Planning to spend a Christmas in Sedona this year? You will have the ultimate experience in this gorgeous city, one of the best destinations for enjoying Arizona Christmas celebrations.
The city, known for its gorgeous rock formations, sacred vortex energy, and many beautiful landmarks, look even more splendid.
Visiting Sedona in the winter is another level surreal experience, as the landscapes turn more magical with sprinkles of snow decorating the red rock, and mountainous panoramas.
There are plenty of fantastic things to do in Sedona in winter, but probably Sedona Christmas celebrations top them all.
Christmas in Sedona is a treat for all your senses.
And Christmas time here is ideal whether you are looking for a romantic escapade on chilly nights or a fun holiday in the winter with your kids to eat, shop, roam, and revel in the Christmas spirit.
A Sedona Christmas has a little something for everyone around the holiday season.
In this post, I bring you some activities and things to do during Christmas in Sedona.
CHRISTMAS IN SEDONA – WHAT TO DO
You will see many illuminations throughout the city, markets, shops, events, and special shows during Christmas in Sedona.
Sedona is excellent weather that allows you to explore the many fantastic outdoor things, from the best slot Canyons near Sedona to national parks and Arizona monuments, where you can enjoy hiking, camping, Jeep tours and biking.
Here are some of the things you can enjoy during Christmas in Sedona.
STROLL THE STREETS OF UPTOWN SEDONA
Have you heard of strolling through the streets to exclusively buy delicious cookies, pastries, and other desserts to satisfy your sugar cravings?
Well, you can make this possible on your trip to spend Christmas in Sedona.
Aptly named a Holiday Sweet Stroll, held during the Christmas week from 3 PM to 7 PM every year, you will be beckoned by delicious aromas of various Christmas sweets and special delicacies as you stroll through Tlaquepaque.
It is also the best time to take home some sweets and delicious desserts, including gifts for your loved ones.
Also, enjoy the Christmas Carols during the Sweet Stroll.
VISIT THIS ARTS AND CULTURE SHOPPING VILLAGE
Located on the banks of beautiful Oak Creek, Tlaquepaque is a year-round top attraction in the city, but it is known for its signature event during Christmas in Sedona.
This 50+ years old tradition is anticipated by locals and tourists alike as Tlaquepaque transforms into an even more enchanting winter wonderland.
The Tlaquepaque arts and shopping district has been the central attraction during Christmas in Sedona as the area comes alive with over 6000 luminaries.
These luminaries are icons for holidays in the Southwest, traditional paper-bag lanterns with candles set in sand.
Check out the arts and crafts village with shops where you can taste hot chocolates and Christmas cookies and shop for antiques.
The festivities begin after Thanksgiving, as the village basks in thousands of lights and kicks off the season with a Tree Lighting on Dec. 6.
Once the tree lights up, the festivities will begin with a visit from Santa, live music and other entertainment.
The Tlaquepaque Arts & Craft Village is one of Sedona’s most well-loved areas for its many boutiques and shops selling regional and hand-crafted goods.
Listen to choirs, and get your kids to meet Santa after the parade.
Opening hours – 11 AM to 7 PM
INDULGE IN WINTER SPORTS
About an hour from the city, Arizona Snowbowl is one of the most popular resorts skiing in Arizona, located atop mountains formed by an eroded volcano millions of years ago.
It is a popular option for a day trip from Flagstaff and Phoenix.
It is one of the best places to visit during Christmas in Sedona to enjoy winter sports with your kids.
Nestled in the majestic San Francisco Peaks, Arizona Snowbowl is known for its magnificent views of Humphreys Peak, the highest mountain in Arizona.
The weather at Snowbowl is pleasantly sunny, even during the winter.
But notorious, unexpected snow storms lead to heavy snow quickly piling up.
Because of the cool weather and traces of snow still remaining, spring is also a popular time for skiing at Snowbowl.
The Snowbowl is also home to the only gondola in Arizona.
Also called Telemix, this lift combines eight-passenger gondolas, whipping you up 2,000 feet in just 7 minutes.
From the top, you will be treated to fantastic views of the valley below blanketed in snow.
From here, you can access the bowl area, glades, and all the intermediate runs.
Note that Weekends and powder days are generally crowded, and long queues for the lifts are standard.
You can also hike along the diamond trails in the Upper Bowl.
With 777 acres of skiable terrain, this is the destination in the state you should visit if you’re serious about skiing in Arizona.
Considered by many to be the premier Arizona ski resort, its location at 11,500 feet makes for an epic ski experience since it boasts the best ski slopes in Arizona.
With five lifts serving 32 runs ranging from easy to complex, the Arizona Snowbowl is one of the most challenging ski areas in the West.
If you are a beginner or families with small children, head to the Hart Prairie Chair to enjoy a gentle slope with many wide-open spaces.
If you are a seasoned skier looking to up your game, head near the Humphreys Peak chair, the Grand Canyon Express or Sunset Chairs.
After you’ve made it up and down, head to the beautiful outdoor patio area, The Hart Prairie Lodge patio to relax.
Have your favourite drink amidst new fire pits, in your perfect lounging spot, soaking up the sun.
If you are serious about learning skiing, Arizona Snowbowl has an excellent ski school and is a perfect place to learn.
If you are over 13 years of age and new to skiing, Arizona Snowbowl has programs that will provide you with free or deeply discounted lessons.
Open to both skiers and snowboarders, Snowbowl also boasts a Terrain Park with rails and spines.
There are two mountain day lodges nearby with restaurants and lounges.
Usually on the weekends, the area becomes more bustling as ski races happen and live music and DJs play the latest hits, making it a fun holiday getaway.
Opening Months – Mid-November to Late May
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest airport is Flagstaff Pulliam Airport about 20 miles away.
If you are flying to Phoenix(Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl. Airport), renting a car is the best option.
It will take around 3 hours on Interstate 17 and you will be treated to stunning views.
But note that the drive-up can be challenging on snowy days if you are driving. The road is filled with bends and steep, and chains are frequently required.
If you are driving from Sedona to Arizona Snowbowl, on Highway 89A up Oak Creek Canyon can be challenging on snowy days.
This journey takes around 1.5 hours(longer if conditions are tricky).
If you are visiting during January and February, on the weekends, a free shuttle runs from downtown Flagstaff every 20 minutes from two locations in town.
WHERE TO STAY?
If you want a closer stay, check out the base camp at Snowbowl, on the way up to the ski resort.
There are 18 cabins and six hotel-style rooms, Basecamp at Snowbowl is pet-friendly for a modest charge, and the on-site restaurant serves up hearty fare guaranteed to keep you going no matter how deep the snow.
CHECK OUT TINSEL TOWN
One of the fun-filled attractions to enjoy during Christmas in Sedona with your family is the Posse Grounds Park Remadas.
Located in the western part of the city, experience the magical walk-through Tinsel Town light display at Posse Grounds Park, where you watch dancing trees to many Christmas songs.
Opening hours – Thursday through Sunday evening in December, from 6 PM to 9 PM.
HOP ON THE VERDE CANYON RAILROAD CHRISTMAS TRAIN
If you plan a trip to enjoy Christmas in Sedona with your kids, this is one of the activities I highly recommend(and it is my favourite too).
Verde Canyon Railroad Christmas Train is one of the best journeys for your kids and the kid in you to soak up Christmas lights.
The Magical Christmas Journey by the Verde Canyon Railroad, takes you on a one-hour round trip, starting from Clarkdale depot (a 30-min drive from Sedona).
The trips run from early December through Christmas Eve.
You will have a fantastic time journeying in the illuminated mystical tunnel to Santa’s Village in the North Pole.
The train ride is packed with entertainment for kids and adults, plus unique open-air viewing cars.
Kids can meet many comic characters, including a Christmas princess before meeting Santa Claus and his wife, Mrs. Claus.
ENJOY ICE SKATING
One of the many popular holiday attractions in the winter is ice skating and ice hockey.
Loved by adults and kids, you can indulge in it to your heart’s content at this outdoor ice skating rink, one of the best Arizona ice skating rinks.
Organized by the City of Sedona Parks and Recreation department, you can enjoy 30 minutes of fun skating on a first come, first served basis.
Get your skates or rent one at the premises.
STROLL IN THE UPTOWN
One of the must-stops while enjoying Christmas celebrations in Sedona is the Uptown.
The Uptown is luxuriously lit up between late November and throughout December, including Jordan Road and Apple Avenue.
Head to Canyon Breeze Plaza in Uptown Sedona between 5 PM to 7 PM to watch the lighting of the community’s 20’ tree and Santa’s arrival.
Shop for your favourite souvenirs, and enjoy hot cocoa or cider and cookies.
WATCH THE NUTCRACKER
Any holiday celebration is incomplete without watching classics.
One of the fun things to do at Christmas in Sedona is watching the holiday classic at Sedona Performing Arts Center in West Sedona.
The prices begin at $30 per adult and $15 per kid.
Another location to watch the Nut Cracker is the Blazin’ M Ranch Christmas Show, located in Cottonwood, 20 minutes from Sedona.
RIDE THE SEDONA CHRISTMAS TROLLEY
There are many unique modes of transport to explore Sedona during Christmas.
If you are only here briefly, riding the Sedona Christmas Trolley is one of the best ways to see most of the town.
Train lovers can head to Sedona Vista Village to check out the miniature model of trains, besides taking the Verde Canyon Road train journey.
TASTE DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS CUISINE
Whether you’re traveling with the kids or going away for a romantic holiday weekend, there are plenty of restaurants to taste the best dishes in the city, from traditional Mexican to local unique to eastern cuisine.
With holiday lights at their maximum best, the ambience at the restaurants is beautiful to enjoy.
From some restaurants, you can enjoy the stunning Sedona sunset overlooking the red rocks.