Christmas is a magical time of year no matter where you are, but if you’re lucky enough to be spending the holiday in the Scottsdale area, it can be especially magical. This is the perfect time to start a new holiday tradition with your family, and we’ve got suggestions to help make this the best holiday ever. The area has holiday festivals and events for kids of all ages during Christmas in Scottsdale.

Festivals of Light During Christmas in Scottsdale, AZ

The Christmas holiday is often associated with lights. Brightly colored lights cover houses and trees, while bright white lights illuminate streets and courtyards. Scottsdale and nearby Phoenix have many brightly lit holiday festivals to help you and your family celebrate the season.

At the Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, kids can visit Santa while you take in the model train museum, then ride the train and carousel after dark, surrounded by bright decorations and lights galore during Christmas in Scottsdale, AZ. Or take the family to the Phoenix Zoo (always worth the trip) and after visiting the animals, enjoy millions of sparkling lights and the Polar Slide (200-feet of fun). Lights of the World in Phoenix claims to be the largest holiday light and lantern festival in the country. Along with the lighted displays, you can enjoy carnival rides and live performances. All in all, it’s a spectacular exhibition.

Adults will enjoy the Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Gardens. The garden is totally transformed by light and sound. Stroll along paths lit with over 8,000 luminaries, enjoying adult snacks and beverages while listening to live music. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Something for Everyone

Scottsdazzle is a month-long Christmas in Scottsdale celebration full of Christmas carolers and sugar plum fairies strolling through town, the lighting of the tree, Nutcracker performances, and chainsaw ice sculpting. Highlights include the Feliz Navidad Festival and the Gold Palette Art Walk. There are activities for both kids and adults scheduled throughout December in Old Town.


For more traditional minded celebrations, take your family to the Phoenix Ballet Company’s classic Nutcracker performances and enjoy Tchaikovsky’s famous compositions along with Clara, the nutcracker and mouse king, sugar plum fairies and the rest. Ballet Arizona in Phoenix also has Nutcracker performances with the Phoenix Symphony. Either way, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies will be sure to get you in the mood.

And there is ice skating during Christmas in Scottsdale, AZ! Try the Desert Ice Skating Rink at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess – the 6,000 square foot rink is just part of their holiday season’s activities. CityScape in downtown Phoenix has an outdoor skating rink, and part of walk-up ticket sales goes to local charities. And after ice skating, grab your blanket and picnic basket for the City Lights Movie Night – a free double feature of family friendly Christmas movies like Elf, A Christmas Carol, Frozen or Home Alone.