Tempe Water Lantern Festival – A Must-See Lighting Event


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Welcome to the Tempe Water Lantern Festival – a festival of lights that celebrates the spirit of community, love, and hope. Join us in this illuminating journey.

Tempe Water Lantern main
Festival highlights

About Tempe Water Lantern Festival

The Tempe Water Lantern Festival stands out as a radiant celebration of lights, weaving together the essence of community, love, and hope. Amidst the serene backdrop of water, attendees set lanterns afloat, transforming the surface into a twinkling expanse of illumination. It’s not just about the lanterns; the event is a convivial gathering point for families and friends, offering a chance to forge unforgettable memories.

As the day unfolds, the festival atmosphere is enriched by the melodies of live music, creating a harmonious blend with the soft flicker of lanterns. Food trucks line the vicinity, offering a smorgasbord of flavors to tantalize every palate. This blend of sensory experiences makes the festival a perfect retreat for those seeking joy and togetherness.

The water lantern release is the heart of the festival, symbolizing a collective moment of reflection and connection. Each lantern carries its own story, set adrift among countless others, creating a beautiful tapestry of light on the water. It’s an event that encapsulates the beauty of human connection, set against the tranquil backdrop of Arizona’s waters.

Festival Dates (2024)

An unmissable spectacle, the Tempe Water Lantern Festival is scheduled to illuminate the evenings of November 1st and 2nd, 2024. These dates offer a splendid opportunity to partake in this unique celebration under the autumn sky. As the sun sets, the lanterns will begin their dance on the water, marking the start of two unforgettable nights.

Mark your calendars for this early November weekend as this is a chance to immerse in a spectacle of lights and camaraderie. The festival promises a blend of serene beauty and vibrant social interaction, set against the backdrop of Tempe’s inviting waters.

Tempe Water Lantern 1
An image inspired from the Tempe Water Lantern Festival

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The  enchanting Tempe Water Lantern Festival is set to unfold in the serene surroundings of Kiwanis Park, situated at 5992 South All America Way, Tempe, Arizona, United States. This picturesque locale, with its verdant landscapes and tranquil water bodies, offers an idyllic backdrop for the magical evening of lantern lighting. The park’s accessibility and ample amenities enhance the festival experience for all attendees.

Kiwanis Park is conveniently located approximately 6 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the nearest major airport. This proximity makes it an easily accessible destination for visitors flying in for the festival. 

To travel from the airport to Kiwanis Park, attendees have several transportation options:

  • Rental Car: Renting a car from the airport provides flexibility and ease in reaching Kiwanis Park and exploring Tempe.
  • Rideshare Services: Apps like Uber and Lyft offer convenient door-to-door service from the airport to the festival location.
  • Public Transportation: Valley Metro offers bus services that connect the airport with various parts of Tempe, including routes that stop near Kiwanis Park.

For those journeying to the festival from other cities by train, the steps below outline how to reach Kiwanis Park:

  • Arrive at Phoenix’s Union Station: This is the closest major train station to Tempe, connecting with Amtrak’s network.
  • Transfer to Valley Metro Rail: From Union Station, take the Valley Metro Rail system towards Tempe.
  • Bus or Rideshare to Kiwanis Park: Upon arriving in Tempe, you can either catch a local bus that stops near Kiwanis Park or use a rideshare service to reach the festival directly.

If you liked this festival, you might want to check out these other amazing lantern festivals as well:

Sky Lantern Festival Utah

Pingxi Lantern Festival

Festival Hours

The Tempe Water Lantern Festival welcomes attendees from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, offering a compact yet profoundly memorable experience. This window ensures that visitors have ample time to immerse themselves in the festivities, from crafting their lanterns to watching them glide across the water. The event’s timing captures the beauty of the twilight hour, setting the stage for a stunning display of light against the evening sky.

As the clock strikes 3, the festival ground at Kiwanis Park bursts into life, inviting one and all into a world of light, music, and camaraderie. The concluding hour at 7 PM marks the culmination of this enchanting journey, leaving hearts warmed and spirits uplifted. These hours promise a seamless blend of peaceful reflection and joyful celebration, tailored to families, friends, and individuals alike.

Tempe Water Lantern 2
An image inspired by the Tempe Water Lantern Festival in Arizona

How Much Does It Cost to See the Tempe Water Lantern Festival

Securing your spot at the Tempe Water Lantern Festival is most economical when you plan ahead. Early Bird tickets, available until February 14, 2024, are priced at just $26.98, offering a budget-friendly option for early planners. As the date approaches, prices rise to $35.99 for Regular tickets until October 25, encouraging attendees to book well in advance.

For those making last-minute decisions, the ticket cost escalates to $45.99 under the Late category until November 1. On the day of the festival, November 2, 2024, tickets will be at their peak price of $55.99. This tiered pricing structure rewards early commitment while accommodating varying schedules and planning preferences.

For the most up-to-date information on ticket pricing, please visit the festival’s official website and social media channels.

Weather and What to Wear

November in Tempe, Arizona, ushers in mild and pleasant weather, creating an ideal backdrop for outdoor events like the Water Lantern Festival. Daytime temperatures typically hover around the high 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (around 20-25°C), while evenings can be cooler, with temperatures often dipping into the 50s Fahrenheit (around 10-15°C). This temperate climate ensures that attendees can enjoy the festival’s activities in comfort, from the lantern crafting to the release on the water, under the clear, starlit sky.

For a comfortable festival experience, visitors are advised to dress accordingly:

  • Layered Clothing: Opt for layers that can be easily added or removed as the day transitions from warm to cooler evening temperatures.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking and standing, as you’ll likely be moving around the park and standing by the water.
  • Light Jacket or Sweater: Bring a light jacket or sweater to stay warm after sunset when the temperatures drop.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: For the earlier hours, a hat and sunglasses can provide protection from the sun.
  • Scarf or Wrap: A scarf or wrap is versatile and can offer extra warmth as the evening cools.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

For those attending the Tempe Water Lantern Festival and seeking nearby accommodations, here are some comfortable and convenient hotel options:

Tempe Mission Palms – Destination by Hyatt

  • Location: 60 E 5th St, Tempe, AZ 85281, United States
  • Description: A luxurious 4-star hotel offering a blend of comfort and convenience in the heart of Tempe.
  • Amenities:
    • Outdoor pool
    • Free Wi-Fi
    • Pet-friendly

Graduate Tempe

  • Location: 225 E Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85281, United States
  • Description: Graduate Tempe is a vibrant 4-star hotel that stands out with its unique, locally inspired decor and collegiate vibe, perfectly blending style and comfort to reflect the youthful spirit of its university town surroundings.
  • Amenities:
    • Outdoor pool
    • Free Wi-Fi

Hyatt Place Tempe / Phoenix / University

  • Location: 601 E 6th St, Tempe, AZ 85281, United States
  • Description: This 3-star hotel offers modern accommodations and easy access to local attractions, making it a great choice for visitors.
  • Amenities:
    • Outdoor pool
    • Complimentary breakfast
    • Free Wi-Fi

Where to Eat – Restaurants Nearby

Discover a variety of delightful dining options near the Tempe Water Lantern Festival for an enhanced culinary experience:

Culinary Dropout

  • Location: 149 S Farmer Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281, United States
  • Description: An American restaurant known for its cool, British-style gastropub ambiance, quirky decor, and inventive cocktails paired with hearty comfort food.
  • Foods Served:
    • Breakfast sandwich
    • House smoked salmon
    • Hot wings

Urban Craft

  • Location: 4400 S Rural Rd, Tempe, AZ 85282, United States
  • Description: A New American restaurant offering a modern dining experience with outdoor seating, high chairs, and dog-friendly outside areas.
  • Foods Served:
    • Classic burger
    • Seared salmon
    • Krispy coconut shrimp

Thirsty Lion Gastropub

  • Location: 2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy #1041, Tempe, AZ 85281, United States
  • Description: A vibrant gastropub offering a cozy atmosphere with a fireplace, private dining room, and an array of happy hour food options.
  • Foods Served:
    • Artichoke spinach dip
    • Sliders grilled burger
    • Spicy fried chicken sliders

More Things to Do In the Area

Enhance your visit to Tempe with these additional attractions, offering a range of activities for every interest:

Tempe Marketplace

  • Location: 2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85288, United States
  • Description: Tempe Marketplace is a vibrant open-air shopping center, offering a dynamic mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment options in Tempe, Arizona.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Shopping at a wide range of retail stores
    • Dining at diverse restaurants and eateries
    • Enjoying live music and events

Desert Botanical Garden

  • Location: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States
  • Description: Situated in Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden spans 140 acres and showcases the beauty and diversity of desert plants from around the world.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Walking through themed trails featuring desert flora
    • Attending seasonal exhibits and events
    • Participating in educational workshops and tours

Papago Park

  • Location: 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States
  • Description: Papago Park is a renowned municipal park shared by Phoenix and Tempe, recognized for its distinctive red sandstone formations and rich history, including Hunt’s Tomb on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Hiking and biking on scenic trails
    • Exploring historical sites like Hunt’s Tomb
    • Enjoying picnics and outdoor recreation

An Illuminating Conclusion: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Tempe Water Lantern Festival

The Tempe Water Lantern Festival is more than just an event; it’s a captivating experience that unites people through the simple, yet profound act of setting lanterns adrift on water. Each lantern carries a message of hope, love, or remembrance, creating a tapestry of light that reflects the community’s collective spirit. 

Amidst the backdrop of Kiwanis Park, with its gentle breezes and the soft glow of lanterns, attendees find a moment of peace and connection. This festival not only lights up the night but also the hearts of all who participate, leaving lasting memories long after the lanterns have faded.


Is there parking available at the festival?

Yes, there is parking available at Kiwanis Park for festival attendees. However, spaces may be limited, so it’s advisable to arrive early or consider alternative transportation options.

Can I bring my own lantern to the festival?

The festival provides specially designed lanterns that are safe for the environment and part of your entry package. To ensure safety and uniformity, personal lanterns are not permitted.

Are pets allowed at the Tempe Water Lantern Festival?

Yes, pets are welcome at the festival, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. Please be considerate and clean up after your pet.

Is smoking permitted at the festival?

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted within the festival grounds to ensure a comfortable and safe environment for all attendees.

What should I do if it rains on the day of the festival?

The festival will take place rain or shine. In the case of severe weather, check the festival’s official website or social media channels for updates or possible rescheduling information.

Are there food and drinks available for purchase at the festival?

Yes, there are a variety of food trucks and vendors at the festival offering a range of food and drink options. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Is the festival accessible for people with disabilities?

The festival is committed to being accessible to everyone. There are designated accessible parking areas and restrooms. If you have specific accessibility needs, it’s recommended to contact the festival organizers in advance.

Can I get a refund if I am unable to attend after purchasing a ticket?

Generally, tickets are non-refundable. However, in certain circumstances, such as a cancellation or significant date change, the festival may offer refunds or transfer options. Check the festival’s ticketing policy for detailed information.

Tempe Water Lantern 3
An image inspired by the Tempe Water Lantern Festival




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