Local Things to do during the Holiday Season


Forest Highlands is at the center of a wonderful winter wonderland!

Find out about the things you can do in and around Flagstaff during this holiday season! Don’t forget our Recreation Department offers members services like shuttle rides to and from your event, babysitting for those fun “adult only” activities, snow removal to save your back and sanity and much more! We are a year – round club with dining and children’s activities EVERY weekend! Find out more by logging in to the members only website HERE.



Each of these sledding locations are weather dependent and begin operations once the snow flies. Contact each for more information.
Fort Tuthill County Park: New this Year…Details TBD
Elk Ridge Ski and Recreation Area: Details: 928-814-5038 or elkridgeski.com
Flagstaff Nordic Center: Details: 928-220-0550 or flagstaffnordiccenter.com
Wing Mountain Snow Play Area: Details: 928-226-0493 or snowplayaz.com
Lone Tree Sledding Area: Near Pine Canyon
Crowley Pit: About 10 Miles North on HWY 180 from Flagstaff


Arizona Snowbowl

7 days per week | Lifts run 9:00am – 4:00pm
Flagstaff’s ski resort sits at 9,500 feet above sea level with 777 skiable acres! They have added a brand new 6 pack high speed chair lift this year. The Grand Canyon Express is properly named for it’s view of the Grand Canyon from the top of the chair and as you ride. Snowbowl has PSIA/AASI certified instructors available 7 days a week to take your skiing and snowboarding skills to new levels! With a total of 6 chairlifts and two conveyor belts Snowbowl accommodates all levels of skier and boarder.
For information and current conditions visit: arizonasnowbowl.com
To book a Private Lesson call (928) 779-1951 |  Group Lessons are available at 9:45am and 12:45pm daily.
Don’t forget Forest Highlanders! We offer shuttle service to and from Snowbowl every Saturday in December and by appointment! Call the Recreation Center for more information or go to members.fhgc.com

Riordan Mansion Holiday Tours

Open Thursday through Monday  |  Guided tours of the mansion begin at the top of the hour 11:00am – 4:00pm
All through December get steeped in the historic traditions of early Flagstaff by touring the Riordan mansion! Experience the decorations as they would have been 100 years ago.
Call for Reservations: 928-779-4395

Polar Express

Available November 10 – December 29  | Grand Canyon Railway
Departs from the Williams Depot in Williams, AZ
This experience themed based on the Polar Express Story by Chris Van Allsburg. Families board the train and ride to Santa’s workshop. Upon arrival to Santa’s workshop Santa visits the train offering each boy and girl on the journey a special gift. The train then returns to the Williams depot.
Takes about 90 minutes. Find available dates: https://www.thetrain.com/special-events/the-polar-express/
Book online for 2016 now, or call 1-888-848-3511.

North Pole Experience

Sunday-Thursday | November 18 – December 28
Little America Hotel
Day and evening times available but hurry dates are going fast!
This is a Christmas adventure of a lifetime!
The North Pole Experience starts with a trolley ride to Santa’s workshop with family – oriented hands on experience for children and parents. Including a private family visit with Santa and a special commemorative Teddy Bear from Sant himself! SHHH it’s a surprise!
Takes about 95 minutes not including dinner. Find out more: http://northpoleexperience.com/faq/
Santa’s Trolley Launch Station is located at Little America Hotel. Reservations: 888-469-8819.

Flagstaff Festival of Trees

Flagstaff Arboretum  | Fridays & Saturdays 3:00-8:00pm | Sundays 4:00 – 7:00pm
Beautiful displays of decorated trees all to be raffled off on Saturday, December 3.
This year with an additional light festival held in the courtyard at the Arboretum so you can enjoy the majestic winter garden outside, then come warm up inside with some hot cocoa, cider, wine and cookies while browsing the stunning trees up for raffle. A full schedule of exciting events each weekend includes a choir performance, photos with Santa, and more. Adults $8, ages 6 – 18 $5, children 5 and under free. TheArb.org.

Sleigh Rides

Hitchin Post Stables | Located 1/2 Mile outside of Flagstaff off Lake Mary Road
Enjoy a magical 45-minute to one hour ride that circles through Coconino National Forest and back to the their Cowboy Cookin in the old barn to warm up by the fire. Complimentary hot cocoa and apple cider. Sleigh ride alone or sleigh ride with steak dinner available!
http://historichitchinpoststables.com/sleigh-rides/ or call 928-774-1719

Bearizona Wild Wonderland

Doors open at 5:00pm The Light Show goes from 5:30 – 7:30pm
Wild Wonderland runs every Friday, Saturday, & Sunday in December until December 19, then every evening through December 31. Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Event takes place at Fort Bearizona only the drive through park is closed.
Learn More: http://bearizona.com/News-Events.aspx#wild-wonderland

Nordic Village

The Arizona Nordic Village features groomed trails for recreationists with cross-country skis, skate skis, fat tire bikes and snowshoes. Located in the Coconino National Forest 15 miles from downtown Flagstaff, the ski area’s four cabins and eight yurts will be open for day use and overnight glamping. Visit arizonanordicvillage.com for snow conditions and more information.

Jay Lively Ice Rink

1650 N. Turquoise. Public open skating is held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-4 p.m.; Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-7 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-8 p.m.; and Saturdays from 1-4:30 p.m. Skate rental $4. Admission $3:50-$6.75.
More Information

Holiday Movies at the Orpheum Theater

November 26 | December 3 | December 10
These free family friendly events will include movies, crafts and time with Santa. Crafts provided by FACTS/FUSD. Santa will be available for pictures the first hour after doors open. Nov. 26: Home Alone 2. Dec. 3: A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frosty the Snowman. Dec. 10: The Polar Express. orpheumflagstaff.com.

A Christmas Story

Dec. 2, 3, 8 ,9 ,10, 15, 16, 17, 7:30 p.m. |  Dec. 4, 10, 11, 18, 2:00 p.m.
Theatrikos (Doris Harper-White Playhouse), 11 W. Cherry Ave. Humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Ralphie pleads his case before his mother, his teacher, and even Santa himself. All the elements from the beloved motion picture are here, including the leg-shaped lamp; school bully Scut Farkas; the boys’ experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost; and so much more.  A select group of local writers will share a special holiday memory with audiences before each show begins.
928-774-1662. theatrikos.com

First Friday Art Walk

Flagstaff businesses stay open until 9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month to feature the work of local artists. Many stops feature music and refreshments. Artwalks will be held Dec. 2 and Jan. 6. See flagstaffartwalk.com for a list of participating businesses.

Winter Wonderland

Saturday, December 3 | Flagstaff Aquaplex
1702 N. Fourth St. Beginning at 6 p.m. admission to the Aquaplex will be free for holiday crafts, festive music, free pictures with Santa and cookies. At 5:30 p.m., Santa Claus and Mayor Nabours will travel on fire truck to Heritage Square to light the Christmas tree. Then at 6:15 p.m., Santa will arrive at the Aquaplex for visits and pictures. We will allow free admission to the facility until 8:30 p.m.
flagstaff.az.gov/recreation |  213-2300

Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, December 3  |  Orpheum Theater
Sit with Santa for breakfast, which will be served at 9 a.m. This breakfast is limited to the first 50 people and is $10 a person. After breakfast take pictures with Santa, join him in singing Christmas songs, and enjoy the crafts. The doors will open again at 10 a.m. for the free showing of a holiday movie.

The Nutcracker

The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and NAU Communtiy Music & Dance Academy Ballet Troupe will present Tchaikovsky’s classic holiday adventure Dec. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m., at NAU Ardrey Memorial Auditorium. 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. Tickets are available at 523-5661. For more information, visit flagstaffsymphony.org.

The Lollipop Concert

Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra’s Lollipop Concert, Saturday, December 3 at 2:00pm is an abridged version of The Nutcracker. As children leave NAU’s Ardrey Memorial Auditorium, they are given a lollipop by a Symphony Guild member. This event sells out annually.
Call 523-5661 for tickets. Adult tickets are $10, children are free.

Christmas Party for Kids

Saturday, December 10, 9:00 – 11:00am | Riordan Mansion.
Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for the annual Christmas party. Mrs. Claus will read stories and the real Santa will be on hand to hear Christmas wishes. There will be cookies, cider and crafts and Pie the Belgian Draft Horse will be on hand for carriage rides.
Free. 928-779-4395.

Christmas in the Mountains

Sunday, December 11 at 3:00pm | NAU’s Ardrey Memorial Auditorium
Experience the Master Choral’s annual holiday extravaganza featuring festive music for choirs, brass, percussion and organ with holiday lighting and decorations galore! Hear holiday favorites sung by the Arizona Mountain Chorale and our guests, the Madrigals and Troubadours from the Flagstaff Youth Chorale. NAU’s Harold M. Harter Memorial Handbell Choir, led by bellmaster Joanna Richards, will also share festive selections to get you in the mood for the holidays.
Tickets are $20; seniors $18; students $8; children 12 and under free. Tickets at ticketing.nau.edu.

Holiday Brew and View

Monday, December 12
8:00pm Orpheum Theater: Bad Santa

Monday, December 19
8:00pm Orpheum Theater: Elf
$5 orpheumflagstaff.com

The Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet

New special effects, and updated choreography, new cast members and other surprises are in store. Enhanced contemporary costumes, a cast of over 50, and aerial dance. This annual Flagstaff tradition uses music by Peter Tchaikovsky with some contemporary versions inserted among the traditional, and new choreographic interpretations lending a fresh look to this classical favorite. Beautiful backdrops of the San Francisco Peaks bring this holiday favorite home to Flagstaff and will send you home with the holiday spirit! Performances are Dec. 16-17, 7:30 p.m., 11 a.m. matinee on the 17th at the Coconino High School Main Auditorium. Tickets: $16 general, $12 child-student at brownpapertickets.com/event/. Call 774-3937 for more information and tickets or visit canyonmovementcompany.org.

Seasonal Sounds of Children

Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m. the Flagstaff Youth Chorale performs their annual winter concert. All of our choirs will be performing traditional and non-traditional holiday classics. Come ring in the season with holiday songs! This event is free to the public. Donations will be accepted. Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 16 W. Cherry Ave.

Snowflake Festival

Dec. 17, 1-4 p.m. Come downtown for a fun family-friendly event! Start your day at the Orpheum Theater, where the Downtown Business Alliance is showing a holiday movie. Come to the Historic Train Station, where children can get photos with Santa (free on your own device, $2 for a framed Polaroid) from 2-4 p.m. There will be crafts and games, and a performance by carolers from NAU from 1-2 p.m. We also have a donation bin for new, unwrapped toys to donate to Toys for Tots.

Luminaria Stroll

Tuesday, December 20 | 5:00 – 8:00pm
Downtown Flagstaff is beginning a brand new tradition! Lighting up the night with luminarias all around the downtown streets! Come and stroll…

Great Pine Cone Drop

Saturday, December 31  |  The corner of Aspen and Leroux Downtown Flagstaff
A wonderful annual tradition for Flagstaff watch the 6 foot tall pine cone suspended from the top of the Weatherford Hotel “Drops” to mark the new year. The Great Pine Cone drop will have two lowerings one at 10:00pm and one at Midnight.

Flagstaff Polar Bear Plunge

Take a dip into upper Lake Mary from the boat dock at high noon on Jan. 1 to welcome in the new year. Park anywhere in the lot but you have to walk down the concrete boat dock to the start point. Spectators welcome! Please wear rubber sandals as there may be fish hooks lurking on the bottom of Lake Mary. Signed Certificate of Participation awarded to everyone who takes the plunge. Please bring a can of food or two for the Flagstaff Food Bank and Family Food Center. 774-5776.