10 Best Holiday Attractions in Scottsdale: Seasonal Celebrations in the Desert



The holidays are a special time in the desert, especially if you find yourself spending winter in Scottsdale. The city is no stranger to throwing a good party, especially when the holiday season rolls around. Scottsdale plays host to numerous art walks, block parties, and light displays - most of which are free to the public.

One of the biggest holiday events in Scottsdale is the Fiesta Bowl Artwalk, which brings thousands of college bowl football fans to the streets of Old Town Scottsdale. The event, which happens every year during the last week in December, features live music, holiday shopping, and dozens of art galleries showcasing art from local and national artists.

For families, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park puts on a holiday display that everyone in the family will love. Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park features a tree lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, and train rides through a winter wonderland. Admission to the park is free, and train rides are $3.00 per person.

If you want to see the tallest fresh-cut Christmas tree in the country, take a short drive to the nearby community of Anthem to gaze up at wonder at the Christmas tree located in the heart of the Anthem Outlets shopping center. The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Anthem Outlet takes place every November. The white fir tree is shipped to Arizona from California every fall, and is progressively decorated throughout the holiday season. The tree, which measures more than 100-feet tall, is open for public viewing throughout the holiday season.

For a charming small-town holiday celebration, check out the Carefree Christmas Festival in downtown Carefree, a short drive from Scottsdale. The three-day event features an electric light parade, a fireworks festival, holiday gift market, pet parade and even real-life snow in the desert. 




Local DJ and holiday enthusiast Chris Birkett puts on an amazing show every season with Winter Wonderland Arizona, a Christmas light spectacular that brings the wonder and magic of the season to families and visitors in Scottsdale. The exhibit...  Read More




The Stroll in the Glow Festival brings the magic of the holidays to the streets of Fountain Hills. Every year, the town spends the fall putting up thousands of lights - more than 65,000 to be more exact - on the Avenue of the Fountains. On the...  Read More




The Carefree Christmas Festival offers three days of holiday spirit in the heart of downtown Carefree, just north of Scottsdale. The family-friendly festival features an Electric Light Parade with about 80 lighted entries, a holiday fireworks...  Read More




In anticipation of the Fiesta Bowl college championship game across town, Scottsdale plays host every December to a special art walk designed to appeal to fans of both college football and great local art. The Annual Fiesta Bowl ArtWalk brings...  Read More




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...  Read More




The Holiday Pet Festival is a unique holiday event that takes place at the WestWorld event center every December in Scottsdale. The festival is the largest holiday pet event in Arizona and features the largest roster of participating rescue...  Read More




Did you know that the tallest Christmas tree in the country is located at the Anthem Outlet Stores, just north of Phoenix and Scottsdale? The popular outlet shopping center plays host to the stately tree, which bears the claim of being the...  Read More




McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park offers one of the season's most enchanting and family-friendly holiday events. The annual McCormick-Stillman Railroad Holiday Lights event features train rides through a wonderland of holiday lights and displays....  Read More




Every year, Scottsdale's beautiful Fairmont Princess Resort throws one of the biggest holiday parties in the Southwest. The holiday-themed extravaganza features a desert ice skating rink surrounding by a lovely cactus garden. Where else in the...  Read More




The City of Scottsdale knows how to celebrate the holidays in style. Scottsdazzle is a month-long holiday celebration that officially kicks off with a tree-lighting ceremony on Black Friday. The event continues was designed to bring mirth and...  Read More


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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.

She received her MFA in Creative...  More About Patricia

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