Breaking News
More () »

The biggest holiday lights displays in the Valley

While it’s fun to explore to check out all the displays, there are a few big ones in the Phoenix area that really shine.

It’s mid-November, and that means Christmas lights are popping up all over the Valley.

While it’s fun to explore to check out all the displays, there are a few big ones that really shine.

Here are a few holiday lights displays you should check out at least once:


This will be the first year for this giant drive-thru lights display at ISM Raceway.

You can drive around the 1.6-mile course and enjoy snowfall canopies, trees of light and motorsports-inspired displays from inside your car.

The display is open every evening through December. It starts at 6 p.m. each day and ends at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $25 per car and are available online here or at the gate. 

Illumination Symphony of Light

The world's largest animated drive-thru holiday light show is in North Phoenix.

The drive is about a mile long and features millions of lights synchronized to holiday music. There is also a park-and-play area called Holiday Boulevard that has a Christmas-themed obstacle course and more.

Illumination Symphony of Light is open Nov. 14 through Jan. 5 and starts at 6 p.m. nightly. You need a ticket, which you can purchase here.

The show also has a location in Tempe. That one is open Nov. 16 through Dec. 31 starting at 6 each night. 

Las Noches de Las Luminarias

This lights display is one of the most popular holiday lights displays in the Phoenix area, and tickets typically go fast. The event features 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags against the gorgeous backdrop of the Desert Botanical Garden. This year, the lights and sounds of the Electric Desert exhibition will add to the magic.

Las Noches de Las Luminarias runs from Dec. 1 – 23 and Dec. 26 – 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The garden will be closed the evening of Dec. 24 and the entire day on Dec. 25.

Tickets can be purchased online and range from $34.95-$39.95. Botanical Garden members can purchase discounted tickets.


Each year, the Phoenix Zoo celebrates the holiday season with millions of lights and a 200-foot-long Polar Slide. This is the 27th year of the tradition, but this year has some new perks.

You can see live reindeer and visit Stingray Bay and the 4-D Theater with the price of admission.

Tickets are $19.95 at the gate and $17.95 online. Zoo members get a discount.

ZooLights starts Nov. 21 and runs until Jan. 13, 2019 from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Lights of the World

This is a twist on your average lantern festival, incorporating lights with sculptures and architecture to create amazing displays.

The event kicks off Dec. 6 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds and runs until Feb. 3, 2019. Lights of the World will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

In Tucson, you can catch it a little earlier at the Kino Sports Complex. The event has been going on since Nov. 8 and will end Jan. 2, 2019.

A season pass is $50, while presale admission is $20.

Fantasy of Lights

Downtown Tempe kicks off its holiday season with a parade of lights. The event typically hosts about 85 parade units and attracts 35,000 people. It ends with a tree lighting ceremony. The parade takes place Nov. 23 at 4 p.m.

Glendale Glitters

This display starts Thanksgiving weekend each year, with 1.6 million LED lights illuminating 16 blocks of Downtown Glendale. According to the City of Glendale, it’s the largest free holiday light display in Arizona.

The display will be up nightly through Jan. 12, 2019 from 5 to 11 p.m. each evening.

Ahwatukee Foothills Festival of Lights

This is one of those displays you can enjoy without even leaving your car. The Festival of Lights is a mile-long drive down Chandler Boulevard between 24th Street and Desert Foothills Parkway in Phoenix.

There is a kickoff party Saturday Nov. 24 from noon to 8 p.m. in Desert Foothills park complete with food, a beer and wine tavern, live music, marketplace vendors, visits with Santa, a cornhole tournament and inflatables and rides.

The lights go out in early January.

Chandler Tumbleweed Tree

For a quintessentially Arizona holiday display, check out Chandler’s tumbleweed Christmas tree. Yes, a tree made of tumbleweeds.

The lighting ceremony takes place Dec. 1 after event festivities and a parade. Admission is free.

The festivities take place from 4:30 to 9 p.m., and the parade starts at 6:45 p.m.

The tree lighting happens around 8 p.m.

Think a display should be added to this list? Let us know by messaging us on Facebook or emailing connect@12news.com.

And don't forget to share your holiday lights photos with us by using #BeOn12.