The holidays are here, families are celebrating and children are giddy with excitement. There are so many activities in Arizona that families can enjoy this time of year. With activities happening each day throughout the holiday season, the valley of the sun comes to life with holiday cheer.

There is no need to break the bank to get into the holiday spirit. There are several free or reasonably priced parades and festivals happening in the city and surrounding areas as early as Thanksgiving that continue until the end of December. Many local area malls are decorated with trees, lights, garland and host photos with Santa. The Festival of Trees is on display at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall. These elaborately decorated trees are available for purchase and all proceeds are donated to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The Anthem Outlets is home to the Nation’s largest fresh cut Christmas tree. Visit websites for details on activities and events at local area malls and shopping centers.

Christmas at the Princess

Christmas at the Princess in Scottsdale offers ice skating, lagoon lights, live entertainment, a train ride, and much more. This Scottsdale Princess offers free admission but does charge a parking fee. These events can be enjoyed beginning November 22-January 1.

Westgate Plaza

Holiday Festivities continue at Westgate Plaza in Glendale, AZ beginning November 22. Activities include visits with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, and professional skating performances. At 7PM each evening the desert will magically snow prior to opening the skating rink. Admission into Westgate is free but fees may apply for skating, photos, carriage rides.

Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is blooming with lights each holiday season when the paths are lit with hundreds of luminarias. Enjoy a quiet evening without the kids strolling along the paths while enjoying food and beverages along with the company of loved ones.

The Polar Express Train

Wanting to venture outside of the city, take a trip north to experience The Polar Express train ride on Arizona’s famous Grand Canyon Railroad. Kids take a train ride to the North Pole while listening to the Chefs read the Polar Express and drink hot chocolate. Santa board the train and visits with families on their train trip home.

North Pole Express

North Pole Experience is a favored tradition for our family. The North Pole Express Trolley leaves from Little America Hotel in Flagstaff. The Trolley takes you through the portal to arrive at the North Pole where you are greeted by elves in the Compass Room. If you are looking for a hands on memorable experience with Santa and his elves, visiting NPX and Santa’s village will make believers out of all of us.