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Skating, movies, lights: Festive things to do this weekend around the Valley

North Phoenix Lights 2021 2.jpg
Posted at 5:32 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-26 07:24:35-05

PHOENIX — Whether you need to keep the kids entertained while on break from school or have the in-laws in town for the holiday, there are plenty of festive things to do around the Valley over the Christmas weekend.

Here are a few ideas to consider.


Ice skating: Lace up the skates and spin around the ice at Cityscape in downtown Phoenix, Merry Main Street in downtown Mesa, Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, or at the rink at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. View each venue's website for specific session times, pricing, and discounts.

Christmas lights: If you're looking to see Christmas lights, there are no shortage of spots to see them in the Valley. Ride the train through a winter wonderland at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, drive through World of Illumination's light shows in Tempe and Glendale, or see the light show at Salt River Fields. Zoo Lights is back at the Phoenix Zoo for its 30th year.

Home Christmas lights: Pack some snacks, the kids, and the car and take a drive around town to see some of the homes that have been decorated for Christmas. Some have thousands of traditional lights, while others have created elaborate shows syncing their lights to holiday tunes. Others have been themed after Disney's "The Little Mermaid," Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, or Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

View our interactive holiday lights map to see more than 60 homes around the Valley

Christmas bars and cocktails: Get into the Christmas spirit with some festive cocktails. Sippin' Santa and its tiki menu are back at Bitter & Twisted in downtown Phoenix, while Miracle is back at Floor 13 Rooftop Bar. Blue Hound has outdoor igloos with couches and tables, turntables, and other Christmas decor, plus holiday cocktails. In Scottsdale, Salt and Lime Modern Mexican Grill has transformed into the Feliz Navidad Cantina with ornaments, ribbons, tinsel, and wallpaper hung from the ceiling and on the walls.


Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts Christmas Day game: Few tickets are available for the Cards-Colts game on Christmas Day at State Farm Stadium. As of Thursday afternoon, the least expensive ticket was $65, while the rest were $200+. The game starts at 6:15 p.m.

Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors Christmas Day game: Tickets are still available for the Suns Christmas Day game against the Warriors. The least expensive ticket, as of Thursday afternoon, was $170. Not going to the game, you can watch it on ABC15. The game starts at 3 p.m.

Zoppé Italian Family Circus (Dec. 23, 2021 - Jan. 2, 2022): After hosting a drive-in circus amid the pandemic in 2020, the Zoppe Italian Family Circus returns to Big Surf in Tempe. Acts include clowns, aerial gymnastics, Russian bars, equestrian showmanship, and juggling. It's all hosted beneath a 500-seat tent.

Arizona Boardwalk: Odysea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Surprise Your Eyes, Pangea, and The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not will be open throughout the weekend. However, all attractions will close at 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. At Ripley's, a new exhibition featuring artifacts some President Lincoln's assassination and funeral recently opened.

Medieval Times: On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Medieval Times has one jousting tournament scheduled. On Dec. 26, three tournaments are scheduled throughout the day.

Mavrix and Octane Raceway: Both entertainment venues will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with limited hours. You can bowl, play laser tag, or the arcade at Mavrix. Octane has an indoor go-kart track and virtual reality gaming.

Catch a movie: Grab some popcorn and catch a movie over the weekend. Spider-Man: No Way Home" has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and American Underdog, the movie about Kurt Warner, will be released on Christmas Day. AMC, Harkins, Majestic, Landmark Cinemas, Look Cinemas, and Touchstar Cinemas all have showtimes scheduled on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Sunday. Pollack Cinemas has holiday classics being screened over the weekend.

Chihuly at Desert Botanical Garden: The Garden closes at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, is closed on Christmas Day, and reopens on Sunday, Dec. 26. Reservations are required to see Chihuly and its Las Noches de las Luminaria event. Tours of Chihuly's work at Taliesin West resume on Sunday, Dec. 26.

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition: The traveling exhibition that displays some of Van Gogh's famous works on a larger-than-life scale is open over the holiday weekend, though tickets are limited (as of Thursday afternoon). Tickets were still available on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Sunday, Dec. 26.