)

Downtown Tempe | Free Admission for Spectators | Visit Website for more details

Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade

December 12, 2015 | 6 p.m.

Dazzling lights twinkle brighter on water at Tempe Beach Park. This Valley annual tradition is the most unique of all and boat-owners are encouraged to participate! After dark, over a thousand lights will illuminate the sidewalks and paths along the park, while as many as 50 boats aglow grace Tempe Town Lake. The Firework finale concludes the parade capturing the eyes of all who come take part in our favorite Phoenix holiday tradition. Food and drinks are available for purchase and visitors are encouraged to come with cameras ready to snap selfies with Santa! Applications for boaters interested in taking part are due by November 22, 2015.

Tempe Town Lake & Tempe Beach Park | Tempe Beach Park opens to the public @ 5 p.m. | Visit Website for more details

We hope you enjoyed our top countdown of holiday celebrations around the valley.The Holiday’s are better when shared with those you care about.

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