One of the best holiday parades in Arizona! All the details on the Tempe Boat Parade including directions, the best time to go, and why we love this free holiday tradition!
The Fantasy of Lights Tempe Boat Parade Information
Date Idea: Tempe Boat Parade
Location: Tempe Beach Park at Tempe Towne Lake in Tempe, AZ
Time: Plan about 1 hour for the parade and one hour to stake out seats
Website: There’s info on the Downtown Tempe Website: be sure to double check details before you go!
Tip: Bring your own lawn chair or a blanket to sit on
– No need for registration unless you are a boat wanting to participate! But the general public can just show up and enjoy the free Arizona Christmas activity for families!
Mark your calendar for December 10th, 2022 to attend the Tempe Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade! This fun family-friendly Arizona Christmas activity is one we can’t pass on every year- The Tempe Boat Parade is just the best free event to attend during the holiday season! It’s the Phoenix Valley’s most unique holiday event, and maybe the only time you’ll want to celebrate Christmas at the lake!
It’s one Tempe Town Lake event you’ll want to make a family tradition.
We had so much fun and it was this fun, quirky, and surprisingly romantic date that is completely free.
What is the Boat Parade at Tempe Towne lake?
The annual Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade is a parade of boats decorated in holiday lights that light up the lake. Each boat goes all out decorated with holiday lights and unique Christmas light shows. Many have music, and all will wave at you and your kids, or date. You’ll see boats of all shapes and sizes ready to help you get the holiday spirit!
You can expect all kinds of themed boats. Any holiday movie is likely represented. Several have music that matches their theme. You’ll even see live bands and soloists playing and singing live entertainment while they drive by. And oh yes, there will very likely be Santa Claus ready to wave and smile for the camera!
Before the dazzling boat parade, you can head to Tempe Beach Park to grab a bite to eat with some festive eats and even enjoy some holiday shopping from small local shops. They also have live music, and just a fun vibe to enjoy while you wait for the Tempe Festival of Lights Boat Parade.
When is the Tempe Boat Parade?
It takes place in December, typically on the second Saturday of the month. It’s a great one to add to your Christmas date ideas plans!
The parade starts are 6:00, but there are often festivities with live bands and food trucks starting at 4:00.
And don’t miss the firework show at 8:00! Spectators can enjoy some really spectacular fireworks over the lake. It really is one of the best parades with such a fun and romantic ending!
How Do I Get There?
The boat parade at Tempe Towne Lake wraps around the entire lake!
You can certainly take the light rail and get off at Mill and walk down to the lake.
If you’re driving, it’s super easy to get to and there are so many options for parking. I’d plug in the address right into Google Maps and find the best place to park. There’s really not a bad seat in the house so long as you can see the lake!
Where do I park?
We like to park in the ASU lots just South of the lake. You can also park in the free lots next to the State Farm Buildings. You’ll have less walking, but more crowds to deal with. The ASU lot right next to Sun Devil Stadium makes for an easy exit but has a little more walking.
From there you head North to Tempe Towne Lake, and stake out a seat! I’d recommend getting there an hour early if you have a big group. If it’s a date night, a half-hour should do! You’ll still be able to see the Tempe Towne Lake Boat parade from the grassy hill no matter what time you get there. But it’s fun to get a spot up close by the water, and those fill up about a half hour before the Tempe light parade starts.
Visiting the Boat Parade of Lights
Plan to bring some lawn chairs to sit and enjoy the boat light parade. You can also bring a blanket to sit on the incline in the grass. It’s a romantic spot to snuggle up and watch.
It’s also a great place to bring a picnic dinner, treats, or some hot chocolate too. Even though it’s Arizona, it still gets pretty chilly on those winter nights. I’d dress warm and think about some warm snacks.
Also, many restaurants off Mill Avenue offer great takeout food and specials to pack for the Fantasy of Lights Parade.
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