Christmas Eve in Arizona

Old Oct 9th, 2017, 05:13 AM
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Christmas Eve in Arizona

Husband and I are flying to PHX late Dec 21 and then home mid afternoon Dec 25. Main goal if weather cooperates is to visit Grand Canyon (haven't been in the winter), walk some rim trails, enjoy the views, maybe stars at night, lounge in El Tovar lobby, read a book. If a big storm is rolling in, we will shift to Sedona area or go south.

We're will book hotel near PHX Dec 21. I've been able to get reservation at Thunderbird for Dec 22 & 23. However, Dec 24 we would have to move to Maswik North or Yavapai or leave the park. Because we will be packing up and moving anyway, I was looking for a Dec 24 lodging option back toward PHX if there is somewhere scenic that would make a nice Christmas Eve/morning before heading back to Phoenix airport mid day Dec 25.

I've read that downtown Flagstaff has Christmas lights. (Worth staying the night and walking around in the evening?) Also Little America Flagstaff has lights (Same question.) Prescott Resort has a gingerbread house competition, but that seems quite out of the way.

Has anyone toured the Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff? It is decorated for Christmas, but we would have to tour there by 4pm.

I'm not planning any time in Phoenix/Scottsdale this trip because I will be back in the area April 2019 and can see those sights then.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 10:01 AM
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The Biltmore in PHX or the Royal Palms in Scottsdale is lovely during Xmas time.

Sedona is festive and Little America in Flagstaff is decorated with all the holiday trimmings.

Hit up Jerome.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 11:37 AM
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Sedona would be my choice.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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I enjoyed Sedona on our previous trip. The scenery is gorgeous, so a possibility with even a short walk Christmas morning. I assume by festive you mean that Sedona has Christmas decorations up? Typical for most towns or something distinctive/special? I saw someone asking/answering somewhere else about what to do/where to go Christmas Eve in Sedona is to go to mass, which is possible in any town, of course.

I decided against the big hotels in Phoenix and Scottsdale as I would rather be out in a smaller town or the park.

I'll look up some old photos of Sedona and Little America at Christmas to get a feel for them.
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Old Oct 10th, 2017, 05:44 PM
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Flagstaff has a nice downtown area. But, If you want a quaint, small town feel, Prescott is a little out of the way on your return to Phx. but not a huge amount if you travel south of 64, west on 40, then south on 89. Prescott and its classic town square with Christmas decorations and various holidays celebrations may fit your requirements. Personally, I would return to Phx., enjoy the incredible enclave of Royal Palms and celebrate at the Phx. Botanical Gardens Lumiarias with a variety of live musicians; very special.
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Old Oct 10th, 2017, 11:21 PM
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I live in Phoenix but grew up in the Verde Valley north of here. Riordan Mansion is rustic but lovely. For a truly magical Christmas feeling, I would stay the night in Sedona. L'Auberge is exquisite and charming, unlike anywhere else. It sits directly on Oak Creek which is stunning. It runs through the cottage area and always has delicate little wildlife creatures rambling through. I have only stayed in the cottages and find the decor sumptuous. Unlike the traditional Southwest colors in the other resorts, the cottages have beautiful 4 poster beds, decorated with a rich French country feel. Los Abrigados always puts on a spectacular Christmas display, which draws serious crowds. You can still walk the light tour without staying on grounds, but they have a lovely resort as well. The other place I would suggest depending on your ability to handle heights would be Jerome. Roughly 25 minutes from Sedona. When you are coming back from Flagstaff, you can see this beautiful little town buried high into Mingus Mountain. Once there, the views are literally breathtaking....from any place you stand in the town. It is an artist community and formerly a copper town with nearly a hundred mineshafts still under the town. Many people are drawn there due to it being a "Ghost Town". Yes, lots of haunted places. You will find several nicely run B&B's, a couple of good hotels, and some extremely stunning Airbnb and VRBO properties. No one has ever gone to Jerome and been disappointed. When you get finished gazing out at the entire Verde Valley, you can walk around the eclectic little town. There is an abundance of intriguing artist shops as well as unlimited resources which will provide insight into the fascinating history of this once thriving copper town. that has become one of the top traveled tourist destinations here. (Can you tell I am in charge of taking out of town guests sightseeing?) You won't be disappointed choosing either of these suggestions. Have fun!
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Old Oct 12th, 2017, 04:46 PM
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I saw the Botanic Garden Lumiarias online. I will wait to closer to the date to see the schedule if open Christmas Eve.
The Biltmore, Royal Palms, Fairmont Princess and other large hotels in Phoenix look lovely.
If we choose one of those, then we will basically stay at the hotel until going to the airport midday.

I pulled out my souvenir photo book from trip to Sedona years ago and had fond memories of a walk we took there. L'Auberge is beyond our budget, but other hotels are available.

I think we visited Jerome on that earlier trip, but I don't seem to remember specifically and I can't believe I don't have any photos, but I can't find any. I think I will leave it for the next trip. I don't expect the artist shops or much else to be open on Sunday Christmas Eve afternoon/evening.
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Old Oct 12th, 2017, 06:15 PM
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Of the three hotels you mention in the Phoenix area, Royal Palms is by far the best. It is a perfect oasis. You don't even feel you are in a large city and T Cook's, the onsite restaurant is outstanding. Luminaries are very popular. If you wait too long, you won't get tickets
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Old Oct 13th, 2017, 04:16 AM
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Must be a glitch in this website. I posted that I had made a mistake, Desert Botanical Gardens Luminarias is closed 12/24 and 12/25. Another festive option nearby is Zoo Lights at the Phx Zoo which is located in Papago park where you could take a nice hike to view the sunset before going to zoo lights. If you really want to see the Luminarias, they will be open 12/21 when you arrive. If you decide to go, buy your tickets soon; they go fast
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Old Mar 6th, 2018, 06:12 PM
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Lots has happened since Christmas that kept me away from the board.

Instead of posting a real trip report, let me just thank everyone for their ideas and let you know it all went well.

We enjoyed our time at Grand Canyon although it felt rushed and it was difficult to choose how to fit pieces together.
The sunrises and sunsets were busts except to see changing light in the canyon.
Light snow the night before we arrived was not enough to notice except in shady areas, but warmer temperatures meant we were outside for long hours.
I enjoyed the tour of Kolb Studios. Great for us history buffs.
The views never disappoint. Elk and deer.
Too many people at Desert View Watchtower, but deserted just behind the tower along the rim.

We stopped in Flagstaff and toured the Riordan Mansion. I enjoyed that a lot.

Sedona in town traffic irritating. Looked like lots of shops open on Christmas Eve. Huge crowds toward the airport for sunset, so we passed. By going early we managed to get our traditional Christmas Eve pizza dinner. This time at Pisa Lisa.
Canyon and rocks still a sight to see. We were first people on trail in Fay Canyon Christmas morning and enjoyed the solitude until on the return we met huge extended family noisily working their way up the trail.

I think next Christmas we may try Tucson. I'd like to see the airplane boneyard and I understand hummingbirds can be found in the canyons around there year round.
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Old Mar 7th, 2018, 03:13 AM
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Glad you came back with a report . The Grand Canyon is fantastic and if you can hike down even a little way the crowds thin out.

Thanks for the update.
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