Prescott Christmas

Prescott Christmas Lights at the Capitol.

We should always give thanks for living in Arizona, but boy, are we ever grateful around this time of year! Sunny with a bit of a chill in the air, sweatshirts and sweaters, but still no gloves or galoshes. A glorious time to hike, and yet, we can also roast marshmallows around a fire. 

In addition, it’s the giddy anticipation of a holiday season and knowing you are just a few weeks away from spending time with friends and family and maybe even enjoying a Thanksgiving feast. If you stay close to home and host visitors, you can also check out how some of Arizona’s other towns are getting into the holiday spirit.

Prescott was the first capital of Arizona and is known as the official Arizona Christmas city – the folks in this town know how to celebrate. Starting in November, there will be exhibits at the ‘Tis Art Gallery and an art walk on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The Saturday after is when the festivities kick off, including a holiday light parade that will surely get a holiday tune or two stuck in your head. 

Drive a little further north to see those brilliant red rocks and feel the cooler temperatures. Sedona is impressive no matter the season, but if you are looking for a scenic way to burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories, you could participate in the annual Turkey Trot 5K race at the Posse Grounds Park in Sedona. 

This town starts its holiday season with several other events, holiday shows and no shortage of restaurants and resorts serving up holiday dishes. Not far from Sedona is the Grand Canyon National Park, which is another popular Thanksgiving destination. The North Rim closes in October, but the South Rim is open year-round. 

Some people head to Lake Havasu City in the summer, but it can also be a winter wonderland. The annual Festival of Lights event starts the day after Thanksgiving. Take a boat cruise through the Bridgewater Channel to see hundreds of thousands of lights shining over the lake. It is a gorgeous time of year to take in this spectacular natural wonder but dress in layers because not only can it get chilly, you might even see some snow. 

The annual Fountain Hills Thanksgiving parade is a little closer to the Valley and highlights Thanksgiving in Arizona (for the past 37 years!). People come from all over the state to watch the floats, classic cars, marching bands and dance routines. The city stays lit until late evening each night to keep folks in a festive spirit. 

There’s also a visitor making a trip from the North Pole to wave hello to all his fans. Turkey trots, scenic hikes, ZooLights and the ASU/UofA traditional Territorial Cup rivalry: Whether you are a Wildcat, a Sun Devil or just looking for holiday fun, there’s plenty of sunshine and tradition this month in Arizona.