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Neighborhoods We Love
Whether you’re relocating or just recreating, the Valley’s diverse and distinctive neighborhoods offer a host of haunts to explore. From family friendly enclaves to hidden historic ’hoods, plus meccas for outdoorsy types, foodies an...
Through December 2
Holiday Market (FREE)
Local vendors offer wreaths, train sets, organic soaps, jewelry, apparel, photography, paintings, candles, homemade dog treats and more. DJ Alanzo, a live band, food trucks, cooking demonstrations, putting contests and a Toys for Tots charity drive are included. Sa, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Su, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Encanterra, a Triology Resort Community, 36460 N. Encanterra Dr., San Tan Valley, trilogylife.com/encanterra, 480-347-9899.
Through December 2
Tempe Festival of the Arts (FREE)
More than 350 artists from across the country showcase original works, with live entertainment, street performers, a chalk mural exhibition, wine and beer tastings, and children’s activities adding to the fun. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mill Avenue District, Tempe, tempefestivalofthearts.com.
Through December 16
Lace up your skates and glide a few laps as this outdoor ice rink returns to the heart of Downtown Phoenix. Call for times and ticket prices. CityScape Phoenix, Central Avenue between Washington and Jefferson streets, Phoenix, cityskatephx.com, 602-772-3900.
Through December 22
The city’s annual holiday celebration includes a Feliz Navidad Fiesta, Dec. 1; Sugar Plum Avenue and Miracle of Roses Pageant, Dec. 8; Gold Palette ArtWalk, Dec. 13; Santa Wine Around and Ale Trail, Dec. 15; and Java Jingle Crawl, Dec. 22. Call for times. Old Town Scottsdale, scottsdazzle.com, 480-312-7177.
Through January 4
Merry Main Street (FREE)
Highlights include a four-story Christmas tree, outdoor ice rink, food truck village and numerous “sELFie” photo stations. Festivities crank up a notch Fridays and Saturdays with arts, crafts and local vendors. 5-10 p.m. Downtown Mesa, merrymainstreet.com.
Through January 5
Illumination: Symphony of Light
Visitors are immersed in millions of colorful lights synchronized to holiday classics played over their FM dials during this drive-through light show, which expands to two locations this year. The attraction includes beloved holiday icons, illuminated tunnels and millions of lights, culminating with a holiday marketplace featuring walk-through ornaments, selfie stations, photos with Santa, bounce houses and a post office to write letters to Santa. Visit website for times. Tickets start at $29 per car. I-17 and Jomax Road, Phoenix; and Tempe Diablo Stadium, 2200 W. Alameda Dr., Tempe, worldofillumination.com, 480-550-1777.
Through January 6
Holiday Lights (FREE)
Thousands of lights adorn trees and displays throughout the park. 6:30-9 p.m. nightly with a few exceptions. Santa is on-site through Dec. 2 and Dec. 7-23. Carousel and train rides, $2-$5. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale, therailroadpark.com, 480-312-2312.
Through January 6
Untamed: Wild Compositions
The garden’s desert flora provides a rich backdrop for the work of Arizona-based artist Frank Gonzales, a classically trained painter known for his vivid avian subjects. The exhibit explores pollinators and natural elements of the Sonoran Desert, playfully arranged in dynamic and fantasy-rich compositions. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call for ticket prices. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, dbg.org, 480-941-1225.
Through January 12
Glendale Glitters (FREE)
This hometown holiday celebration illuminates the historic downtown area with more than 1 million lights. The light display continues 5-10 p.m. nightly, with holiday entertainment, vendors and activities adding to the festivities Dec. 14-15. 58th and Glendale avenues, Glendale, glendaleaz.com/events, 623-930-2299.
Through January 13
This grand event glows with millions of LED lights, including a three-story-tall Christmas tree, lakeside music-in-motion shows and 3-D light sculptures of flamingos, an alligator, dragonfly and other critters. Live reindeer and a 200-foot-long polar slide add to the fun, plus, new this year – entrance to the Stingray Bay and 4-D Theater are included with admission. 5:30-10:30 p.m. Call for ticket prices. Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, phoenixzoo.org, 602-286-3800.
Through April 30
Bugs. BIG BUGS!
Twenty-one gigantic creatures have taken up residence in this new animatronic exhibit. Encounters with real live bugs and other activities are included. Call for times and ticket prices. Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, phoenixzoo.org, 602-286-3800.
Through May 12
Cacti and desert become a living canvas in this nighttime experience by Klip Collective, taking guests on an immersive journey through the garden using light and original music. The exhibit includes seven site-specific locations. Call for times and ticket prices. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, dbg.org, 480-941-1225.
Breakfast with Santa
Guests enjoy a full breakfast catered by Snooze: an A.M. Eatery, as well as a chance to meet and take a complimentary photo with Santa at this fundraiser for HD South, home of Gilbert Historical Museum. 8:30-11:30 a.m. $15. HD South, 10 S. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, hdsouth.org, 480-926-1577.
The Brunch Club
Guests enjoy unlimited brunch bites and four cocktails as local chefs and bartenders showcase their specialties. Proceeds benefit Scottsdale League for the Arts and its efforts to support arts and arts education in the Valley. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., $55; VIP begins at 10:30 a.m., $75. Mountain Shadows, 5445 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley, thebrunchclubaz.org, 480-945-7193.
Dancing for Arizona’s Children
Business and community leaders team up with professional instructors at this dance competition and fundraising brunch. Winners are selected from votes cast by professional judges, the audience and votes bought online, with proceeds benefiting Arizona Children’s Association. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $125, adults; $75, children. JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, 5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale, dancingforazchildren.org, 602-234-3733.
Electric Light Parade (FREE)
Magic of the Holidays is the theme of this nighttime parade, which features dozens of illuminated floats, lighted balloons, marching bands and performance groups. 7 p.m. Central Avenue from Montebello Avenue, south to Camelback Road, east to Seventh Street, south to Indian School Road, Phoenix, phoenix.gov/parks, 602-534-FEST.
Festival of Trees
The Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce celebrates a decade of giving as this 10th annual event features 15 trees decorated by local designers. Trees are auctioned and raffled throughout the night. Heavy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and holiday music are included, along with a silent auction that includes wreaths, menorahs and other holiday displays. 7-10 p.m., $75; VIP: 6-7 p.m., $100, includes a hosted bar. Ballet Arizona, 2835 E. Washington St., Phoenix, festivaloftreesphoenix.org, 602-648-9423.
Holiday Festival & Parade
Toyland Christmas – A Celebration of Our Favorite Childhood Toys is the theme of this annual event, which includes carnival rides, live entertainment, food and beverage stations, photos with Santa, a tree-lighting ceremony and community parade with dozens of entries. Festivities begin at noon, with the parade at 3:30 p.m. and tree lighting at 6 p.m. Queen Creek Library area, 21802 W. Ellsworth Rd., Queen Creek, queencreekparade.org.
Jerome Art Walk (FREE)
Meet the artists as 20-plus galleries and studios participate in this monthly night of art, music and gallery-hopping. 5-8 p.m. Jerome, jeromeartwalk.com, 928-634-0774.
Participants enjoy a self-paced 1-mile round-trip hike, trailside visit with Santa and seasonal craft activity at the trailhead. Strollers and bikes are not permitted. 9-10:30 a.m. $10-$15 per family; registration required. Pinnacle Peak Park, 26802 N. 102nd Way, Scottsdale, scottsdaleaz.gov, 480-312-0990.
Kung Food Fest
Featuring 20 local restaurants and food trucks, this Asian street festival brings the spice, heat and creativity to tantalize the taste buds. Cooking demonstrations, entertainment and games are included. A portion of proceeds benefits Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders. Noon-6 p.m. $10-$15, adults; free, children 12 and younger. Heritage Square, 11 N. Sixth St., Phoenix, kungfoodfest.com.
Petroglyph Discovery Hike
An experienced guide leads participants on a quick 1-mile, one-hour interpretative hike. Recommended for children ages 8 and older, the hike includes changes in terrain as well as elevation. 10-11 a.m. $5. Box Canyon Trailhead, South Mountain Park, 10919 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, pueblogrande.com, 602-495-0901.
Prescott Christmas Celebration (FREE)
Santa visits Arizona’s Christmas City in a festive parade, followed by a courthouse lighting ceremony. 1 p.m., parade; 6 p.m., courthouse lighting. Courthouse Plaza, 100 Gurley St., Prescott, prescott.org, 928-445-2000.
Scottsdale Arts Gala
Matthew Morrison (star of Glee and Hairspray) entertains at this gala, which includes cutting-edge, immersive art experiences; a sophisticated culinary presentation; and an auction filled with unique items and adventures. Proceeds benefit Scottsdale Arts. 5 p.m. $500 ($150, cocktails and concert only). Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale, scottsdalearts.org, 480-499-TKTS.
Tumbleweed Tree Lighting (FREE)
Continuing a tradition that began in 1957, the city of Chandler celebrates its uniqueness with a Christmas tree made from hundreds of tumbleweeds. The thistly tree is on display throughout the month, with opening-day events that include a Parade of Lights, tree-lighting ceremony and live entertainment. A holiday selfie circuit featuring nine stations adds to the fun. 4:30-9 p.m. Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 3 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, chandleraz.gov, 480-782-2669.
F.Q. Story Home Tour
The historic district welcomes guests for its 34th annual self-guided tour of private homes dating from the early 1920s and decorated for the holidays. The area is located just a mile north of the heart of Downtown Phoenix, between Seventh and 17th avenues on Culver Street (three blocks south of McDowell Road). Sa, 6-9 p.m.; and Su, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $15, advance; $20, day of tour, available at Ninth Avenue and Culver Street, Phoenix, fqstory.org.
December 1, 15
Pet Adopt-a-thons (FREE)
Dozens of healthy and adoptable dogs, cats and critters from several rescue groups are on-site, with all pets spayed, neutered and vaccinated. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Adoption fees vary. Dec. 1, Mountain Park Ranch, 4206 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix; and Dec. 15, Petco, 5011 E. Ray Rd., Phoenix, pacc911.org, 602-992-4779.
Las Noches de las Luminarias
Thousands of traditional luminarias line garden trails, buildings and courtyards, casting an elegant glow on the garden’s world-renowned plant collection. A variety of musical groups performs each night. The event is complemented this year by Electric Desert, a light and sound experience by Klip Collective that blankets seven site-specific locations of the garden. Dec. 1-23 and 26-31. 5:30-9:30 p.m. $30, adults; $12.50, children 3-12. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, dbg.org, 480-481-1225.
The raceway is transformed into a winter wonderland with more than 3 million LED lights and 300-plus displays. Snowfall canopies, trees of light and special motorsports-themed exhibits are among the highlights along the 1.6-mile course. Su-Th, 6-9 p.m.; F-Sa, 6-10 p.m. $25 per car/motorcycle. ISM Raceway, 7602 S. Avondale Blvd., Avondale, ismraceway.com, 866-408-RACE.
Arizona MG Walk
Participants affected by myasthenia gravis celebrate the lives of MG patients, physicians and caregivers while walking 1- or 3-mile routes to raise awareness and funds to support the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America. 9 a.m. Donations. Chaparral Park, 5401 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale, mgwalk.org/arizona, 855-MGWALKS.
Fine-Art Holiday Show (FREE)
Artists of the Superstitions members share a variety of works, including paintings, photography, jewelry, ceramics, gourds and pieces in wood, fiber and glass. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Gold Canyon Golf Resort, 6100 S. Kings Ranch Rd., Gold Canyon, artistsofthesuperstitions.com.
Holiday Wine and Dine (FREE)
Melanie Yarger, Miguel Rodriguez, the He Said She Said band, and Marty & Natalie share festive tunes as guests enjoy horse and carriage rides, cookie decorating, wine tastings, raffles and more. 5-8 p.m. The Shops at Gainey Village, 8787 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, theshopsgaineyvillage.com.
Catch-a-Crook Golf Tourney
Golfers hit the links for 18 holes as Silent Witness hosts this fundraising tournament, which includes an awards ceremony, lunch, raffles and auctions. 7:30 a.m. with 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. $250, or $900 per foursome. Arizona Biltmore Golf Club, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix, silentwitness.org, 602-262-5926.
Dozens of local artists and crafters share handmade jewelry, plush toys, beauty items, apparel, art, holiday decor and unique crafts at this 13th annual outdoor festival. Live music and food trucks are included. 6-10 p.m. Medlock Plaza, 10 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, francesvintage.com, 602-279-5467.
First Fridays Art Walk (FREE)
More than 70 Downtown art galleries and creative spaces are featured. 6-10 p.m. Check website for maps, parking and shuttle service from five “park-and-ride hubs,” artlinkphoenix.com, 602-256-7539.
Holiday Prelude XXXIII
Phoenix Theatre Guild partners with Phoenix Youth Symphony for this luncheon and runway fashion show, which features styles from Escada. A holiday gift boutique is included. 10 a.m. $90-$125. JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, 5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale, 480-342-9124.
Challenging the stereotypical cat lover persona with his tattoo-clad arms and guitar case filled with cat toys, the animal advocate and cat behavior and wellness consultant brings his Total Cat Mojo Live tour to the Valley. Galaxy (a.k.a. “The Cat Daddy”) is the star of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell and is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting adoption. 7 p.m. Call for ticket prices. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix, ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000.
Christmas in Carefree (FREE)
A community parade, breakfast with Santa, live music, fireworks, bounce houses and an open-air holiday market are highlights. Call for times. Carefree Desert Gardens, 101 Easy St., Carefree, christmasincarefree.com, 480-488-3686.
Bling Fling! (FREE)
Twenty-five to 30 artisans from Sun City West Beaders Club share handcrafted beaded jewelry creations. Refreshments and door prizes are included. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Beardsley Recreation Center, 20011 W. 128th Ave., Sun City West, 623-546-5696.
Book Signing (FREE)
Award-winning author of historical fiction and Arizona resident Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard signs copies of her new book, Temptation Rag: A Novel, which focuses on the price of freedom, the longing for immortality and the human need to find forgiveness. 1-2 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 10235 N. Metro Parkway East, Phoenix, 602-678-0088.
Family Holiday Party
Historical League of the Arizona Heritage Center at Papago Park hosts this fundraiser, which includes light refreshments, a no-host bar, wine raffle, children’s toy and entertainment raffle, and a performance of Elf: The Musical. 12:30 p.m. with play at 2 p.m. $60-$80. Phoenix Theatre, 1825 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, historicalleague.org, 602-254-2151.
Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade (FREE)
Dozens of festively decorated boats of all sizes light up the lake, with street vendors, a fireworks finale and visits with Santa adding to the fun. 4 p.m.; parade begins at 7 p.m. Tempe Town Lake, 620 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, downtowntempe.com.
Shine Bright for Kids with Cancer
Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children hosts this family-friendly event featuring celebrity guests, sports mascots, children’s activities, a silent auction and food and drink. 5-8 p.m. $50 adults; children are encouraged to bring a new toy for a child with cancer as admission. The Vig, 10199 E. Bell Rd., Scottsdale, azcancerfoundation.org, 480-350-7055.
12Ks of Christmas
Decked out in festive red-and-green apparel, participants jingle all the way while celebrating health, fitness and the joys of Christmas on 12K, 6K and 1.2K runs/walks. Choral groups are stationed throughout the course to serenade runners with Christmas carols. Pet adoptions and a Christmas bazaar are included, with proceeds benefiting local animal rescue groups. Strollers, wagons and leashed pets are welcome. 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Call for entry fees. Freestone District Park, 1045 E. Juniper Rd., Gilbert, 12krun.com, 480-609-3978.
Wag & Walk
Take a hike with adoptable dogs from Maricopa County Animal Care & Control. Participants are encouraged to “test drive” the dogs to see how they behave on leash and get along with other dogs on the family-friendly 1-mile trek. Each lovable pet is accompanied by a shelter volunteer who can answer questions about the dog’s personality, activity level and history. Bring a leash as all dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ready to go home on the spot. 9 a.m. $6 per vehicle park entry fee. Usery Mountain Regional Park, 3939 N. Usery Pass Way, Mesa, maricopa.gov/pets, 602-506-7387.
This nostalgic dinner gala celebrates the music of the ’30s and ’40s, and commemorates the musical classic “White Christmas,” which was written by Irving Berlin poolside at the Arizona Biltmore in 1940. Proceeds benefit The Board of Visitors’ Ryan House. 6:30 p.m. Call for ticket prices. Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix, ryanhouse.org, 602-200-0767.
World Bazaar PHX (FREE)
International Rescue Committee and Fuerza Local welcome more than 50 vendors selling food, art and homemade goods from around the world, complemented by live music and dance performances from Africa, Asia and Latin America. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 1813 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-433-2440.
Mesa Arts Festival (FREE)
Local, regional and national artists share original works of art at this festival, which includes live entertainment on three stages, artist demonstrations and family activities. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa, mesaartscenter.com, 480-644-6500.
Pueblo Grande Indian Market
More than 100 booths of authentic American Indian fine art and collectibles are showcased, with native music, dance and hands-on activities adding to the festivities. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $10, adults; free, children 12 and younger. Pueblo Grande Museum, 4619 E. Washington St., Phoenix, pueblogrande.com, 602-495-0901.
Trains in the Garden (FREE)
Train enthusiasts open their yards to share train layouts featuring cities, towns and landscaped gardens, as well as holiday lights and decorations. Presented by Arizona Big Train Operators, the annual Christmas open-house tours take place at 15 homes, plus a medical center and museum. Sa-Su, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Donations appreciated to support maintenance of railroads at Ryan House and Cardon Children’s Medical Center at Banner Health. Greater Phoenix area; map available at azbigtrains.org.
December 8, 22
Artisan Fest (FREE)
Dozens of local artists, designers and creators share their works at this event, which includes live music, yoga classes, cooking and juicing demonstrations, and children’s activities. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. OdySea in the Desert, 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale, odyseainthedesert.com, 480-951-2100.
Scottsdale ArtWalk (FREE)
Scottsdazzle is the theme as Scottsdale Gallery Association hosts this event. Strolling carolers, a visit from Santa, live ice carvings, refreshments, artist demonstrations and receptions are included. 6:30-9 p.m. Downtown Scottsdale, scottsdalegalleries.com.
Sedona Northern Lights (FREE)
Sedona’s landscape provides a natural canvas for this Paintscaping project, which lights up the night with holiday-themed 3-D art. Viewable from various points throughout Uptown Sedona, the display is projected onto Camelhead Rock, located next to the town’s famous Snoopy Rock. Musical accompaniment can be heard at certain viewing areas and also on KAZM 7890AM. The show commences at the top of the hour from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly, sedonanorthernlights.com.
City Lights Movie Nights (FREE)
Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy a double-feature screening of two Christmas classics: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Home Alone as this outdoor movie series continues. 6:30 p.m. CityScape Phoenix, Central Avenue between Washington and Jefferson streets, Phoenix, cityscapephoenix.com.
Trivia Night @ SMoCA
Test your pop culture IQ and win prizes as comedian Anwar Newton hosts an evening of holiday-themed movie, TV and music references. 7 p.m. $10 (includes first drink). Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, smoca.org, 480-874-4666.
December 14-January 6
Zoppé Italian Family Circus
Experience the tradition of old-world Italian circus arts, including acrobatic feats, canine capers and expert jugglers. Dec. 14-16, $25-40, adults; $15-$30, children, Rancho Rio Arena, 1325 N. Tegner St., Wickenburg, dewpac.org, 928-684-6624; and Dec. 26-Jan. 6, $15-$40, Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, chandlercenter.org, 480-782-2680. Call for times.
Sippin’ Santas Pub Crawl
Don your best Santa costume and cruise from pub to pub with fellow festive friends while enjoying $2 specials, live entertainment and prizes for custom costumes. 1 p.m. $20-$25 (includes a T-shirt). Downtown Chandler, downtownchandler.org, 480-855-3539.
Spark! After Dark (FREE)
A grownup’s playground, this monthly event features live music, art, food and drinks. This month’s theme is Hip Hop Holiday. 8-11 p.m. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa, mesaartscenter.com, 480-644-6500.
December 15, 22
Guests can stroll around the decorated wildlife sanctuary as the animals enjoy special treats in a rustic setting. Carolers, hot cocoa by the fire and visits with Santa are included. 5-7 p.m. $30, adults; $20, children 3-12. Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, 27026 N. 156th St., Scottsdale, southwestwildlife.org, 480-471-9109.
Sunrise in the Skyspace
Celebrate the winter solstice in James Turrell’s Knight Rise skyspace and toast the shortest day of the year with Irish coffee and pastries. It’s worth getting up for. 5:30 a.m. $10. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, smoca.org, 480-874-4666.
Holidays at the Heard
Visitors enjoy music, dance and artist demonstrations. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call for ticket prices. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, heard.org, 602-252-8848.
Cave Creek Corner Mercado (FREE)
Magic Bird Festivals presents this event featuring arts and crafts, boutique apparel, gourmet culinary treats and Native American and Southwest-inspired designs by local and regional artisans. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Northeast corner of Cave Creek and Schoolhouse roads, Cave Creek, magicbirdfestivals.com, 480-488-2014.
December 28-January 1
ArabHorse Farm Tour (FREE)
Eight of Scottsdale’s premier Arabian horse facilities host open-barn tours and presentations, allowing visitors a chance to see and touch magnificent Arabian horses and learn about the versatile and family-friendly breed. Visit arabhorsefarmtour.com for complete schedule and locations.
Fiesta Bowl Parade (FREE)
An array of colorful floats, high-flying helium balloons, marching bands, and specialty and equestrian units performs along the 2-mile parade route. Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals, is grand marshal. 10 a.m. Reserved seating available, $25. Central Avenue from just south of Bethany Home Road, south to Camelback Road, east to Seventh Street, south to Minnezona Avenue, Phoenix, fiestabowl.org, 480-350-0900.