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Most Instagrammable Holiday Moments in Scottsdale

By local contributor
Scott McGinty

Specific details are from 2017. Please check back in Oct. 2018 for updated information!

It didn’t happen if it wasn’t on Instagram. That’s why we've sought out Scottsdale’s most photogenic holiday moments for you and your loved ones. Sit back, relax, and read more about where to go to snap the best holiday photos this season.


Holiday tea at The Phoenician


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Nov. 24 – Dec. 30, 2017 | 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Pinkies up! Holiday tea is the perfect setting for a multi-generational family photo and a great way to celebrate the season together. Afternoon tea service includes your choice of Barnes & Watson fine teas, featuring 15 varieties; a selection of house-made finger sandwiches; scones and petit fours, plus the option to include a glass of sparkling wine or champagne.


Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden


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Nov. 24 – Dec. 30, 2017 | 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Glamorous. Selfie. Lighting. Do we need to say more? Candles and sunsets create the most dramatic lighting – and you can have both during the Desert Botanical Garden’s longest-running tradition, Las Noches de las Luminarias. On a cold December night back in 1978, volunteers and staff worked to light 700 luminarias and welcome 600 guests for a one-night experience at the Garden. This year, the Garden will glow for 21 magical evenings with more than 8,000 hand-lit luminarias and thousands of white twinkle lights - all accompanied by some of the Valley's finest musicians. Your perfect holiday selfie is waiting.


Gingerbread Cottage at Hyatt Regency


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We wish Instagram had a scratch and sniff feature! Every child’s dream comes to life each year when the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale pastry team constructs a 10-foot tall cottage from more than 700 lbs. of gingerbread. The life-size gingerbread cottage is decorated with 250 lbs. of royal icing, 200 lbs. of marzipan, 75 lbs. of pink and red fondant and 70 pounds of candy.


Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park


Dec 1, 2017 – Jan. | 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Capture your little ones’ widest grins when they ride the Paradise & Pacific railroad and see McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park twinkling with thousands of colorful lights and ride the train on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad. On select dates, Santa makes an appearance riding a historic train car on select dates.


Santa Wine Around Scottsdazzle Party


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Dec. 2, 2017 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Nothing says, “I’ve finished my holiday shopping!” like a Boomerang of glasses clinking at one of downtown Scottsdale’s wine tasting rooms. If you’re feeling extra festive, come dressed as Santa or Mrs. Claus to receive a free commemorative wine glass.


Coach House Tavern


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This is a #mustsee for locals and visitors alike. Each year for more than 25 years the Bower Family has draped their landmark Scottsdale bar in garland, gift wrap, tinsel, , candy canes, bows and more than 12,000 lights to celebrate the holiday spirit. The downtown dive bar is known for a good time any time of the year, but expect to be entertained from Oct. 31 through the New Year, when the lights are up. #BoozyChristmas anyone?


Nightly Snowfall at Desert Ridge Marketplace


November 21-December 31 (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) | 7 p.m. and 8 p.m

Snowfall in the desert – even manmade snow—is a special moment worthy of IG. Desert Ridge Marketplace will have snowfall throughout the holiday season. Out of thin air, flakes of fluffy white snow will float down from the sky transforming the center into a living snow globe. If that’s not an IG moment, we don’t know what is!


Super Chunk Sweets & Treats


We never know what superstar pastry chef Country Velador will come up with each holiday season, but these bite-sized merengues are often lined up on cookie sheets like little toy soldiers and come in a variety of colors and flavors. Perhaps best known for holiday pies – fig, apple, pecan and fresh pumpkin-- the sweet shop is now also neighbored by New Wave Market so you can stop by for a salad or sandwich before heading out with holiday treats for the whole family.


Christmas at The Princess


Nov. 22 – Dec. 31, 2017

Live stories are best, but get ready to make an album too! One photo can’t begin to illustrate the magical wonderland known as Christmas at The Princess. Adults and children can ride the Princess Express train through a wonderland of lights, enjoy skating on the Desert Ice rink (or sitting rink-side with s’mores), visiting Santa’s Workshop and much more. Be sure to tag Christmas #AtThePrincess.