When the holiday season rolls around, few places can compete with the charm and festive spirit of Prescott, Arizona.
Lovingly referred to as “Arizona’s Christmas City,” Prescott offers an array of activities that bring cheer to the most wonderful time of the year. If you’re looking for things to do in Prescott for Christmas, you’ve come to the right place.
Prescott, with its mild winters and scenic landscapes, is a gem located in the heart of Arizona. Known for its rich history, vibrant arts scene, and friendly community, the city has long been a favored destination for both locals and tourists alike.
As the holiday season approaches, Prescott transforms into a magical wonderland. Its streets twinkle with thousands of lights, festive parades enliven its neighborhoods, and the air fills with the scent of pine and the sound of carols. This is why Prescott has earned its title as “Arizona’s Christmas City”—a moniker that it carries with pride and joy.
Historical Christmas Attractions
A stroll through Prescott’s historic downtown during the Christmas season is a journey back in time. The heart of the city, adorned with twinkling lights and colorful decorations, radiates a sense of timeless charm.
One of the main highlights of the holiday season is the Courthouse Lighting Ceremony. This event takes place in the city’s central square, where the magnificent courthouse is lit up with thousands of glittering lights—a sight that truly encapsulates the spirit of Christmas.
Another tradition that makes downtown Prescott a must-visit during the holidays is its Christmas window displays. Local businesses compete to create the most elaborate and festive decorations, resulting in an enchanting tableau of holiday cheer.
Christmas Shopping in Prescott
During the Christmas season, Prescott transforms into a shopping haven. The city teems with a variety of markets and boutiques that cater to all your holiday shopping needs, promising unique and memorable gifts for your loved ones.
One popular spot for holiday shopping is the Arts Prescott Gallery. This cooperative gallery boasts works from local artists, offering a range of beautiful handcrafted items that make for perfect gifts. You can find everything from pottery and jewelry to paintings and sculptures, each piece telling a story of Prescott’s vibrant art scene.
Not far from the gallery is another shopping hotspot – Bashford Courts. This historic atrium-style mall houses numerous independent stores that offer an eclectic mix of merchandise. Whether you’re looking for fashionable clothing, Arizona-themed souvenirs, or gourmet food items, Bashford Courts has something for every shopper.
A visit to Prescott would be incomplete without a stroll down Whiskey Row. While it’s best known for its lively saloons, Whiskey Row also offers a variety of unique shops. Here, you can find everything from Western wear and antiques to handmade chocolates, making it a great place to find unique Christmas gifts.
In addition to these spots, Prescott hosts several Christmas craft fairs and festivals. These events showcase a variety of local vendors and are an excellent opportunity to shop for unique, handcrafted gifts while supporting local businesses.
Whether you’re a seasoned shopper or just looking for the perfect gift, you’ll find no shortage of options in Prescott. With its variety of shopping venues and festive spirit, Prescott truly becomes a Christmas shopper’s paradise.
Christmas Dining and Festivities
Experiencing Christmas in Prescott goes beyond seeing the lights and shopping; it’s also about immersing yourself in the local flavors. The city’s culinary scene comes alive during the holiday season, offering an array of festive dishes that warm the heart as much as they delight the palate.
Many local restaurants offer special Christmas menus. From traditional holiday roasts to innovative, Arizona-inspired dishes, these culinary offerings capture the essence of the season and provide a truly delightful dining experience.
Next, no festive celebration is complete without a toast. Fortunately, Prescott’s wineries and breweries are up to the task. Known for their high-quality craft beers and local wines, these establishments often provide holiday-themed drinks that you won’t want to miss. Whether you prefer a comforting mulled wine or a craft beer with a holiday twist, there’s something to suit all taste buds.
Lastly, the holiday season in Prescott is a time for spectacular performances. The Elks Theatre, a historic venue in the city, hosts a variety of holiday shows that are perfect for the entire family. From festive concerts to Christmas plays, these performances capture the joy and magic of the season.
Whether you’re a food lover, a wine enthusiast, or a fan of the arts, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate Christmas in Prescott. So indulge in a festive feast, raise a glass to the season, and let the holiday spirit move you.
Outdoor Christmas Activities
In addition to its beautiful decorations and delightful culinary offerings, Prescott also offers a range of outdoor activities that truly make the Christmas season special.
The Valley of Lights is one such attraction. A beloved tradition in the community, this drive-thru Christmas light show offers a mile of enchanting displays. Illuminated figures of Santa, his reindeer, and other festive characters light up the night, delighting both the young and the young at heart.
If you’re looking for a more active way to celebrate the holidays, consider visiting the Prescott Valley Event Center for some ice skating. The center’s outdoor rink offers a magical experience, with twinkling lights overhead and Christmas music playing in the background. It’s a fun activity for the entire family, and a great way to embrace the winter season.
Lastly, the Christmas Parade and Caroling in the Prescott Community is an event you won’t want to miss. The parade features a wonderful array of floats, bands, and community groups, while the caroling brings everyone together in joyful songs. It’s a festive celebration that truly captures the community spirit of Prescott.
From scenic light displays to joyful parades, these outdoor Christmas activities in Prescott offer fun and festive ways to celebrate the season. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, they provide an unforgettable holiday experience.
Local Christmas Traditions
One of the wonderful things about spending Christmas in Prescott is getting to experience the city’s unique local traditions. These community events capture the true spirit of the season and offer a chance to celebrate in a way that’s uniquely Prescott.
A standout among these is Acker Night, an evening filled with music, merriment, and a sense of community spirit. During this event, musicians of all types perform in shops around the downtown area. The music ranges from classical to rock, country to jazz, offering a variety of sounds that fill the city with a joyous melody.
It’s a magical experience that brings together locals and visitors in a celebration of the season and the city’s vibrant music scene.
Another beloved tradition is the Enchanted Christmas Tour of Lights. This indoor event transforms a large space into a dazzling festive wonderland, complete with elaborately decorated trees, animated figures, and holiday scenes. It’s an immersive experience that captures the wonder of Christmas for both children and adults.
Then there’s the World’s Largest Gingerbread Village at Prescott Resort. This delectable display features hundreds of creative gingerbread structures. The sight of the intricate, candy-adorned creations is a real treat and a testament to the city’s festive spirit.
Experiencing these local traditions is truly a special way to spend Christmas in Prescott. They capture the magic of the season and provide a unique celebration you’ll remember for years to come.
Christmas Services and Candlelight Celebrations
The spirit of Christmas in Prescott is not just about festivities and fun—it’s also a time for reflection, gratitude, and community. The city’s churches welcome everyone with open arms during the holiday season, offering a variety of services and special events that embody the true meaning of Christmas.
Many local churches, such as the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and the Prescott United Methodist Church, hold special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. These services feature traditional hymns, beautiful decorations, and heartfelt messages that remind us of the reason for the season.
One unique tradition is the Community Christmas Eve Service held at the historic Yavapai County Courthouse Square. This outdoor service brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate the holiday under the beautifully lit courthouse and the starlit Arizona sky. It’s a moving event that showcases the unity and spirit of the Prescott community.
In addition to regular services, many churches in Prescott also host candlelight celebrations. These events are a beautiful spectacle, as the soft glow of candlelight fills the church, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Combined with the singing of carols and the sharing of goodwill, these candlelight services are a memorable way to celebrate the Christmas season.
Prescott’s Christmas services and candlelight celebrations offer a meaningful way to connect with the community and reflect on the holiday’s deeper significance. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you’re sure to find a warm welcome and a sense of peace during these special events.
Christmas Accommodations in Prescott
When planning your Christmas visit to Prescott, one of the crucial decisions is choosing where to stay. Fortunately, Prescott offers a wide range of accommodations to suit all preferences and budgets, making it easy to find the perfect home away from home for the holidays.
One option is the historic Hassayampa Inn. This charming boutique hotel, located in the heart of downtown Prescott, is beautifully decorated for the holidays. Its elegant rooms and top-notch service make it a cozy and comfortable place to retreat after a day of holiday festivities.
For a more rustic experience, consider a stay at the Prescott Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast. Nestled amidst ponderosa pines, this B&B offers a peaceful setting, cozy rooms, and delicious breakfasts. It’s the perfect place for a quiet, relaxing Christmas getaway.
If you’re planning a family trip or traveling with a larger group, you might consider renting a vacation home. Numerous rental properties are available in and around Prescott, ranging from charming cottages to larger homes with multiple bedrooms. Many of these rentals feature festive decorations, making them a perfect choice for a homey Christmas stay.
Choosing the right accommodations can enhance your Christmas experience in Prescott. Whether you prefer the elegance of a historic hotel, the coziness of a bed and breakfast, or the comfort of a rental home, you’ll find an option that makes your holiday stay memorable.
New Year’s Eve in Prescott
While Christmas is a major highlight of the holiday season in Prescott, the festivities don’t stop there. The city also hosts a range of events to celebrate New Year’s Eve, offering visitors the opportunity to ring in the new year in style.
One of the biggest events is the New Year’s Eve Boot Drop. A Prescott tradition, this event sees a 6-foot illuminated cowboy boot lowered down The Palace Building’s flagpole, similar to the famous Times Square Ball Drop.
The boot makes two descents—one at 10 p.m. and another at midnight—to accommodate different bedtimes and time zones. Live music, food vendors, and a festive atmosphere make this a fun event for all ages.
For a more formal celebration, consider attending the New Year’s Eve Gala at the Hassayampa Inn. This elegant event features a gourmet dinner, dancing, live music, and a champagne toast at midnight.
Additionally, many local restaurants and bars host their own New Year’s Eve parties. These range from laid-back gatherings to upscale soirees, offering something for every taste.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly event or a night of sophisticated celebration, Prescott’s New Year’s Eve festivities offer a memorable way to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we address some commonly asked questions about spending Christmas in Prescott. These answers provide further insight into what makes the holiday season in this city so special.
What is the weather like in Prescott during Christmas?
Prescott experiences a mild winter climate. In December, temperatures typically range from the low 20s to the mid-50s (in Fahrenheit). Snowfall is possible but not guaranteed. It’s advisable to check the forecast close to your visit and pack accordingly.
Is Prescott accessible for travelers?
Yes, Prescott is quite accessible for travelers. The city is about a two-hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona. If you prefer to fly, the Prescott Regional Airport offers daily flights to and from several major cities.
Is Prescott a family-friendly destination for Christmas?
Absolutely. Many of Prescott’s Christmas activities, such as the Parade of Lights and the World’s Largest Gingerbread Village, are designed with families in mind. Plus, the city’s safe, friendly atmosphere makes it an ideal destination for visitors of all ages.
How long do the Christmas lights stay up in Prescott?
Prescott’s Christmas lighting typically begins in late November and continues until early January. It offers visitors a lengthy window to enjoy the city’s festive displ
Conclusion: Things to do in Prescott for Christmas.
Spending Christmas in Prescott, Arizona, is an experience like no other. From the dazzling array of Christmas lights that earn it the title of “Arizona’s Christmas City” to the warm hospitality of its people, Prescott provides an idyllic setting to celebrate the holiday season.
The city’s wide range of festive events, delightful culinary offerings, outdoor activities, unique local traditions, and heartfelt church services offer countless ways to embrace the holiday spirit. The variety of accommodations ensure visitors have a comfortable stay and the exciting New Year’s Eve celebrations cap off the season with joy and festivity.
So whether you’re a long-time resident looking to take part in cherished traditions or a first-time visitor exploring the city’s holiday offerings, there’s no doubt that Prescott is a magical place to be at Christmas.