5 Unique Holiday Traditions You Can Only Find in (or Near) Scottsdale

5 Unique Holiday Traditions You Can Only Find in (or Near) Scottsdale

  • 12/21/20
Scottsdale is a paradise in the cold winter months, with sunny weather and temperatures that northerners only dream about. Take advantage of the perfect climate by starting a new tradition this holiday – one that’s perfectly unique to this amazing city.

Camelback Mountain Holiday Tree

Camelback Mountain in nearby Phoenix is an iconic mountain seemingly springing from the middle of nowhere, and a terrific trek in any season; but during Christmas this hike really comes alive. At the start of the winter season, the “Camelback Santa” hauls a holiday tree to the peak. You may even bump into him on the trail while he’s handing out candy canes. Festivity-seekers can scale the mountain on either the Cholla or Echo trail (both are out and back in a little under 5 miles) and place an ornament on the tree to celebrate the season. Between the epic views and challenging rock scrambles, this hike will burn off the Christmas cookies and cement itself as a favorite in your holiday traditions.
Get directions and trail info here.
Related: The 7 Best Scottsdale Hikes For Thanksgiving Weekend

Christmas Surrounded by Butterflies

Take a step into another world this holiday season at Butterfly Wonderland’s annual “Christmas in the Rainforest” event. This one-of-a-kind, fully immersive butterfly garden gets a new spin with festive decor and live music. Explore the largest butterfly conservatory in America, and enjoy butterflies (rather than snowflakes) dancing around you.
Get more information here. Tickets: $22.95 online via website / $24.95 at box office; children’s tickets also available.

Holiday Lights Train Ride

Hop aboard the Paradise & Pacific Railroad at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park and experience a wonderland of lights and displays. This 30-acre park, located in the heart of Scottsdale, is also home to the historic 1950s era Allan Herschell carousel, the Scottsdale Railroad Museum and Model Railroad Building. Top off the fun with a delicious cup of hot cocoa from Hartley’s General Store.
Get more information here. Tickets: $15; age two and under free.

Nibble and Sip Your Way Through “Scottsdazzle”

One of the best ways to enjoy Arizona’s perfect winter weather is to explore Old Town Scottsdale, which transforms into “Scottsdazzle” for the holidays. When evening hits, take a stroll along the canal banks to delight in holiday vignettes, seasonal lighting, the impressive Scottsdazzle tree (with over a million lights), live entertainment, holiday characters and more. This month-long event includes special activities like a holiday movie night, art walks, “Yuletide Yoga” and food demonstrations. Guests are encouraged to dine, grab a drink and indulge in some holiday shopping at one of the many unique boutiques and stores in the neighborhood.
Get more information here. Most outdoor events are free; some events require ticket purchase, so see the event’s website for details.

Ice Skating in the Desert

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort is magical any time of year, but Christmas at the Princess is really something spectacular. The entire resort is decked out in its holiday best, showcasing over 4.5 million sparkling LED lights, water lanterns, Christmas decor and holiday character appearances. Come experience a classic tradition with a desert twist – ice skating on the resort’s 6,000-square-foot real ice rink, surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful Scottsdale wilderness. Other activities include marshmallow-roasting for S’mores, posing for pictures with Santa and colorful light shows that are delightful for all ages. Find out why Christmas at the Princess has been a Scottsdale family favorite tradition for the past 11 years!
Get more information here. Price varies for activities; tickets are available for purchase on the website.

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