9 Ways To Celebrate Holiday Magic in Tempe this Season

Editorial StaffNovember 14, 2022
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We may not have snow-capped trees or icy evenings, but that does not mean we can’t experience a winter wonderland in the Valley this season. Here is your guide to holiday events and activities in Tempe, from parades and tree lightings festivals to performances and beyond.

1. Second Sundays on Mill
Nov. 13 & Dec. 11

Support local vendors and find the perfect holiday gifts at this outdoor market on Mill Avenue between Third Street and University Drive. Peruse handmade goods by Valley artists, artisans and makers while enjoying live music, entertainment and light bites. Kiddos and dogs welcome. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., free (tempetourism.com)

2. World of Illumination presents Candy Rush
Nov. 16, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023

Brighten your holiday season by meandering through a display of 2 million animated lights synchronized to music in this magical drive-thru experience. You might just catch a glimpse of Santa himself!  $40-$50, Tempe Diablo Stadium, 2200 W. Alameda Drive, Tempe (tempetourism.com)

3. Fantasy of Lights Street Parade + Tree Lighting
Nov. 25

Get in the Christmas spirit with this night of festivities, starting with live music and roving carolers and culminating with a spectacular parade and tree lighting. Kids can write letters to Santa and pose with the big man himself for a photo. 4-8 p.m., free, Mill Avenue (tempetourism.com)

4. Tempe Fall Festival of the Arts
Dec. 2-4

Explore the work of artists from around the country and enjoy live music and food at one of the oldest festivals in the Southwest. Families can explore the Kids Block, which features works by young artists, along with crafts, yard games, chalk art and jumbo Legos. Or leave the kids at home and sip your way through Arizona wineries and distilleries at the Arizona Wine & Spirits Tasting for an additional $10-$25. Dogs welcome. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., free, Mill Avenue between 3rd Street and University Drive, and on 5th Street between Myrtle and Ash avenues (tempetourism.com)

5. Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake
Dec 10

Watch a dazzling parade of boats of all shapes and sizes as they light up the night in this celebrated Tempe tradition. Enjoy holiday shopping, festive eats, treats and more. 4-9 p.m., free, Tempe Town Lake (tempetourism.com)

6. Holiday Tree Lighting and First Snowfall
Nov 23

Tempe Marketplace hosts this annual celebration with a professional ice-skating performance, Gingerbread Village and the lighting of a 60-foot tree. Pretend you’re in a wintery wonderland with a “first snowfall” experience immediately after the tree lighting. 6-8 p.m., free, Tempe Marketplace (tempetourism.com)

7. Las Noches de las Luminarias
Dec. 1-31 (select dates) | Desert Botanical Garden | $14.95-$39.95

Enjoy an evening filled with sparkling luminarias and twinkling holiday lights while wandering the Desert Botanical Garden’s iconic trails after sunset. Musical performances, entertainment and holiday delights enhance the experience. 5:30-9:30 p.m., $14.95-$39.95, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix (tempetourism.com)

8. ZooLights
Nov. 23, 2022-Jan.15, 2023

Walk through the Phoenix Zoo and ogle millions of twinkling lights, all-new animal lanterns and light displays, a music and light show and meeting with Santa in the Polar Park. Entry includes admission to Dinosaurs in the Desert, an exhibition of colossal prehistoric creatures. 5:30-10:30 p.m. $25-$35. Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix (tempetourism.com)

9. Holiday Shopping

Looking for that special something to gift your loved ones this holiday season? Shop local and take a stroll through Arizona Mills, Tempe Marketplace, along Mill Avenue and in other local Tempe shops to stock up on the perfect presents. (tempetourism.com)


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