Twinkle towns: Your holiday light display guide for Phoenix and Tucson

Twinkle towns: Your holiday light display guide for Phoenix & Tucson

(Photo courtesy of Pratt Brothers Christmas at Rawhide)

By Teresa K. Traverse

December 8, 2023

The holidays are in full swing. If you’d like to get into the spirit, consider heading to one of these light displays throughout the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas.

From dazzling drive-through light constructions to two zoos that will both be lit for the occasion, check out these nine light displays throughout Arizona.

 

Christmas at the Princess

Where: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 E. Princess Drive, Scottsdale

When: Nov. 17 to Jan. 6, 2024

Cost: Wristbands start at $35 per person; self-parking costs $35 if preordered. Prices are higher if purchased on the day of your visit.

Twinkle towns: Your holiday light display guide for Phoenix & Tucson

Photo courtesy of Christmas at the Princess

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess will be all decked out in lights for its annual holiday celebration, Christmas at the Princess. Guests can enjoy a variety of light displays, an ice skating rink, a four-lane ice slide, a Christmas tree bedecked with 70,000 LED lights synchronized to music, a Ferris wheel, and a s’mores land, among other festive attractions. The resort’s lagoon will feature plenty of light displays that illuminate the resort’s grounds.

One of this year’s new offerings is the Aurora Ice Lounge + Chill, an ice bar that’s chilled to 20 degrees. Guests are required to make reservations at the resort’s restaurants early as space will be limited.

 

ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo

Where: 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix

When: Nov. 22 to Jan. 14, 2024, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. 

Cost: Ticket prices start at $30

Every holiday season, the Phoenix Zoo transforms into a holiday destination for ZooLights.

Head to the zoo to see close to 4 million lights, displays, and what the zoo claims is the tallest floating tree in North America. Some highlights include a 200-foot-long light tunnel, a s’mores station, and photo ops with Santa.

 

Pratt Brothers Christmas at Rawhide

Where: Rawhide Western Town, 5700 W. North Loop Road, Chandler

When: Wednesday through Sunday from Nov. 24 to Dec. 24, 6 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Ticket prices start at $29. Children 2 and younger are free.

Twinkle towns: Your holiday light display guide for Phoenix & Tucson

Photo courtesy of Pratt Brothers Christmas at Rawhide

Making its debut this year is the Pratt Brothers Christmas at Rawhide. Rawhide Western Town in Chandler will all be decked out with 6 million lights spread across its 15 acres. Visitors can also look forward to a Holiday Express train ride, a nightly parade, stunt shows, holiday shopping courtesy of Ivy & Sage Lifestyle Co., a life-sized gingerbread house light show, live entertainment, and visits with Santa.

 

Desert Farm Lights

When: Open daily, Nov. 17 to Dec. 31, from 5 to 10 p.m.

Where: 14629 W. Peoria Ave., Waddell

Cost: Tickets start at $20 per person.

Twinkle towns: Your holiday light display guide for Phoenix & Tucson

Photo courtesy of Desert Farm Lights

West Valley mom Shanelle Kunz founded Desert Farm Lights in 2022 and decided to bring it back for a second run this year. Located in Waddell in the West Valley, Desert Farm Lights offers a variety of festive attractions including a horse-drawn hayride through an illuminated forest, a DIY toy shop, slides, Christmas movies, letters to Santa, giant snow globes to roast s’mores in, and a scented candy cane maze.

 

World of Illumination

When: Open Tuesday through Sunday through Dec. 31

Where: Two locations in metro Phoenix

Cost: Ticket prices start at $39.99 for the entire car. Tickets must be purchased online.

Pack some snacks and cocoa in the car as you drive past about 1 million lights that are synchronized to music at World of Illumination. This holiday light show is taking place at the Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale and the Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Glendale show is “Reindeer Road,” a North Pole-themed show, while the Tempe show is dubbed “Cosmic Sleighride” and has space-themed light displays. World of Illumination is open rain or shine.

 

Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden

When: Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 19-23, 26-30 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix

Cost: General admission tickets cost $16.95 for youth and $39.95 for adults.  

Twinkle towns: Your holiday light display guide for Phoenix & Tucson

Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden

This holiday season, the December Botanical Garden will transform into a bright holiday paradise filled with trails lit by luminaries and holiday light displays throughout. Visitors also can enjoy live music, entertainment, food, and drinks.

Note: Advanced reservations are required. Entry times have limited capacity. Reservations are required if you’d like to dine at onsite restaurant Gertrude’s.

 

Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

When: Nov. 24 to Jan. 7, 2024, 6 to 9:30 p.m. No holiday lights on Dec. 7, 24, 25, or 31.

Where: McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale

Cost: General admission tickets cost $15 per person; children 2 and younger are free.

Families can hop on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad and take a train ride that passes by and even under holiday lights at the McCormick—Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. Visitors also can explore the Model Railroad Building and purchase food and drinks from Hartley’s General Store.

Note: Guests must choose their entry time: 6, 7, or 8 p.m.

 

LightsUp! A Festival of Illumination at the Tucson Botanical Garden

When: Nov. 24 to Jan. 7, 2024, Tuesday through Sunday from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Tucson Botanical Garden, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson

Cost: Tickets have dynamic pricing depending on when you visit. At the time of this writing, adult tickets cost $18 each and children ages 4-17 cost $16.

The Tucson Botanical Garden will be all aglow with over 1 million lights as part of its second annual LightsUp! A Festival of Illumination. Specifically, guests can stroll through six themed light areas and see dancing sculptures and luminaria displays. LightsUp! is open rain or shine.

 

ZooLights Holiday Magic 2023 at Reid Park Zoo

When: Dec. 2 to Jan. 7, 2024, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Ct., Tucson  

Cost: Ticket prices for adults cost $13; seniors cost $11; children ages 2-14 cost $8.

All throughout December and into early January, Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo will be transformed into a holiday destination as part of ZooLights. Stroll the zoo and take in the enchanting light shows and colorful displays. Visitors also can enjoy nightly entertainment, photo ops with Santa, falling snow in the Arctic Zone, and hot cocoa from the Zoo Café.

 

READ MORE: 6 perfect winter hikes to take in Arizona

Author

  • Teresa K. Traverse

    Teresa K. Traverse is a Phoenix, Arizona-based writer and editor. Her work also has appeared in national print outlets including Weight Watchers, Bust and Parenting magazines and on sites like Tripadvisor, Wine Enthusiast, SFGate, Brides, Rachael Ray Every Day, Bustle, Racked, ForRent.com, WeddingWire, Refinery29, The Daily Meal, Oxygenmag.com, USA Today and Fast Company. She's the managing editor of Sedona Monthly. In her spare time, she loves hiking, reading magazines and spending quality time with her long-haired Chihuahua, Rocket. Visit teresaktraverse.com to check out more of her work.

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