If you’re already sick of holiday consumerism, you just might need a little getaway. A weekend in Prescott — “Arizona’s Christmas City” — will transform the grouchiest Scrooge into the happiest of Santa’s elves. Take it from one who has made this Christmas trip for ten of the last 12 years: if a holiday weekend in Prescott doesn’t put you in a festive mood, nothing will. Although holiday-themed events are happening throughout the month, the weekend of Dec. 2-4 is the best time to recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned, ‘old-west’ Arizona Christmas – and not just for old-timers — for everyone.
Here’s a suggested itinerary for your weekend:
Plan to arrive Friday afternoon. Better yet, arrive on Thursday afternoon, so you have an extra day to explore Prescott and the surrounding area. Think museums, parks, maybe even a hike – weather permitting. On your way into town, make a stop at the Prescott Resort to tour the Gingerbread Village in the resort’s lobby. You’ll be amazed to how much effort and creativity have been put into these creations. Afterwards, take a few minutes to stroll through the conference room wing to view the Western and American Indian paintings and sculptures. With its spacious suites, great dining, excellent views, entertainment and events, Prescott Resort is also one of our lodging recommendations.
We also recommend the Marriott SpringHill Suites or the historic Hassayampa Inn; both are conveniently located downtown. You will be able to park your vehicle for the remainder of your stay — it’s an easy stroll to your choice of downtown eateries, quaint shops and other holiday events.
The Marriott offers guests continental breakfast, but heartier morning appetites will appreciate the Hassayampa Inn dining room or the Lone Spur Café. If you just want pastries and coffee or hot chocolate, there are several nearby coffee shops. Keep these in mind if parade day turns out to be cold and rainy, or cold and snowy!
The annual Christmas parade around Courthouse Square at 1 p.m. is the main event! It’s important to stake out a piece of prime curb or sidewalk for parade viewing. Bring chairs, blankets, warm coats, a thermos or two of your favorite hot beverage and some snacks. Don’t forget the camera! This parade exudes more holiday glee than a 4-year-old bursting out of bed early on Christmas morning. It’s easy to get swept up in the magic. You’ll love the wide variety of entries: bands, floats, rough riders, dancers and lots of dogs! Many folks are dressed in Old Western, Victorian or Territorial-era costumes.
After the parade, you can head to Prescott Brewing Company to watch the final weekend of college football or shop for unique gifts in the Bashford Court Atrium Mall or browse through the antique shops on Cortez Street. Another idea: get the friends and family together for an “Old Tyme Photo” at the Prescott Museum and Trading Company. Finish the day at the courthouse steps for the Courthouse Lighting Ceremony and Caroling at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at one of the many fine Prescott eateries. Remember to save some time for the short walk over to Sharlot Hall and its Frontier Christmas Celebration from 6 to 9 p.m
Additional holiday activities happening in Prescott for the first weekend in December and throughout the month can be found on the Christmas City website. One idea for Sunday afternoon – on your way home – is a visit to the Elks Opera House. Not only is the theater a historical attraction in itself; it also hosts a performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Sunday’s matinee is at 2 p.m. — a perfect finale to your holiday weekend getaway. Hopefully, this theater’s stage will be the only place this season you’ll hear the words: “Bah Humbug.”
These websites will provide more detailed information: