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Arizona Christmas: The Best Places to Celebrate the Holidays

John Ghost

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It’s going to be a lovely Arizona Christmas this year. In fact, it is right around the corner. There are many great things to do in Arizona for Christmas. These are all family-friendly events that will bring smiles to your loved ones’ faces and fill their hearts with cheer. If you’re looking for a fun family outing to celebrate Christmas in Arizona this year, you’re in luck. We carefully scoped out the best events in the valley for you to bring in the holiday cheer!

Free Things to Do for Christmas

Let’s start off with the free things to do in Arizona. If you’re wanting to save some money or are looking for something to do last-minute and don’t feel like spending, this first part is for you.

Glendale Glitters Holiday Lights

Glendale Glitters in Glendale, Arizona is a free Arizona Christmas event.
Photo on Pinterest by Drive the Nation

Every year downtown Glendale gets into the holiday spirit with a special free event. Glendale Glitters is not just an amazing downtown light show, it also is a fun place to shop at nifty local vendors. Don’t miss out on the final fireworks show at the end of the night.

  • Location: Downtown Glendale
  • Dates: November 29, 2019 – January 11, 2020
  • Hours: 5:00pm-10:00pm
  • Parking: Free
  • Cost: Free

Merry Main St in Mesa

Merry Main St sign for downtown Mesa with the dates November 29, 2019 - January 4, 2020.

Merry Main St is Mesa’s own unique Christmas experience. Main St in Mesa is very old. It features a lot of unique boutiques, dining experiences, and ice skating. Christmas Lights fill up every nook and cranny as Main St comes alive. This family-friendly Christmas event is ongoing and always free.

  • Location: Downtown Mesa
  • Dates: Kicks off on Nov 29, 2019, and continues until Jan 4, 2020
  • Hours: 5:00 Pm to 10:00 PM
  • Parking: Free parking
  • Cost: Free

Arizona Christmas Lighting Locations

Arizona neighborhoods with Christmas lighting displays.
Image Courtesy Fox 10 Arizona

Every year, the Phoenix metro valley’s neighborhoods come together in groups to put on spectacular Christmas lights displays. Many of these displays are truly astonishing. It’s free to drive around the neighborhoods and take in the colorful and cheery sights.

These areas are not hard to find thanks to AZCentral’s special Christmas lights map.

Arizona Christmas Outdoor Ice Skating!

Outdoor ice skating rinks are indeed a thing to do in Arizona during Christmas time. I know it sounds insane for ice skating to be an option in the desert, but during the holiday season, it is cool enough to keep the ice from melting. Ice skating in Arizona has grown in popularity over the past few years.

There are now several ice-skating rinks around the valley for you to hit the ice this wonderful Christmas season.

CitySkate Holiday Ice Rink in Downtown Phoenix

Ice skaters skate around the Christmas tree in downtown Phoenix, Arizona at CitySkate.
Photo by Arizona Foothills Magazine

Downtown Phoenix especially comes alive during Christmas. The chic shopping area of CityScape Phoenix becomes home to the annual Christmas CitySkate ice rink. Beautiful lights abound as ice skaters skate around the massive Christmas tree.

CitySkate’s Official Christmas Holiday Hours:

December 15th – January 5th

Monday5 PM – 7:30 PM8 PM – 11 PM
Tuesday5 PM – 7:30 PM8 PM – 11 PM
Wednesday5 PM – 7:30 PM8 PM – 11 PM
Thursday5 PM – 7:30 PM8 PM – 11 PM
Friday3 PM – 5 PM5:30 PM – 7:30 PM8 PM – 11 PM
Saturday3 PM – 5 PM5:30 PM – 7:30 PM8 PM – 11 PM
Sunday3 PM – 5 PM5:30 PM – 7:30 PM8 PM – 11 PM


Christmas Eve
There are two sessions on Christmas Eve: 3 PM – 5 PM & 3 PM – 5 PM
*Normal hours on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. *Only one session, from 8 PM – 11 PM, will be available on December 3rd.

  • Location: CityScape Downtown Phoenix
  • Dates: December 15, 2019, through January 5, 2020
  • Hours: 5:00 Pm to 11:00 PM (7:00 PM on Christmas Eve)
  • Parking: Free parking in some locations, though most garages charge different rates
  • Cost: $15 General Admission

Winter Wonderland Ice Rink in Mesa

People enjoying themselves as they ice skate at Winter Wonderland Ice Rink in downtown Mesa, Arizona.
Image by Phoenix.org

This is a huge ice skating rink at more than 5,000 square feet. Winter Wonderland Ice Rink is located in downtown Mesa at the Merry Main St location.

Winter Wonderland Ice Rink Hours:

2019 REGULAR WEEKLY HOURS

 Monday 5 – 10 pm
 Tuesday 5 – 10 pm
 Wednesday 5 – 10 pm
 Thursday 5 – 10 pm
 Friday 5 – 10 pm
 Saturday 12 – 10 pm
 Sunday 12 – 10 pm

2019 SPECIAL HOLIDAY HOURS

 December 24 12 – 4 pm
 December 25 CLOSED
 December 31 12 – 4 pm
 January 1 12 – 10 pm
  • Location:  Mesa City Plaza near Main St Mesa
  • Dates: November 29, 2019, through January 4, 2020
  • Hours: 5:00 Pm to 10:00 PM (12-:00 Pm to 4:00 PM on Christmas Eve)
  • Parking: Free parking almost everywhere
  • Cost: $10 General Admission / $8 Per Person for Groups of 20 or More

Skate Westgate in Glendale at Westgate Mall

Photo by Westgate Entertainment District

Glendale’s Westgate mall is the perfect place for those on the west side of the valley to partake in winter ice skating festivities. It’s located right on the north side of the mall.

Skate Westgate Ice Rink Hours:

The hours for ice skating at Skate Westgate vary throughout the months of December and January. Take a look at their complete calendar.

  • Location:  Westgate Mall in Glendale
  • Dates: November 8, 2019, through January 12, 2020
  • Hours: 3:30 PM to 10:45 PM
  • Parking: Free
  • Cost:  ADULTS/CHILDREN: $16 (includes skate rental), $13 (bring your own skates)
    TODDLERS: $13 (includes double-blade ice skate rental, sizes 8T – 12T only)
    MILITARY: $13 (with proper ID)
    SEASON PASS: $99 (includes admission + skate rental)
    SOCKS: $3

Schnepf Farms Ice Skating Rink

Photo by Schnepf Farms

We’ll talk more about Schnepf Farms’ fun Christmas event later, but let’s first look at their ice skating rink. Schnepf Farms is perhaps the best option for family entertainment on our list, and the affordable ice skating rink that they have is the real cherry on top.

  • Location:  Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, Arizona
  • Dates: November 26, 2019, through January 4, 2020
  • Hours: 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Parking: Free
  • Cost:  ADULTS/CHILDREN: $8

Fun Arizona Christmas Family Events

Christmas time is family time. There is no doubt about that. Arizona offers a lot of fun things to do for Christmas. Just take a look at these wonderful options.

Christmas at Schnepf Farms

Christmas at Schnepf Farms poster.
Image by Schnepf Farms

Schnepf Farms has become the place-to-be for holiday family events. Their Pumpkin and Chili Festival in October is always rated at the top for the best things to do in Arizona. However, they don’t hold back on Christmas. Actually, they over-indulge. Christmas at Schnepf Farms is the perfect place to bring your family. There is a polar train ride, fantastic foods, sumptuous sweets, a variety of fun rides, exciting live music, and even Santa Claus!

Don’t believe me? Take a look at how cool the train Illumination Express looks!

Children ride the illumination express at Schnepf Farms.
Photo by Schnepf Farms
The Illumination Express parked outside at Schnepf Farms.
Photo by Schnepf Farms
  • Location:  Schnepf Farms 24810 E Rittenhouse Rd, Queen Creek, Arizona
  • Dates: November 26, 2019, through January 4, 2020
  • Hours: 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Parking: Free
  • Cost:  $17 online, $30 at the door (Illumination Express is $7/person, Ice skating is $8/person

Lights of The World at the Arizona State Fair

Lights of the World poster.
Image by Lights of the World

Lights of the World is North America’s largest lights and lanterns festival. Different displays representing locations around the world are decorated with brilliant lights and effects. This is something special to see. It’s especially great for small children. It is located at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

  • Location:  Arizona State Fairgrounds
  • Dates: November 21, 2019, through January 12, 2020
  • Hours: 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Parking: $10
  • Cost:  Adults are $17.00, children and seniors are $14.99

Glow Wild at the Phoenix Zoo

A mother and daughter enjoy lights at Glow Wild at the Phoenix Zoo.
Photo by The Phoenix Zoo

Last on our list is the awe-inspiring Glow Wild at the Phoenix Zoo. Next to Schnepf Farms, this is perhaps the best on the list for family Christmas fun. Hundreds of thousands of lights take over the zoo once night falls over Phoenix. Santa Claus and other special guests can be spotted here. There are wild animal encounters, a petting zoo, and delicious food for all.

  • Location:  The Phoenix Zoo
  • Dates: November 27, 2019, through January 19, 2020
  • Hours: 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM
  • Parking: Free
  • Cost:  Adults and children are $18.95 (children under 2 are free)

Christmas in Arizona is a wonderful time of year. The weather is perfect and the skies are dark and clear so you can see all the light displays glow brightly.

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