It’s the most wonderful time of the year and, once again, we’ve got your list of all the super fun things to do in the Phoenix region over the holidays! From the Nutcracker ballet to posing with Santa for photos to a night walking through the amazing ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo, we’ve got it all down with dates, times, and ticket prices so you can plan out your holiday schedule in a jiffy.
Please keep in mind that some of the events do sell out, and tickets to performances with limited seating are going fast. If you have your heart set on attending any of these, it’s best to hold your spot as soon as possible! Also, please check the event website or call ahead for health restrictions due to COVID if you plan to drive a long way. We’d hate for you to get there and find out the event was canceled or changed for health reasons, or that the venue’s COVID requirements weren’t in line with your expectations.
Other than that, here is the Phoenix-area holiday activity guide for 2021. We hope you’ll get out there and enjoy the city and surrounding areas as much as we do. Did you find something especially fun (or awful) this year? Let us know! Did we miss anything great in our activity guide? Tell us about it! We’ll be sure to hold a spot for it on next year’s guide!
And now, without further ado -- get out there and have a great time!
Through Dec. 19: The Nutcracker
Presented by Ballet Etudes, this rendition of The Nutcracker is a delight for the senses, complete with mesmerizing costumes, breathtaking dancers, and Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable composition. Buy tickets here. Ticket prices range from $30 to $34, and children 2 and under are free.
Mesa Arts Center, Piper Repertory Theater
1 W Main St, Mesa, AZ
Dec. 18 - 19: Christown Cringle’s Workshop and Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen
Every weekend in December 2021, visit Christown Spectrum Mall in Phoenix for a full afternoon of kids’ crafts, storytime with Santa’s elves, music time, ornament making, and much more. And don’t forget to check out the snow globe near Walmart -- some say it’s a great spot for a selfie!
Saturdays are particularly special because the first 100 children to attend on Saturdays will receive a $5 gift card for Harkins Theaters while supplies last. Holiday characters have been known to stroll through the mall on Saturdays as well.
Noon to 3 pm
Christown Spectrum Mall
West Bethany Home Road and 19th Avenue
Dec. 17th: BHC Christmas Block Party
Enjoy the harmonious sounds of the Desert Aires Chorus in concert, followed by the Southwest Singers, and the beloved Phoenix Boys Choir. Then step over and visit some friendly critters at Carter’s Christmas Petting Zoo, observe a live Nativity scene, admire antique cars and trucks, and take off in free hot air balloon rides from 4 pm to 8:30 pm. The event is free, but hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase.
3:00 pm - 8:30 pm
9440 W. Hutton Drive
Corner of Burns and Hutton
Sun City, AZ
Dec. 20: David Benoit: A Charlie Brown Christmas Phoenix
Enjoy the excitement of a Charlie Brown Christmas all over again with the music of Grammy-nominated David Benoit, a contemporary jazz musician with 40 years of performing experience.
Starts at 7 pm
Get tickets here.
Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)
4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ
Dec. 27-30: Snow Much Fun Event Scottsdale
The Arizona Boardwalk is hosting this free 4-day holiday party for the whole family, featuring live music, bouncy houses, slides, holiday shopping, and more -- you can even enjoy magical falling “snow”!
11 am - 3 pm each day
Arizona Boardwalk, Courtyard
9500 East Vía de Ventura, Suite E-100
Check details here: https://www.azboardwalk.com/event/free-snow-much-fun-event-2
Through January 15: ZooLights
Come enjoy the sparkle of holiday lights throughout the zoo in the shape of nearly 70 wild animal sculptures, two music-in-motion light shows on the main lake, and a Holiday Safari Animal Presentation every evening at 8 pm and 9 pm in Doornbos Discovery Amphitheater.
Meet Santa for a quick pic together at the Leapin’ Lagoon.
Walk-thru visits and drive-thru visits (“Cruise ZooLights”) are held on different nights (check the schedule here).
Every night from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Walk-thru adult tickets are $20, $16 for members. Children aged 2 and younger are free.
Cruise ZooLights tickets are $75 per general vehicle; $60 per member vehicle.
You can also opt to buy hot cocoa, kettle corn, glow items, and souvenir photos.
Phoenix Zoo/Arizona Center for Nature Conservation
455 North Galvin Parkway
Through Dec. 24: A Christmas Carol Play with Music
For the 19th time, the town of Gilbert welcomes the cast of A Christmas Carol to the Hale Stage. Based on the heart-warming tale by Charles Dickens, this magical play with music will thrill guests with its breathtaking choreography, brilliant characters, and unforgettable costumes. Don’t miss this holiday tradition! Please note, the theater website shares this warning: “A Christmas Carol uses strobe lights and fog at times during the performance. This show may be frightening for younger children. The Ghost of Marley scene uses fog, intense lighting, loud noises and special effects.”
50 West Page Avenue
Performance times range from 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm, and 8 pm
Each performance runs for approximately 2 hours.
Check ticket availability for different times and buy tickets here.
Through Dec. 18: Rawhide Snowy Christmas
Every Friday and Saturday night, you can join in when Santa leads his official Christmas tree lighting ceremony and then have your picture taken with him. Rawhide Center will showcase holiday activities every night from 5 pm to 10 pm, with free admission.
5700 W. North Loop Road
Through Jan. 2: World of Illumination Tempe -- Reindeer Road
Buckle up for the world’s largest drive-thru animated light show! Once you’re in and safely seated, turn up your car’s stereo to hear perfectly synced holiday favorites play right along with the movement of hundreds of lights all around you. Every World of Illumination display is one mile long. The best part? Santa visits on Mondays!
Choose your location -- there’s one in Tempe and one in Glendale, each with its own different theme. Glendale’s is based on Candy Rush; get tickets here. Tempe’s is based on Reindoor Road; get tickets here. Ticket prices start at $39 per vehicle and change according to date and time.
Note: Parks are open rain or shine. Tickets are sold online only, never at the gate.
6 pm to 10 pm
Tempe Diablo Stadium