Throughout the year, Arizona is a popular vacation destination for outdoor lovers looking to hike in the desert or explore the big city. As the holiday season approaches, amazing Christmas light displays pop up in various towns and cities across the state. Book a stay at an Arizona vacation rental situated close to a national park for easy access to recreational activities. Opt for a trendy condo in Tucson to enjoy seasonal attractions and festivities. That said, check out the five best places in Arizona to see fantastic Christmas lights.

1. Zoo Lights at Reid Park Zoo, Tucson

At Reid Park Zoo, kids find the two things that they love most created from holiday lights — animals and Christmas scenes. After dark, take a stroll through the park in the month of December to see the hanging lights, and those used to create animal shapes that number in the hundreds of thousands. There are places in the park where “snow” falls, and on the weekends, you can listen to live music. Sing along to your favorite Christmas music, and the let the kids get their photos taken with Santa Claus. Kids love riding on the holiday carousel, and the zoo’s cafe sells hot chocolate. Adults can get a splash of spirits added to theirs, too. They also offer s’mores kits and cinnamon rolls. Your kids can heat up the marshmallows for the kit at the zoo or take it back to your vacation rental for an afternoon snack the next day.

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2. ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix

Not to be outdone, the Phoenix Zoo offers up its own amazing Christmas light display with ZooLight throughout the month of December each year. As you walk through the zoo, see hundreds of displays created from the millions of lights used in this event. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for a glimpse of the three-story tree all lit up. In addition to the festive lights, the zoo offers camel rides and a large carousel to pick a favorite horse and ride. By the lake, watch in awe as the lights flash on and off and chase each other in time to your favorite Christmas carols. For a brief period each night, “snow” falls from the sky. Your kids can take a photo with the big guy and share their Christmas wish list. After their photo op, take the kids to see the Dinosaurs in the Desert display with more than 20 of their favorite prehistoric animals.

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3. WildLights at Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, Prescott

On the weekends throughout December, you can enjoy a stunning display of lights at WildLights in the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary. During the day, you find Santa hanging out in the petting zoo area so your kids can get their photos with the big guy and pet their favorite barn animals at the same time. Once it gets dark, the park’s pathways, trees, and animal pens light up with hundreds of thousands of lights in festive colors. Throughout the park, find concession stands offering hot chocolate and coffee to keep you warm and give you a boost of energy. Before leaving for the evening, stop by the gift shop to pick up a stuffed animal of your kid’s favorite for a stocking stuffer.

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4. North Pole Experience at the Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

Choose a vacation rental in Flagstaff and make plans to take the kids to the light show at the North Pole Experience at the Little America Hotel. As you wind your way up the drive to the hotel, Christmas lights seem to cling to every available surface in a rainbow of colors. Inside the North Pole Experience after a brief trolley ride, your kids have the chance to take a tour of Santa’s workshop. Most of the time, Mrs. Claus is there to greet the little ones before their chance to take a photo with Santa Claus. Along with the workshop, spend time in Mrs. Claus’s kitchen and learn more about life at the North Pole at the Elf University. Other stops include the mailroom and a secret “Area 47.” The staff members dress up as elves to lead kids and parents through this winter wonderland and fantasy of life with Santa. End the evening with a brief stop at hanger where Santa keeps his sleigh.

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5. Glendale Glitters, Glendale

More than a million and a half LED lights turn 16 blocks of the town of Glendale into a Christmas bonanza throughout the month of December for the Glendale Glitters event. It seems that every surface, tree, plant, and building are awash in holiday colors. On the weekends, there are live music events and other fun activities. The festival runs from the end of November through the first week of January each year. One weekend offers you the chance to play in the snow. For a small fee, you can build a snowman or just make snow angels. Since the festival runs through the historic part of town, you can do a little last minute Christmas shopping at A Mad Hatter’s Antiques and Collectibles and The Cottage Garden. Stop off a get a bite to eat at Cuff for your favorite comfort foods or arrive early for afternoon tea at The Spicery In Our 1895 Home.

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