33+ Scottsdale Christmas Activities & Winter Holiday Events

The holiday season is brimming with merry activities in the Valley of the Sun, especially with this array of Scottsdale Christmas events. Celebrate the 2023 winter holidays with displays of festive lights, kid-friendly amusements, special dining experiences, and other revelries. Enjoy a jolly season with more than 33 things to do during Christmastime in Scottsdale, Arizona!

Ferris Wheel and carousel at Christmas at the Princess in Scottsdale, AZ
Ferris Wheel and carousel at Christmas at the Princess in Scottsdale (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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1. Christmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Get into the holiday spirit at Christmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. This resort transforms into a fantastical winter wonderland each November and December. My advice: go early in the evening for festivities with fewer crowds and shorter lines! You may be dazzled by a beautiful sunset, too.

Outdoor ice skating rink at Christmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Desert Ice Skating Rink at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Wintry Amusements

To start, watch the mesmerizing 3D light show tree in the Enchanted Plaza near the entrance. Then queue up for the Princess Express Train, which carries riders through a Lagoon Lights display. 

Take a spin on an outdoor ice skating rink surrounded by palm trees. The Desert Ice Skating Rink is made with real ice! There’s an extra charge to skate (even if you bring your own skates). But you do get access to the Alpine Skate Trail in The Village, too.

Also in The Village, take a spin on a Ferris Wheel, tube down the Snow Mountain Ice Slide, and challenge your friends or family to nine holes of putt-putt on the Nordic Nine Mini Golf Course. All of these amusements are included with your wristband fee.

Find more included rides in Twinkle Town. Revelers will want to take a spin on a carousel as well as a swing ride.

Special holiday cocktail at The Lodge at Christmas at the Princess
A special holiday cocktail at The Lodge (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Festive Fairmont Dining

Book dinner at one of the resort’s three signature restaurants to take advantage of free valet parking when you spend $120 on food and beverages. Probably most tempting for kids is Mexican cuisine at La Hacienda. Pan-Latin cuisine is available at the upscale Toro. Also, look for classic American fare at Bourbon Steak and Ironwood American Kitchen.

Additionally, visitors can dine at the holiday pop-up restaurant, The Lodge. (Get the chicken schnitzel!) Purchase other holiday treats from food booths like Christmas cookies, mini cinnamon doughnuts, and roasted nuts. S’mores kits are also available for roasting around plentiful fire pits. Purchase holiday cocktails and mocktails throughout the resort, too.

New for 2023, Aurora Ice Lounge + Chill in Winterland is an icy space illuminated to resemble the Northern Lights. There is an additional fee to enter this ice bar, which welcomes all ages. Fluffy coats are provided. Drinks are available for purchase, too.

Fire pit at The Lodge pop-up restaurant at Christmas at the Princess
Fire pit at The Lodge pop-up restaurant (Photo credit: Colleen. Lanin)

Book a Stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale

To make the most of these family-friendly events, book an overnight stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort during Christmas time. You’ll receive complimentary general admission to Christmas at the Princess, as well as VIP Express wristbands for use throughout your stay. VIP Express Lane allows overnight guests to enjoy reduced wait times for rides and attractions, excluding ice skating and photos with Santa.

Sunset and Christmas lights in Scottsdale, AZ
Sunset and festive lights at Christmas at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Christmas at the Princess Tickets

This extraordinary Scottsdale Christmas event runs nightly from November 17, 2023 through January 6, 2024. Purchase tickets in advance since this event often sells out. Save money on Christmas at the Princess by purchasing admission via Groupon. Children 3 years old and younger receive free entry.

Monday through Thursday, the event runs from 5 pm to 10 pm. Friday through Saturday, the Christmas at the Princess takes place from 4 pm to 11 pm.

General Admission tickets do not include self-parking, which is sold separately. Valet Parking includes admission for up to four guests.

A decorated full-sized train at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, AZ
A decorated full-sized train at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park Holiday Lights

The annual McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park Holiday Lights is a magical experience with festive light displays and twinkling tunnels. Faux snow allows desert dwellers a chance to get a brief taste of a white Christmas in Scottsdale, too! Climb aboard the miniature Paradise Pacific Railroad for a sparkling tour of the North Pole.

The Charro Carousel at Scottsdale's McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
The Charro Carousel at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

In addition to train rides, kids will love a large playground with plenty of slides and climbing structures. Also, look for a smaller Old West-themed play area. If visiting the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park with young children, then a spin on the Charros Carousel is a must, no matter the season.

Attend this event from 6 to 9:30 pm, November 24, 2023 through December January 7, 2024. Advanced reservations are required.

A 2019 Canal Convergence public art installation at Scottsdazzle in Old Town Scottsdale
A Canal Convergence public art installation (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Scottsdazzle Holiday Art Activities

Scottsdazzle celebrates the holiday season in Scottsdale with two months of activities. Canal Convergence kicks things off in 2023 from November 3 to 12 with lights and impressive art installations along the Scottsdale waterfront and throughout Old Town.

Additional artsy Scottsdale events take place in December. Gold Palette Artwalk provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy Old Town Scottsdale’s numerous art galleries during the holiday season from 6:30 to 9 pm on December 7, 2023.

Create your own dazzling art this holiday season. Sign up to make a festive saguaro cactus at the Holly-Jolly Painting Party at 10 am on December 10.

Create a festive centerpiece to complement your home holiday décor at a Merry Centerpiece Making Class at 1 pm on December 10.

Make six cookies featuring three merry designs at Ice it Up, a cookie decorating class taught by a pastry chef for attendees aged 14+ on December 10 at 3:30 pm.

Or, make a craft from wine corks, eat light bites, and enjoy a glass of wine at Cork Crafting at 10:30 am on December 2, 9, or 16 (age 21+ only).

Scottsdazzle Tree Lighting Ceremony festivities
Scottsdazzle Tree Lighting Ceremony festivities (Photo credit: Christine Johnson for City of Scottsdale)

4. Scottsdazzle Sing-Along and Tree Lighting Ceremony

Listen to live Christmas music, sing along, and sip hot beverages while watching the lighting of the 40-foot-tall Scottsdazzle tree. The event takes place from 7 to 9 pm on November 25, 2023 at the Scottsdale Waterfront.

Cactuses for sale at the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market
Cactuses for sale at the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Festive Markets

Attend the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market on Saturdays from fall through spring to purchase handmade items, fresh produce, and tasty eats from 8 am to noon (or 1 pm in winter). During the holiday season, listen to live Christmas music as you shop for unique gifts. From November 25 through December 16, you can get your photo taken with Santa at the market, too, from 9 am to noon.

Live music at the Merry Mercantile Market
Live music at the Merry Mercantile Market (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The Merry Mercantile Market is an expansive Christmas market at the Scottsdale Civic Center. Attend on December 2, 2023 from 10 am to 4 pm. Expect 80+ vendors, holiday giveaways, Christmas crafts, live music, and various food trucks. Kids will enjoy a ball pit and bounce house, too. You might even spy Elsa and Anna from Frozen!

Old Adobe Mission in Old Town Scottsdale
Old Adobe Mission (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

6. Old Adobe Mission Miracle of Roses Pageant and Live Nativity

While holiday shopping Old Town Scottsdale, be sure to stop by the Old Adobe Mission, the oldest Catholic church and one of the few remaining adobe structures in Scottsdale. It was built by Mexicans who settled in Scottsdale in the late 1910s. Admire the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style and handmade stained glass windows.

The Miracle of Roses Pageant takes place on the second Saturday of December at the Old Adobe Mission each year. In 2023, the play will be performed at 4 pm on December 4. Watch a reenactment of the miraculous appearances of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego near Mexico City, which occurred in 1531.

On December 16 from 6 to 8 pm, look for the Old Adobe Mission’s live nativity. Live actors and animals represent the birth of Jesus in this Christmas manger scene.

The Nutcracker by Ballet Arizona
The Nutcracker by Ballet Arizona (Photo courtesy of Experience Arizona)

7. Nutcracker Ballet by Ballet Arizona

Sugar Plum Fairies dance into your dreams with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet by Ballet Arizona from December 8 to 24, 2023.

The famous Christmastime ballet is accompanied by the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall. Of this performance, Alistair Macaulay of the New York Times said, “Ballet Arizona’s ‘Nutcracker’ is one of the three finest productions of the nearly 20 I’ve seen across America.”

Save money by booking your Nutcracker Ballet tickets through Groupon.

Phoenix Zoo Lights animals and cacti
Glowing frogs and cacti at Phoenix Zoo Lights (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Phoenix ZooLights

For a dazzling holiday lights display, reserve tickets for the beloved Phoenix ZooLights. Zoogoers will be treated to millions of twinkling lights, a multitude of glowing animal sculptures, and a new 200-foot-long light tunnel. Hot cocoa and other treats like kettle corn are available for purchase.

Phoenix ZooLights runs November 22, 2023 through January 14, 2024 from 5:30 to 10:30 pm. Sensory Friendly ZooLights takes place on December 4 with smaller crowds, quieter music, reduced flashing lights, and other modifications. You can enjoy the lights displays from the comfort of your car on November 6 for Cruise ZooLights as well.

Enchant at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, AZ
Enchant at Salt River Fields (Photo courtesy of Experience Scottsdale)

9. Enchant Christmas Light Maze and Village

Enchant debuted in Scottsdale in 2022 and staked its claim as the world’s largest Christmas light maze and village. Formerly presented by the Hallmark Channel, this winter wonderland can be found at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick from November 24 through December 31, 2023.

Browse Enchant’s Village, a Christmas market bursting with quaint shops selling crafts and gifts. Look for live entertainment, too.

Drummer and flag dancers at Enchant Scottsdale
Drummer and flag dancers at Enchant Scottsdale (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Then wind your way through lighted tunnels and past holiday displays in The Maze to find a 100-foot-tall Christmas tree. Perhaps most impressive is the dazzling forest of sparkling trees you’ll skate through on their ice rinks. In this year’s new light maze, help Santa recover missing toys while searching for a mischievous elf named Eddie and Sparky the reindeer.

Potato latkes served with applesauce and sour cream to celebrate Hanukkah at Enchant Scottsdale
Potato latkes served with applesauce and sour cream to celebrate Hanukkah at Enchant (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Come hungry. There are hot entrees and specialty sandwiches to be had. Why not celebrate the Festival of Lights with a serving of traditional Hanukkah potato latkes served with applesauce and sour cream? Top off your evening with a holiday treat like s’mores or freshly made doughnuts.

Children will want to visit Little Elves Play Place. There, they can make ornaments, play reindeer games, and listen to Christmas stories told by Mrs. Claus herself. Santa’s available for photos with the backdrop of an Alpine chalet, too.

For grown-ups aged 21+, there’s a chilly Polar Ice Bar serving three vodka cocktails. There are additional beverage stations, too, serving spiked hot chocolate, a Merry Mocktail, and other libations.

Holiday decorations at OdySea Voyager, the world's only rotating aquarium
Holiday decorations at OdySea Voyager, the world’s only rotating aquarium experience (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

10. Winter Waterland at OdySea Aquarium

The OdySea Aquarium at Arizona Boardwalk gets a holiday makeover during the holidays and transforms into a Winter Waterland starting November 24, 2023. Admission to Winter Waterland is free with regular admission.

The aquarium’s Winter Waterland features holiday decorations and a Christmas-themed scavenger hunt for kids. Additionally, Voyager, the world’s only rotating aquarium exhibit, is narrated by Santa as it spins through four separate watery habitats that feature animals like sea lions and sharks.

SeaTREK Santa at OdySea
SeaTREK Santa at OdySea (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The best part, though, is seeing Santa Claus underwater in the Deep Ocean Theater at designated times! Children squeal with joy when he magically appears after “The Night Before Fishmas” is read aloud. Winter Waterland runs through January 6, 2024 but SeaTREK Santa only makes appearances through New Year’s Eve.

A Blue Morpho butterfly on a snowflake decoration at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale
A Blue Morpho butterfly on a snowflake decoration at Butterfly Wonderland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

11. Glistening Gardens at Butterfly Wonderland

Also located at the Arizona Boardwalk entertainment center, Butterfly Wonderland is adorned with seasonal decorations like snowflakes, Christmas trees, Santa’s reindeer, and holiday lights. Ambassador animals also make appearances. Listen for live musical performances on select dates during the holiday season, too.

Glistening Gardens at Butterfly Wonderland
Glistening Gardens at Butterfly Wonderland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

New for 2023, Glistening Gardens will commence the day after Thanksgiving on November 24, 2023 and runs through January 7, 2024. The beautiful Butterfly Conservatory glows with sparkling meadow grass, firefly lights, and fairy-lit birch trees.

Pose with a gingerbread man in Old Town Scottsdale during Scottsdazzle
Pose with a gingerbread man in Old Town Scottsdale during Scottsdazzle (Photo credit: Christine Johnson Photography for City of Scottsdale)

12. Puzzle Rides

For a fun (and competitive!) way to explore Old Town Scottsdale, register for one of three Puzzle Rides. Board a golf cart to solve holiday-themed brainteasers. All Puzzle Rides take place on either November 25 or New Year’s Eve in 2023.

Families with kids aged 5+ participate in Highjacked by Elves, an escape room-style scavenger hunt with a Puzzlemaster Elf driving the way.

Those aged 21+ solve puzzles to discover the special holiday “drink of the bar” in a Jingle Bar Hop. Adults of legal drinking age can also unscramble holiday clues at Holly Jolly Holiday Relay at an Old Town Scottsdale restaurant or bar.

Cheers to Christmas in Scottsdale!
Cheers to Christmas in Scottsdale! (Photo credit: Sandralise)

13. Scottsdazzle Wine and Spirits Events

Toast the season with two special events for wine drinkers aged 21+ at LDV Winery in 2023. Use all your senses to experience wine tasting more deeply at Wine Aroma Therapy on November 29 or December 13 at 6 pm. Create your own charcuterie board at a Wine Charcuterie Class on November 30, December 14 or 21 at 6:30 pm.

Whiskey connoisseurs won’t want to miss Whiskey Tasting at the North Pole at the Christmas Pop up Bar the North Pole, above Porters Western Saloon on December 6 or 13 at 6 pm. Taste three select whiskeys and top off the evening with an Old Fashioned.

Treats at the Phoenician Holiday Tea in Scottsdale, Arizona
Treats at The Phoenician Holiday Tea (Photo credit: The Phoenician)

14. Holiday Tea

Celebrate the holiday season with a holly jolly high tea for all ages.

Holiday High Tea at the Phoenician

For an upscale traditional English afternoon tea, reserve a table for Holiday High Tea at the sumptuous Phoenician Resort. Listen to live music in their beautifully decorated lobby every Wednesday through Monday, November 25 to December 30, 2023.

Included are finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and preserves, pastries, a selection of teas, and a holiday gift for all attendees. Make your teatime even more festive by adding a glass of bubbly. The Phoenician will happily provide gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian menus with 24-hour advance notice.

Sugar Plum Tea Party

Enjoy kid-friendly flavored finger sandwiches, scones, cupcakes, hot chocolate, and cold lemonade at the Sugar Plum Tea Party on the Scottsdale Waterfront. Watch a performance by the Greasepaint Theatre as you dine. Tea partiers will get a chance to take a photo with the Sugar Plum Fairy herself, too. Sign up for December 9, 2023 at 10 am or 1 pm.

My family with Santa, Buddy the Elf, and Jovie at the 2019 Arizona Broadway Company's Elf the Musical
My family with Santa, Buddy the Elf, and Jovie at a past performance of Arizona Broadway Company’s Elf the Musical (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

15. Holiday-Themed Live Theater Performances

It’s an annual tradition for my family to watch It’s a Wonderful Life at Scottsdale’s Don Bluth Front Row Theatre. Every seat is a good one at this venue because of its petite size. This Christmas classic runs from November 16 to December 23 this year.

We’ve also enjoyed watching Arizona Broadway Theatre‘s special holiday performances in Peoria. In 2023, book seats at White Christmas from November 17 to December 30.

I recently saw a performance at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert and was impressed by the swanky small theater as well as the quality of the acting. Reserve seats for A Christmas Carol from November 30 to December 23, 2023.

At the Herberger Theater in Downtown Phoenix, families will enjoy Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer from November 18 through December 24, 2023. Also playing is Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s wintery fairy tale of the struggle between good and evil, from November 27 through December 14 this holiday season.

All ages love Buddy the Elf and his sweetheart, Jovie. Elf The Musical is playing at The Phoenix Theatre from November 22 to December 30, 2023.

Las Noches de la Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden
Las Noches de la Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden (Photo credit: Desert Botanical Garden)

16. Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden 

Wander through the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix with 8,000 glowing luminaries lighting pathways among desert plants. Listen to live musical performances and purchase holiday treats as you explore the botanical gardens. In 2023, Las Noches de la Luminarias takes place on select days, November 24 through December 30.

Come on December 17 to celebrate the Mexican holiday tradition of La Posada. Enjoy singing processions, traditional Mexican cuisine, and a piñata breaking experience for kids.

Snowland at Scottsdale Great Wolf Lodge
Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge (Photo credit: Great Wolf Lodge)

17. Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge Arizona

Children will adore Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge Arizona Indoor Waterpark & Resort. Snowland takes place from November 24, 2023 through January 8, 2024.

Hotel guests enjoy photos with Santa, holiday story times, games, crafts, scavenger hunts, and Snowland Yoga. Plus, all ages are invited to rock out to holiday music around the Christmas tree in the lobby during Frosty Fest Family Dance Parties. (Day Pass guests may not participate in Snowland activities.)

Miss snow in Scottsdale at Christmas? Great Wolf Lodge Arizona provides a magical indoor snowfall.

Christmas and Hanukkah at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix
Holidays at MIM (Photo from the Musical Instrument Museum’s Facebook page)

18. ‘Tis the Season: Holidays at MIM

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix is celebrating the season with decked halls and special events. On December 9 and 10, make a holiday tambourine craft, enjoy live Christmas and Hanukkah music performances, attend a music-making workshop, get photo booth pics snapped, and listen to Kwanzaa storytelling. Gallery Mini-Tours are available throughout the weekend, with a special focus on holiday celebrations from around the world.

Scottsdale Segway Tours Christmas Tour
Scottsdale Segway Tours Christmas Tour (Photo courtesy of Experience Scottsdale)

19. Holiday Lights Segway Tours

For a unique way to take in the glow of the holidays, sign up for a lights tour of Old Town Scottsdale via Segway from November 24 through December 31, 2023. Segways are decorated with Christmas lights on the Scottsdale Segway Tours Old Town Holiday Lights Tour. Meanwhile, Segway of Scottsdale‘s Christmas Lights Tour includes holiday lights wrapped around each Segway and a hot chocolate stop mid-way through the ride.

Menorah lighting
Expect a much bigger menorah at Chabad of Scottsdale’s lightings (Photo credit: slidezero, Depositphotos.com)

20. Valley of the Sun Chanukah Celebrations

Chanukah starts on December 7 and concludes the night of December 15 in 2023. This eight-day holiday commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd Century B.C. and is also known as the Festival of Lights. (Did you know there are 16 different ways to spell Hanukah?)

Kids and adults aged 6+ will celebrate Chanukkah by making their own menorahs at Sunshine Sunflower Studio in Phoenix on November 12.

Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix hosts a Hanukkah party on December 7, 2023. The festivities start at 6 pm with live music, a menorah lighting, Brooklyn Beer from New York City, jelly donuts, latkes, and brisket tacos at this free event. All ages and faiths are welcome.

Adults aged 21+ will make a Happy Hanukkah painting at Painting with a Twist in Tempe on December 7, 2023 at 7 pm. Participants are welcome to bring their own beer and wine to consume during the class.

Chompie’s is a local delicatessen that has been serving traditional New York-style Jewish cuisine in Arizona since 1979. Go to one of their several Valley locations for a tasty Chanukah menu, available onsite or to go. Enjoy potato latkes, matzo ball soup, brisket, and more.

See additional Hanukah happenings in Arizona listed by Jewish News.

Winter Wonderland Arizona Residential Holiday Lights in Scottsdale, AZ
Winter Wonderland Arizona Residential Holiday Lights (Photo credit: WinterWonderlandAZ.com)

21. Winter Wonderland Arizona Residential Holiday Lights Display

Find 265,000 digitally computerized lights, faux snowfall, and bubbles on display at this Scottsdale home owned by serious holiday lovers. Winter Wonderland Arizona is free to the public but a suggested $5 donation is appreciated. This amazing light display began in 1987.

Winter Wonderland Arizona runs every night from December 8, 2023 to January 1, 2024. The private home address is 8414 East Valley Vista Drive in Scottsdale. The homeowners ask that visitors park on Granite Reef.

Christmas tree and holiday lights at Scottsdale Quarter
Christmas tree and holiday lights at Scottsdale Quarter (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

22. Scottsdale Holiday Shopping

Scottsdale is a shopper’s paradise, particularly during the holiday season. Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter outdoor shopping districts get dolled up with lights and trees galore. Meanwhile, the indoor Scottsdale Fashion Square‘s 240+ retail stores and restaurants offer darling Christmas décor and deals aplenty. Additionally, find unique artwork plus Southwest and Arizona-themed gifts and ornaments in Old Town Scottsdale.

Santa Claus at Christmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Santa Claus at Christmas at the Princess (Photo credit: Fairmont Scottsdale)

23. Photos with Santa in Scottsdale 

Kids and kids-at-heart can meet with Santa Claus at locations throughout Scottsdale. Look for photos with Santa at Kierland Commons, Scottsdale Quarter, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Biltmore Fashion Park, and Phoenix ZooLights. Purchase hardcopy and/or digital photos. Make reservations for these venues in advance at WhereIsSanta.com.

You can also find the Santa at holiday happenings at Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Great Wolf Lodge Arizona, Enchant at Salt River Fields, and Omni Montelucia.

Christmas music
Listen to holiday music by the Phoenix Symphony at Holiday Pops (Photo credit: billiondigital, Depositphotos.com)

24. Phoenix Symphony Holiday Concerts

Tap your toes along to the merry beat of Holiday Pops by the Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Symphony Chorus. Enjoy both religious and secular songs of the season from December 1 to 3, 2023 at Phoenix Symphony Hall.

Purchase tickets to experience Handel’s Messiah performed by the Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Symphony Chorus at various churches in the Phoenix area on December 14, 15, 16, and 17. It is also performed in Spanish (Handel’s Mesías en Español) on December 9 at Central United Methodist Church.

Celebrate the holiday season in Scottsdale with a special meal
Celebrate the holiday season in Scottsdale with a special meal (Photo credit: shalamov, Depositphotos.com)

25. Special Christmas Menus at Scottsdale Restaurants

Celebrate Christmas with holiday menus at restaurants throughout the Valley of the Sun. Whether you’re looking for an intimate setting or a family-friendly eatery with festive flair, you’re sure to find a menu that pleases your palate. Take a look at Christmas dining options in Scottsdale.

Foodies will savor the flavors at Holiday Celebration at the Chef’s Table at Marcellino Ristorante at 6 pm on December 5, 2023. A multi-course authentic Italian holiday-themed dinner will be served along with perfectly paired wines.

Join the revelry during the annual Scottsdale Santa Crawl
(Photo credit: Jim_Filim, Depositphotos.com)

26. Holiday Pub Crawls

Make merry at the 12 Bars of Christmas Bar Crawl in Old Town Scottsdale on December 9 from noon to 8 pm. Expect drink specials, a color-changing stadium cup, no cover charge at participating venues, and free Santa hats for the first 250 at registration.

Each year, Yuletide revelers don their Santa hats and other holiday gear to make merry in Old Town Scottsdale during the Scottsdale Santa Crawl. This year’s event is from 2 to 8 pm on December 16. Sign up via EventBrite for admission to participating bars, three penny ($.01) drink vouchers, and drink specials.

Cozy up in your silliest Hanukkah or Christmas sweater for Phoenix’s Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl on December 16, 2023. Contest prizes will be awarded throughout the event, which takes place 4:30 to 9:30 pm in Downtown Phoenix.

World of Illumination Candy Rush at Tempe Diablo Stadium
World of Illumination (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

27. World of Illumination

Be dazzled by a North Pole-themed lights display presented by World of Illumination in Glendale from November 18 through December 31, 2023. Tune in to a special radio station to enhance this drive-through experience with music and sounds.

Arizona Lights the Night drive-through attraction in Mesa, AZ
Arizona Lights the Night drive-through attraction (Photo credit: Arizona Lights the Night)

28. Arizona Lights the Night

Experience the wonder of the season from your own vehicle. Drive through a memorable holiday lights show in Mesa at Arizona Lights the Night. Expect life-sized snowmen, giant glowing candy canes, and Christmas trees galore. The attraction is open seven nights per week from December 1 to 31, 2023. Purchase tickets in advance to save money on entry.

Spirited Dueling Pianos at Belles Nashville Kitchen
Spirited Dueling Pianos at Belle’s Nashville Kitchen (Photo credit: Devon, Depositphotos.com)

29. Spirited Dueling Piano Shows

You’ll laugh, you’ll sing, you’ll clap, and you may even dance along during Spirited Dueling Piano Shows at Belle’s Nashville Kitchen in Old Town Scottsdale. Listen to your favorite holiday songs along with country and rock favorites during this lively show. Talented pianists compete for your applause (and tips) during this improvised show, featuring audience requests.

Choose from four nights: November 30 or December 7, 14, or 21, 2023.

Christmas magic show
Celebrate the magic of the season with free Dazzling Magic Shows (Photo credit: lightkeeper, Depositphotos.com)

30. Dazzling Magic Shows

Celebrate the magic of the season at Dazzling Magic Shows. Scottsdale Magician Craig Davis entertains crowds with humor and mesmerizing tricks. Attend free magic shows on Marshall Way Bridge in Old Town Scottsdale on December 9 (at 1 pm) and 16, 2023 (at 1 or 2 pm).

Christmas at Omni Scottsdale Resort Montelucia
Christmas at Omni Scottsdale Resort Montelucia (Photo credit: Omni Resorts)

31. Holidays Events at Omni Scottsdale Resort at Montelucia

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia‘s Christmas season commences with an annual 20-foot tree lighting on December 2, 2023 at 4 pm. Enjoy refreshments, live music, firepits, and cookie decorating at the resort. This complimentary event is open to hotel guests as well as day visitors.

Kids will long remember Breakfast with Santa at the Omni Montelucia on December 9 or 13 between 9 and 1 pm.

Another reason to love Omni Scottsdale at Montelucia? It tops my list of the best spa resorts in Scottsdale!

JoyRides AZ Holiday Lights Tour in Scottsdale at Christmastime
JoyRides AZ Holiday Lights Tour (Photo from JoyRides AZ’s Facebook page)

32. JoyRides AZ Holiday Lights Tour

Sit back, relax, and take in the holiday lights displays in Old Town Scottsdale during a 75-minute tour in an open-air vehicle driven by a local guide with JoyRides AZ. Listen to your choice of holiday Bluetooth music and stop for photo opportunities along the route. JoyRides AZ Holiday Lights Tours are available from November 25 to December 23, 2023.

Carts seat up to six guests with seatbelts. Infants are welcome if secured in a car seat.

New Year's Eve celebration
Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Scottsdale (Photo credit: Konstanttin, Depositphotos.com)

33. Scottsdale New Year’s Eve Parties

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Cirque Spectacular at the Phoenix Symphony Hall. The spellbinding show starts at 7:30 pm. It features amazing acrobatics, juggling, aerial performances, classical dance, and more performed by Troupe Vertigo. The performance is led by Aloysia Gavre, formerly of the internationally renowned Cirque du Soleil.

Ring in 2024 with festive food, music, and spirits in the Scottsdale area. For New Year’s Eve, several local restaurants like Tommy V’s and Citizen Public House are serving special multi-course prix fixe meals with a glass of bubbly. Other Valley venues are offering high-energy parties featuring DJs or live music, dancing, and holiday drinks. Discover ways to celebrate the New Year in Scottsdale.

Old Town Scottsdale fountain
Old Town Scottsdale (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

More to Do in Arizona

Find even more fun for the whole family with this list of activities in Scottsdale for kids.

Explore the charms of Arizona’s Christmas City with my guide to Prescott.

In winter, you’ll likely experience snow in Northern Arizona with these things to do in Flagstaff.

Learn the pros and cons of every season in the Valley of the Sun and discover the best time of year to visit Scottsdale.

Best Things to Do in Scottsdale, Arizona at Christmas

Save These Scottsdale Christmas Events

For future reference, save this list of things to do in Scottsdale during the holiday season. Just pin the image above to Pinterest. I hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Which of these Scottsdale holiday events appeals most to you? Let us know in the comments below!

Disclosure: This list of Scottsdale Christmas happenings is updated annually. I received monetary compensation from Experience Scottsdale in 2020 related to this story. Over the years, I have also accepted complimentary admission to Christmas at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, World of Illumination, and Enchant. All opinions are mine, as always.

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28 Comments

  1. Wow, there are so many things to see and do in the holidays given that we do not have much chance to move around this year. I love the weather in December in Arizona and thanks a lot for all the suggestions! – Knycx journeying

  2. wow such a beautiful holidays trip. Specially the sky at Christmas at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. It’sire look like fire over the sky. I would love to visit Scottsdale. Too many beautiful things there need to see.