When the holiday season arrives, Phoenix comes alive with Southwestern hospitality and warmth. One of the most 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 an 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.