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Fun Things to Do in Phoenix: Weekend Holiday Events and Road-Trips on a Budget

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Fun Things to Do in Phoenix: Weekend Holiday Events and Road-Trips on a Budget

The holidays present a wonderful opportunity for family and friends to enjoy some of the best things to do in Phoenix and the surrounding area without breaking your budget. From weekend holiday events in the heart of the city to quick jaunts in the family vehicle, ‘tis the season to be jolly. These rank among the top weekend holiday events and things to do in Phoenix.

Check Out Phoenix Zoo’s Glow Wild

From Nov. 27 through Jan. 19, the Phoenix Zoo and Arizona Center for Nature Conservation features millions of sparkling lights, dazzling displays, food, and festivities. The Zoo has added a new attraction to its repertoire of family-oriented fun. A wildlife lantern safari allows visitors to now experience upwards of 60 creatures in full glow. Glow Wild is held nightly, 530-10:30 p.m.

Glide on Ice in Downtown Phoenix

Phoenix may not be internationally known for its winter fun, but there are plenty of seasonal things to do in Phoenix. A tree lighting is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 29, from 3:30-7 p.m. and you can take selfies with Santa every Saturday and Sunday from 2-6 p.m. This all takes place downtown near the CitySkate Holiday Ice Rink.

Take a Road-Trip to the Polar Express

Running through Jan. 4, the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express runs with some noted exceptions. Located in Williams, AZ, the traditional North Pole experience includes Santa, reindeer, hot chocolate, and children’s smiles from 5:30-7:30 p.m. A road-trip from Phoenix to Williams takes about 2.5 hours and about $25 in gas each way. There are also family stay-over discount packages available that make this road-trip one the budget-friendly weekend holiday events.

The North Pole is Closer than You Think

A relatively straight-shot road-trip up I-17 can take your family to Flagstaff in about 2.5 hours. The trek is just under 150 miles to arrive at Santa’s Workshop and North Pole Experience. The magical experience features real-life elves, trolley rides, a fantastical workshop, and the Toy Hall of Fame, among others. Youngsters can meet Santa, get a photo, and receive a commemorative teddy bear. The North Pole Experience runs select days and weekends from 8 a.m. to 3:50 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 8:40 p.m. Family discount hotel packages are available for stay overs.

Spend an Afternoon at Fun-Filled Westgate

The Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale goes all-in on holiday excitement. The outdoor skating rink, event center, dining, live music, and shopping experiences are wonderful reasons to plan a holiday getaway. The best news is that Glendale is less than a 30-minute drive and families can enjoy special holiday events, have dinner, and be home for the children’s bedtime.

This Holiday Lighting Display is a Must-See

The Glendale Glitters spectacular ranks among the must-see weekend holiday events each year, and 2019 will not be the exception. This 29th-anniversary event kicks off Friday, Nov. 29 and runs through Nov. 30, from 5-10 p.m. The opening weekend is particularly well attended, and the city offers shuttles for visitors to experience the 1.6 million LED lights. The display remains lit through Jan. 11, with a closing Glendale Glow event on the final night.

Lift Ticket Deals are Budget-Friendly

Flagstaff’s Arizona Snowbowl offers “Deep Deals” on lift tickets for ski enthusiasts. Children under 10 enjoy free passes as well as complimentary lessons for youngsters under 12 years old. The winter wonderland resort is also rolling out lodging discounts in conjunction with weekend ski passes. It’s a rare opportunity to enjoy excellent skiing on a family-friendly budget.

Purchasing gifts can be a little taxing on the wallet. Hopefully, these cost-friendly things to do in Phoenix and weekend holiday events in the surrounding area add to your family’s joy.


This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice. Any recommendations are based on opinion only.