5 Magical Holiday Events Throughout Arizona

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

Lights at the Desert Botanical Gardens (Image courtesy of 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

Christmas at the Princess (Photo: Michael Baxter)

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 Polar Express Experience

Travelers get ready to board the Polar Express (Image courtesy of the Grand Canyon Railroad)

During the holidays (November 12-December 30), the famous Gand Canyon Railway transforms into the Polar Express, just like the train from the famous children’s book. The hour-and-a-half train ride transports guests to the North Pole, and even comes with a visit from Santa himself. Hot chocolate and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies will be served, and of course, the journey concludes with a reading of the classic tale. The train departs from the town of Williams, which actually does get cold in winter, making it perfect for anyone looking to see snow.

For those who really want to splurge, first-class private cars can be rented at the front of the train. These historic train cars are filled with comfy couches and a private chef and wait staff who not only serve goodies but also sing carols and tell tales of holiday magic. While kids can sip on hot chocolate, adults have access to their own private bar. All riders get a commemorative gift at the conclusion of the ride.


Somerton Tamale Festival

Delicious tamales at the Somerton Tamale Festival (Image courtesy of 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.



The dazzling sign of Scottsdazzle (Photo: Rosemarie Mosteller)

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.

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