Top 10 things to do in the Valley for the Holidays

by Shea Homes Arizona on December 7, 2012

The holidays are here and we wanted to share with you our Top 10 Favorite Holiday things to do around the Valley! There are many more events going on than we can cover, but here are some of our favorites:

TOP 5 Paid

Zoo Lights – The Music in Motion show, set to “Wizards in Winter,” is all new featuring dancing trees, giant 3-D butterflies, 12-foot floating light tubes and so much more. Details: 6-10 p.m. nightly through Sunday, Jan. 6. Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway. $10 Sundays-Thursdays, $14 Fridays and Saturdays and special rates for Zoo Members. (602) 273-1341.

Las Noches de Las Luminarias – More than 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags line the trails and pathways of the Desert Botanical Garden, inspired by the Mexican holiday tradition. Ten musicians and performers entertain throughout the garden each evening. Details: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday Nov. 30; Fridays-Sundays, Dec. 7-9, 14-23 and 26-30. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $25, $12.50 for ages 3-12. (480) 481-8188,

‘The Nutcracker’ – This beautiful ballet is high on spectacular, with 260 costumes, 25 backdrops, 200 pounds of falling “snow” and 100,000 Swarovski crystals to make the blizzard really sparkle this fantasy about a little girl’s adventures in a land of living toys really comes to life. Details: Friday, Dec. 7, through Monday Dec. 24. Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix. $26 and up. (602) 381-1096,

Ice Skating in Downtown Phoenix: If you thought that the warm Valley weather excludes you from channeling your inner Scott Hamilton or Kristi Yamaguchi, think again. Grab your skates (or get them there) and head down to NRG Ice at CityScape, 1 E. Washington St., a skating rink at Patriots Square Park in downtown Phoenix that is open to the public through mid-January. Admission is $12 per person, includes skates and skaters may stay on the ice as long as they please. Kids will enjoy one of the short “Skating with Santa” sessions, which take place at 6 and 8 p.m. every day through Dec. 22. Hours are 5-11 p.m. weekdays, 3-11 p.m. weekends, through Dec. 17, and Jan. 2-15. 3-11 p.m. daily Dec. 18-Jan. 1.  Details: 602-772-3909, .

Spirit of Christmas – A holiday variety show presented by Christian Dance Company features more than 100 dancers, singing, a horse and carriage and champion hoop dancer along with other special performers. Details: 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 8-16. $24-$28. Chandler Center of the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. (480) 782-2680,

TOP 5 Free

Loop of Lights – One subdivision in San Tan Valley has gone up and beyond when it comes to decorating, now more than 80 houses decorated a special appearance by Santa and hayrides are scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 15 along with a Light Parade. Details: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, through Tuesday, Dec. 25. Waverly Subdivision, Pecan Creek Drive and Carolina Ave., San Tan Valley.

Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade – Tempe Town Lake will have as many as 50 boats decorated in dazzling holiday-lights. On shore there will be live entertainment and food and beverage vendors, along with an expected arrival of Santa at 6 p.m. Details: 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 Tempe Beach Park, Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway.

McCormick- Stillman Railroad Park Holiday Lights – The park with be lit up with hundreds of thousands of lights and visitors can enjoy the scene riding a miniature train. Details: 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Dec. 23; Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Sunday, Dec. 30; and Tuesday, Jan. 1, Saturday, Jan. 5 McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale. Tickets for attractions are extra. (480) 312-2312,

Glendale Glitters –The holiday magic continues in downtown Glendale Friday and Saturday evenings, Nov. 30 – Dec.15, from 6-10 p.m. each night, with 1.5 million dazzling lights, free admission and fun for the whole family. For more information, call the Special Event Hotline at 623-930-2299 or visit

Outlets at Anthem – Christmas shopping at these outlets is a blast and if you’re there till dark enjoy the beautiful lights and ornaments of the nation’s largest Christmas tree. Details: Outlets at Anthem is located at 4250 W. Anthem Way, Anthem. (602) 465-9500,

We at Shea homes would like to wish you a happy holiday season – let us know which events and places are your family’s favorites!

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