Arts & Culture Deal Family Featured Food, Restaurants & Dining Music & Events Travel, Shopping & Leisure Fara Illich November 7, 2012

You’ve caught snippets that certain jolly music is drifting through the air and, what’s this?  Store shelves inexplicably devoid of canned chicken broth and pumpkin pie filling?
holiday-logoIgnore the unseasonably warm temperatures, if you’ve been inside a store in the last few days or peaked at a calendar, it’s clear – the holidays are here.
As Downtown begins wrapping trees with twinkle lights and hanging the banners with care, there’s several events going on that are worth fitting into your busy holiday calendar.
Tree Lighting and Ice Rink Grand Opening
Ice skate on Central Avenue! This year the ice rink at CityScape will spill into the streets and Downtown is throwing a party to celebrate. Join us Nov. 24 from 2 – 8 p.m. for a tree lighting event featuring carolers, face painting, storytelling, cookies and hot chocolate for the little ones as well as a grand entrance by Santa to the horns of Bad Cactus Brass Band. Don’t miss photos with Santa, a figure skating show and the official tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. with Jimmy Eat World.
Spirits of the Season
A 6-week holiday cocktail competition, Spirits of the Season toasts the holidays the best way possible – with festive drinks! Skip the traffic after work or turn a Saturday into a self-guided walking tour and sample the concoctions from over 15 Downtown bars and restaurants. From the Snow Flake to the Fiery Night Martini these drinks aren’t your average mulled wine. The best part? You decide the winner. Voting will begin Nov. 24 and end Dec. 20 in the quest to crown the Most Spirited Holiday Cocktail of 2012.
PJs in the Park
Don your favorite holiday pajamas and board Downtown’s own Urban Polar Express – METRO Light Rail –  for a double feature holiday movie showing under the stars at Civic Space Park. Grab your friends and family and join us on Dec. 7 from 6 – 10 p.m. for a viewing of Polar Express and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Free hot chocolate, holiday treats and a special visit from Santa will make it a night to remember.
Festive Friday
Knock out the rest of your holiday shopping on your lunch hour. Sounds impossible, but with the Jolly Trolley doing all the driving and three outdoor markets bursting with unique gifts you’ll be done in plenty of time. Downtown’s sixth annual Festive Friday has expanded to three locations this year – including an Adams Street Mercado, an sidewalk sale at the Arizona Center and vendors at CityScape – and into an event that will see you right into happy hour. Shop from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Dec. 14 and return at 4 pm to get the gifts wrapped and enjoy a cocktail or two at an outdoor street fair.
Luminarias Downtown
You see the soft glow of candle-lit paper lanterns throughout the Southwest during the holidays and this year, for the first time, you’ll see it in Downtown. On Dec. 24 multiple Downtown businesses and public spaces will be decorated with luminarias – also known as farolitos – to celebrate the season. We welcome Downtown residents, visitors and families to discover our city by observing the luminarias on a self-guided walking tour starting at 5:30 p.m.