What’s Open on Christmas Day in Scottsdale

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

What's open on Christmas Day? Probably more than you’d expect! There’s the obvious: resort restaurants and resort golf courses are in full swing (be sure to call ahead for reservations). But how about the not-so-obvious? Read on! You’ll be amazed at how many entertaining activities and attractions can be experienced in Scottsdale on Christmas Day.

Above: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess


Holiday Spirit

What's Open on Christmas Day

The joy of the season continues with Scottsdazzle, a holiday celebration in Scottsdale’s Old Town.  Cruise into Old Town after dark to see Scottsdale’s specially designed holiday tree featuring an array of customizable color combinations, themed décor, and Swarm, an exciting public-art piece suspended across the Arizona Canal and illuminated at night. 

For holiday spirit on a grand scale, head over to Christmas at the Princess. Each year, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess transforms into an enchanting holiday wonderland with festive decorations, more than four million sparkling LED lights, an ice-skating rink, S’mores Land, holiday character appearances and much more.

Brighten up your night with the glow of millions of twinkling lights. Choose from extravagant neighborhood light displays or Illumination, Arizona’s largest holiday drive-thru light show.


Outdoor Fun

What's Open on Christmas Day

You can get your hike on 365 days a year in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Pinnacle Peak Park. Parking is free, and trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset.  If you want an expert-led  outdoor adventure, Wild Bunch Desert Guides can take you on hiking and biking tours over the holidays, including Christmas Day. 

If a leisurely stroll or urban bike ride is more your style, explore 11 miles of connected parks, lakes, gardens and golf courses along the Indian Bend Greenbelt. This long, winding pathway extends from Shea Boulevard in central Scottsdale all the way south to Tempe Town Lake. You can access the Greenbelt from numerous free public parking lots along Hayden Road.

We might be biased, but we think that Arizona has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world – so why not take a drive? Some of the area's most photogenic drives include the Apache Trail, Saguaro Lake, Fountain Hills and driving north on Scottsdale Road up to Cave Creek.


Family Fun

What's Open on Christmas Day

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) displays nearly 7,000 musical instruments and cultural objects from every corner of the globe. MIM is open on Christmas Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is suitable for all ages.

A trifecta of exciting family attractions – OdySea Aquarium (9 a.m. - 6 p.m.), Butterfly Wonderland (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.), Laser + Mirror Maze (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) – are open 365 days a year. And best of all, they’re located within easy walking distance of each other at OdySea in the Desert, which makes for a convenient and fun-filled day for everyone!

One of Scottsdale’s newest attractions, Medieval Times, features a "hands-on," four-course feast along with an authentic jousting tournament in which six heroic knights on horseback compete to become champion. Showtime on Christmas Day is at 4:30 p.m.

For movie enthusiasts, locally-owned Harkins Theaters has more than 19 locations in the Valley of the Sun, many featuring the latest hit movies as well as special art and independent films. Several locations offer notable amenities like cushy reclining seats, an expanded snack bar and in-lobby bar.


Adults Only

What's Open on Christmas Day

Looking for some adult time out? The Casino at Talking Stick Resort features a state-of-the-art gaming floor with 800 slot machines and more than 50 table games including Blackjack and Poker. There’s also an abundance of restaurants and bar/lounges located on-site. Just a few minutes south, Casino Arizona offers visitors more than 100,000 square feet devoted to gaming, dining and entertainment.

Coach House is the oldest bar in Scottsdale and it’s famous for its over-the-top display of Christmas lights that cover nearly every square inch of the place! Coach House is a longtime local favorite and a must-see on any adult’s itinerary!

For something a little more thought-provoking, explore Scottsdale’s acclaimed public art program on a 60-minute self-guided, walking tour through Old Town. You’ll see 10 of the most-celebrated Scottsdale public artworks, including striking bronze statues, dramatic fountains and interactive installations.

And that’s a wrap! For a complete guide on everything there is to see and do in Scottsdale throughout the entire holiday season, visit HolidaysinScottsdale.com.