Experience high country holidays and the wonders of winter


With an average of 100 plus inches of snowfall each year, Flagstaff is Arizona’s premier winter wonderland. This is the time to celebrate the holidays high country style or plan a weekend of snowplay on the slopes.

Winter in Flagstaff

Designated as Arizona’s winter wonderland, Flagstaff attracts visitors from all over to our snowy playground. Accumulating an average of 100 inches of snow annually in downtown, the surrounding ponderosa forests are blanketed with even more, welcoming winter enthusiasts to partake in a multitude of winter activities, such as skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and snowbiking.

The Polar Express – November 7, 2014 – January 3, 2015

Grand Canyon Railway in Williams. Based on the adventures of the classic children’s book The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, the Grand Canyon Railway is taking you on a journey to the “North Pole”! Departing from Williams, this enchanting train will arrive at the “North Pole,” where Santa Claus and his reindeer will merrily be waiting to hand out presents. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided by Santa’s chefs during the train ride. Other activities at Grand Canyon Railway include pictures with Mrs. Claus and Santa’s Helper in the Polar Room. Also, be sure to visit with our staff Elves and Hobo, who will be wandering around the Platform throughout the evening. Those interested are encouraged to call early to make reservations. Departure times: 5:30 p.m., 7:30pm and select days feature a 3:30 p.m. matinee departure.

Hitchin’ Post Stables Sleigh Rides –November 11, 2014 – March 15, 2015

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Treat your family to a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride through the winter wonderland of the snow-covered Coconino National Forest! This sleigh ride is one hour in length, stopping at a campfire site for hot cocoa. The sleigh rides leave the main stable area on the hour and head off through the snow covered pines of the Coconino National Forest, with horses trotting and sleigh bells jingling.

NAU BFA Annual Art Show – November 14 – December 12, 2014

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Join the faculty and students of the Northern Arizona University – Art Department as they celebrate all the hard work and creativity of the graduating BFA students. Held at Northern Arizona University – Beasley Art Gallery from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

It’s Elemental – November 18 – December 20, 2014

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This popular fine craft exhibition showcases works of art by the finest craftspeople in Northern Arizona. The annual juried show features jewelry, ceramics, glasswork, wood, furniture, fabric, sculpture and more. Held Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11am-5pm at the Coconino Center for the Arts.

Holiday Lights Festival – November 21, 2014

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Starting November 21, Little America Hotel is decorated with millions of lights to create a stunning holiday display.

North Pole Experience – November 21 – December 27, 2014

Prepare for a Christmas adventure of a lifetime. The North Pole Experience is an incredible opportunity for families to visit Santa in the “North Pole” during the Christmas season. When visiting Santa’s Workshop, families will be able to participate in a multitude of activities, such as building toys with the elves, touring the toy factory and meeting Santa for photos. Trips to Santa’s Workshop will depart via trolley from the Little America Hotel situated in Flagstaff’s ponderosa pine forest. Lodging accommodations can also be made through Little America Hotel. Tickets are expected to sell out early, so early reservations are encouraged. Departures: Day trips 1:00-3:45 p.m. Evening trips 4-8:30. *Please visit website for specific dates of tours.

Holiday Tours at Riordan Mansion – December 1, 2014 – January 4, 2015

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The Mansion is festively decorated in turn-of-the-century style with wreaths, garlands, greenery and a towering fir tree trimmed with old-fashioned ornaments. Guided tours through Riordan Mansion State Historic Park include glimpses of folklore and traditions of Christmas, both past and present.

Star of Bethlehem Program at Lowell Observatory – December 1-23, 2014 (Dates vary)

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Discuss the astronomical interpretation of the Star of Bethlehem. Telescope viewings and other indoor programs will be available.

40th Annual NAU Holiday Dinner – December 4-7, 2014

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Three-course dinner at the duBois Center ballroom which will be turned into a winter wonderland. Performances are given by six choral ensembles, the Harold M. Harter Handbell Choir and several small group and solo performances.

Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra – Holiday Classic: The Nutcracker – December 5 & 6, 2014

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Experience the magic of Tchaikovsky’s classic holiday adventure! A sparkling party, a dramatic battle, and a whimsical journey to the Land of Sweets are all brought to life through captivating choreography and one of the greatest symphonic scores ever written.

Riordan Mansion Annual Christmas Party and Crafts – December 6, 2014

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azstateparks.govThe community is invited to attend our annual Christmas Party which will be held in the Visitor Center.   From 9:00 – 11:00 am Santa will be on hand to give out candy and Mrs. Claus will read Christmas stories to the children. In addition, there will be crafts for the children to make and take home, as well as Christmas music and general good cheer. To help fend off the cold, hot cider and cake will be served.

Winter Wonderland – December 6, 2014

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Santa will be visiting with children, there will be arts and crafts, hot cocoa, and a movie played in the pool. 4-8 p.m. at the Flagstaff Aquaplex.

Fine Craft Sale & Artist Marketplace – December 6 & 7, 2014

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Featuring beautiful one-of-a-kind, handmade works of art from 18 local artists, browse original holiday ornaments and enjoy refreshments while listening to a local choral group. Held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts.

NAU Orchestras and Phoenix Youth Symphony – December 7, 2014

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The Phoenix Youth Symphony will join the NAU Symphony in a side-by-side performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Also on the program is Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto with Dr. Mary Ann Ramos, soloist. Presented by Northern Arizona University School of Music at Ardrey Auditorium, NAU Campus.  3-5 p.m.

Sing-A-Long With Santa – December 13, 2014

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A free concert for Northern Arizona families presented by Master Chorale’s chamber choir and the Children’s Chorale of Flagstaff at Coconino High School. Hear family holiday songs, sing your favorite carols, and see Santa Claus, too! 4-6 p.m.

Northern Lights Holiday Parade – December 13, 2014

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A holiday parade through Flagstaff’s Historic Downtown filled with dozens of twinkling floats, marching bands and don’t miss Santa Claus. 6 p.m.

Christmas In The Mountains – December 14, 2014

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See and hear the Master Chorale of Flagstaff’s  annual extravaganza featuring holiday music for choirs, handbells, brass, percussion, and organ complete with special lighting and holiday decorations. John Rutter’s Gloria will be the featured work. Held at Ardrey Auditorium, NAU Campus from 3-5 p.m.

Winter Holiday Social – December 19, 2014

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Santa will be visiting with children, there will be refreshments, presents for the kids, and holiday music.  The events is for ages 5-15 and will be held from 4-6 p.m. at the Flagstaff Recreation Center.

Holiday Star Fest – December 21-23 & 26-30, 2014

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Lowell Observatory extends its hours and offers indoor programs and special tours.

Holiday Champagne Brunch – December 25, 2014

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The Little America Hotel hosts its traditional Holiday Champagne Brunch with an array of tantalizing options including hand-carved meats, seafood, omelets, waffles crepes and chocolate fondue. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Great Pinecone Drop - December 31, 2014 – January 1, 2015

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The historic Weatherford Hotel settled in the heart of downtown Flagstaff will be presenting a New Year’s Eve Tradition, the dropping of a six-foot tall Pine Cone. The Pine Cone will be displayed at an elevated three stories as a giant holiday ornament for the entire city to admire until the New Year. On December 31, there will be two lowerings of the Pine Cone, the first one beginning at 10 p.m., followed by the second one at midnight. This event has attracted thousands of people to the town square as they countdown into a New Year! Times: First drop at 10 p.m. Second drop: midnight.

Dew Downtown Ski and Snowboard Festival – January 24 & 25, 2015

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For those entertained by watching or participating in extreme winter sports, make sure to check out The Dew Downtown Ski and Snowboard Festival. This festival is held in the streets of downtown Flagstaff as winter sports enthusiasts of all ages jump and shred over urban obstacles, such as trash cans and guard rails. The event will also have activities for kids, live bands, a beer garden and more.