A dog next to a saddle at MacDonald Ranch

7 Days in Scottsdale

A whole week in Scottsdale – there is just so much to do as here! So, what should you do with your seven days in Scottsdale? Here are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your journey to this desert paradise.

Desert Botanical Gardens

No matter the time of year, or how much time you have in Scottsdale, the Desert Botanical Garden is worth the trip. The Garden has five themed loop trails and you can wander them on your own or take guided tours. Hike to the top of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail for an amazing view of the surrounding mountains. While you wander through the always changing desert trails, amid the towering cacti and towering rock formations, you can explore and learn about the desert and its unique habitat.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve has over 200 miles of amazing hiking trails through the beautiful Sonoran Desert. The trails vary in degree of hiking ability and fitness level and include several accessible trails. The five major trailheads offer opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock-climbing while experiencing the desert habitat, cacti forests, and desert wildlife up close.

Old Town Scottsdale

Spend an entire day in Scottsdale exploring the historic center of Scottsdale. Try a guided tour; take a Segway or bike tour, or just ride through Old Town on the free trolley. Take a foodie tour, an arts and culture tour, or a wine tasting tour. There is sure to be a tour to fit your tastes. Or just stroll through the city on your own. Old Town is full of art galleries and unique stores. Whether you’re looking for contemporary, Native American, western-themed, fine art or tacky souvenirs, you’ll find it here.

Scottsdale Museums

There are enough museums to keep you busy for several days in Scottsdale – a great idea if you’re in town during the hot summer months. Start out with the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. This museum features exhibits bringing the exciting old west to life. Visit the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum for a look at combat aviation history and a chance to climb aboard an actual WWII bomber. Or head to the Musical Instrument Museum for a look at musical instruments from around the world. These are just a few of the many options!

MacDonald’s Ranch

For some western fun, head on over to MacDonald’s Ranch. They have horseback rides, stagecoach rides, hayrides, and a petting zoo. Horseback and stagecoach rides are offered for private and group experiences, and there is also a lovely moonlight tour option for each. Even if you have never ridden before, or consider yourself a beginner, don’t worry. Your guides will give you the history of the area and educate you on the flora and fauna while you ride through the desert.

Guided Desert Tour

Take a guided tour of the amazing Sonoran Desert. Whether you want to hike, ride mountain bikes or drive ATVs through the desert, there is a tour to match. As you wind your way along desert trails, you’ll experience the desert habitat up close. You’ll see a wide variety of cacti, mesquite, desert lavender, and giant sage tree, and have the opportunity to see many of the creatures that call the desert home: snakes, lizards, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, rabbits, hawks, and quail, just to name a few.

Taliesin West

Rising from up from desert terrain as if it was still part of the rocks and sand it’s built on and from, Taliesin West is not just the ultimate trip for an architecture junkie, but also a way for everyone to experience the intermeshing of the built environment and the natural world that Frank Lloyd Wright is famous for. Take the guided tour, or just wander around the house and grounds on your own.

Great Stays for Great Days in Scottsdale

Let Parsons Villas help you find the best rental for your trip to Scottsdale. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can help you select a rental that fits all your needs. Give us a call today at 888-600-7231!

The Desert Botanical Garden, a great place to enjoy during 3 days in Scottsdale

3 Days in Scottsdale

So you finally made it to the beautiful Southwest! But you only have 3 days in Scottsdale to enjoy the most western of western towns. What should you do with your limited time? Here are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your journey to this desert paradise.

Desert Botanical Gardens

Start your visit out with a trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens. This is a great way to get an introduction to and a closer look at the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. The Garden’s five loop trails each have a theme, and you can wander them on your own or take a guided tour. You can hike to the top of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail for an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. Explore and learn about the desert and its unique plants and animals while you walk through the desert trails amid the towering cacti. Visit the Desert Botanical Garden’s website or give them a call (480-941-1225) for more information.

Guided Desert Tour

Take a guided tour of the amazing Sonoran Desert during your 3 days in Scottsdale. Whether you want to hike your way through the desert, ride mountain bikes or ATVs or whether you want to spend a few hours or the entire day, there is a tour that will fit your needs. As you wind your way along desert trails, you’ll experience the desert habitat up close. You’ll see a wide variety of cacti, mesquite, desert lavender, and giant sage trees. And be on the lookout for the many varieties of creatures that call the desert home—snakes and lizards, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, rabbits, hawks, turkey vultures and quail, just to name a few.

Old Town Scottsdale

Spend an entire day exploring this historic center of Scottsdale. Start your day off with a guided tour; take a Segway or bike tour, or ride through Old Town on the free trolley. A guided tour is a great way to get an overview of the area. Take one of the many foodie tours to get some insight into the cultural mix that is Scottsdale – what better way than through its food? After your tour, take a quiet stroll through the city and experience it at your own pace. Old Town is full of art galleries and unique stores. No matter what you are looking for – contemporary, Native American, western-themed, fine art or fun, tacky souvenirs – you will find it in Old Town. And, there are plenty of restaurants and bars for a great ending to your day.

Great Accommodations for 3 Days in Scottsdale

While you are planning your three days here in beautiful Scottsdale, let Parsons Villas help you find the best rental for your trip. Our knowledgeable staff can help you select a rental in the right location to make the most of your time here. Give us a call today at 888-600-7231!

The Sonoran Desert, a grea tplace to visit on Scottsdale Vacations on a budget

Planning Scottsdale Vacations on a Budget

So, you’re thinking about a trip to Scottsdale, but your budget is a little tight. Don’t worry; you can have a great time in Scottsdale without spending a lot. Here are some things to do and places to go on your Scottsdale vacation that are budget-friendly and fun.

Old Town & Art Walk

This historic center of Scottsdale is full of art galleries, shops, restaurants, and Old West charm. Ride the free trolley through town, or just wander on your own. From fine art to fun tacky souvenirs, from Western and Native American art to cutting edge contemporary art, it’s all here. It’s ok just to browse, you can buy your favorite piece on your next trip. And, if you’re in town on a Thursday night, take part in the free weekly Art Walk before you head out to a great meal and night on the town.

Sonoran Desert

The many parks and preserves around Scottsdale are free and open to the public year round. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve has over 120 miles of desert trails. You can hike, run, or bike through cacti forests, desert terrain, and mountains. Trails vary in length, difficulty, and terrain so there is a trail suitable for every visitor. The preserve is packed with desert wildlife including Gila woodpeckers, roadrunners, snakes and lizards, mule deer and javelina. A popular hike for locals, visitors also enjoy hiking to the top of Pinnacle Peak. The short trail (1.75 miles) ends with amazing views of the area.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Great for families, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a free attraction to enjoy during your Scottsdale vacation that’s fun for kids of all ages. There are several playgrounds, a variety of shops, a model railroad exhibit and retired locomotives to visit. There is a restored antique carousel and the Paradise and Pacific Railroad Ride too. Admission to the park is free, but you do have to pay to ride the carousel and train (but just a few dollars apiece). Check the park’s schedule – there are free concerts in the summer.

Public Art Tour & Museums

Scottsdale has a wide collection of public art scattered throughout the city, including the Soleri Bridge and Plaza and the famous LOVE sculpture. Download the self-guided Old Town Scottsdale Public Art Walking Tour and discover the city’s most famous public works of art on your own. The famous Soleri Bridge designed by renowned artist, architect, and philosopher Paolo Soleri, is just across the historic Arizona Canal. It’s a bridge, a solar calendar and gathering space, and a must see. And many of the numerous museums in town have free admission on certain days or during special events. For example, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is free for everyone on Thursdays and after 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Meals That Taste Great but Won’t Break the Bank

You can get great meals for less in Scottsdale, and there are several establishments to try. Koi Poke offers Hawaii cuisine, poke, and sushi. NakedQ BBQ famous brisket is simply mouthwatering. Tocaya Organica features modern organic Mexican. Head to Cha Da Thai for traditional Thai cuisine. The Root and Soul is the place to go for soul food. Croque Famous Sandwiches, Maskadores, and the Rusty Spur Saloon are other great options.

Make the Most of Your Scottsdale Vacations

Planning a trip on a budget to Scottsdale and having a great time is possible, and there are many wonderful attractions and things to do. And, remember – you are surrounded by the amazing Sonoran Desert! You can sit in your Parsons Villas rental and enjoy the beautiful views of the desert. At Parsons Villas, our experienced staff can help you find the perfect rental for your Scottsdale vacation, that fits your budget. Give us a call today at 888-600-7231!
A wide array of cactus at the desert botanical gardens

Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, opened in 1939 with a ‘simple’ mission to save the desert. Over the years it has expanded and now focuses on conserving and protecting the desert ecology while providing educational experiences for both locals and visitors, as well as providing a tranquil retreat in the desert.

Scenic Desert Beauty at The Desert Botanical Garden

With 140 acres, over 50,000 species of plants, and five different loop trails (each with its own theme), you can enjoy the beauty of the Sonoran Desert on your own, or with a guided tour. Hike to the top of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail for an expansive view of the surrounding mountains. Walk through the Center for Desert Living Trail and submerse yourself in the colors and fragrances that the desert habitat can produce. If the season is right, you can watch hummingbirds visiting the vibrant desert wildflowers and blooming cactus as you wander along the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail. To understand how the desert plants were used by native peoples, take the Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail.

There are many educational opportunities available – lectures and workshops are held year-round. With the addition of their new 400-seat reception hall, the Garden can now offer larger lectures, workshops and concerts. Take a guided tour – Birds in the Garden is just one of the tours offered. This Tempe Botanical Garden is happy to offer private tours and accommodate field trips for schools and scouts. Your kids will have fun playing Desert Detective Bingo as they scamper down the trails.

The Garden isn’t all serious, there are fun events too. Bring your dog for “Dogs Day in the Garden”. Attend the “Lit & Sip” – after you wander along the garden trails with your cocktail, dance the night away at the Silent Dance Party (dancers use headphones and dance to their own beat). Or, experience what has become an annual southwestern holiday tradition – Las Noches de las Luminarias. Sip your drink and nibble “lite bites” while you wander down the sparkling desert paths. Lit by over 8,000 luminarias, the dazzling lights will help you get into the holiday spirit.

The Garden is the perfect venue for wedding ceremonies, showers and receptions, corporate and non-profit events, award ceremonies, family reunions and memorial services. With its quiet serene beauty, the Desert Botanical Garden has become a romantic spot too.

The Tempe Botanical Garden’s hours vary slightly season to season, so check their website for current hours, information and admission rates. On Community Day, every second Tuesday of the month, admission is free and there is free admission every day for active military personnel with valid ID.

Visit the Garden From the Best Arizona Accommodations

Whether you are a student of desert ecology, or just enjoy wandering around the desert and want to learn a bit more about it, you must certainly visit the Desert Botanical Garden. What better way to do so then from a comfortable villa from Parsons Villas! Contact us to book today!

Arizona Vacation Rentals

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Clothes at the Scottsdale Fashion Square

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Scottsdale’s upscale luxury shopping destination is Scottsdale Fashion Square. Located in the heart of the city, this is the largest shopping mall in Arizona, and one of the largest in the country. Easy to get to from anywhere in Scottsdale (you can even take the trolley!), this is the place to go if you want to do some serious shopping, whether you are a local or tourist.

Shop Until You Drop at the Scottsdale Fashion Square

While there is a wide variety of shops at Fashion Square, it is their high-end luxury Scottsdale shopping that is their draw. Some of the luxury shops at the Scottsdale Fashion Square include Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Montblanc, CH Carolina Herrera, Cartier, Bulgari, Tiffany and Prada. The mall also includes more typical mall-centric stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, A Hallmark store, Bath & Body Works, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Claire’s, Crate&Barrel, Foot Locker, Gap, J Crew, and Sunglass Hut. And there is an Apple Store and an Amazon POP-UP just to round things out.

And, of course, you can’t have a mall without a food court! There are several destination restaurants – like Nobu, Ocean 44 and Toca Madera – along with the more typical Charley Philly Steaks, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Five Guys, and Shake Shack. Plus, there are plenty of places to get a quick bite to keep your energy up as you shop –Jamba Juice and a Cinnabon, anyone?

Scottsdale Fashion Square prides itself on its commitment to sustainability. Along with the typical sustainable systems (energy efficient lighting, reduced flow plumbing fixtures and mechanical systems), the mall uses reverse osmosis water instead of bottled water and the security staff uses electric carts instead of gas-powered vehicles. Recently, the mall recycled over 530 tons of just cardboard, and when the mall expanded, they recycled 65% of demolished materials and waste. Nordstrom is also recycling restaurant waste for compost.

If you have shopped ‘til you are ready to drop, you can take a catch the latest blockbuster at the Harkins Camelview Movie Theater. Or, take in a Broadway musical or a play at the Desert Stages Theater, a non-profit performing arts theater. And both the Harkins Camelview Movie Theater and the Desert Stages Theater are located at the Scottsdale Fashion Square – you can just walk on over. Or, you can head to nearby Salvatore Vineyards and enjoy one of their wine tasting menus.

Parsons Villas, The Best Way to Experience Scottsdale

With over two million square feet of Scottsdale shopping, dining and entertainment, the Scottsdale Fashion Square will have many things to entertain you and keep you occupied during your stay in Scottsdale. Then, bring your haul to an amazing villa from Parsons Villas; contact us to book today!

The sign of ASU

Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) incorporates four campuses located across the Phoenix metro area. As one of the largest public universities in the country, ASU’s official enrollment was over 80,000 in 2018! The students and faculty of the university spread their energy and vitality throughout the community.

Campuses

Classified as a research facility, the university offers over 350 degrees to undergraduates and 400 graduate and certificate programs. The 17 colleges spread throughout the four campuses and four regional learning centers, and each campus focuses on specific areas of study and has a unique atmosphere from the other campuses. A system of shuttles and a light rail provide ease of travel between the campuses.

The university’s research and grad school center are bustling with people and activity. This urban campus is centered in downtown Tempe and is enveloped by the Arizona State University Tempe  Arboretum. This is the largest ASU campus and the original campus. This campus houses all of ASU’s athletic facilities, and it is also home to the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Tempe Marketplace – the destination for shopping, dining and nightlife in Tempe – acts as a border for the campus to the north.

The Polytechnic campus focuses on professional and technological programs and occupies what was Williams Air Force Base, in Mesa, Arizona.

Urban and public programs (such as nursing, criminal justice and journalism) are located in the Downtown Phoenix campus. This campus has a very urban feel with its new academic buildings mixed in with the city’s commercial and retail buildings. Established in 2006, this campus combines new modern buildings with renovated buildings like the old Post Office which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law was recently relocated to this campus.

The West campus, located in a suburban area of Phoenix, is dedicated to interdisciplinary degrees and the liberal arts, and is almost completely powered by solar energy. ASU also has a strong on-line program, and a small undergraduate college in Lake Havasu City helps meet the needs for less expensive higher education.

Sustainability

ASU takes its commitment to the academics of sustainability seriously. Wind turbines and solar photovoltaic installations are spread across all campuses, as are recycling and composting areas. And in 2007, Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability was the first school to offer degrees in sustainability.

Famous Alumni

ASU has produced some pretty famous alumni over the years. Barry Goldwater, Jimmy Kimmel, Nick Nolte, Lynda Carter, Linda Ronstadt, and Kate Spade. Famous athletes include Phil Mickelson, Pat Tillman (Silver Star recipient), Barry Bonds, James Harden, Brock Osweiler and Terrell Suggs.

Campus Attractions

For architectural buffs, we’ve already mentioned the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium. In addition, the Arizona State University Tempe Art Museum at Fine Arts Center was designed by Antoine Predock.

The ASU Art Museum houses over 12,000 items and is well-known as a contemporary art mecca. The museum focuses on contemporary art, crafts (with an emphasis on post-WWII ceramics), prints (contemporary and historic, American and European), and Southwest Art (with an emphasis on Latino artists). The Ceramics Research Center at Brickyard houses their impressive ceramics collection – a must-see for any ceramics enthusiast. Visit their website for additional information.

The Arboretum surrounding the Tempe Campus offers guided tours, enabling visitors and students alike to learn more about the hundreds of native and arid-adapted trees from around the world. Several of the older trees are now designated as “Great Trees of Arizona”.

Nearby Attractions

The “A” Mountain – Tempe Butte – is home to the famous “A” and its Sun Devil Stadium. The short, steep Tempe Butte hike is popular with students, locals and visitors alike.

Downtown Tempe and the Mill Avenue District are both close by and offer a variety of choices of large shops, small boutiques, restaurants and bars and activities. You can take a foodie tour of one of the local brew pubs and distilleries. You can paddleboard, kayak or raft on the many lakes and rivers in the area including popular Canyon Lake and the Snake River.

Staying in Style at Parsons Villas

Explore ASU, and other amazing attractions in Arizona, from the comfort and luxury of one of Parsons Villas’ rental villas! Contact us today to book your stay.

A sawfish at the Sea Life Arizona Aquarium

SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium

Here in the middle of the desert, at the Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe, you can get up close and personal with many of the ocean creatures your kids love. With thirty exhibits and displays housing thousands of creatures, the entire family will enjoy this small yet entertaining Tempe aquarium.

Amazing Sights at the Sea Life Arizona Aquarium

At SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, you can watch daily feedings of all the creatures, and learn more about the different species through scheduled talks or from the information posted at each exhibit. Many exhibits are interactive and the kids (young and old) will love getting to touch and pet some of the marine life. What will your children do when they touch their first lobsters? How many other opportunities will they have to touch a live starfish or sea urchin? Give them a memory to last a life time.

Watch the rays get their lunch at the Bay of Rays while you are learning about this mysterious creature. Did you know they don’t have bones? It’s true. And, it can be mesmerizing, just to watch these fascinating creatures undulating through the water.

And what child doesn’t love sharks and sea horses? With an exhibit all their own – The Temple of the Seahorse – you can watch these extraordinary creatures swim about, then grab at the sea grass for rest. Over at the Ocean View exhibit, you can learn about that most fearsome of ocean dwellers – sharks. See them get fed while learning interesting facts about these creatures. You can also meet Ziva, the aquariums rescued sea turtle.

At Critter Canyon, you will have the opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ with some cool critters including snakes, turtles and hairy tarantulas. Take some time and visit with Mojave the tortoise and Hopi the Tarantula. Included in the price of your admission, this class is held several times daily.

Another interactive exhibit is the Rockpool. Your kids can get up close and personal with the unique inhabitants of tidal pools – touching sea urchins, crabs and sea stars.

Once everyone has had enough fish and water – head on over to the Lego Discovery Center. It’s right next door! With over 40,000 square feet and more than one million LEGOs®, there are rides, exhibits, and a 4-D cinema. Tour the factory or just let your kids loose in the LEGO® City Play Land. Explore the Dino Explorer Exhibit with its range of dino-centric activities and learning experiences.

Great fun for kids and adults alike!

Sharks, rays, lobsters, starfish, sea horses, clownfish, jelly fish, sea turtles – there all here at the SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium. Open seven days a week (10am to 6pm Monday through Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday), it will be easy to fit into your schedule. Visit their website for prices and class times. This Tempe aquarium is wheelchair accessible, and offers a military discount.

Experience this attraction, and many others, from one of Parsons Villas’ beautiful Scottsdale villas. Contact us to book today, or browse our available selection of rentals.

Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

One of Arizona’s top-rated museums, the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum is located in Mesa, Arizona, at 2017 North Greenfield Road. The museum is home to hundreds of exhibits telling the story of military aviators. Their mission – Preserve, Educate, Remember – is on full display here.

Flying High With the Commemorative Air Force Museum

Get up close and personal with one of the vintage World War II planes housed in the museum’s hangers. If you ever wanted to experience a B-17, this is your chance. Other planes on display include a B-25 and C-47, along with bi-planes, an F4 Phantom, and plenty more.

Once you have toured the planes on the ground, take it to the next level by booking a ride in one of the restored planes. The “Sentimental Journey”, a B-17G (used as a water bomber) restored to wartime configuration, is available, and the “Secret Night Mission” on their C-47 (“Old Number 30”) is a great way to see the Christmas lights of the surrounding area.

When you’re done with the vintage planes, tour this classic Mesa air museum. View the many exhibits on aircraft and war memorabilia, including displays on WWII and Vietnam. Find out more about the Tuskegee Airmen and Women Air Service Pilots, who, despite facing severe hindrances, served our country.

The museum hosts annual events including a speaker series. At the “Annual Gathering of Legends”, you can meet distinguished veterans from WWII to present day. Their busiest seasons are fall and winter with events like “Aviation Fascination” and the “Big Band ‘40s Dance”.

Drop by their gift shop on the way out and pick up a souvenir. How about a “born to fly” or Air Force pilot flight suite onesie for your kid or grandkid? Pick up some American flag art, a T-shirt, or aviator jewelry. How about matching bomber jackets for you and your dog? If you miss the shop, you can shop online later.

This Mesa air museum is close to other activities too. Watch an Arizona Cardinals game or spring training baseball game. Hike through one of the nearby parks and preserves, try tubing down the Salt River, or wander through downtown historic Gilbert for some shopping and fine dining. Visit the popular Riparian Preserve – a great place for photographers (and non-photographers too). Hike the trails through the desert landscape and around water features, watch the abundant wildlife and birds (close to 250 species has been sighted here), and see a dinosaur dig site. There is an observatory (open to the public every Friday and Saturday evenings) too.

The Commemorative Air Force Museum’s knowledgeable docents will be more than willing to answer any questions and to share inspirational stories of veterans from over the years. The museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm (closed on holidays), and entry is free to active military personnel and disabled veterans. Veteran or not, if you love planes and their history, or military history, this museum is for you.

The Best Place to Come Home To: Parsons Villas

There is no better place to stay to enjoy this attraction, or any other in the area, than a comfortable and luxury villa from Parsons Villas. Contact us today to book your stay!

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Experience Holiday Lights at Railroad Park

Holiday Lights at Railroad Park

Looking for a special, family-oriented holiday event? Look no further than McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. At 7301 East Indian Bend Road in Scottsdale, Arizona, the park opened in 1975 with train rides and a Wild West Shootout and is now one of Scottsdale’s most popular attractions.

Visiting the Park

Start your visit with the train museum or check out the Roald Amundsen Pullman Car (used by every president from Herbert Hoover through Dwight Eisenhower), many other railroad artifacts, and working train models on display. Or ride the restored historic Charros Carousel, with over 30 horses and two wheelchair chariots just waiting to take someone on a magical ride.

Get into that holiday spirit by listening to The Goode Time Carolers. Wearing costumes right out of A Christmas Carol, they will be performing in early December, as evening falls.

The festivities for the opening night of the Holiday Light Train’s run will include live music and a tree lighting ceremony while Santa arrives aboard a steam locomotive! Kids can visit with Santa in the historic Maricopa Depot.

Top your evening off with a ride on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad Holiday Lights train run through the park. With more than 100,000 lights, and holiday displays, this enchanting, family-friendly train ride will quickly become the highlight of your holiday excursions. Everyone loves taking train rides, and this will be no exception. The Scottsdale Live Steamer is a 7-1/2-inch gauge “ride-on” scaled miniature railroad which surrounds the Xeriscape Arboretum in the Park.

Add Some Flair to Your Holidays

The Holiday Lights train runs nightly through the month of December, with some holiday exceptions. Admission to the park is free, but train rides do require a ticket. To purchase your ticket for the train ride, review dates and times, and get general information, check the Railroad Park’s website.

Experience Las Noches De Las Luminarias

Las Noches de las Luminarias

One of the more famous events during December in the southwest is the Night of the Luminaries at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. Imagine slowly meandering down winding desert trails as they sparkle with the soft light from over 8,000 hand-lit luminaries. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Scottsdale.

A Night at the Garden

Wander through the night on the Garden’s many trails, sipping hot cocoa or warm cider, listening to live music. Strolling mariachi bands and musicians play throughout the wonderfully cool evenings, a pleasing backdrop to the desert’s softly lit beauty.

Make a reservation at the Garden’s restaurant and enjoy a holiday-themed meal, or purchase gourmet bites to sample as you saunter through the night. Special luminaria bags are available to honor a loved one, or to celebrate a special occasion with your personal message.

Established in 1939, the Gardens provide a wonderful way to learn about desert habitat, flora and wildlife. There are several trails winding through different parts of the garden and the Garden provides classes and events throughout the year, culminating in Las Noches de las Luminaries.

Tickets are required for this evening event, which lasts throughout the month. Botanical Garden Members can purchase tickets early, and non-member tickets go on sale in early Oct (and sell out rapidly). The garden, and this event, are universally accessible; a small quantity of electric scooters and wheelchairs can be reserved in advance if needed.

Plan Your Visit to Las Noches De Las Luminarias

While there are many wonderful events throughout the year in the southwest, end the year with one of the most alluring: Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Gardens. Regular garden hours are 8am to 8pm but vary during the year. There is free admission for active military personnel; just bring your valid government ID. Call or visit the Garden’s website for reservations, hours, and more information.

Contact Parsons Villas today to book your stay so you can visit and experience Las Noches de las Luminaries.