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Five Fun Holiday Events in Northern Arizona
‘Tis the season for celebrating! It’s time to gather with family and friends and fill up on hot cocoa and holiday magic. There are plenty of holiday festivities in Phoenix and all around the state. But if you’re heading up north to see some snow, check out these five family-friendly holiday events in Northern Arizona.
The Polar Express
Kids love seeing Santa anywhere (even at a mall or store), but nothing tops the experience of traveling to the North Pole to hang out with him. Every holiday season, Grand Canyon Railway transforms into The Polar Express, taking passengers on a merry nighttime ride aboard a 1923 steam locomotive from Williams, Arizona to the “North Pole,” where Santa and his reindeer will greet passengers with presents. Many families wear their pajamas on board, adding to the cozy atmosphere as Santa reads a Christmas tale while they sip hot chocolate and eat chocolate chip cookies. The Polar Express departs at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. and each round trip takes approximately 90 minutes. Visit thetrain.com/events/polar-express for schedules and ticket prices.
The Great Pinecone Drop
Flagstaff’s New Year’s Eve celebration, The Great Pinecone Drop, features a 70-pound, 6-foot tall, illuminated pinecone with more than 200 metal petals that drops from the roof of the 125-year-old Weatherford Hotel at 10 p.m. and midnight, followed by fireworks. People who want a VIP view can reserve a room at the Weatherford and nab a spot on the balcony – but be aware that all guests at the hotel on New Year’s Eve must be 21 or older.
Flagstaff Holiday Parade of Lights
More than 100 festive floats twinkling with colorful holiday lights will cruise the streets for the Flagstaff Holiday Parade of Lights on Saturday, December 11. Desert Financial is a sponsor of the parade, which starts at 6 p.m. at Beaver Street and Elm Avenue in downtown Flagstaff. See snowmen, Santa, reindeer and other seasonal icons cruise the parade route from Beaver Street to Aspen Avenue, Aspen to San Francisco Street and San Francisco to Elm. The Flagstaff Visitor Center (located in an old train station) will also be decked out in holiday lights.
Valley of Lights 2022
Fain Park in Prescott Valley transforms into a winter wonderland every year, as hundreds of light displays twinkle and glow along a one-mile drive known as the Valley of Lights. There is no cost to access the park, which will have displays lit up from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly from November 28 through December 30. Look for the soldier illuminated in lights at the entrance. Other seasonal soirees in the area include the Prescott Christmas Parade and Courthouse Lighting on December 3 and the Christmas Village & Christkindl Market on December 16 and 17, all taking place at the downtown Prescott Courthouse.
Whiskey Row New Year’s Eve Boot Drop
Add a Wild West kick to your New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Whiskey Row New Year’s Eve Boot Drop in Prescott. Festivities for this free event on December 31 include live music, looper rides, giveaways, food vendors, fireworks and a 6-foot, illuminated cowboy boot that drops from the rooftop of the Palace Saloon at 10 p.m. and midnight.
Looking for more ways to be merry? Find even more holiday events here.