If you’re in the mood to get your Christmas on – and who doesn’t love stretching out the festivities for more than a month? – you’ll want to hit downtown Mesa from Friday, November 23 through Friday, January 4. Thousands of revelers will hit Main Street in Mesa to take in the sounds, sights, lights, tastes and activities that only the holiday season can bring.
The celebration of the holiday season kicks off November 23 with an evening of music, food and fun.
Of course, no Christmas bash would be complete without an over-the-top Christmas tree bristling with lights and ornaments, and Merry Main Street doesn’t disappoint. The celebration includes a lighting ceremony at 5:45 p.m. on Macdonald just north of Main Street, and at nearly four stories tall, you and your kids will want to check this out.
If you have memories of Christmases in colder climates and pine for outdoor ice skating, you’re in luck: Once again, Merry Main Street will feature the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, providing more than 5,000 square feet of ice at 20 E. Main Street, just outside City Plaza for more than 40 days. I’m almost a lifelong Arizonan, but my family is originally from Buffalo, New York. If you have memories of that postcard-perfect ice-skating experience that you thought was lost to you in the desert, hit the ice during this event.
Admission to the ice rink is $10 per person or $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, and there is no discount for bringing your own skates.
Hours for the ice rink are 6 to 10 p.m. opening night (November 23), then regular hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For the holidays, the rink is open noon to 4 p.m. December 24, is closed on Christmas, and is open noon to 4 p.m. December 31 and noon to 10 p.m. January 1.
Of course holidays need snacks, and Mesa provides there, too. Start (or end) your journey down Merry Main Street on Friday or Saturday at Jack Frost’s Food Truck Forest at Pioneer Park. While you are there, enjoy a classic holiday movie or take a free ride on the Main Street Express Train.
Create memories with special selfie – sorry, sELFie – stations that allow visitors to create special holiday cards 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, so bring your cellphone or camera for pictures with the man in red.
The city even 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 Claus. 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 event will also feature memories you can bring home. In addition to the 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 – on Fridays and Saturdays arts and crafts will be offered and the Mesa Christmas Market will offer local vendors in pop-up shops featuring traditional and nontraditional foods, handcrafted items, beautiful lights and live performances.
If you have kids, young or old, or just anyone who wants to get out and enjoy an Arizona winter – with a bit of ice added in – now is the time. Check out the lights, sights and Christmas Joy on Main Street.
Activities run throughout downtown Mesa, along Main Street, from Country Club to just east of Mesa Drive. Free parking is available in all open lots and on-street parking areas in downtown Mesa. Visiting Merry Main Street is free, but activities such as the Light Rail Polar Express and Winter Wonderland Ice Rink require tickets to be purchased. Visit the website for more details.