Holiday light displays in Phoenix: Where to see the best holiday displays around the Valley

Posted at 8:00 AM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 10:00:02-05

When it comes to winter in Phoenix, we may not have to shovel snow, but we still enjoy the tradition of driving around looking at incredible light displays.

To ring in the season, Valley cities, businesses and resorts go all out with their decorations, including tall trees, ice rinks and thousands of lights. We gathered some of the top displays to check out if you haven't before.

Do you have a spectacular at-home light display you want to share with everyone? Send an email to with a photo of your display and address so we can add it to our map!

Pollock Tempe Cinemas

Pollack Tempe Cinemas (Nov. 17 - Jan. 2, 2017)

On Thursday, Nov. 17, Michael Pollack flipped the switch to turn on more than 500,000 lights that illuminate the shopping center. You can enjoy the thousands of lights from now through January 2.

1825 E. Elliot Road, Tempe AZ 85284

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Christmas at the Princess (Nov. 22 - Jan. 1, 2017)

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess lights its four-story tall Christmas tree on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The tree has 70,000 lights that dance to 16 different holiday songs. There is also ice skating (extra fee), photos with Santa (extra fee) and the Lagoon Lights which you can enjoy throughout the season.

7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale AZ 85255
Admission: Free for hotel guests. $35 per vehicle in self-park and $55 per vehicle valet

Westgate Entertainment District

Westgate's Holiday Tree Lighting(Nov. 22 - Dec. 31)

Westgate Entertainment District is lighting its 33-foot tree on Nov. 22 followed by snowfall. Throughout the holiday season, there will be ice skating, free horse-drawn carriage rides, and a nightly snowfall, plus photos with Santa.  More details here.

On Dec. 29, Westgate will have a Menorah lighting at 5 p.m.

6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale AZ 85305

Tempe Marketplace

Tempe Marketplace's Holiday Tree Lighting(Nov. 23)

On Nov. 23, Tempe Marketplace will light its 60-foot holiday tree at 6:30 p.m. Throughout the season, there will be a nightly snowfall, ice skating at the District Plaza and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Details here.

2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe AZ 85281

Phoenix ZooLights

Phoenix ZooLights (Nov. 23 - Jan. 8)

ZooLights is celebrating 25 years in 2016!  It takes all year to plan, and months to put up the more than 1 million lights and covered displays around the Phoenix Zoo for their annual ZooLights celebration. The kids can chat with Jengo the giraffe and Tortuga the tortoise.

455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix AZ 85008
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Admission: $12.95 - $19.95

Downtown Glendale

Glendale Glitters (Nov. 25 - Jan. 7, 2017)

On Nov. 25, downtown Glendale will turn on its 1.5 million LED lights across 16 blocks to kick off the holiday season. The lighting ceremony will happen at 5:30 p.m. The lights will be lit from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. through Jan. 7.

Downtown Glendale, 58th and Glendale Avenue

Downtown Mesa

Downtown Mesa's Merry Main Street (Nov. 25 - Jan. 1, 2017)

Throughout the holiday season, you can visit downtown Mesa and take part in their holiday festivities. Between Nov. 25 and Jan. 1, you can see their four-story Christmas tree, skate around their outdoor ice rink, and take pictures at "Santa's Selfie Village." View full activities calendar.

Downtown Mesa, Main Street between Country Club and Mesa Drive
Time: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. (ice rink hours vary)
Admission: $10 for one hour of skating

Mesa Temple Grounds

Mesa Temple Grounds (Nov. 25 - Dec. 31)

During the holiday season, the grounds of Mesa's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is covered in beautiful lights. Lights are strung in trees and throughout the gardens, Nativity scenes and lighted statues are illuminated, and music plays in the background, making for a peaceful stroll.   

525 E. Main Street, Mesa AZ 85203
Time: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Admission: Free

Desert Botanical Garden

Las Noches de las Luminarias 2016 (Nov. 25-26, Dec. 9-11, 16-18, 20-23, 26-31)

Walk around the Desert Botanical Garden as 8,000 luminaria bags and lights illuminate the grounds.

Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix AZ 85008
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Admission: Members: $25 - adults, $10 - children; non-members: $30 - adults, $12.50 - children

Ahwatukee Festival of Lights(Nov. 26)

The Ahwatukee Festival of Lights will hold its kick-off party on Saturday, Nov. 26 from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. in Desert Foothills Park. There will be rides and inflatables for the kids, a beer and wine garden, local vendors and a motorcycle parade. At dusk, the lights along Chandler Boulevard from 24th Street to Desert Foothills Parkway will be turned on. More details here.

Downtown Tempe's Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade (Nov. 26)

Head to Tempe's Mill Avenue for their Festival of Lights Parade with lighted floats, cars, and marching bands. The parade starts at 6 p.m. near Mill Avenue at Rio Salado. More details here.

Parade route: Mill Avenue at Rio Salado, 7th Street to Centerpoint Plaza and Maple

Scottsdale Quarter

Santa Social at Scottsdale Quarter(Nov. 26)

The Scottsdale Quarter shopping area will host its tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 26. Santa will visit from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. for free photos and there will be live music from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. The center's three-story tree will be lit at 6:30 p.m., followed by a screening of Home Alone. More details here.

15059 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 85254

APS Electric Light Parade

APS Electric Light Parade (Dec. 3)

Grab some hot chocolate and head down to central Phoenix to watch as dozens of lighted floats make their way down Central Avenue for the 30th edition of the APS Electric Light Parade! Can't go? Make sure to watch the parade, Sunday, Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. on ABC15!

Central Avenue/Montebello Avenue to 7th Street and Indian School Road
Time: Parade begins at 7 p.m.
Admission: Free

Downtown Chandler

Chandler's Tumbleweed Tree (Dec. 3)

Chandler has one of the more interesting and festive holiday light displays in the Valley -- a 25-foot tree made from 1,000 tumbleweeds! The Tumbleweed Tree is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2016 and will ring in the holiday season on Dec. 3. The festival starts at 4:30 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. More details.

3 S. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, 85225

Goodyear's Home Plate for the Holidays (Dec. 3) 

Goodyear will light its holiday tree on Dec. 3. From 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Goodyear Ballpark there will be 4o tons of snow for the kids to play in, live music, games and, of course, the tree lighting. The event is free. Tickets to go on the inflatables are $5 for three tickets, or $10 for an unlimited wristband. More details.

Goodyear Ballpark, 1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear, 85338

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park Holiday Lights(Dec. 9 - Jan. 1, 2017)

Take a ride on Scottsdale's McCormick-Stillman Railroad on a winter wonderland of lights. Train rides are $4 and the carousel is $2. More details.

7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale, 85250
Time: 6:30 - 9 p.m.
** Dec. 24, 24 and 31 not open

El Mirage Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration (Dec. 9)

El Mirage will hold its annual Christmas Tree lighting celebration on Dec. 9 from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. There will be six tons of snow, free photos with Santa, bounce houses, face painting, crafts, and music!  More details.

Bill Gentry Park, 14010 N. El Mirage Road, El Mirage, 85335

Downtown Tempe's Festival of Lights Boat Parade (Dec. 10)

Tempe's Festival of Lights Boat Parade takes place from 4:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Dec. 10. More than 50 lighted boats will float along Tempe Town Lake followed by a fireworks show. The event starts at 4:30 p.m. with music, Santa, food trucks, and the Four Peaks beer truck. More details.

Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, 85281

Carefree's Christmas Festival, Electric Light Parade & Fireworks (Dec. 9-11)

Head north to Carefree for their ninth annual "Have a Carefree Christmas" festival. There will be 35 tons of snow to play in, a gift market, visits with Santa, an electric light parade, carolers and more! View event schedule.

Easy Street in downtown Carefree
Dec. 9: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Dec. 10: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Parade starts at 6, fireworks immediately after
Dec. 11: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.