Top winter activities to enjoy the holiday spirit in Arizona


Paul Scholz

Ice-skating on the CitySkate rink in Downtown Phoenix

As soon as Arizona natives sense a drop in temperature, it is automatically time for a change in everyday activities.

Although sitting indoors sinking into the warmth and comfort of your own bed is appealing, one should not spend their entire winter doing just this.

Winter is all about keeping warm, spending time with loved ones, and helping others whether your kind actions consist of community service or simple gestures.

Across the valley, Arizonans are beginning to prepare a variety of exciting activities for all to enjoy and many are stalking Pinterest  holiday DIYs while even starting to pen their winter bucket lists.

There are plenty of options to absorb the holiday spirit and appreciate these joyful times with family and friends:

  1. CitySkate in Downtown Phoenix is an outdoor ice skating rink that surrounds a 36-foot tall Christmas tree (1 E. Washington St., Phoenix) $15 General Admission; $25 for express pass; $10 for ages 4-8, military families, and senior citizens; For ages 3 and younger, admission is free

(For more information regarding the CitySkate rink, visit

-The CitySkate rink located downtown stands out due to its beautiful festive decorations, shops, and restaurants in the area. The rink is surrounded by “Squid Ink” (a sushi restaurant), Chipotle, Starbucks, Urban Outfitters and more.

  1. “Sweet Basil Gourmetware & Cooking Schools”- Group cooking classes (10749 N. Scottsdale Rd. #101)- (480) 596-5628

-A unique option to spend time with friends and family, and also spend time with another friend called food.

  1. Tempe Town Lake “The Fantasy of Lights” and Boat Parade

-Enjoy the lights at Tempe Town Lake and take a boat ride. For those that prefer hitting the water, this activity is highly recommended as a relaxing way to participate in the holiday fun.

  1. Scottsdale Princess annual tree lighting and ice-skating

-Each year, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel hosts a tree lighting which includes dining, rinkside firepit rentals, train rides, an ice skating rink, “Enchanted Plaza” shows, Santa’s Secret Headquarters, “Smore’s Land”, holiday character appearances, Lagoon lights, and more.

  1. ZooLights- open until January 8, 2017 (455 N Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85008)

-Experience the Phoenix Zoo like never seen before. Lights are arranged all around the zoo to view as you sip on hot chocolate.

  1. Glendale Glitters (58th Avenue & W Glendale Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301)

-Come enjoy the largest light display in Arizona for free with sixteen blocks of historic Glendale filled with nearly 1.5 million LED lights.

  1. Drive through neighborhoods with friends enjoying the lights on each house

-Cherry Lane, Candy Cane Lane, ‘Loop of Lights’, Christmas Spectacular, the award-winning Comstock Drive, and more will be worth your while.

  1. Purchase “sno-balls” from Bahama Bucks and have a DIY snowball fight
  2. Las Noches de Las Luminarias”  at Desert Botanical Garden (Adults: $30, Children: $10, Children under age 3 are free)

-The luminaries at the Desert Botanical Garden are extremely popular among families. During the night, you are able to walk around exploring the beautiful plants surrounded by luminaries.

  1. Holiday Pet Festival at the “Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary” (Free admission, pets welcome)

-Look no further than the Holiday Pet Festival for spending time with pets, and seeing the happiness of these furry friends while they receive treats and pose with Santa