The cacti around the Valley may be strung with holiday lights, holiday tunes playing throughout shopping centers, and holiday light displays on view, but there are plenty of additional ways to embrace the season. This year, unique holiday experiences are popping up around the Valley. Here’s where to find them.


The Saguaro Summit Ski Lodge at Kimpton Palomar Phoenix

The Saguaro Summit Ski Lodge at Kimpton Palomar Phoenix

A ski lodge in the Valley of the Sun? Yes, please! Kimpton Palomar Phoenix has transformed into the Saguaro Summit Ski Lodge, a delightful winter-themed pop-up experience that aims to transport its guests to a world of classic alpine luxury with a modern, elevated twist.

The hotel reimagined its second-floor lounge to reflect the lodge experience with rustic charm, faux fur throws, and vintage ski decor. Grab a lounge seat and settle in with selections from the specially created winter-themed cocktails—think everything from hot toddies to cocktails such as the Peppermint Bark Café Martini, with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, cold brew, Cream de Cacao, Café Liqueur, and peppermint schnapps and the Reindeer Fly-by, with Aperol, Skyy Strawberry Vodka, Alpine Amaro, lemon juice, and simple—and sharable bites inspired by mountain comfort foods (try the Alpine Eggnog Ice Cream for dessert!).

No reservations are needed; open through Jan. 6.

Kimpton Palomar Phoenix, 2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix

The Ember Lounge at Desert Ridge Marketplace

The Ember Lounge at Desert Ridge Marketplace

The new attraction The District Dome—an immersive 50-foot spherical dome—brings seasonal and immersive pop-up activations to Desert Ridge Marketplace. The first is The Ember Lounge, where guests are transported into a captivating night under the stars with a cozy dining atmosphere, whimsical craft cocktails, chef-driven menu offerings, and a state-of-the-art projection show.

The 90-minute experience features a show projected onto the dome ceiling that showcases a journey that begins with a glowing Arizona sunset over the Grand Canyon, through a snowy evergreen forest, passes the Aurora Borealis, and closes with starry skies, galaxies and beyond.

There’s real foliage and charming dining nooks, called Highland, Grove, Wildwood, and Monarch.

The food and drinks were created by Copper Blues and include the Artic Circle, made with a combination of vodka, jam, pollen, honey, spices, and snow; the Sleepy Hollow, a smokey beverage made with bourbon, amaro, and a blend of different fruits;the Field of Forage, an elevated charcuterie board, and The Enchanted Forest, a dessert made with chocolate, sorbet, brownie pistachio crumble, mixed berries and whipped cream.

Reservations are recommended due to limited space; open through Dec. 31. 

Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix 

Winter Wonderland at JoJo's ShakeBAR

Winter Wonderland at JoJo’s ShakeBAR 

JoJo’s ShakeBAR is shaking it up once again with its Winter Wonderland pop-up. The restaurant is now covered in festive decor—from an 8-foot-tall nutcracker, giant ornaments, thousands of string lights, and everything Santa’s elves could’ve dreamed of. There’s also a Patron tree with four mega margaritas.

JoJo’s is known for its over-the-top shakes and unique creations, and its holiday extravaganza continues that theme. There’s the Winter Wonderland Biggie Shake, a peppermint shake topped with a Christmas tree cookie, marshmallow present, mini candy cane, and a snowman made out of donut holes (adults can opt to add alcohol to make it boozy!); the Polar Espresso Martinis; and The Santa Sangria, a pinot grigio and prosecco combination served in a souvenir Santa boot. 

The locale is also offering Holly Jolly Mixology classes, Ornament Painting workshops, Wreath Making workshops, and Gingerbread House workshops. 

No reservations needed; open through Jan. 14, 2024.

Scottsdale Quarter, 15037 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

Apres Chalet at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale

Après Chalet at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa

An over-the-top ski château-inspired holiday lounge experience awaits at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa. Hosted in partnership with champagne house Veuve Clicquot, the lounge features an actual ski lift chair prop and snowy mountain backdrops for photo opportunities, multiple fire pits, and snow-inspired décor.

Drinks are themed and include the Altitude, made with Ford’s Gin and topped with crisp bubbles, and the Fresh Pow, a reimagined Whiskey Sour topped with Fee Foam which resembles a thick layer of snow-white froth. In partnership with Veuve Clicquot, the pop-up bar will also feature the signature Chateau Veuve, featuring Belvedere Vodka, Liquid Alchemist’s Tart Blood Orange, Sour Montenegro Lemon, and topped with a float of Veuve and bitters.

Food options include a charcuterie board or a s’mores kit, which can be used with a fire pit.

A portion of the proceeds from the pop-up benefit Healing Hearts Animal Rescue.

No reservations are needed; open through the holiday season.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa, 7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Scottsdale

Skysill Chalet at The Westin Tempe

Skysill Chalet at The Westin Tempe

The Valley’s highest open-air rooftop bar, Skysill Rooftop Lounge at The Westin Tempe, was transformed into a mountainside cottage with plaid accents, a fireplace adorned with a pine wreath and stockings, Christmas trees, twinkling lights, and festive decorations—all set against the backdrop of Phoenix’s stunning skyline.

There are also classic board games available and the sounds of holiday movies and music fill the air.

Reservations are 90 minutes and include a Campfire S’more Macaron and a Hot Cocoa Bomber.

Want to sip something a little stronger? The chalet experiences menu features “Winter Warmers,” such as the Polar Espresso Martini, handcrafted with Hanson’s Organic Vodka, Borghetti Espresso Liqueur, crème de menthe, nitro cold brew, and peppermint candy; the Mistletoe Margarita, mixed with Derechito Blanco, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, cranberry, fresh lime, and agave; and the Snowbird Sipperserved hot with Appleton Estate Signature Rum, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, sea salt, and vanilla.

Bites are available via the “Cabin Cuisine” menu—try the Jolly Chorizo Fondue (pretzel knots, andouille sausage, ranch potato chips, and popcorn chicken; “Mistletoe” Lobster Mac & Cheese (cavatappi pasta covered in white cheddar cheese sauce topped with herb panko breadcrumbs); or Sleigh Bell Wagyu Sliders (roasted garlic aioli, smoked gouda, caramelized onion, arugula, and roasted red peppers on a pretzel bun, served with fries).

Reservations required; open through Jan. 7, 2024.

The Westin Tempe, 11 E. Seventh St., Tempe