HomeArticlesExperience the magic of Christmas in Tempe, Arizona

Experience the magic of Christmas in Tempe, Arizona

My family loves to soak up as many holiday experiences as we can so when we saw discounted tickets to World of Illumination at our local Costco, we knew we had to go and make a whole day out of it! If you don’t have a Costco membership you can purchase ticket reservations here.

There are two locations: Glendale and Tempe—we chose Tempe’s Reindeer Road after seeing some of the other fun holiday activities in in Tempe. We decided to grab some food at Four Peaks Brewery, play for a few hours at Tempe Beach Park, and then explore Mill Avenue while we waited for it to get dark. There’s so much to do in Tempe that it’s hard to choose.

We arrived a little early for World of Illumination (5:40 p.m.) to get in line but the gate opens at 6 p.m. Since the traffic control is a little confusing, we wanted to get there while it was still light.

Tip: have some hot cocoa for the kids or snacks to keep them occupied while you wait! You can make this into a fun tradition. Maybe bring a Christmas book or do some caroling in the car while you’re waiting!

You’ll drive through about 3-5 miles per hour, often stopping as cars admire the long stretches of amazing Christmas light displays and Santa if you go on a Magical Monday like us. When you tune into the radio station, you’ll listen to classic Christmas songs which are perfect for singing along! The drive through was only about 20 minutes or so but we were also the first vehicle, so I think 30 minutes is probably closer to the average once you’re inside.


Once we were done, we headed over to Tempe Marketplace for their nightly snowfall at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m (and hourly from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve). We made it in time for the first snowfall so we could get our little ones to bed. Since we’re a family of 5 we love when we can experience something amazing for FREE and Tempe Marketplace goes above and beyond!

While here you can walk through Candy Cane Lane with larger-than-life candy canes, gingerbread men (perfect for a family photo!), and other delicious looking treats. Let your kids burn off some energy running in and out of the 40 foot Starry + Bright Star Tunnel. Don’t forget to take a picture in front of the 60-foot holiday tree or cozy up in front of the fireplace. Your Lego© loving kids will think the Winter Cottage made from building blocks is awesome. See all the Tempe Marketplace attractions here. And don’t forget to sneak in some Christmas shopping!

We want to return for the ZooLights and Las Noches de las Luminarias. It seems like there is so much magic to squeeze into so few days!

To see the events we looked at for our day trip visit TempeHoliday.com

What holiday traditions will you start this year?

For a comprehensive round of Arizona holiday experiences check out this post.

Related: Elf the Musical



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