Flagstaff Holiday Traditions


We love the holidays here in Flagstaff and all the activities that pop up, just as the weather is getting really cold! A few of these things take a bit of planning and some are really easy, just hop in the car and go!

Holiday Parade of Lights, Saturday, December 8th!

This is always a hit with the kids. Make sure to get there early (or send someone early to snag a few spots if possible.) Make sure to bring lots of hot drink and lots of warm clothes, as it gets very cold at this parade. You can buy warm drinks from vendors as well. They usually throw out lots of candy so be prepared for that too! The parade is 6-8pm, downtown, this Saturday night. 

The North Pole Experience

This event is very popular with young families so buy your tickets as soon as possible!

Polar Express

This is one of my favorites for young kids. Put on your PJ’s and get transported to the North Pole on the train in Williams! They provide hot chocolate, cookies, and caroling. And sometimes Santa hops on the train to say hi after you visit the North Pole!

Wild Wonderland at Bearizona

This is a beautiful and fun stroll through Bearizona at night. You will not be seeing the bears but some animals will be out! The trees are all decorated with lights and there is lots of holiday music playing as well. There is also story time and photo opportunities with Ms. Claus!

Sleigh Rides

The historic Hitchin’ Post Stables offers Sleigh Rides! You can enjoy a magical 45-minute ride that circles through the Coconino National Forest and it ends back at the barn where Cowboy Cookin’ is offered. There is a campfire, complimentary hot chocolate, and apple cider. Maybe there will be snow too!

Mini Van Express

This can be done anywhere, not just in Flagstaff. Print out some tickets from the above link and put them under your kids’ pillows. Get the car decorated in advance with some battery powers holiday light. Get the car loaded up with hot chocolate, cookies and maybe some friends! Then you can drive around your neighborhood or head to some of my very my favorite (and easy!) holiday traditions…

Little America Hotel

If you want to drive to see some lights, this is a mellow and fun way to do it. All of the trees at the Little America Hotel are lit up and it is a beautiful sight!

Outdoor Musical Light Show- one of my favorites!

This is an amazing creation put on by a resident of Flagstaff, in his own front yard. You drive up and tune into a radio station, and listen to an amazing synchronized light and music show from your car. And bring a toy donation from Toys for Tots! The address is 6376 E Abineau Canyon Dr, 86004. Hours this year are 5:30-9:00pm on weekdays and till 9:30pm on weekends. Tune your car radio to 105.3 FM when you arrive. It really is phenomenal!

Flagstaff Community Luminaries

This is my very favorite holiday tradition! This takes place in the Coconino Estates Neighborhood here in Flagstaff. You can drive the luminary route or you can walk it (but it is a couple miles long). There is a community band, a live nativity and I heard there may be a new ukulele group performing as well! It is best to enter on Bonito in front of Marshall Elementary School. The event takes place December 16, 5:30pm – 9:00pm.

Please let us know some of your favorite holiday traditions!



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Katie Woodard
Katie has lived in Flagstaff for 22 years and grew up in North Carolina. She has 10 and 12 year old boys who are certainly an adventure! Her family is by far the most rewarding part of her life. Katie loves hiking and running in our beautiful hills, skiing, river rafting, traveling, health and clean eating (thanks to a whacky thyroid). She is also always taking small steps to clean up our environment, and she is currently learning meditation and just loves learning in general! Katie and her college roommate drove to AZ from VA after college and Katie has only left briefly but Flagstaff is her home for sure! She met her wonderful husband while river guiding in the Grand Canyon. Katie is a family photographer at www.katiewoodardphotography.com, here in Flagstaff and loves capturing the natural love and beauty in families. Her newest fun adventure is co-founding Women Empowering Northern Arizona.