Why We Love Scottsdale for the Holidays

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

Tell ho-hum holidays to take a hike – you’re going to Scottsdale! Here, resort winter wonderlands, farm-fresh season’s eatings, holiday events and millions of glittering lights will put some serious sparkle in your season. And best of all, our sunny skies and warm winter temperatures mean you can enjoy all the season’s finest offerings without a snow shovel in sight.

Above Photo: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Resort Winter Wonderlands

Every year, Scottsdale’s resorts transform into enchanting winter wonderlands swathed in all the splendor of the season. In true Fairmont style, “Christmas at the Princess” features a four-story musical Christmas tree, desert ice skating rink, and Santa’s Secret Headquarters. At The Phoenician, posh holiday offerings include a festive Holiday Tea, breakfast with Santa, seasonal spa treatments and the Cactus Garden Light Tour. The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa is offering cookies, cocoa, candy canes and photo ops with Santa every Saturday and Sunday leading up to Christmas. And that's just the beginning!

Season’s Eatings

Dining in Scottsdale during the holidays is a delicious journey through menus that plait your traditional favorite dishes with indigenous Sonoran Desert ingredients and on-trend culinary techniques – think Southwestern herb-roasted turkey, coffee-rubbed bison tenderloin or creamy green chili crab mac ‘n’ cheese, just for starters. Seasonally inspired craft cocktails and decadent desserts round out a festive holiday meal that’s worth every calorie. 

Festive Special Events

Get your glow on at Scottsdale’s seasonal special events. Scottsdazzle is a month-long celebration of all things holiday, from tree lightings and Santa Wine Arounds to a Sweet Treat Trail and Sugar Plum Avenue’s fairytale village. Experience a Southwestern holiday tradition at the Desert Botanical Garden’s Las Noches de Las Luminarias, which features 8,000 hand-lit luminarias, live music, and Cracking Art's whimsical exhibit, Wild Rising. Or climb aboard Verde Canyon Railway’s Christmas Train for a magical ride to the North Pole.

Holiday Light Spectaculars

When it comes to holiday lights, more is always better! ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo shines with a three-story Christmas tree, millions of lights in whimsical animal-shaped displays and the new Wildlife Lantern Safari, featuring more than 60 creatures all aglow! Take a ride on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad through a wonderland of lights at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park.  And with two Valley of the Sun locations (north Phoenix and Tempe Diablo Stadium), ILLUMINATION, Symphony of Light is one of the country’s largest drive-thru holiday extravaganzas, featuring millions of lights synchronized to your favorite holiday tunes.

To plan your Scottsdale holiday getaway, click here!