This is the season for the wonders and magic of the holidays! The Sonoran Desert brings its own special flavor to the holidays, with western scenes, Cowboy Christmas celebrations, stunning luminaria displays and unforgettable desert magic. Nothing warms the heart on a cold evening in the desert like the soft glow of lights and luminarias, festive music, warm tamales and posole, and some special holiday cheer. We want to share a few of our favorite holiday traditions here is the Valley of the Sun, to give you some ideas for new traditions to help you make your holiday in Arizona one to remember.

o Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden
One of our favorite holiday traditions every year is visiting the Desert Botanical Garden to see Las Noches de las Luminarias. More than 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags line the many trails throughout the Garden every evening during the holiday season. The lovely, twinkling pathways lead to a variety of different musical entertainment areas, and dinner and warm refreshments are available each night. It’s a perfect event to celebrate the beauty and magic of the holiday season in the desert.

o ZooLights
ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo is a fantastic display of holiday lights set to holiday music, with a delightful walk through the zoo. ZooLights also features special activities like a nightly snowfall, photos with Santa, carousel and camel rides and the latest art installment at the zoo. A perennial favorite and one of our favorite family traditions, ZooLights is the bright light, high-energy, loud music answer to the peaceful, gentle, serene setting of the Desert Botanical Garden’s luminaria display next door. A festive and fun way to celebrate the season, ZooLights is a great holiday tradition for every family.
o Glendale Glitters
Glendale Glitters is an award-winning holiday tradition for people all over the Valley. For more than 20 years, the twinkling light display has illuminated 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale with its festive holiday charm. The largest free holiday light show in Arizona, Glendale Glitters is always a heart-warming seasonal celebration for all ages, and a great place to enjoy the festive lights of the holidays.

o Tallest Tree in Arizona & Santa’s Cottage at the Outlets in Anthem
Another one of our family’s favorite traditions is going to see Arizona’s tallest living, decorated Christmas Tree at the Outlets at Anthem. We always make a trip to see the tree and visit Santa Claus at his special Christmas cottage. It’s a great place for kids to get their picture taken and tell Santa what they want for Christmas.

o Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Santa has a secret headquarters located at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess – and the Princess certainly know how to celebrate the holiday season! The resort transforms into a winter wonderland and gives visitors a holiday festival to remember. Not only can kids and families visit Santa’s Secret Headquarters on the property, they can also enjoy festive winter activities, s’mores, and magical light shows while they wait to have their photo taken with Santa Claus.

These holiday traditions are just a few of the festive events that take place in the Valley of the Sun, but all will make special holiday memories for you and your family while you celebrate the season. Be sure to read for more information about celebrating the holidays in the unique, festive, Western spirit of Arizona.

Happy Holidays and peace be with you!