How to Celebrate the Holidays in Phoenix This Year

These are the best ways to spend the most wonderful time of the year.

‘Tis the season for time with loved ones, holiday lights, and indulgent treats, and fortunately Phoenix has festive events around the city that offer all three—and more—to get you in the holiday spirit. From a family-friendly outing to see the 3.5 million lights at the Phoenix Zoo’s Zoolights, to an evening ice skating around the Christmas Tree at the Princess’ holiday wonderland or a night out sipping festive cocktails at Bitter & Twisted’s Sippin’ Santa holiday pop-up bar, there’s no shortage of things to do and see this season. Here are our favorites to get you started.

Stroll through 3.5 million lights at the Phoenix Zoo’s Zoolights

This holiday mainstay has delighted Phoenix families for more than 30 years with its millions of lights spanning nearly the entire zoo property. While you might not see too many animals at night, you will see several wildlife-themed displays, music, and light shows—even fake snow. Plus, not only does the event offer plenty of holiday fun, it also serves as a fundraiser for the zoo, helping it to continue its conservation and animal care programs all year round.

CityScape Phoenix

Ice skate around one of the Valley’s largest Christmas trees at Cityskate

Downtown Phoenix
See downtown transformed into a holiday spectacular with a beautiful tree, festive lights and the beloved Cityskate ice skating rink. For the full experience, you can walk to the nearby Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails to visits the Blue Blitzen Holiday Cocktail Pop Up complete with trendsetting, festive dishes and cocktails like the Orange You Glad You Got This... butter board, Santa’s Treats cookies, and White Christmas cocktail with vodka, white crème de cacao, white crème de menthe, and candy cane infused almond milk.

Enchant Christmas

Find Santa’s reindeer at Enchant’s holiday maze

If you’re looking for a new holiday experience this year, Enchant is a can’t-miss activity. From the light adorned walk through its maze to find Santa’s (giant) reindeer to the Hallmark Channel shopping pop-ups and festive lightbulb cocktails, it offers something for all ages, to help everyone in your family embrace the holiday spirit.

Schnepf Farms

Experience the holidays on the farm at Christmas at Schnepf Farms

Queen Creek
Enjoy the magic of the Valley’s most family-friendly farm with all kinds of activities—from taking a trip on the Illumination Express train through holiday lights, a ride down the four-lane Sleigh Bell Slide, or s’more making by a private campfire—to name a few. Just don’t skip the beer and wine garden.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Embrace holiday magic Christmas at the Princess

North Scottsdale
As one of the Valley’s longest-running and best-loved holiday events, the Christmas at the Princess finds new ways to be more exciting each and every year. This year, it offers nearly everything you need to check off your holiday bucket list, from decadent hot chocolate to a holiday train through a dazzling light display, ice skating, a Ferris wheel, and more. For the first time this year, champagne lovers can experience Chateau Champagne with a cozy, semi-private fire pit, all-inclusive menu, and a bottle of Moet Imperial Brut.

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

Sample festive cocktails at Bitter & Twisted’s Sippin’ Santa Holiday Pop Up

Downtown Phoenix
Award-winning cocktail bar Bitter & Twisted is Phoenix’s go-to for cocktails all year long, but the Sippin’ Santa pop up is a must-try for holiday and cocktail enthusiasts alike. The tiki-themed holiday bar is decked out with 10,000 lights and festive décor, perfectly paired with seasonal spirits like the Undertow Toddy served hot with cognac, chartreuse, curacao, and chocolate hazelnut syrup.

See Christmas lights from the comfort of your car at Arizona Lights in the Night

Cruise through more than one million lights synchronized to your favorite holiday tunes at this drive thru light show that features all the elements of a perfect holiday—candy canes, snowmen, presents—all without having to brave the cold.

Sip a Polar Espress-Oh Martini at the Culinary Dropout Bar Blitzen Pop Up

Phoenix-area mainstay, Culinary Dropout, is hosting a Bar Blitzen pop up bar for the first time ever complete with holiday décor, menu favorites and nearly a dozen specialty cocktails including the Junior & Mrs. Mint, Polar Espress-Oh Martini, and Rudolph the Fog Cuttin’ Reindeer. And don’t worry, you can still order their iconic pretzels and cheese fondue from the pop up.

Get inspiration for your holiday decorating from the Arcadia Christmas House

Celebrate the holidays like a local by visiting the beloved Arcadia Christmas House located off of N. 44th St. and E. Calle Feliz. The home, which is decked out in more than 250,000 lights, and has gathered viewers from across the state for more than 30 years will put any other home’s holiday display to shame with its twinkling lights and whimsical Christmas characters. Just don’t forget to leave your name in the guest book.

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Jamie Killin is a Phoenix native and Arizona State graduate who specializes in lifestyle and features writing. You can usually find her at the spin studio, a concert, or trying new restaurants across the Valley. Follow her at @jamiefayekillin.