Get everyone out of the house and into the holiday spirit with a tour of the most dazzling lights in town. From the warmth and safety of your car, turn your radio to some cheerful tunes and drive through one of these six winter spectacles in the West.
World of Illumination’s Rockin’ Christmas, Glendale
Just 13 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, a retro Santa will be rocking out every night from November 6 to January 3. Along a mile-long drive, this animated show is a sight and sound spectacle with life-sized musical notes, Kris Kringle spinning some old school jingles, Christmas trees, and millions of colorful lights. Online reservations are required. World of Illumination also has an Arctic Adventure display in Tempe with a 32-foot-tall Sunny the Snowman and his tundra-bound friends. Tickets from $29.
Cruise ZooLights, Phoenix
Even the animals are in the holiday spirit at the Phoenix Zoo, which is opening up the park to vehicles for the first time. In addition to sparkling lights, this driveable event promises animal sculpture sightings—the real animals will be sleeping in their homes—through the Wildlife Lantern Safari, Outer Tropics Trail, and Polar Paradise in the Forest of Uco. Kettle corn, hot chocolate, and souvenir photos are available for pre-purchase. The zoo is open for cruising on select nights in November, December, and January. Tickets are $60 for zoo members and $75 for general admission. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Ahwatukee Foothills Festival of Lights, Phoenix
Cacti and other desert foliage glow with a million white lights during the Ahwatukee Foothills Festival of Lights, a free display that stretches nearly two miles along the Chandler Boulevard medians. The landmark started in 1995 as a community-powered and -funded initiative when a developer in the area discontinued the festive lighting. The lights turn on in late November and turn off the first week of January. To donate or learn more, visit the nonprofit’s website.