Hosting Family for the Holidays? Check out These Winter Activities Your Family Will Love!

It seems like it was just the beginning of the year and now the holidays are upon us. As crazy as it might be to have time fly by so quickly, it’s also exciting. After all, who among us isn’t excited about the winter fun and winter activities we can enjoy during this festive time of the year? If you’re looking for things to do in Arizona for the holidays, here are some ideas to keep your guests entertained:


If you’re a resident of Arizona, you know ZooLights is one of those must-do winter things on your list every year. Starting the week of Thanksgiving and available through the first two weeks of January, you have plenty of time to schedule a family outing to take in the breathtaking millions of lights around the zoo. Beyond the lights, there’s also a 200-foot long Polar Slide™, live reindeer, Stingray Bay, and a 4-D Theater. All of that fun is available with admission so ZooLights is definitely one of the best things to do in Phoenix with visiting family.

Magical Getaway

If you want to treat those in your life to a special experience that’s out of the neighborhood, but not terribly far away, take a little getaway to Christmas in Carefree. Just north of North Scottsdale, this winter wonderland starts November 30 with a tree lighting ceremony and lasts until January with the Carefree Desert Garden “Glitters”. It’s a celebration of the season with a light display, real snow, a Christmas market, a parade, a Chanukah celebration, fireworks, live performances, and more.

Things to Do in Scottsdale, AZ

If you want to stick around Scottsdale this year, you have plenty of fun winter activities to choose from. Looking for something to do with the kids? Go to the iconic Phoenician and experience its magical Christmas experience. You can either grab a bite to eat and walk the grounds or stay a night for a staycation. Either way, you’ll encounter Mrs. Claus story time, elf magic tricks, and games and treats in Santa’s workshop! Another fun idea for the little ones (or even a date) is to go to McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park for live music, holiday lights, a visit from Santa, and a spectacular train ride. Make sure to get your tickets in advance, though, as this is a popular activity every year.

Maybe you want something a little more geared toward adults. If that sounds like what’s on your wishlist, check out the Musical Instrument Museum. This year, they’ll be hosting the 14th season of the “Irish Christmas in America” show. It features top Irish music, song, and dance in an engaging performance rich in history, humor, and boundless energy. Produced by Oisín Mac Diarmada of the award-winning Irish group Téada, the 2018 tour brings back the amazing Séamus Begley, along with the vocal talents of Sligo’s Niamh Farrell.

As you can tell, there are nearly endless options for what you can do to stir up some magic and winter fun with your friends and families this holiday season. The hardest part might be narrowing it down to just a few activities!

Spring into Scottsdale!

The winter air has given way to warmer temperatures, which means spring has sprung in Scottsdale! Spring is the perfect time to enjoy some of Scottsdale’s most exciting restaurants and activities.

Living in Scottsdale, Arizona means there is never a dull moment, especially during March and April. Baseball’s Spring Training season is in full swing, and the Cactus League is not to be missed with almost half of Major League Baseball teams in Arizona to participate.

The newly remodeled Scottsdale Stadium is the exclusive home of the 2014 World Champion San Francisco Giants, and it offers some great views of Camelback Mountain. Of course, baseball is not the only “game” in town, so check out our “must do” list of things to do in Scottsdale this Spring: 

Scottsdale’s Best Restaurants

Over the years, Scottsdale has become a fine dining mecca. We’ve highlighted a few of below and sprinkled in some casual spots as well.

  1. For special occasions, Café Monarch in Old Town Scottsdale is the place to be. Aside from its reputation as one of the most romantic restaurants in America, the four-course prix-fixe dinner menu changes weekly. Per to the restaurant’s website, the food “revolves around local, organic, sustainable and overall responsible procurement.” Highly trained sommeliers offer expert wine pairings with each course.
  2. Virtù Honest Craft, Chef Gio Osso’s Scottsdale dining destination, offers a mostly Mediterranean-inspired menu using locally grown produce and a modern space to enjoy some of Scottsdale’s most exquisite cuisine. The James Beard-nominated menu changes frequently, but some staple must-try dishes include grilled octopus, a variety of scallops, duck, and daily fresh pasta offerings.
  3. In the mood for brunch? Arcadia Farms is a local favorite known for its rustic and welcoming atmosphere. This part café part gourmet marketplace is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers freshly baked goods, organic salads and gourmet sandwiches to satisfy any palate.
  4. Love the Hamptons? The Montauk, one of Old Town’s newest spots, is a casual dining experience that will take you right back to the Village of the old days. The menu offers Hamptons-inspired cuisine, from sliders and fries, to lobster rolls and fish tacos. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m.
  5. If you’re in the mood for simple but tasty cuisine in an intimate setting, Sel is worth a try. Prix-fixe menu items are locally sourced and the menu changes frequently, but often includes filet mignon and seared tuna. Also recommended is Sel’s strawberry marzipan shortcake for dessert.

Must-Do Activities

Once you’re ready to work off that meal and you’ve had your fill of Spring Training games, Scottsdale provides limitless entertainment options. Here are some of the activities we recommend adding to your to-do list:

  1. Hike Camelback Mountain: One of the most popular hikes in the valley is Camelback Mountain. The mountain offers four different trails of varying difficulty and of course, breathtaking views of the city.
  2. See Incredible Architecture: Check out a masterpiece in Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home from the 1930’s. Visitors can view the estate up close and walk the grounds. Reservations are recommended.
  3. Wildlife and Botanical Beauty: Take a trip to the Phoenix Zoo, or the world-renowned Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens, which offers a variety of family programs, its music in the garden program, and a host of trails to explore.
  4. Tee Up: We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention golf! Certainly, Scottsdale boasts some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country. At Terravita Golf and Country Club we have a private, award winning course in North Scottsdale known for its beautiful desert landscape combined with the fun and challenging golf course.
  5. Hit the Courts: With the weather ranging from mid 70s to low 80s in Arizona, it’s no surprise that Scottsdale is also known to be a premier tennis destination. Outdoor activities such as tennis are a great way to get an exercise in with friends all while soaking in the Arizona sun.
  6. Shop Until you Drop: For those looking for a great shopping experience, Scottsdale Fashion Square will not disappoint. Flagship Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stores anchor a slate of luxurious stores like Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Burberry and more. The shopping center is currently undergoing a facelift of sorts, and will debut a fresh look in Fall 2018. 

Now that spring has sprung, we hope you’ll enjoy exploring all the city of Scottsdale has to offer! At Terravita Golf and Country Club, our community loves being able to call Scottsdale home. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our private community that includes country club living in Scottsdale!