It wouldn't be the winter holidays without loads of sparkling lights to brighten up the long, dark nights. These Phoenix-area holiday light displays run through December and sometimes even into January. So choose one or more for some glittering holiday cheer during 2017's holiday season.
While there is a Christmas zone, this isn't just about Christmas. This huge festival of lanterns and lights celebrates regions and cultures of the world in downtown Phoenix. It's on USA Today's list of Top 5 Over-the-Top Holiday Lights. It's on from Nov. 16, 2017, to Jan. 2, 2018. The display is closed on Dec. 26.
ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo
Each year the Phoenix Zoo puts up an amazing holiday display called ZooLights. This event is about holiday lights, music, and lighted animal sculptures, not live animals. See ZooLights from Nov. 22, 2017, to Jan. 14, 2018, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess puts on its holiday dress and transforms itself into a sparkling winter wonderland for this event. Skate on real ice on the resort's Desert Ice Skating Rink and check out the Christmas tree light show against the resort's facade. And who wouldn't love to make a furry friend at Build-a-Bear Workshop? It's on from Nov. 22 to Dec. 31, 2017.
Each year during the holiday season the Desert Botanical Garden lines the paths of its extraordinary landscape with thousands of luminarias. You can get a bite to eat at the Patio Cafe and get a glass, bottle, or flight of wine. And there will be live entertainment every night as a soundtrack for this one-of-a-kind experience. This is a ticketed event, and it is smart to book in advance. Go any night from Nov. 24 to Dec. 30, 2017, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Historic Downtown Glendale comes to life each holiday season with about 1.5 million multi-colored twinkling holiday lights throughout a 12-block area that includes the Old Towne and Catlin Court districts. You can walk or drive around the area without digging for your wallet. The mayor of Glendale will throw the switch on the lights at 6 p.m. on Nov. 24, 2017, and they will shine brightly every night from 5 to 11 p.m. until Jan. 6, 2018.
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 colorful lights. Admission and parking are free. This display will light the darkness every night from 5 to 10 p.m. from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31, 2017.
The beautiful white Ahwatukee lights can be seen on Chandler Boulevard from 24th Street to Desert Foothills Parkway every night from Nov. 25, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2018. They are worth going the long way home to see.
Take a train ride through many festive holiday lights and displays that turn the Railroad Park in Scottsdale into a winter wonderland. On opening night, Dec. 1, 2017, you'll also be treated to a visit from Santa, a tree-lighting ceremony, and live entertainment. Santa will hold court in a historic train car until Dec. 23. You can ride the Paradise & Pacific Railroad through this holiday spectacle from 6:30 to 9 p.m. starting Dec. 1 through Jan. 7. 2018, except for Dec. 4, 24, 25, and 31.