What To Do in Scottsdale This Holiday Season

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

Imagine your holidays full of sunny skies and warm winter temperatures – a place to experience a dreamy winter wonderland without a snow shovel and freezing temps. Enter Scottsdale, Ariz.! Here, resort winter wonderlands, farm-fresh season’s eatings, holiday events and millions of glittering lights will put some serious sparkle in your season.

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 and the Cactus Garden Light Tour. Get your taste buds in the holiday spirit at Hotel Valley Ho with ZuZu’s Scottsdale Snowdown “Show Stopper” Shake, a sugar cookie milkshake topped with a vanilla coconut snowball, pink cadillac gummies, sugar cookie snowflakes, candy canes, a flamingo Santa and edible snow. YUM!


Season’s Eatings

Christmas Dinners - Header

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 maple bourbon-glazed ham, lobster bisque or delicious prime rib, 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 Holly Jolly Painting Party and Seasonal Charcuterie Teach & Taste. 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 festive drinks. 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 or enjoy a 1.2-mile dazzling drive-thru light display at Holiday Lights at Salt River Fields. And with two Valley of the Sun locations (Glendale 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!