A Warm Southwestern Holiday in Arizona

A Warm Southwestern Holiday in Arizona

Hold on to your pumpkin spice lattes, friends – it’s time to think about where you want to spend the holidays! While Scottsdale might not be top of mind for a typical holiday getaway. You know, the one with snow drifts, freezing temperatures and wind chill.  We think you’ll find our sunny skies and warm Southwestern style the perfect recipe for a season to remember. Just leave the holiday heavy lifting to us while you relax and enjoy our favorite Southwestern traditions, like these.



For 21 magical evenings between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, the Desert Botanical Garden glows with 8,000 hand-lit luminarias and thousands of white twinkle lights during “Las Noches de las Luminarias.” Grab a cup of mulled cider or hot cocoa and stroll the Garden’s pathways with family, friends and locals. Nine musical ensembles entertain nightly throughout the Garden, with sounds ranging from handbells and Reggae to Apache Winter stories and Native American Flute.

Spice it up

Forget the fruitcake – here in the Southwest, it wouldn’t be Christmas without tamales! Typically enjoyed on Christmas Eve, tamales are a centuries-old tradition and a handcrafted labor of love. Cleaned corn husks are lined with masa (corn-flour dough) and filled with a variety of meats, chilies and spices. And if you have a sweet tooth, there are dessert tamales, too! Get your fill at Scottsdale’s Los Sombreros, which starts taking orders for their famed holiday tamales in mid-November.

Watch for Ice

“Christmas at the Princess” is a holiday wonderland filled with all the splendor of the season. Bring the whole family to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess where you can practice your camel spin on the Desert Ice Skating Rink, enjoy holiday tunes around the four-story Christmas tree, and make s’mores by the campfire in the Christmas Tree

Stroll downtown

For a romantic holiday evening, bring your sweetheart and head to downtown Scottsdale. We’ve set a festive scene with thousands of holiday lights that create a welcoming ambiance for strolling the historic Arts District during ArtWalk, taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through Old Town or savoring a candle-lit dinner at one of the area’s award-winning restaurants like FnB or The House Brasserie.

Take the Polar Express to visit Santa at the “North Pole” ~ Nov. 11, 2016 thru Jan. 6, 2017


There’s been a theft at the Nativity and Sister needs your help to solve the greatest Christmas caper ever. Who swiped the gold those three wise men gave to Baby Jesus? Using her uncanny ability to detect guilt, Sister creates an unforgettable living Nativity with her students. (That’s you!) to expose the culprit. Each performance of “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold” is unique and will appeal to people of all ages and faiths.



If experiencing Native American culture first-hand is on your wish list, join us between Christmas and New Year’s for Holidays at the Heard. In addition to the museum’s award-winning exhibits of Native American culture and art, you’ll enjoy live artist demonstrations and exciting dance performances, including the crowd-thrilling Hoop Dance. It’s the perfect introduction to both traditional and contemporary Native American culture.



One of our favorite holiday traditions celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and it’s sure to be a “wild” party. ZooLights shines with millions of holiday lights, hundreds of glimmering animal-themed displays and a three-story Christmas tree. Round up the family and join us at the Phoenix Zoo after the animals go to sleep for one of the country’s largest holiday light shows.


While you focus on relaxing and enjoying quality time with friends and family in Scottsdale, our renowned chefs are whipping up holiday feasts that include all your traditional favorites as well as some Southwestern specialties. After all, what holiday meal wouldn’t be just a little brighter with a prickly pear margarita or spicy Mexican hot chocolate?



And if the holidays just aren’t complete without a little snow, we’ve got you covered there, too! An easy two-hour drive north will have you racing down the powdery slopes of Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff. Spend the day skiing or snowboarding among the pines. Then head back to Scottsdale and recount your best runs over cocktails and dinner.

Arizona The Resort State

Arizona The Resort State, Healthy competition among properties raises the bar

Luxury meeting options in The Grand Canyon State are as vast as, say, the Grand Canyon.

Stellar resorts with Native American-themed spas, name-brand golf courses and breathtaking desert scenery are hardly new in Arizona. The Wigwam, outside Phoenix in Litchfield Park, turns 86 this year, and JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa helped set the tone for the brand’s resorts throughout the world when it opened in 1967.

“Having such a variety of luxury resorts throughout the state puts us in a wonderfully unique position to market Arizona as a resort destination,” says Debbie Johnson, director of Arizona Office of Tourism. “Our resorts offer such a wide range of amenities, including golf, dining, spas, pools and recreational activities, as well as some of the most luxurious rooms and suites available. This is particularly important to the Arizona Office of Tourism because meetings bring in business travelers, which provide us the opportunity to showcase our state to a different type of visitor.”

From Tucson to Sedona, and with an impressive collection in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Arizona features so many luxurious meeting properties that it could easily change its name to The Resort State.

“With so many luxury properties in the great state of Arizona, it forces all resorts to push the boundaries of luxury and innovation each year,” says Stephanie Sanstead, director of public relations and marketing communications for Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler. “This certainly elevates the overall guest experience and satisfaction.”

The Phoenician

Arizona The Resort State

The Phoenician, Scottsdale

The AAA Five Diamond Scottsdale property has expansive indoor and outdoor event space, measuring 160,000 sq. ft. The glamorous Camelback Ballroom Complex features a 15,000-square-foot ballroom. With a veranda for receptions and outdoor breakout sessions. This unique feature of this property is the variety of accommodations. There are 643 total accommodations. The Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Canyon Suites has 60 guest rooms and suites. Serving as a resort within the resort. Guest rooms in the main building and The Canyon Suites will be remodeled starting this summer. With that said three nine-hole golf courses, 10 restaurants and bars. Eight swimming pools, a spa and an art collection make The Phoenician magical.

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