Going to Flagstaff for Christmas. What to do?
December 15, 2009 10:16 AM   Subscribe

A couple of friends of mine and I are going to drive from Austin to Los Angeles for Christmas break. We will be stopping in Flagstaff, AZ on Christmas Eve. What could we do in Flagstaff on Christmas that would be awesome and memorable?

My two friends are from Bosnia and the midwest and for some reason they want to go through the Southwest, so I want them to have a rippin good time. What are some places we can go to that would be open Christmas and are there any events in Flagstaff or Sedona that we can go to? Anonymous because the midwestern friend might be reading this.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you drive up to Grand Canyon?
posted by jgirl at 10:40 AM on December 15, 2009

Seconding the Grand Canyon. It's open year-round, and going through Flagstaff without seeing it would be like getting tickets to the Super Bowl and spending all your time in line at the concession stand.
posted by tellumo at 10:42 AM on December 15, 2009

The Arizona Crater is about 1 hour? off the highway in the Flagstaff area. Its about the only thing I regret not seeing when I was living in AZ.
posted by efalk at 10:52 AM on December 15, 2009

Definitely the Grand Canyon. Sedona is also really pretty.

If you can drive through the Painted Desert (North Eastern Arizona) it is incredibly beautiful. There is nothing to do, and very few services since it is mainly Reservation, but it is a really amazing landscape.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:56 AM on December 15, 2009

You can also check out Giganticus Headicus in Peachtree (or Walapai) along Route 66. But I third (or fourth the Grand Canyon. Make reservations if you're planning dinner out there...
posted by Sophie1 at 12:18 PM on December 15, 2009

Dittoing the Grand Canyon, but it's cold. We were there for Christmas and the temp was 4° F. Watch for ice on the trails -- we would have needed crampons to hike into the canyon.
Fwiw we ate lunch in Flagstaff on Christmas day, but I don't remember the place -- there were not many places open but we did get fed.
posted by anadem at 12:19 PM on December 15, 2009

In the "not see the Grand Canyon category" how about a drive to Sedona? It's quite gorgeous and very scenic. If you have even more time, I recommend Jerome, AZ - a cute little town built onto the side of a hill.

Or go see the Grand Canyon.
posted by fremen at 1:55 PM on December 15, 2009

Are you at all familiar with Flagstaff? You mention that you're going from Austin to LA. Many people get "Arizona = desert" in their heads and don't understand what Flagstaff can be like at Christmas time. From wikipedia: "annual snowfall averages 100.3 inches (254 cm), placing Flagstaff among the snowiest incorporated cities in the United States".
posted by madmethods at 1:57 PM on December 15, 2009

The Little America Hotel has an awesome Christmas light display along with some ice sculptures that you should definitely check out. Looks like they'll have an Xmas brunch going as well.

If you go over to Williams (about 30 min. away), you can take the Grand Canyon Railroad which gives you a nice scenic trip to the giant hole in the ground.

Bring warm clothes and sunglasses - Flagstaff gets unusual amounts of both snow and sunshine, and it will be cold - below freezing at night and maybe the day too.
posted by mattholomew at 2:30 PM on December 15, 2009

Warning. Be fully prepared for snow. I was driving to LA through flagstaff during christmas break in 05 and we got caught in a flash snow storm. We were almost killed by 18 wheeler that flung off the highway above us. To this day, Flagstaff in winter still terrifies me.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 3:12 PM on December 15, 2009

We do this drive every year, but from LA > Austin. We go straight on the 10.. it is probably the fastest route but not much to see on the way. Never had any snow issues, though it does get cold...

If you want to go on the northern route...

Average snowfall in flagstaff = 100 inches
Average snowfall in phoenix = 1 inch


I would say if you / your guests have not been to LA yet there is WAY more to see there than on the drive... Just book it to LA and relax there ;-)

If you really want to take the slow boat hit up marfa, sedona, salton sea... lots of cool spots, but lots and lots of driving.
posted by outsider at 6:21 PM on December 15, 2009

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