By Annika Tomlin
November means the lights will be hung and carols will be sung. The holiday season is approaching so it’s time to gather friends and family and celebrate.
Here are a few of the Valley’s cheeriest attractions for winter 2019.
Anthem Christmas Tree Lighting and Concert
This year marks the 18th time the Outlets at Anthem will light Arizona’s tallest Christmas tree. This magnificent 80-feet tall, 20-feet wide white fur Christmas tree arrived in October, and the shopping center is ready to show it off. Stay after the tree lighting to enjoy a holiday concert and a visit from Santa Claus.
Outlets at Anthem, 4250 W. Anthem Way Anthem, 623.465.9500, outletsanthem.com, time TBA Saturday, November 16, free admission.
World of Illumination
World of Illumination, the world’s largest drive-through animated light show, is coming to Westgate Shopping Center beginning November 20. The new attraction features nearly 2 million lights and is fully synchronized to popular and beloved holiday music, creating an unforgettable, magical experience. Exclusive to the Glendale location is a 36-foot tall animated snowman. The entire experience is approximately 1 mile and takes about 25 minutes to complete. This year, World of Illumination is also introducing a 3-D component to its light show.
“We are so excited to bring World of Illumination to Glendale,” said Simon Kreisberger, co-founder of World of Illumination. “Westgate is the center of this vibrant community and the perfect backdrop for the West Valley’s newest holiday tradition.”
In addition to its Glendale home, World of Illumination is returning for the third year to the East Valley at Tempe Diablo Stadium. While both have the same number of RBG LED lights that can be customized to 16 million shades of color, the shows feature different elements so visitors can enjoy a distinct experience at each location. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Westgate Entertainment District, 9121 W. Glendale Avenue, Glendale, worldofillumination.com, 6 to 11 p.m., $22.99 per vehicle on weeknights, $32.99 per car on weekends and holidays.
Tempe Diablo Stadium, 2200 W. Alameda Drive, Tempe, worldofillumination.com, 6 to 11 pm., $22.99 per vehicle on weeknights, $32.99 per car on weekends and holidays.
Holiday Movies at Pollack Tempe Cinemas
It’s the most wonderful time of the year to bring along family and friends to watch holiday movies including “Elf,” “Polar Express,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” while surrounded by holiday lights.
Holiday Movies at Pollack Tempe Cinemas, 1825 E. Elliot Road Tempe, 480.345.6461, pollacktempecinemas.com, starts 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 21, free admission.
“Elf the Musical”
Based on the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell, “Elf The Musical” is the hilarious tale of Buddy, who, as a baby, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf.
Elf the Musical, Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W. Paradise Lane Peoria, 623.776.8400, azbroadway.org, various dates and times, Friday, November 22, to Sunday, December 29, $32.20-$114.99.
Lights at the Farm
The tradition of wholesome family fun continues this holiday season as Vertuccio Farms presents more than 2 million dazzling lights all of which are synchronized to a variety of Christmas classics.
Lights at the Farm, Vertuccio Farms, 4011 S. Power Road, Mesa, 480.882.1482, vertucciofarms.com, various days and times, Friday, November 22, to Saturday, January 11, $10-$12, children 2 and under free admission.
Downtown Phoenix brings out the beloved ice skating rink right in the middle of CityScape. Family and friends can skate around for a few hours then meet Santa.
CitySkate, 1 E. Washington Street Phoenix, 602.772.3900, phxicerink.com, various days and times Saturday, November 23, to Sunday, January 5, $15, children 3 and under free admission.
ZooLights: Glow Wild
Walk around Phoenix Zoo and with your family and friends while being illuminated by millions of twinkling and dancing lights and a three-story-high holiday tree. Don’t forget to check out the live reindeer, a 200-foot long polar slide, photos with Santa, hundreds of glimmering light displays and lakeside music-in-motion shows.
ZooLights: Glow Wild, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, 602.286.3800, phoenixzoo.org, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 27, to Sunday, January 19, $11.95-$17.95 members, $13.95-$19.95 general admission.
“A Christmas Carol” at Hale Centre Theatre
This spectacular, heart-warming version of Dickens’ classic tale of redemption is magically brought to life on the Hale Centre Theatre stage. This production is rich with traditional carols, stunning costumes, and memorable characters.
“A Christmas Carol” at Hale Centre Theatre, 50 W. Page Avenue, Gilbert, 480.497.1181, haletheatrearizona.com, various days and times, Friday, November 29, to Tuesday, December 24, $22-$40.
Zoomtown Lights is the only light show in Arizona that allows guests to drive inside the newly modernized raceway and onto the same pit road used by NASCAR’s most elite. Throughout the drive around the raceway, guests will enjoy snowfall canopies, trees of light as well as special motorsports-inspired displays.
Zoomtown Lights, ISM Raceway 7602 S. Avondale Boulevard, Avondale, 1.866.408.7223, ismraceway.com, various days and times Friday, November 29, to Tuesday, December 31, $25-$50.
Las Noches de las Luminarias
Stroll the garden’s trails lined with 8,000 flickering luminaria bags, gaze at twinkling lights and admire the enchanting glow of Wild Rising creatures. Happen upon tunes from eclectic entertainment groups and cherish the time spent with friends and family during the holiday season.
Las Noches de las Luminarias, Desert Botanical Garden 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, 480.941.1225, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, November 29, to Tuesday, December 31, $10.95-$29.95 members, $12.95 – $34.95 general admission.
The largest free holiday light display and a beloved family tradition. Glendale Glitters is as charming as its location. More than 1.6 million twinkling lights illuminate 16 blocks in the historic area.
Glendale Glitters, North 58th Avenue and West Glendale Avenue, Glendale, 623.930.2299, glendaleaz.com, 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, November 29, to Saturday, January 11, free admission.
Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker”
Follow Clara’s wintry adventures as she battles mischievous mice and charms the Sugar Plum Fairy. “The Nutcracker” brings together 150 performers, 100,000 Swarovski crystals, and Tchaikovsky’s cherished score performed live to celebrate the holidays with friends and family.
Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker,” 2835 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, 602.381.1096, balletaz.org, various days and times, Friday, December 13, to Tuesday, December 24, $3-$183.
Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade
Each year the community is invited to take part in holiday cheer by gathering on the shores of Tempe Town Lake to watch a procession of festively decorated boats of all shapes and sizes. Light up the night and be dazzled by the Valley’s most unique holiday event.
Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade, Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, 480.355.6060, downtwontempe.com, 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, December 14, free admission.
“Cirque Dreams Holidaze”
A Broadway musical mixed with a new Cirque adventure wrapped into the ultimate holiday extravaganza. Listen to Broadway singers belt out seasonal favorites like “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bells” with a twist all while Santa, toy soldiers and other characters perform on the edge-of-your-seats feats.
“Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” Comerica Theatre, 400 Washington Street, Phoenix, 602.79.2800, comericatheatre.com, 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 20, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 21, 2 p.m. Sunday, December 22, $42-$103.