It wouldn't be Christmas without twinkling light displays that brighten up the darkest winter nights and fill our hearts with joy. Phoenix is a great place to celebrate the season with its holiday lights and events galore. So choose the most appealing light show, drive-thru, or train ride, and hurry up for Christmas in Phoenix, as the season is mostly over by early January.
ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo (late November 2022–mid-January 2023)
Phoenix Zoo is considered by many to be a favorite holiday destination, as it hosts one of the largest lighting displays in the Southwest. Millions of lights go on nightly at 5:30 pm and shine through 10:30 pm. ZooLights traditionally features lighted animal sculptures and a Wildlife Lantern Safari complete with 66 glowing animal lanterns. Music, light shows, and artist performances are also on the program. A general walk-thru ticket is $20 per person, whereas drive-thru admission is $75 per vehicle. The last entry is 9:30 pm.
World of Illumination: Candy Rush in Glendale (mid-November 2022–early January 2023), Reindeer Road in Tempe (mid-November 2022–early January 2023)
Another must-see is the World of Illumination, labeled the world's largest drive-thru animated light show. In Arizona, it occurs at Tempe Diablo Stadium, just east of Phoenix, 6 miles (10 km) south of the zoo, and also at Westgate Shopping District in Glendale, about 16 miles (26 km) northwest of downtown Phoenix. Each show has a different theme. So choose one and set off to explore a mile-long corridor illuminated with millions of lights synced to your favorite Christmas tunes. On Monday–Thursday, the admission is $29 per car. On weekends, the price is $39. The light shows run nightly from 6 pm through 10 pm.
Murphy Park Lights (mid-November 2022–early January 2023)
The city of Glendale also hosts a brand new Murphy Park Lights instead of Glendale Glitters, families' favorite holiday tradition in the valley. The holiday light display includes a 20-foot walkthrough Snowman and a 30-foot tree with lights that dance to the music. Join the festive park which comes alive with the magic of light. The lights are on every night till early January. It is the perfect time to bring family and friends together as they discover local shops, boutiques and award-winning restaurants in the heart of downtown Glendale. Throughout the holidays, the park and downtown will be filled with music, song, dance and fun. Every Friday and Saturday in December community groups will take the stage at the Murphy Park Amphitheater with free holiday performances.
Christmas at the Princess (mid-November 2022–early January 2023)
For the ultimate family holiday, head out to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort. This gorgeous place that kindles the Christmas spirit is located some 23 miles (37 km) northeast of downtown Phoenix. For Christmas at the Princess event, the resort's lagoons are lit up with 5 million dazzling LED lights. You can either walk around or better yet, take a ride by one of the two Princess Express Trains and enjoy the glowing infinity tunnels, pirates' ships, and mermaids. Additionally, you can watch light and music shows in the Enchanted Plaza. No visit is complete without ice skating in the desert, roasting marshmallows, making s'mores, and visits with Santa. The standard admission is $60 per car, including self-parking, and $15 per rideshare or walk-up guest. Note that many activities have separate fees.
Holiday Train Rides at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (late November 2022–early January 2023)
There's another place offering glittering train rides, with better proximity to downtown Phoenix—McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. Here you'll immerse yourself in more than a million Christmas lights while riding a steam-powered locomotive of the Paradise & Pacific Railroad. The lights will shine from 6 pm through 9:30 pm. Apart from the holiday train, there will be a historical Charros Carousel and traditional Christmas refreshments such as hot cocoa. The admission is $15 and includes both train and carousel rides and access to the photo pod. Kids aged two and younger enter for free. Note that the park is closed on December 24, 25, and 31.
Regardless of numerous Christmas light events, you can always browse Phoenix's area at your own pace and see how locals decorate their neighborhoods. Who knows, maybe you'll discover a stunning home display masterpiece that will outshine all the rest.