Glendale Glitters Christmas Festival

This annual celebration in Arizona spans the holiday season

Glendale Glitters
Courtesy of the City of Glendale

Every year the Glendale Glitters celebration in Historic Downtown Glendale, Arizona hosts thousands of visitors who want to celebrate the holiday season in style. For 2018, Glendale Glitters events kick off on Friday, November 23, 2018, with special event weekends throughout December and the lights staying on through January 6, 2019.

Historic Downtown Glendale comes to life each holiday season with the addition of about 1.5 million multi-colored twinkling LED holiday lights located throughout a 16-block area that includes the Old Towne and Catlin Court Districts.

Arizona's best hometown holiday tradition shines brightly from 5 to 10 p.m. all nights, so even if you don't come to Downtown Glendale when it's one of the special holiday weekends mentioned below, you can still enjoy the lights, buy gifts at one-of-a-kind shops, grab a nice dinner or dessert, and take photos by the giant holiday tree—for more information on getting to Glendale from Phoenix, check out our guide "Travel Times to Downtown Glendale."

Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend

Holiday entertainment, food, hand-crafted holiday gifts, a children's winter wonderland and petting zoo, shopping and, of course, visits with Santa are all on display for the "Countdown to Glendale Glitters" on Friday evening, Nov. 23 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Parking will be in short supply, but free shuttles will run from the Glendale Community College north parking lot, at 59th and Vogel Avenues, between 4:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. and the last shuttle will leave downtown Glendale at 10:15 p.m. Event attendees will have the option of paying for preferred parking in the two downtown garages, located at City Hall at 59th and Glenn Drive and the Bank of America Building at 58th Avenue and Glenn Drive—both garages should be accessed from 59th Avenue.

Once the event kicks off, lights will remain on nightly from 5 to 10 p.m. and guests can wander through the 1.6 million led bulbs at their own leisure. However, there are also a series of special event weekends coming in December, so if you're in Glendale for a weekend trip, try to make it out to one of the following weekends.

Local Favorite Bands Weekend: November 30 and December 1

On Friday and Saturday, November 30 and December 1, 2018, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Downtown Glendale's Murphy Park will be packed with music, lights, and excitement featuring performances of both holiday music and oldies as well as special dance troupe shows. 

This showcase of local talent, mixed with all the joys of Christmas, features acts like Dance Academy North, Sun City Poms, Rascapetatiando Dance Company, and Peppermint James on Friday and The Dance Project, Purely Dance Performance Team, Jataba Dance Troupe, The Dance Shoppe Performance Company, and Zimis on Saturday.

The event will also feature holiday arts and crafts, inflatable rides, and visits with Santa Claus, so bring your camera or have Santa's helper snap a picture for a small fee.

Snowfield! Winter Wonderland: December 7 and 7

The following weekend—Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8—guests are invited to come back to Murphy Park for a special treat, a winter wonderland full of snow generated from a snow machine. Guests can pay a small fee to spend hours playing in the manmade snow, creating snowmen and having snowball fights with friends, family, and strangers alike.

A select number of local artists will also perform both nights, with Jack Squeakers from William C Jack Elementary, Elite Dance Academy, Michaela's Dance Magic, and Raymond S Kellis High School Dance Company performing Friday night and Arizona Sunrays Dance, Heart and Sole Performing Arts, Creative Edge Dance, and My Kids in Sign performing Saturday night.

Don't forget to bundle up if you plan to make it for the Snowfield! weekend as you and your kids will be playing in the snow for hours, and even though it's man-made, it's still quite cold so bring mittens to keep your hands protected.

Spirit of Giving Weekend: December 14 and 15

On Friday and Saturday, December 14 and 15, Downtown Glendale asks guests to get in the holiday spirit of giving by featuring local charities alongside some high-quality local entertainers and events. This year, the Glendale Firefighters Charities will be onsite to raise funds for their food and clothing drives, offering 50/50 raffles on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Featured performers include Prestige Dance Academy, Glendale Union High School District Vocal Ensembles, and the Bling Tour on Friday followed by INNERLIGHT Dance Center, Center Stage Stars, Desert West, and Cactus High School Performance Dance shows on Saturday.

Make sure to also stop by a few of the many vendors that will be present throughout the weekend as several of these great local pop-ups are donating portions of their proceeds to the Glendale Firefighters Charities.

The Glendale Glitter & Glow Block Party

The annual lighting tradition draws to a close with the Glendale Glitter & Glow Block Party on Saturday, January 5, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free and thousands of people will stroll the sidewalks of Historic Downtown Glendale and watch about 20 tethered balloons gently expand as pilots fire them up, enjoying bands and street performers for a finale to the festive season.

Due to the extensive street closures required for the block party, parking in the downtown area will be very limited, but for those who like a free parking option, shuttles run all evening long, between 3:45 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. from Glendale Community College; shuttles pick up from the northeast parking lots of the college. The last shuttle will leave downtown Glendale at 10:15 p.m. If you can find a spot, street parking in and around the downtown is free.

After the event, Downtown Glendale's lights shut off for the rest of the year, so make sure you can make it out to Glendale before January 6 to ensure you get to see the city decorated.