Whether you don't celebrate Christmas or are looking for an alternative way to celebrate the holiday, there's still plenty to do in Phoenix on Christmas Day–even if it seems like everything is closed.
If Santa is bringing you ice skates this year, CitySkate in Downtown Phoenix will be open on Christmas Day. It's an outdoor skating rink on real ice, rare in the middle of the desert. There are also several synthetic ice skating rinks set up just for the holidays. Check the holiday events schedule to find these rinks, which are typically located at shopping malls or local resorts. To skate indoors on Christmas Day, visit AZ Ice.
See the beautiful fish, sharks, and more at the newest aquarium in the Valley of the Sun. It's located in Scottsdale, right off the Loop 101, and happens to be open on Christmas Day. This is also a great family-friendly activity if the kids get bored after opening presents on Christmas morning.
Go to ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo
From 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., the Phoenix Zoo is open for ZooLights, with about 3.8 million lights in about 700 arrangements. The lights are inspired by the zoo's resident animals, which you'll recognize from a daytime visit. You won't be able to see many animals at night, but it's really all about the lights.
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in north Phoenix is open on Christmas Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's a stunning museum, suitable for all ages and musical tastes. Everyone, from the occasional kazoo players to professional musicians, will enjoy their time spent here.
Take a Hike
You'll find a variety of hiking trails, nature trails, and picnic facilities all over the central Arizona area, many of which are open on Christmas Day. Check online or call before you go. If you got new hiking boots, a GPS, or a camera this holiday season, these are great spots to test them out. A few hiking trails that should be open are Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, South Mountain, Cave Creek Regional Park, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, and McDowell Mountain Regional Park.
Drive Race Karts
Thrill-seeking drivers can get a true taste of performance racing in state-of-the-art karts that reach speeds of up to 45 mph at Octane Raceway in Scottsdale. The raceway is open on Christmas Day from 12 a.m. to 8 p.m.For more info, check out our guide to Octane Raceway.