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Holiday Events

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Snow, parades, glittering lights and music make Tempe’s holidays magical. Join friends and neighbors this season - here’s a calendar of communal cheer.

Free Holiday Movie Cheer and Lighting Ceremony
Nov. 16, 5:30 p.m.
Pollack Tempe Cinemas
1825 E Elliot Rd, Tempe

More than a half a million holiday lights illuminate Pollack Tempe Cinemas Shopping Center this season.  Entrepreneur Michael Pollack will kick-off the holiday season when he flips the switch to light up his over-the-top holiday light display while continuing his philanthropic tradition of offering free holiday movies for everyone on a first come basis. Seating is limited. Get in line early. 

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the free holiday movies will begin at 7 p.m. on Nov. 16.  The featured holiday films include “Jingle All the Way,” “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Polar Express,” and “Shop Around the Corner.”  There will also be carolers greeting guests in front of the theater singing from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. The holiday lights will be up all season until Jan. 7.

First Snowfall at Tempe Marketplace 

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 6-8 p.m. 
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe

Get in the spirit of the holiday season with a professional ice skating performance, the lighting of a 60-foot tree and the first, magical snowfall of the season.
Want more holiday fun? There’s free ice skating Nov. 24-26 and snow falls from the heavens every night at 7 and 8 p.m.

Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade featuring Santa
Friday, Nov. 24, 5-9 p.m.
Along Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe

Glowing floats, marching bands and dance troupes beautify Mill Avenue, making this 20-year tradition an event not to miss. Take free selfies with Santa after the parade and tree lighting ceremony. Bring your camera! 

Tempe Festival of the Arts 

Dec. 1-3
Along Mill Avenue and throughout downtown Tempe 

For those looking for one of a kind, handmade gifts, the Mill Avenue Festival of the Arts is a can’t miss opportunity. Discover ceramics, fine art photography, jewelry and more from 350 artists from around the country. The Cottage Arts area includes handmade seasonings, soaps, candles and sauces. Shop while listening to live music and try some local wines.

Golfing with Santa - Ken McDonald Golf Course 
Dec. 2 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 
800 E. Divot Dr, Tempe

Come on out for a day of family fun at Tempe's Ken McDonald Golf Course for Golfing with Santa. We're collecting food donations for Tempe Community Action Agency. Kids can get their photo with Santa, participate in putting and other fun holiday activities. Food and drinks available for purchase in the clubhouse. 

Petersen House Museum
Saturdays and Sundays: Dec. 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Experience a Tempe Christmas tradition by visiting the Petersen House Museum this holiday season. Celebrating turn-of-the-century style with a Danish flair in honor of Niels Petersen, this beautiful Queen Anne Victorian house will be festively decorated for the season.  Enjoy refreshments and activities on the grounds, and learn about the history as you tour the house. This is sure to create lasting memories with your family and friends during Tempe’s Christmas at the Petersen House. Watch a video about this home.

Christmas with the Grinch
Dec. 1 6-8 p.m.
Dec. 2, 10am - noon
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S McClintock Dr, Tempe

Bring the kids and take free photos with The Grinch at Changing Hands Bookstore. The Dec. 2 event also includes a costumed storytime. 

Hackett House Holiday Boutique
Dec. 1-2, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.  
95 W. Fourth St., Tempe

Visit the historic Hackett House Gift Shop during the Tempe Festival of the Arts to see beautiful decorations and gifts from around the world. Proceeds benefit Tempe Sister Cities.

Hackett House Holiday Tea
Saturday, Dec. 9, 1-3 p.m.
95 W. Fourth St., Tempe
Tickets: $35

Sample teas in Victorian cups and nibble on homemade biscuits and scones in the lovely Hackett House, one of Tempe’s oldest historic buildings. Need treats for a holiday gathering? Take some home with you. Registrations required.

Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade
Dec. 9, 4- 9 p.m.
Parade: Tempe Town Lake 
Festival: Tempe Beach Park, Rio Salado Parkway at Mill Avenue

Since the opening of Tempe Town Lake, we’ve celebrated the season with boatloads of holiday cheer. The annual parade of gorgeously decorated boats reflects the spirit of our lake – and the lights are reflected in the water, too. Fireworks paint the sky as Santa arrives. Take free selfies with the jolly ol’ elf after the finale. Bring your camera!

Hanukkah Storytime with Temple Emanuel 
Dec. 10, 11 a.m. 
Changing Hands Bookstore 
6428 S McClintock Dr, Tempe

Please join Temple Emanuel and the Yad B’ Yad Children's Center for a lively Pre-Hanukkah Story and Song Time. Hear stories, sing songs, and spin the dreidel. 

Santa Soiree at Tempe Marketplace 
Saturday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m. -1 p.m.
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe

Snap free photos with Santa and get merry with holiday-themed music, dancing, games and prizes.

Sea Life and Legoland
Dec. 1-24 
Arizona Mills Mall, 5000 S Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe
Admission price varies

There’s unique holiday fun for the whole family at two of Tempe’s amusement centers – and they are just steps apart from each other. 

Holiday Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Arizona 
Help deck out Santa’s sleigh at the Build and Test station, or take part in special holiday builds in the Creative Workshop. Hit the holiday scavenger hunt for a chance to score annual passes, or take in the stunning, seasonally inspired surroundings from atop Merlin’s Apprentice, one of two indoor rides at the attraction. 

Happy Fishmas! 
Sea Life Arizona transforms into a one-of-a-kind “water” wonderland this holiday season. Find out who’s been naughty or nice during underwater Santa dives, and take part in a holiday scavenger hunt throughout the festive space for a chance to score annual passes to the aquarium.