Families and Kids

Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden

Celebrate the holiday season with 8,000 flickering luminarias and twinkling lights at the Desert Botanical Garden.

One of my favorite holiday events here in the beautiful Sonoran Desert  is Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden — a beautiful Southwestern holiday tradition that’s been taking place at this location since 1978. Each December, the Garden’s longest-running tradition brings the warm glow of more than 8,000 lit luminaria bags to its trails and the sparkle of thousands of tiny white lights perched in the trees. You can’t help but catch the holiday spirit while strolling along with a cup of hot chocolate or cider in hand on a crisp, clear night.

Las Noches de las Luminarias takes place over 20 nights, beginning with member’s only weekend Dec. 1-4. Additional dates, open to the public, include December 9-11, 15-18, 20-23 and 26-31 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Adding to the festivities will be live music performances throughout the garden. From Dickens carolers and bell ringers to flamenco and mariachis, you can count on an inspired soundtrack to accompany your visit.

Returning for the first time since 2019, La Posada will take place on December 18 to celebrate the Mexican holiday tradition by the same name. On this evening, guests are invited to join in the festivities (included with ticket), which features piñatas, traditional food and drink, and two singing processions through the Garden.

Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden
Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden

This year, the Garden’s desert wonderland includes an extra layer of beauty with the bold and lyrical large-scale sculptures of Playing with Stars by Rotraut interweaving gracefully with the sparkles of the luminaria bags throughout the trails and Ottosen Gallery.

Make the evening even more special with a sophisticated, alfresco culinary experience at Gertrude’s, the Garden’s on-site restaurant, where rotating menus celebrate Arizona’s growers and producers and feature seasonally inspired creations. Reservations recommended.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit the Desert Botanical Garden’s website or call (480) 481-8188.

Las Noches De Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden
Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden

Tempe really knows how to get into the holiday spirit. For information on other holiday programs and events, visit the Tempe Tourism Office website.

Written Nancy Black

Nancy came from Chicago to attend Northern Arizona University and liked Arizona so much she stayed. She loves exploring Arizona and hanging out with family in Flagstaff and Tucson. She’s also a fan of cats, dogs, chuckwallas, wine and whisky.

Tempe Sky Nav Open Tempe Sky Nav