Families and Kids

Tempe’s Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade is Holiday Magic

Light up your holidays with the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade on Dec. 9, 2023.

For many, the holidays are all about creating memories and sharing traditions with others. In Tempe, we celebrate our own traditions through signature holiday events. Check out Tempe’s fun and festive events that will be sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

One of the most-anticipated holiday events in Tempe is the annual Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake, which takes place on Saturday, December 9, 2023. The event will start at 4 p.m., with vendors throughout Tempe Beach Park. The boat parade will begin at approximately 6 p.m. and conclude with a festive fireworks display. This event is free to attend.

The Fantasy of Light Boat Parade started back in 1999 and continues to grow in popularity with every passing year, making it one of the most unique holiday events in metro Phoenix. This procession includes a variety of boats — including all shapes and sizes —  displaying twinkling lights and holiday decorations as they parade around Tempe Town Lake, which is absolutely aglow during this event. And, with holiday music streaming from many of the parade participants, attendees of all ages will not be able to resist the urge to sing along. After the final boat has glided past, the event concludes with a spectacular fireworks display.

Before and after the parade, Downtown Tempe invites you to experience its holiday charm. Mill Avenue is festively decorated with colorful lights along the tree-lined streetscape. Punctuate your festive evening with a visit to the 40-foot holiday tree at Centerpoint Plaza (on 7th St. just west of Mill Avenue) for a photo op. Then, indulge in dinner, drinks or dessert at such local establishments as Pedal Haus Brewery, Culinary Dropout or Postino Annex, and check out the selection of perfect holiday gifts at local shops, including Cactus Sports, Lotions & Potions and more.

Boat Parade Schedule:

4 p.m. – Tempe Beach Park opens – enjoy shopping, food and drinks from a variety of vendors

6 p.m. – Boat Parade begins

8 p.m. – Fireworks

9 p.m. – Event concludes

For boat parade or vendor applications, visit Downtown Tempe Authority. For more holiday happenings in Tempe, visit our events calendar.

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