During the holidays, there are two types of people: Those who want to run away to sunshine and warm weather, and those who want to experience all that winter has to offer, surrounded by snow, lights, and the smell of pine. Fortunately for travelers, Arizona offers both. Whether you’re looking to escape into the mountains or enjoy the desert sun, Arizona is an awesome holiday destination. Add to that a wide array of events taking place throughout the state, and you have a truly outstanding holiday getaway. Here are some of the awesome events taking place this year.
Las Noches De Las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden
During the holidays, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix celebrates Las Noches De Las Luminarias(translated to The Night of the Luminaires). Running from December 3rd to the 31st, the celebration sees the garden light up with thousands of hand-lit lanterns. Throughout the night, visitors can wander the illuminated paths, listen to live music, grab holiday drinks (some of which are even a little boozy), and even sit down for dinner at some of the garden’s restaurants. This will be the garden’s 44th year of Las Noches De Las Luminarias, meaning the celebration isn’t just beautiful, but also filled with tradition and history.
Christmas at the Princess
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The entire property is adorned with over six million LED lights, and a massive Christmas tree serves as the centerpiece. On-site activities include ice skating at the resort’s outdoor rink, s’mores by the fire, festive light shows, and even Santa meet-and-greets.
Though the Fairmont is a resort, the activities are open to the public. Many locals come for dinner at one of the resort’s restaurants and then stay for ice skating or walk around the lighted property, but overnight stays are also quite popular. Christmas at the Princess runs from mid-November until January 2, 2022.
The North Pole Experience
The North Pole Experience begins at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff which is decked out in millions of lights. When families arrive to Little America, they will check-in and receive their golden ticket to Santa’s Workshop. The golden ticket grants access to gets board one of Santa’s trolley’s which is where the North Pole Experience begins. Families take a 7-10 minute ride through a magic portal to Santa’s massive workshop in the middle of the forest. As guests pass through the portal, Christmas music fills the trolley, lights flash, and children close their eyes. Before they know it, they have reached the North Pole. There in front of them lies the secret of all secrets. Santa’s massive workshop in the middle of the North Pole forest.
Children and parents are then guided off the trolley where they find themselves in front of a set of magnificent doors where they knock for the elves. Once families enter Santa’s toy factory headquarters, that is where the real magic begins. Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole Experience is a complete, hands-on experience for children. Families work side-by-side with the elves, learning all sort of secrets inside the workshops. Children receive high-clearance access to build toys with the elves, interacting with the workshop bustle. Families visit Santa’s main factory floor which is filled with conveyor belts and soaring ceilings filled with gifts and packages. The fun doesn’t stop there as you stop for a visit with Mrs. Claus and enjoy scrumptious Yeti-o’s (sugared donuts) and snowman soup in the North Pole Bakery before heading into Elf University. If your child has ever wondered what happens to all of those letters they send to Santa, be sure to stop by Santa’s mailroom and his personal office while you’re there!
Somerton Tamale Festival
On December 18th, the town of Somerton will sizzle with the delicious scents and scrumptious tastes of tamales during the annual Somerton Tamale Festival. Somerton is located within the famed Yuma Valley, known for its fertile soil and gorgeous natural landscapes. The festival is a celebration of culture, heritage, and delicious food, as tamales are traditionally prepared during the holiday season.
Vendors from all over the region come to prepare a wide variety of tamales filled with everything from chicken and pork to white corn and green chilies. They even prepare sweet dessert tamales! On top of the feasting, the day will be filled with live music, dance performances, and more.
During November and December, Old Town, Scottsdale turns into Scotssdazzle, one of America’s biggest holiday hotspots. Throughout the season, visitors and locals alike can partake in everything from yuletide yoga, to the Ho-Ho-Hoedown, and even a live nativity.
There are multiple events taking place every single day for an entire month and a half. From live music to Santa visits, scavenger hunts, whiskey tastings, holiday markets, and more, there’s no shortage of holiday events in Scottsdale. In fact, there’s so much going on that Scottsdazzle had to create an entire calendar for visitors to know everything that’s happening around town. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly fun or a boozy celebration, you can find it in Old Town, Scottsdale.