Holiday Traditions Unique to Arizona

Though the 2020 pandemic altered the holiday landscape in Arizona, some unique traditions survived!.

Chandler, Arizona Tree Lighting – The Tumbleweed tree.
Yep you read that right. The city of Chandler has a holiday tree constructed of tumbleweeds. The tradition started in 1957 and is unique to this desert community. While COVID-19 concerns cancelled the official lighting ceremonies, the tree is already lit and a number of other events are scheduled to celebrate the season. Learn more HERE

Verde Valley Railroad – Christmas Journey. Holiday train to the end of the line. It wasn’t all that long ago I talked a couple of traveling buddies into the Holiday train. We traveled first class from Clarkdale, Arizona to the end of
the line and back. A fun trip through a nature preserve with food, drink and a chance to visit with Mr.
and Mrs. Claus. Day and night time trips to Santa’s workshop are available. Learn more HERE

McCormick-Stillman Railroad ParkHoliday lights.
Tucked within the busy city of Scottsdale is the train park. Beyond the usual grass, trees, play equipment, and picnic table the park is home to a narrow gauge railroad and a carousal. During the holiday season, the train journeys through an intricate light display. Take a spin on the carousel or get a cup of hot coco from the General Store too. Learn more HERE

The Phoenix Zoo – Zoo Lights. Want a little wildlife with your lights? Looking for a slower pace to admire the displays? Check out Zoo lights walk-a-bout. With over a million lights, animal sculptures, and a lantern safari, zoo lights brings the holiday season to life – literally. See amazing lights and the nocturnal animals. Of course they offer cruise the zoo in your car option, but careful you might miss something! Learn more HERE.

Desert Botanical Gardens – Las Noches de las Luminarias. Holiday music, the prettiest garden in Arizona (just my opinion), festive drinks, and paths lit by 8000 luminarias and twinkling lights. Arizona weather in winter can be unpredictable, but it almost never snows in Phoenix, so heading outside at night is pretty delightful. Sometimes there is a traveling art instillation too.  Perfect romantic date night. Learn more HERE