When the holiday season arrives, Phoenix comes alive with Southwestern hospitality and warmth. One of the unique holiday events in the Valley happens at the Desert Botanical Garden at the annual Las Noches de las Luminarias festival. More than 7,000 luminaries are set out along the garden pathways, turning the grounds into a wonderland of light and shadow. Strolling musicians, hot apple cider, and gourmet bites only add to the wonder of it all.

For another winter wonderland in the desert, head to downtown Phoenix for the annual CitySkate Ice Rink at the CityScape shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. Strap on your ice skates and take a spin on the smooth ice rink, then enjoy holidays cookies and listen to holiday carolers.

One of the biggest block parties in Arizona happens every holiday season in historic downtown Glendale during Glendale Glitters. Every weekend in December, the downtown quarter turns into a pedestrian-only area with street vendors, live music, and holiday shopping in the city’s antique shops. The annual culminates with a post-Christmas all-weekend bash featuring hot air balloons on the streets and live music on every corner.

For a uniquely Phoenix holiday event, check out Holidays at the Heard. The annual Southwestern tradition celebrates the spirit of the holidays and native cultures at the Heard Museum in central Phoenix. The event starts the day after Christmas and continues for a week, giving visitors a chance to explore authentic American Indian culture, including live music and dance.

A WINNIE THE POOH CHRISTMAS TAIL

“A Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tail” has become a favorite annual holiday tradition for many Phoenix families. The play, a production of the Valley Youth Theatre, has been presented annually for nearly 20 years. The play is a thoughtful exploration of friendship and loyalty, starring everyone’s favorite creatures from the 100 Acre Wood. Kids will love seeing stage incarnations of Christopher Robin, Piglet, Pooh, Rabbit, Tigger, Owl, Kanga and Roo and other woodland creatures as they search for Eeyore’s lost tail. The show is presented throughout the month of December. Tickets sell out fast for weekend performances, so be sure to reserve your seats early.

HANDEL’S MESSIAH AT THE PHOENIX SYMPHONY

Handel Messiah’s is an annual Christmas tradition around the world, bringing the popular “Hallelujah” chorus to lovers of classical Christmas music. The Phoenix Symphony, along with the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, puts on a rousing rendition of the classic every December. The top-notch symphony, one of the best in the Southwest, puts on the holiday concert every December at venues and churches located across the Valley. Music Director Laureate Michael Christie leads The Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Symphony Chorus for a beautiful production of this spiritual classic. Be sure to check for specific times and venues, as the schedule changes every year.

LIGHTS OF THE WORLD

Inspired by the traditional lantern festivals of China, Lights of the World is a holiday-themed light and lantern festival that is being billed as the biggest in North America. The event, which runs through the early New Year at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, features dazzling lantern displays that highlight different cultures and civilizations around the world. More than 10 million lights make up the entirety of the displays. Apart from eye-dazzling light displays, Lights of the World also features carnival rides and games, and daily performances that run the gamut from acrobatics to live music. This family-friendly light festival was designed to appeal to visitors of all ages.

CITYSKATE ICE RINK AT CITYSCAPE

Nothing says winter in the city like a freshly surfaced ice skating rink decorated with twinkling holiday lights. That’s what visitors will find at the annual CitySkate at CityScape Phoenix event, which arrives in downtown Phoenix every year in December. Guests can rent ice skates and take a spin around the rink, snack on holiday treats like cookies and hot cocoa, enjoy the twinkling lights, and listen to the sweet sounds of holiday carolers – all in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The ice skating rink is located at the CityScape center and stays open until January. The ice skating rink is conveniently located near downtown shops and dining.

LAS NOCHES DE LAS LUMINARIAS

The elegant grounds of the Desert Botanical Gardens glow with candlelight during this famous winter event. Late in the year (usually in December), volunteers line garden pathways with more than 7,000 luminaries, creating an otherworldly spectacle that draws sell-out crowds. Musicians perform throughout the evening (including strolling mariachis), and light refreshments are served. Hungry guests can purchase gourmet bites or reserve a table at the garden’s restaurant for holiday-themed meal with all the trimmings. Non-member tickets go on sale in early October and sell out quickly, so plan ahead! This is one of the most unique holiday celebrations in the Phoenix area.

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Jeff Barchi has been a REALTOR® and one of the best real estate agent Arizona expert and managing homes for sale in the Greater Phoenix area since 1999. He is ranked in the top 1% of all real estate agents in Arizona in Greater Phoenix, two-time winner of top 40 Realtor AZ under 40 awards, and the top 2% of all agents nationwide. In 18 years Jeff, as a leading Arizona real estate agent, has participated in approximately 900 transactions, i.e. homes for sale in Arizona, averaging approximately 50 per year. To put this number in perspective, the average Realtor AZ closes 11 transactions per year. If you are looking for the best real estate agent Arizona expert, Jeff Barchi is your guy. His real estate firm has been praised as the best Phoenix real estate agent, he has been a very successful Scottsdale real estate agent and Paradise Valley Realtor.