Families and Kids

Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade is holiday magic

NOTE: this event has been cancelled for December 2020.

For many, the holiday season is all about creating memories and sharing traditions with others. In Tempe, we have our own traditions that spark holiday spirit. Visiting Tempe is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.

One of the most anticipated holiday events in Tempe is coming up on Saturday, December 12 at 6 p.m. – the annual Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake. This Tempe Boat Parade is one of the most unique holiday events in metro Phoenix. Attendees will see approximately 50 boats, each decorated with twinkling lights and holiday decorations, sail past crowds lined on the shore of Tempe Town Lake. The lake is absolutely aglow during this event, and with holiday music streaming from many of the boats, you can’t help but sing along. This holiday boat parade started back in 1999 and has continued to grow in popularity every year since. The area will be open at 5 p.m., but the boat parade will begin at approximately 6 p.m. The Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade is free to attend, but there is also a VIP boat-viewing option for $15 that includes a meal, plus delicious hot chocolate. Tickets for VIP boat-viewing may be purchased online.

To start off the night, Tempe South Rotary will display over a thousand luminarias on the sidewalks and paths of Tempe Beach Park. In addition, children should bring their wish lists because Santa Claus will be on hand to hear their Christmas requests. And, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture that perfect photo with the jolly old elf!

After the final boat has glided by, stick around to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display. Of course, before or after the parade, you’ll want to spend some time in Downtown Tempe for dinner, drinks or dessert at places such as Pedal Haus Brewery, Culinary Dropout or House of Tricks. The trees along Mill Avenue are festively decorated with colorful lights that make this iconic street even more charming during this time of year.

For more information about other Tempe holiday events, visit our website or call 480-894-8158.

Written Alicia Griffith

Alicia is an ASU Alumna and Tucson native who is unapologetically herself. When she is not sharing her passion for Tempe, she is a devoted dog mom and reality TV enthusiast who has a weakness for charcuterie boards and wine!