If you’re in the mood to get your Christmas on, you’ll want to hit downtown Mesa from Friday, Nov. 23, through Friday, Jan. 4. Thousands of revelers will be there to take in the sounds, sights, lights, tastes and activities that only the holiday season can bring.
The celebration season kicks off Nov. 23 with an evening of music, food and fun.
No Christmas bash would be complete without an over-the-top Christmas tree, bristling with lights and ornaments. Mesa’s is nearly four stories tall. The lighting ceremony is 5:45 p.m. on Macdonald just north of Main Street.
If you have memories of Christmases in colder climes and are pining for outdoor ice skating, you’re in luck. Merry Main Street features the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, at more than 5,000 square feet, at 20 E. Main St., just outside City Plaza. If you have memories of that postcard-perfect ice-skating experience that you thought were lost in the desert, hit the ice here.
Admission to the ice rink is $10, $8 if purchased in groups of 20 or more in one transaction. The price includes one hour of skate time and ice skates. Skate sizes range from children’s size 8 to men’s size 14. There is no discount for bringing your own skates.
Hours for the ice rink are 6-10 p.m. opening night (Nov. 23), then 5-10 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For the holidays, the rink is open noon-4 p.m. Dec. 24, closed on Christmas, open noon-4 p.m. Dec. 31 and noon-10 p.m. Jan. 1.
Holidays need snacks. Start (or end) your journey down Merry Main Street on Friday or Saturday at Jack Frost’s Food Truck Forest at Pioneer Park. While there, enjoy a classic holiday movie or take a free ride on the Main Street Express Train.
Create memories at selfie stations that allow visitors to create special holiday-card photos. Look for stations near the Christmas tree and along Main Street.
You may want to take a photo with the head elf himself, and you’re in luck. On Fridays and Saturdays, Santa will stop by for free visits. Bring your cellphone or camera for pictures.
The city has its own Light Rail “Polar Express,” which will zoom along Merry Main Street as guests sing songs, enjoy cookies and, best of all, have a chance to meet Santa. Wear your pajamas and enjoy the season in the childlike and festive tradition of the Polar Express. Visit mesachristmasmarket.com/polar-express.html for more information and to purchase tickets.
The festival will create priceless keepsakes of your kids’ glowing faces as they meet Santa – or their literally glowing faces as they’re bathed in multicolored lights from the tree. Arts and crafts, the Mesa Christmas Market with vendors in pop-up shops, colorful lights and live performances are part of the festivities.
If you have kids or just want to get out and enjoy an Arizona winter, check out the lights, sights and ambiance on Main Street.
Activities run along Main, from Country Club to just east of Mesa Drive. Free parking is available in all open lots and on-street parking areas downtown. Visiting Merry Main Street is free, but activities, such as the Light Rail Polar Express and Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, require ticket purchase.