Despite its desert setting, the Christmas spirit permeates the Phoenix area with festivals, holiday bazaars, crafts for kids, ice skating, tree lighting ceremonies, and of course, Santa sightings. Many events are free, but there may be parking fees, or fees for certain activities at an event.
- Celebrate with Events, Photos with Santa and More at Local Malls and Stores
- Plays, Concerts, Choirs, Performances and Other Ticketed Events
- Phoenix Holiday Lights, All Month Long
- Shop Local at These Holiday Bazaars and Boutiques
- Dining Out on Christmas Eve
- Dining Out on Christmas Day
- More Than Just Events: Your Complete Greater Phoenix Guide to the Holidays
All dates, times, prices, and offerings are subject to change without notice.
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The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess kicks off the Eighth Annual Christmas at the Princess festival on November 22 with the lighting of the musical tree. The 45-foot tree holds 67,000 LED lights that “twinkle and dance” to holiday songs. Santa arrives on opening night, and music, refreshments, ice skating, and activities entertain the whole family nightly throughout the holiday season.
In 2017: November 22 to December 31
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The Westgate Entertainment District spreads holiday cheer with a professional ice skating performance, public skating sessions, a tree lighting ceremony, visits from Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, nightly snowfall, and a menorah lighting.
Westgate Entertainment District, Glendale
In 2017: November 21 to December 31
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Each year the Phoenix Zoo puts up a display of holiday lights, Because ZooLights takes place in the evening, you won't see many live animals, but you will see lighted animal sculptures.
In 2017: November 22 to January 14, 2018
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Join Santa for the nightly snowfall and a tree-lighting ceremony on Main Street. Lights, entertainment, holiday stunt shows, and Santa are all part of the celebration. Drop off your letter to Santa at Rawhide’s “Delivery to the SW Pole” mailbox. Photos with Santa. Regular admission prices apply, $5 parking charge.
In 2017: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, November 23 to December 23
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The Polimene family tradition goes back 37 years. Visitors control a homemade 1/6 scale train as it travels over 80 feet of track, activating several features along the way: a crossing gate, erupting volcano, Ferris wheel, light bridge, carousel, candy cane factory, and candy cane dispenser. Free candy canes are presented to all young visitors until 9 p.m. via one of cars. Donations for Phoenix Children’s Hospital are accepted.
541 E. Mountain Sky Ave., Phoenix (Ahwatukee)
In 2017: Thanksgiving Day through New Year's Day, dusk to 11 p.m.
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Butterfly Wonderland transforms into a Winter Wonderland to kick off the holiday season with tranquil blue, white, and silver décor. Guests enjoy 7-foot living angels with expansive wings that add an ethereal aura to the Conservatory, while musical groups including Scottsdale Strings, Nouveau Papillon, harpist Adrienne Bridgewater, and others fill the air with the serene sounds of the season. Regular admission applies.
In 2017: Variable days and hours from November 24 to December 29
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Each year during the holiday season, the Desert Botanical Garden lines the paths of this extraordinary desert garden with thousands of luminarias.
In 2017: select dates from November 24 to December 30
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The annual Mesa Temple Garden Christmas Lights display conveys peace and goodwill of the season with a unique and spectacular exhibit of hundreds of thousands of lights that serve as a backdrop for the sounds of the holidays. Open nightly from 5 to 10 p.m., November 24 to December 31. Free concerts take place nightly from December 1 to Christmas Day.
In 2017: November 24 to December 31Continue to 9 of 67 below.
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The Resort transforms into a winter wonderland as the walls of the Westin Kierland come alive with PaintScaping, themed 3-D images, and animations set to holiday music. Shows at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. Free admission.
In 2017: Variable nights throughout December
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The Phoenician continues a time-honored tradition of breakfast with Santa, along with cookie decorating. Guests of the resort can join a one-hour guided exploration of the 250 varieties of cacti on the 2-acre desert retreat, which are adorned with holidays lights during the season.
In 2017: December 9 for breakfast with Santa; every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday in December for the garden tour.
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The festivities begin in downtown Mesa with an evening of music, food, and fun for everyone. Beginning with a tree-lighting ceremony, you can spend the evening strolling through downtown enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Merry Main Street features the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink of more than 4,000 square feet. Other key attractions at Merry Main Street include the Jack Frost Food Truck Forest and numerous sELFie photo stations. Friday and Saturday evenings feature arts, crafts, and local vendors along Main Street.
Take advantage of the Merry Main Express Free Fare Zone. You can ride the light rail for free during Merry Main Street between Country Club Drive and Mesa Drive from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on select weekends.
In 2017: November 24 to January 5, 2018
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Join this annual holiday event at the Wigwam at Litchfield Park with a tree lighting, Santa, snow slide, and holiday ice skating.
In 2017: December 8, 15, and 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.Continue to 13 of 67 below.
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Scottsdazzle transforms downtown Scottsdale into a holiday extravaganza. Highlights of the month-long event include a Christmas tree lighting, the Gold Palette ArtWalk, Cowboy Christmas, holiday culinary tours, free concerts, a fashion show, farmer's market, and blacksmith demonstration, among other activities and events.
In 2017: November 25 to January 1, 2018
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Downtown Glendale presents themed events on various weekends throughout the holidays. On opening night, the Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend features holiday entertainment, food, hand-crafted holiday gifts, a children’s winter wonderland, shopping, and visits with Santa. The stage show counts down to the lighting ceremony on the opening Friday evening. The grand finale, called the Glitter & Glow Block Party, takes place in January. Free admission to all events, though there may be a charge for some activities.
In 2017: November 24 to January 6, 2018
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Visit Ahwatukee for carnival rides, community entertainment, a beer garden, Marketplace Street Fair, and the Harley Parade. In south Phoenix, Chandler Boulevard from 24th Street to Desert Foothills Parkway is illuminated with more than a million white LED lights and can be seen nightly, from November 24 through January 8, 2018 from 6 to 11 p.m.
In 2017: November 25 from 12 to 8 p.m. (Opening Day); lights through January 1, 2018
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Celebrate the holiday season at Children's Museum of Phoenix.
At Annual Snow Much Fun Day, you and the kids can play in 20 tons of snow—until it melts—and visit with Santa. Free with museum entry fee.
The museum opens an hour early to host Santa for breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. Children can meet and take a picture with Santa Claus, then spend the rest of the day playing in the Museum. Members $15/person; Non-Members: $30/person includes museum admission.
In 2017: Saturday, December 13
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Skate on real ice at CityScape in downtown Phoenix. Admission includes skate rental. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the rink. The grand opening celebration and tree lighting take place on November 25.
In 2017: November 25 to January 7, 2018
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At the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia in Paradise Valley, you can get into the Christmas spirit with a holiday tree lighting, a Ho Ho Ho hike with Santa, and a Yappy Hour Howl-aday Party for your furry friends. The resort also organizes an opportunity for you to participate in a food drive and sponsor a child's holiday wish.
In 2017: November 16 to December 18
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In addition to several DIY ornament craft workshops, the Glendale main library branch hosts a number of festive events throughout December, including the Grace Lutheran Handbell Choirs, a My Kids in Sign holiday performance, the Holiday Jam, and a stage production of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
In 2017: Various dates in DecemberContinue to 21 of 67 below.
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A time-honored tradition for more than 80 years, the Arizona Biltmore’s High Tea features a seasonally inspired menu of sandwiches, pastries, and loose leaf teas, presented on fine china. During the holidays, the Biltmore Teddy Bear Tea offers a unique themed menu and includes a cuddly Biltmore Teddy Bear to take home as a memento. Afternoon Biltmore Bear tea happens at variable times during December.
Diners can snap photos with St. Nick and Mrs. Claus during breakfast with Santa, and little elves are invited to roll up their sleeves and work alongside renowned cookie decorating professional Mrs. Claus.
In 2017: December 1 to 28
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Visit the Hackett House Gift Shop during the Tempe Arts Festival to see all the beautiful and unique decorations and gifts. You can also enjoy a magical holiday tea served in Hackett House’s historic Friendship Rooms. Registration is required for the holiday tea.
In 2017: Early December
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Cowboy poets gather at the Wickenburg Community Center for performances, mingling, and cowboy meals. Celebrate the season at the Wickenburg Christmas Parade of Lights in historic downtown Wickenburg. You can enjoy holiday refreshments (while supplies last) and visit with Santa at the Little Red Schoolhouse.
In 2017: Cowboy Christmas: December 1, 2; Parade: December 8Continue to 25 of 67 below.
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Surprise Party Gingerbread House Contest
The 16th Annual Surprise Party in Surprise, Arizona, includes the ever-popular Gingerbread House Contest. Entrants must deliver their creations to the Surprise Party Gingerbread Tent located at the 8 Acres Park, north of the Stadium located at 15850 N. Bullard Avenue, between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 2. Judging takes place later that day. Free entry.
In 2017: December 2
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A tree-lighting ceremony, rides, attractions, food and craft vendors, plus an appearance by Santa Claus himself should be reason enough to visit the Queen Creek Holiday Festival. But your holiday fun also benefits young residents at this event hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Kiwanis Club.
In 2017: December 2 from 12 to 7 p.m.
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At Copper Sky Regional Park in Maricopa, residents know how to spread Christmas cheer. The mayor leads the countdown to reveal the city Christmas tree covered in lights and decorations. Guest can take pictures with Santa and sip hot chocolate and munch on cookies while listening to local community group performances. A gingerbread cookie decorating contest and a Santa Run 5k with a 1.5 mile walk option round out the festivities. The Maricopa firefighters sponsor a toy drop and provide rides in the firetruck to those who bring a donation.
In 2017: December 2 from 2 to 8 p.m.
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Join the Mesa Bike & Pedestrian Program at Alta Mesa Park for 10 tons of snow play, a mechanical snowboard, bounce houses, food trucks, and reindeer games plus a holiday helmet safety message and concussion education. Stick around after the snow melts for a guided family-friendly bike ride through Alta Mesa’s neighborhood to see homes lit up with holiday lights and decor. Night ride starts at 5:30 p.m.; don’t forget your helmets and bike lights.
In 2017: Saturday, December 9 from 2:30 to 5 p.m.Continue to 29 of 67 below.
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This unique Southwest tradition draws thousands of visitors to downtown Chandler each year. There's a parade, the lighting of the tumbleweed tree, and Santa, plus live holiday music and dance by local performers throughout the evening.
In 2017: December 2 from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
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More than 60,000 twinkling lights and ornaments adorn the trees and median of Avenue of the Fountains in downtown Fountain Hills. Santa and his elves arrive while carolers sing. Shops and boutiques along the Avenue stay open late to greet visitors. The Stroll takes place along the entire Avenue of the Fountains leading up to Fountain Park, home of the one of the world’s tallest fountains.
In 2017: December 2 from 5 to 7 p.m.
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Historic Avondale celebrates the holidays on Western Avenue between Dysart and 3rd Street. This historic area comes alive with arts and craft booths, live entertainment, food vendors, and kids activities including snow in the park. Mr. and Mrs. Claus flip the switch to light up the street and then stick around for pictures.
In 2017: December 2 from 5 to 8 p.m.
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A visit from Santa, the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree, kids activities including reindeer games and inflatables, vendors, and 40 tons of snow draw visitors to the Goodyear Ballpark in the City of Goodyear each year. Free admission, free parking—and an ugly sweater contest.
In 2017: December 2 from 5 to 8:30 p.m.Continue to 33 of 67 below.
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Shamrock Farms, Arizona’s hometown dairy, transforms its working dairy farm and tour into a winter wonderland. In addition to getting up close and personal with 10,000 cows on the guided tour, you can enjoy 15 tons of snow, holiday crafts, and face painting. Santa and Shamrock Farms' own jolly spokescow, Roxie, will be there, too. Reservations and pre-payment are required for the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. event. Lunch costs extra.
In 2017: December 2 and 3
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You can express your holiday style this Christmas season at the Velma Teague Branch Library in Glendale, where the winter craft series includes an ugly holiday sweater workshop and ornament making for children.
In 2017: December 16 to 21Continue to 37 of 67 below.
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Visit the Farm at South Mountain to enjoy farm-inspired Christmas light displays in the pecan grove, holiday pop-up shopping featuring vintage ornaments and handmade items from local artisans, breakfast or lunch with Santa, and story time with Mrs. Claus. You can also join DIY Christmas gift workshops and wreath-making classes, and hear performances by the Phoenix Children's Chorus.
In 2017: December 1 to 21
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Throughout the month of December, guests dining at LON’s and Last Drop have the opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind hand painted ornaments and holiday cards created for the occasion by the students from the Scottsdale Artists’ School. On Sunday, December 3, students from the school will be on hand to customize these special gifts, with the proceeds going to scholarships for economically disadvantaged children to attend the school’s Youth Academy winter and summer camps.
On Saturday, December 16, and Sunday, December 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can join LON’s chef at a gingerbread house-building workshop.
In 2017: December 3, 16, and 17Continue to 41 of 67 below.
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This holiday production by the AZ Ice Gilbert Figure Skating Department spotlights skaters of all ages and levels, featuring more than 80 skaters from Gilbert and cities across the valley. Some of the featured soloists include regional and national competitors in both singles and ice dance.
AZ Ice Gilbert
In 2017: December 8, 9
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The Christmas in Carefree festival at the Carefree Desert Gardens includes a snow village with Santa, a parade, a fireworks display, train rides, an outdoor Christmas Market, pet parade, carolers, choirs, and more.
In 2017: December 1 to 23
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Luminarias light up the trail at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert. Enjoy holiday entertainment with school choirs and carolers from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The event collects donations for local nonprofits.
In 2017: December 8, 9, 15, 16
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Residents and business owners in Maricopa with lights and holiday decor in their yards or outside of their businesses may register until 5 p.m. on December 1. Judging takes place in these categories: Best Theme; Best Light Show; Best Use of Color; Best on Parade ($300 cash prize); Residents' Choice ($300 cash prize); and Best Business. Everyone is invited to visit Maricopa during the judging period and after the winners are announced (on the website) on December 20 to enjoy the community holiday spirit.
In 2017: December 9 to 20Continue to 45 of 67 below.
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Take a train ride through more than 100,000 lights and a variety of holiday displays that turn the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale into a winter wonderland. Free admission; small charge for train ride and carousel.
In 2017: December 1 to January 7, 2018 (excluding December 4, 24, 25, and 31)
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The 9th annual toy drive benefiting Cardon Children’s Medical Center culminates in a holiday pancake breakfast at Mesa Fire Station 207. New, unwrapped toys can be donated at 10 different Mesa locations until November 29 and at the holiday pancake breakfast on December 2. Representatives from several city departments will be on hand to provide residents with assistance and information on city services.
In 2017: December 2, 8 to 10 a.m.
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This Christmas event at Freestone Park in Gilbert includes a 12k run, 6k run/walk, and 1.2k run/walk for families and kids, with Christmas carolers at every k. Strollers and leashed pets are welcomed on the course. All 6k and 12k participants receive Christmas stockings (running socks) and a finisher's medal. Wear your Christmas outfits, because Santa has gifts under the tree for the best-dressed pets and their owners, most spirited families, and best-decorated entries. Proceeds support all participating rescues and Maricopa County Animal Care & Control.
Free performances by the Campo Verde Jazz Band, Arizona Canine Freestylers, and more keep the energy high after the run/walk. Visit Santa's Pet Village hosting more than 20 animal rescue groups and pet-related exhibitors, and the Christmas Bazaar, both great places to find gifts for people and pets.
In 2017: December 9, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
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Queen Creek Kids Christmas Car Show and Toy Drive
Teenagers cruise from Queen Creek High School to Desert Mountain Park to collect Christmas gifts for less fortunate children. Entertainment at Desert Mountain Park includes food vendors, a dj, live music, and Santa Claus. Prize raffles benefit students with special needs. Awards for several classes of car show participants will be presented; registration and donations to the Queen Creek Family Resource Center are tax-deductible. Entry fee: $10 and an unwrapped toy for a boy and an unwrapped toy for a girl.
In 2017: December 9, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.Continue to 49 of 67 below.
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Bring your mittens and a snow tube; grab your friends and neighbors and join the fun at Mother Nature’s Farm in Gilbert. The $10 admission for kids includes all-day snow-hill privileges, the hayride, maze, air bounce, and animals; adults cost $5 each to tag along.
In 2017: December 9 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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This parade in historic downtown Glendale highlights all the magic and wonder of Christmas in a parade. Churches, businesses, and community groups from around the valley participate. Proceeds benefit Glendale’s local food bank Hope for Hunger. In addition to the cash proceeds, a city-wide food drive provides thousands of pounds of non-perishable, canned food to Hope for Hunger, which relies solely on volunteers and donations to serve those in need. Hometown Christmas Parade also partners with Operation Santa Claus. On parade day, the public may bring non-perishable food items, clothin,g or new toys to donate to ABC15's Operation Santa Claus presented by Sanderson Ford and Sanderson Lincoln. Donations and proceeds support Hope for Hunger, St. Mary's Food Bank, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, Military Assistance Mission, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix. Look for collection locations along the parade route on Glendale Avenue. A celebration follows... the parade.
In 2017: December 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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About 50 lighted and decorated watercraft parade on the Tempe Town Lake for the annual Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade.
In 2017: December 9 at 4 p.m.Continue to 53 of 67 below.
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The Ignite Hope festivities kick off at North High School in Phoenix with a family-friendly pre-walk party, including face painting, superhero appearances, music, refreshments, and a visit from Santa himself. The 1.1-mile candlelit walk to Phoenix Children’s Hospital starts at 5:30 p.m., ending in the PCH parking lot. When walkers arrive at 6:30 p.m., they take part in an inspirational program led by patients and, finally, see the lighting of the hospital’s holiday tree.
In 2017: December 9
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Join Phoenix Chorale at DeSoto Central Market along Roosevelt Row in Phoenix as they sing Christmas carols and drink beer. Ten percent of all beer sales will be donated to Arizona Helping Hands. The Phoenix Chorale is also collecting unwrapped toys to be donated to the Arizona charity, which provides assistance for foster kids and families.
In 2017: December 2 at 7 p.m.
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Members of Arizona Big Train Operators open their backyard G-scale railroads for the annual Christmas open house tour, which includes 13 properties. "Kids of all ages" can watch trains running along garden railroads located around the Phoenix area, in the West Valley, East Valley, Sun Lakes, and Gold Canyon from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. While admission is free, donations are accepted and appreciated and are used to support ABTO activity throughout the Valley, including the maintenance of the trains at the Cardon Children’s Medical Center.
In 2017: December 9, 10, 16, and 17
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Jingle all the way through the course at Westgate Entertainment District, Glendale with candy and cookies, festive music, creative Christmas images, and so much more to get you in the holiday mood. Race entry includes a finisher medal for both 5K and half marathon runners along with a Santa hat and beard, t-shirt, and candy cane socks. Glendale Fire Charities also collect toys for their annual toy drive.
In 2017: December 17 at 8 a.m.Continue to 57 of 67 below.
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Fully decorated for the holidays, this 1895 Victorian mansion in downtown Phoenix is at its best. Combine your tour of the Rosson House with an elegant high tea. The 1901 Stevens Bungalow transforms into a Victorian-style tea room where tea sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, and, of course, tea is served on exquisite vintage china. Reservations required in advance.
In 2017: December 14
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Enjoy a pancake breakfast, pictures with Santa, and holiday activities at the Mesa Convention Center. Proceeds from the breakfast benefit City of Mesa’s Community Spirit, a charitable fund-raising and volunteer organization that makes Mesa a better place to live. These funds go towards books, materials, field trips, and other items needed for local elementary schools in Mesa.
In 2017: December 16, two seatings 8:30 and 10 a.m.
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See live performances featuring handbells, harps, and more at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Enjoy seasonal songs, and Celtic Christmas performance by Cherish the Ladies and the Celts. Included with regular museum admission.
In 2017: December 16, 17, 19, and 21
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Stay healthy and motivated this holiday season with an island-themed Christmas race in Fountain Hills. Racers can run or walk; all finishers receive a medal, local gourmet coffee. and a post-race doughnut from the Fractured Prune. There will be a holiday reggae party immediately following the event at the Fountain Hills Park.
In 2017: Sunday, December 9 at 4:30 p.m.
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Mr. and Mrs. Claus play host to memorable breakfasts at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort's Rico's American Grill featuring a buffet, seasonal photos with Santa, and holiday story time, whimsical cookie decorating, and gingerbread activity books led by Mrs. Claus. Breakfast with Santa is served buffet-style. Reservations are required, call 602-997-5850.
In 2017: December 16, 17, 23, and 24Continue to 65 of 67 below.
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The heated wave pool at Kiwanis Park in Tempe will be open and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be the guests of honor. Holiday music and games, milk and cookies. Tickets can be purchased in advance at a discounted rate at the Kiwanis Recreation Center’s front desk. Children under the age of 8 years must have an adult with them at all times while in the water.
In 2017: December 30 from 1 to 5 p.m.
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A Phoenix tradition, Holidays at the Heard is a great way to spend time with family and friends. Performances and artist demonstrations introduce visitors to traditional and contemporary American Indian music, dance, and art.
In 2017: December 26 to 30
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More than 75 tons of snow and fun holiday activities enliven the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix during Snow Week.
In 2017: December 26 to January 1, 2018