Counting down Arizona’s 15 Best Holiday Light Displays in the Valley

We searched long and hard, far and wide to find the 15 best holiday light shows and displays across Arizona and here is a countdown of the largest ones in the Valley! Gather your family or grab a friend or two and enjoy! (Hint: These make a great date!)

Christmas lights have a history that dates all the way back to the pagan rituals of northern Europe. The custom of the Yule Log, a bonfire of sorts, was first recorded in the 12th century, and is thought to have served representation of hope that the sun would once again shine brightly, ending the darkness of December. Throughout the years, the winter light tradition changed forms from the early Yule Log to candles on the German Christmas tree—perhaps the most flammable iteration—to the LED version of holiday cheer we have today.But the evolution is still going strong, and we’ve come a long way from a incandescent strands weaved through the branches of a few front-yard pines. And while some communities invoke rules over what colors your bulbs can be, hoping to keep things classy, others
are pushing the limits of creativity … and the electric grid.

It’s my Christmas Lights Bucket List to see as many as these as possible. So, with that said …

… The Holiday Light Countdown begins …

At number 15, The Taylor Family in Ahwatukee boasts a display with over 300 hand-carved cutouts featuring Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as Nemo and Bruce from Finding Nemo. It was featured on “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in 2016. 3611 E. Kachina Drive, Phoenix AZ 85044

Whether you prefer a sophisticated crèche or a synchronized song-and-dance extravaganza or an underground drive-through experience, travel + Leisure magazine has chosen it’s favorite Christmas display for Arizona in Chandler. It’s Arizona’s Tumbleweed Tree. A 50-plus-year-old-tradition, the community centerpiece is, quite literally, a pile of nearly 1,000 tumbleweeds formed into a tree shape, sprayed with white paint, dusted with 65 pounds of glitter, and adorned with 1,200 lights. It’s truly a sight to be seen in downtown Chandler ar Arizona Avenue and Frye. It placed 14th on our list.

Continuing our countdown of the coolest Christmas light displays at number 13 is Santa’s Runway Lights in Mesa. Even though it’s one townhouse, it’s quite an impressive display with over 50,000 lights, figurines, and even snow nightly at 2329 N. Recker Road, Mesa, Arizona 85215

The ‘Christmas House’ display at number 12 features more than 55,000 lights synchronized to holiday songs, leaping arches and poles, shooting stars, Mega Stars, a 10-foot Mega Tree, snowmen and reindeer. 6-10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 2. If you prefer to drive-thru tune to 88.9FM to provide your soundtrack to the experience. Donations accepted for Make-A-Wish Arizona. 2203 South Boca, Mesa, AZ, 85209

Snoopy and his gang adorn the 65,000 lights in a beautiful Winter Wonderland display at 7324 E. Villa Way, Scottsdale, AZ, 85257 putting it at number 11.

Are you ready for our Top 10 holiday light shows and displays? Here we go! At number 10, The Natal Circle Holiday Lights are situated on a cul-de-sac on Natal Circle just east of Cherry in Mesa. A total of 14 homes in the neighborhood deck their houses with hundreds of thousands of lights and backyard nativity scenes. The wondrous display goes until Christmas Eve from dusk until around 9:30 p.m. at 654 W. Natal Circle, Mesa, Arizona 85210.

Coming in at number nine is Christmas on Milky Way, a dazzling house in Chandler that has more than 100,000 computer animated Christmas lights set to music. It can be seen nightly from 6-10pm and runs through Jan 1st at 4606 W. Milky Way, Chandler, Arizona 85226

Taking the eighth best spot is Christmas Forever, an immersive nighttime spectacular that includes 100,000 computer programmed lights, music, pyrotechnics, characters, and video projection. Open now through Dec. 31, weekdays from 7-9 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. on weekends. When arriving at the community gate, please press 031 on the keypad to request gate entry at 10526 N. 119th Street, Scottsdale, AZ, 85259

Christmas On Orchid Lane offers 100,000 lights on more than 15 decorated homes, and just because Santa is on his sleigh Saturday nights for complementary individual or group photos (weather permitting) we put this fun place at number seven on our list. 6480 W Orchid Lane, Chandler, AZ, 85226.

At number six, an entire cul-de-sac gets in the holiday spirit with fun displays including flowing rivers, palm trees, twinkling icicles, inflatables and animated characters, as well as animated window displays with 110,000 lights altogether at 1517 S Arroya Cir, Mesa, AZ, 85206

Kicking off the Top 5 is an annual tradition with attracts families and individuals from all walks of life at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Mesa temple. The free display of hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights is open to everyone. As you walk around the grounds, Christmas music plays. There is a nativity scene and statues of Mary and Joseph. The lights are on nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 525 East Main Street Mesa, Arizona 85203

We have a winner at number four! In the past, there have been a few Arizona homes on the seasonal television special, ‘The Great Christmas Light Fight,” but only one that won! Christmas on Comstock in Gilbert is made up of 110,000 lights over 13 houses that have been synchronized to music. In 2015 the extravagent light display took home the grand prize of ABC’s tv special The Great Christmas Light Fight! An amazing show located near Elliot and Higley roads which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation and is one of the most impressive holiday light displays across the nation. It runs through Dec. 31 and is best experienced by driving through with a car full of family and/or friends and listening to 93.9 FM. On Comstock Dr in Gilbert.

Another house featured on a nationally televised show at number three on our list is David Preston’s Holiday Lights. If you happen to be on your way to Las Vegas for the holidays, the Preston Family in Kingman would love to have you experience their more than 270,000 lights all synchronized to holiday songs. With some help, it takes about 30 days to set everything up. The home was featured on the ABC seasonal show, “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in 2016 as well. 661 Shadow Mountain Drive, Kingman 86409

In at number two is the beautiful Million White Lights that famously illuminate Chandler Boulevard (from 24th Street to Desert Foothills Parkway) for the festive season. There to take in every night from now until Jan. 1, 2018. They are worth going the long way home to see.

And the number one, holiday light experience goes to one of the best and brightest Christmas light displays in the Valley! It’s called Illumination: Symphony of Light. Boasting a mile-long drive-thru light show near Interstate 17 and Jomax Road in North Phoenix. It has tractor-trailer-sized light tunnels to drive under, glowing hoops, lighted toy soldiers, and a 40-foot Christmas tree. Plus, 1.5 million lights are synchronized to popular holiday songs and current hits that play through your car’s radio. The show’s creators said the display was designed to create memories. Open daily from 530-1030p.m, now through Jan 14th. A portion of ticket sales benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

88.7 The Pulse wishes you, your family and friends a very happy holiday and hope you spend your time off doing what you enjoy most!

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Jeff Kode

Jeff Kode has previously written articles for The Arizona Republic ALT section, as well as other publications including Echo Magazine and IONAZ Magazine. He is an enthusiastic movie lover, and enjoys discovering new music. He was previously on air middays with his own show The Sugar Rush, and can now be heard 6-9am on The Morning Beat with Steve and Jeff at 88.7 The Pulse.