Scottsdale, Arizona is the perfect winter destination with sunny skies and temperatures around 72 degrees from December through mid-February. Scottsdale has many amazing winter events to help fill your trip with memories for years. This can be tough to schedule your trip, so we put together this amazing three-day journey to give you an example of the best way to plan your winter trip with things to see in Scottsdale.
Day 1: Lights, Lights, and More Lights
Day one of a vacation is always stressful and full of travel, so we suggest that you check out one of the amazing winter lights activities to get out in the fresh air and relax a little. Here are some of the best light related events for day one.
ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo
When it comes to holiday lights, more is always better and the Phoenix Zoo is one of the best places to go in Scottsdale for them! ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo shines with a three-story Christmas tree, millions of lights in whimsical animal-shaped displays and the new Wildlife Lantern Safari, featuring more than 60 creatures all aglow! The zoo is expertly decorated every year with an amazing display of lights, statues, and animals that take your traditional zoo visit to a festive level. The lights are viewable throughout the day, but at night the zoo really evolves into an amazing sight to see. We love to grab a warm cup of coffee and just explore the festive wonder presented in this amazing winter wonderland.
Arizona is all about magical places. One of these places is Glendale Glitters where you will find 1.6 million LEDs on display across 16 blocks of Glendale. The display continues from Thanksgiving until January. Visiting this town during this time is indeed one of the best winter activities in Arizona to indulge in. Glendale has a rich past and history-making it one of the interesting places to visit in the state. This is no doubt one of the best things to do in Arizona in winters.
Las Noches de las Luminarias
Every holiday season, the trails of the Desert Botanical Garden glow with the light of more than 8,000 hand-lit luminarias and thousands of twinkling white lights. Live entertainment, hot cocoa and mulled cider add to the ambiance. The Botanical Garden is full of beautiful things to see in Scottsdale on its own, but when it’s lined with thousands of handmade luminarias it elevates the experience to must-see status.
A meal is also pivotal when wandering through this many lights. The good news is that all of these events feature some of the valley’s best in walk around treats. We highly suggest that you embrace the walk around nature and grab a bite from one of these amazing spots.
Day 2: Childhood Wonderment
Day two is held solely to channel your inner child and embrace the wonder of the holidays. It all starts out with a trip straight into a childhood favorite.
Polar Express Train Ride
If you grew up reading the beloved Christmas story or have watched the movie and wished for a similar experience, then your wishes have been granted. The Grand Canyon Tour Company allows you to have a similar experience where you are taken on a 1.5-hour ride from the Williams Depot to North Pole and back. It is one of the best things to do in Phoenix in January as you get to hear classic stories, drink hot cocoa, and eat cookies before you meet Santa and his reindeers. This experience is a real once in a lifetime opportunity to people of all ages to jump right into a childhood staple. You should be able to travel up to Williams and back to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area by dinner time.
Once you are back in town, we highly suggest that you check out the downtown district for an amazing dining opportunity. The downtown district has amazing food options of all kinds including Arrogant Butcher, Pizzeria Bianco, or Blue Hound. After you grab a bite to eat, you will want to participate in probably one of the most unique events in the Phoenix Metro Area with downtown ice skating. A winter ice rink is nothing too surprising, but the fact you can ice skate while its only 70 degrees outside makes this a must visit event. The downtown ice rink is set up in the middle of the closed street and provides for a very interesting way to get out on the ice.
Day 3: The Waste Management Open
It’s no secret that Arizona has some of the best golf courses in the country. Combine that with wintertime in Scottsdale, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a great time. Whether you’re considered a rookie or a pro, a game of golf should definitely be on your list of things to do this winter in Scottsdale. Not only can you get out on the course yourself, but there is also the presentation of the Greatest Show on Grass. If you’re more interested in watching golf than playing it, the Waste Management Phoenix Open happens every year in late January. This stop on the PGA tour is the largest attended tournament in the world, a giant outdoor party, and a fan favorite. This amazing winter event is full of both amazing golf, but great eats and drinks to boot!