Top December events, festivals, concerts, things to do around Phoenix

Posted at 1:59 PM, Nov 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-10 12:59:20-05

The holiday season is officially underway!

With that comes festive parades, light displays, theater shows and tons and tons of snow to play in! We've gathered a list of the top events, including comedian Jim Gaffigan and two free movie screenings, happening around the Valley in December.

Check out our top picks:

Tempe Festival of the Arts/Downtown Tempe Authority

Tempe Festival of the Arts (Dec. 2-4)
Where: Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe
Time: 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Admission: Free


Free movie screening: Phoenix PJs in the Park (Dec. 2)
Where: Civic Space Park, 424 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85004
Time: Polar Express at 5:30 p.m., National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation at 7:30 p.m.
Admission: Free (bring three canned goods to benefit St. Mary's Food Bank)


Peoria Old Town Holiday Festival(Dec. 2)
Where: Old Town Peoria
Time: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit with 20 tons of snow, holiday crafts, live music and a visit from Santa!


Tapestry: A tribute to Carole King(Dec. 2)
Where: Higley Center for the Performing Arts
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $28 - $44

King wrote her first number one hit – Will You Love Me Tomorrow – at the age of 17. As the years went on, she and her then-husband wrote more than a dozen hits for various artists, including Bobby Vee, Little Eva, The Drifters and The Chiffons.


Christmas Idea House Tour + Shop (Dec. 2-3)
Where: Gilbert, Arizona
Time: Dec. 2, 4 p.m. - 8 p.m., Dec. 3, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Admission: $12 online, at the door. Bring a canned food item for $2 discount
** Park at LDS Church, 7361 S. 164th Street, Gilbert AZ. A shuttle will take you to the house.

Take a look through an overly decorated mansion in the Valley where items are available for purchase.


VYT’s Winnie The Pooh Christmas Tail (Dec. 2-23)
Where: Valley Youth Theatre, 525 N. First Street, Phoenix
Time: varies by performance
Admission: $18


APS Electric Light Parade(Dec. 3)
Where: Central and Montebello in Phoenix
Time: Parade starts at 7 p.m. Get there early to claim your spot.
**Can't make it? Watch ABC15 at 4 p.m. on Dec. 4 to see a parade recap.

The APS Electric Light Parade is back! Bring a jacket and watch more than a dozen lighted trucks, trailers and floats make their way down the street. Make sure to look out for Santa!


Chandler's Tumbleweed Tree Lighting (Dec. 3)
Where: Downtown Chandler
Time 4:30 p.m. - 9 p.m., parade starts at 7 p.m.
Admission: Free

It takes nearly 1,000 tumbleweeds to build Chandler’s iconic tumbleweed tree. The tumbleweeds are then sprayed with 25 gallons of white paint, 20 gallons of flame retardant and 65 pounds of glitter.


Comedian Jim Gaffigan(Dec. 3)
Where: Comerica Theatre
Time: 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
Admission: $39.50+


7th annual Holiday Pet Festival(Dec. 3)
Where: WestWorld of Scottsdale
Time: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: Free

WestWorld will be filled with hundreds of vendors selling the latest in pet products and gifts. If you’re looking for a pet, local groups will be on hand with pets available for adoption.


Maricopa's Merry Copa Holiday Festival (Dec. 3)
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park
Time: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: Free. Parking: $5. Unlimited games, $5 (cash only).

There will be skating, sledding, and a visit from Santa and Frozen’s Anna and Elsa! The festival is free.


CycloMesa WinterFest (Dec. 3)
Where: Alta Mesa Drive
Time: 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: Free

There will be 10-tons of snow to play in, helmet safety lessons, a mechanical snowboard, food trucks, and games.


Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins (Dec. 4)
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
Time: 2:25 p.m.
Admission: varies by seat, sections

Let’s go Cards!


Mamma Mia! (Dec. 6-11)
Where: ASU Gammage
Time: varies by performance
Admission: $20 - $125

Enjoy an evening of ABBA’s biggest hits. The five-time Tony-award nominated musical brings its farewell tour to Tempe.


Free movie night: Home Alone 2 and Elf (Dec. 9)
Where: Patriot's Park at CityScape, downtown Phoenix
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Admission: Free

Bring a jacket, chair, blanket and snacks to downtown Cityscape for a free double-feature.


Red Bull Flying Bach (Dec. 9-11)
Where: Comerica Theatre
Time: Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.
Admission: $39+


Phoenix Festival of the Arts (Dec. 9-11)
Where: Margaret T. Hance Park
Time: Dec. 9 – 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Dec. 10 – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Dec. 11 – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: Free

More than 100 artists and vendors will be there to sell unique holiday gifts. There will also be music, food trucks and other performances.


Carefree’s Christmas Festival (Dec. 9-11)
Where: Downtown Carefree
Time: Friday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. View full schedule.
Admission: Free

Enjoy 40 tons of snow, games and pictures with Santa. Electric Light Parade and Fireworks scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10. More info.


Phoenix Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Dec. 9-11, 22-24)
Where: Orpheum Theater, 203 W. Adams Street, Phoenix AZ 85003
Time: varies by performance. Check website.
Admission: $25+

Join the mice, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the rest of the Phoenix Ballet dancers for this holiday show.


Ballet Arizona’s The Nutcracker (Dec. 9 – 24)
Where: Phoenix Symphony Hall (recorded music)
Time: varies by date.
Admission: $25+


Tempe’s Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade + Fireworks (Dec. 10)
Where: Tempe Town Lake and Tempe Beach Park
Time: 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Parade starts at 7 p.m.
Admission: Free

More than 50 lighted boats will cruise around Tempe Town Lake for the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade. Following will be a fireworks show.


Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints (Dec. 18)
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
Time: 2:05 p.m.
Admission: varies by seat, section

Can the Arizona Cardinal’s defeat the New Orleans Saints? Let’s go Cards!


Billy Elliot (through Dec. 24)
Where: Phx Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix AZ 85004
Time: varies by performance
Admission: $30+


Phoenix ZooLights (through Jan. 8, 2017)
Where: Phoenix Zoo
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Admission: $12 - $19

Walk around the Phoenix Zoo and see more than a million lights, animal displays and the music-in-motion show.


Los Noches de la Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden (through Dec. 31)
Where: Desert Botanical Garden
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults - $25-$30, Kids - $10-$12.50)

During this festival, more than 8,000 luminaria bags are lit around the gardens, while festive music plays in the background.


Mannheim Steamroller Christmas (Dec. 24)
Where: ASU Gammage
Time: 8 p.m.
Admission: $35 - $120-50

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – The Ghosts of Christmas Eve (Dec. 26)
Where: Gila River Arena
Time: 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $36.50 - $71.25.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is taking their “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” tour on the road again and coming to Glendale.


Snoop Dogg (Dec. 29)
Where: Comerica Theatre
Time: 8 p.m.
Admission: $55+

Snoop Dogg brings his “Puff Puff Pass” tour to Phoenix!


Playstation Fiesta Bowl and Parade (Dec. 31)
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
Time: Parade starts at 10 a.m. near Central and Montebello avenues. Kickoff: TBD.
Admission: Parade is free. Tickets to game vary by seat, section