The merriment and festivities of the holidays are here! The Valley of the Sun is a magical place, largely due to the amazing variety of activities and cultural events available. When relatives come to call and you are looking for fantastic things to do in Arizona for the holidays, these family-friendly events should not be missed.
Scottsdale Philharmonic Holiday Concert
Saguaro High School (Scottsdale) 4 p.m., December 16
Enthusiastically led by conductor Dr. Martin Province, this collaboration of volunteer musicians will stir your emotions beyond description. The format of this event encourages the audience to sing along and enjoy the beautifully arranged seasonal pieces, including Fantasia on Greensleeves and T’was the Night Before Christmas. Admission is free and no tickets are required.
Jingle Hike to Santa
Pinnacle Peak Park (Scottsdale), 9, 9:30, & 10 a.m., December 8
What better way to ward off those looming holiday pounds than with a jolly hike through the gorgeous Pinnacle Peak trails? Jingle Hike to Santa is a short hike of one mile (round trip), with some steep sections for challenge. Santa will be doing some cardio to prepare for his marathon night of gift-giving, and will be joining you trail-side. What better way to delight the little ones in your family while also encouraging their participation in active things to do in Arizona? Pre-registration is required and children must be accompanied by an adult on the trail.
Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
(Scottsdale), 6:30-9 p.m., December 9-23
You’ll be transported back to your childhood as you enjoy a train ride through this transformed railroad park. Stunning displays and a very merry atmosphere are a marvelous way to enjoy the holiday season. The highlights of opening night on December 9 are entertainment, a visit from Santa and a festive tree-lighting ceremony. Admission is free, carousel and train rides are $2.00 per person.
Phoenix Zoo, 6-10 p.m. now – January 6
One of the valley’s most spectacular things to do in Arizona for the holidays, Zoolights is a truly thrilling event for people of all ages. With over 700 displays comprised of 3.6 million lights, the creative and colorful use of fiber optics, LEDs, strobes, lasers, music and more will take your breath away. The simply awe-inspiring Music in Motion feature is a light display timed and set to an exhilarating piece by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This huge light show was rated “Best Annual Kid’s Event” in 2011 by azcentral.com, and is a must-see. Tickets are $10-$14, or less for Phoenix Zoo members.
Phoenix Boys Choir: Yuletide Musicale
St. Theresa Catholic Church (Phoenix), 7:30 p.m., December 15
Artistic Director Georg Stangelberger has compiled a glorious performance of hymns, traditional holiday songs, new songs, and classical pieces sung by the sweet voices of the Phoenix Boys Choir. This special seasonal show also features reindeer, elves, and a fantastic telling of a traditional holiday story. Tickets are $17-27.
Family-friendly things to do in Arizona are plentiful this time of year and these holiday features are an exceptional way to enjoy the season. For those living in Scottsdale or the valley, these extraordinary events promise to provide pleasant memories for years to come!