[Published in the November 2017 edition of the Deer Valley Times}
Arizona is a unique place to celebrate Christmas. Our residents weave traditional celebrations from around the country, and the world, into a magical holiday for both locals and visitors in the desert. One of our favorite visitors each holiday season is jolly old St. Nicholas, himself! Santa shows up in some fun places around our state – here is a short list of some of the most entertaining spots for you and your kids to see Santa in Arizona.
In a remote spot somewhere near Flagstaff, there exists a magical, 400-year-old workshop where Santa builds toys and Mrs. Claus bakes goodies for Christmas. The North Pole Experience opened its doors in 2009 to provide a special Christmas experience for children and families throughout the state. Visitors start at the Little America hotel and depart from the station to begin their journey to the North Pole. There, visitors experience the inside of Santa’s Workshop, building toys with elves, touring the toy factory and much more. See the North Pole Experience website for more information and tickets:
One of our family’s favorite traditions is visiting Santa Claus at his special Christmas cottage at the Outlets at Anthem. Located just yards away from the largest Christmas tree in Arizona, this venue goes to great lengths to make Santa’s cottage and the holiday activities that take place throughout the season special. And it’s a great place for kids to get their picture taken and tell Santa what they want for Christmas. For information about times, dates and photo reservations, see the Outlets at Anthem website:
A new place to visit Santa this year is the Westgate Entertainment District, currently a winter wonderland during this holiday season in the desert. Located off the 101 and Glendale, near the Cardinals stadium, visitors can skate on the Skate Westgate ice rink and enjoy holiday lights, horse-drawn carriage rides and snowfall while the kiddos tell Santa what is on their list for Christmas this year. See the Westgate website for more event details:
Santa has a Secret Headquarters located at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess – and the resort certainly knows how to celebrate the holiday season! The AAA Five Diamond award-winning resort transforms into a winter wonderland for its eighth year and gives visitors a holiday festival to remember. Not only can kids and families visit Santa’s Secret Headquarters on the property, they can also enjoy ice skating, a Build-A-Bear workshop, and magical light shows in their Copper Canyon Christmas Village and Enchanted Village. Visit the Scottsdale Princess website for more information about their holiday festivities:
If you’re searching for Santa in the city, look no further than CitySkate at CityScape in downtown Phoenix. For the past eight years, CityScape has been transforming into a holiday wonderland, complete with a 36-foot Christmas tree in the middle of an outdoor ice rink, surrounded by twinkling holiday lights. Santa will be there every weekend and even ride the light rail to and from the venue at specific times. To find out more about the hours and activities for CitySkate, visit their website:
The Santa sightings listed her are just a few of the many places that you can see and visit Santa around the state, but each will definitely make great memories while you celebrate the season.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!