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Top Destinations in Arizona to Visit This Holiday Season 2021


Written by Emily Bayne

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 11/22/2021, edited: 11/22/2021


Whether you’re a native Arizonian or just passing through, Arizona has a plethora of attractions for packs to enjoy during the holidays. From festive dog-friendly events to scenic walking trails and attractions, you'll find plenty of activities to occupy your time. We’ve compiled a list of the top pet-friendly destinations around the Grand Canyon State to make your holiday trip magical.

Christmas dogs with holiday lights - visit Arizona as your holiday destination this 2021

Downtown, Prescott

Prescott has earned the nickname Arizona’s Christmas City, so of course we had to include it on our list! Prescott is home to the world's biggest gingerbread village as well as numerous festivals and holiday traditions.

  • You can’t miss the 20th annual Holiday Light Parade and Bonfire Festival in downtown Prescott. Your pack will watch in amazement at all the dazzling lighted floats and costumed characters. Afterward, warm up by the bonfire and jam out to live bands at the high school where the parade ends. This event starts at 6:00 pm on November 27th.

  • Prescott residents take the holidays very seriously, as you’ll see if you attend Prescott’s annual Christmas parade on December 4th at 1:00 pm. Bring your kids along to see fun and festive floats, equestrian units, marching bands, and a surprise visit by the guy in the red suit.  

  • After the Christmas parade, grab some dinner on the dog-friendly patio at The Barley Hound, then head over to the courthouse at 6:00 pm for the 67th annual courthouse lighting ceremony.

  • For more spectacular light displays, check out the Valley of Lights drive-thru event from Thanksgiving through December 30th. Fain Park hosts the event, and it's a great way to see Christmas lights from the warmth of your car.  

  • Hideaway Arcade is a "furrific" place to seek respite from the cold while entertaining the kids and fur-babies too. Here, your pack can enjoy dozens of arcade games like pinball, claw machines, and air hockey. The arcade is open from Thursday through Sunday, so stop by and try your luck!

  • Are you looking to reconnect with nature this holiday season? Check out the trails at Watson Lake Park! The Watson Lake Loop is a series of trails that circle the lake and offer stunning views of natural rock formations. Your pack will love sniffing out this gorgeous landscape!

English Village, Lake Havasu City

Every year, thousands flock to Lake Havasu City to enjoy its many winter festivities. We guarantee your holiday in Lake Havasu City will be one for the books!

  • Lake Havasu City’s annual Festival of Lights has some of the most elaborate lights displays in the region. City workers illuminate the area from London Bridge to English Village with thousands of strands of brightly colored lights. Your woofers will be amazed by the colorful reflections shimmering across Lake Havasu. The display comes alive at nightfall and lasts until 10 pm from November 27th to January 9th. 

  • The Lake Havasu City boat parade is one of the most eccentric holiday parades in the state! Watch from the shore as boats bedazzled with lights and decorations float along the Bridgewater Channel. The fun starts at 7:00 pm on December 4th.

  • Check out English Village on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in December for a chance to snap a picture with Santa. After your photo op, head over to the outdoor ice skating rink to glide under the twinkling lights. 

  • When you work up an appetite, stop by the dog-friendly patio at Jersey’s on Main for a slice of pizza and a bottle of suds with your four-legged crew. 

  • London Bridge Beach in Lake Havasu City is a "furrific" place to watch the sunset over a cup of hot cocoa. Not only is London Bridge Beach super dog-friendly, but it's also home to Lions Dog Park, a spacious off-leash area.

Downtown, Tucson

Christmas in the Sonoran Desert is an experience like no other. While you probably won’t encounter snow in Tucson, there’s no shortage of holiday cheer thanks to all the decorations and events around town. Unfortunately, Tucson has canceled the 2021 Parade of Lights & Festival due to the surge in COVID variants, but there's still much fun to be had in Tucson and the surrounding areas.

  • Every year, the Downtown Tucson Partnership puts on the Desert Nights Downtown Lights event, where businesses adorn the downtown area with millions of bulbs. This carefully coordinated display is visible as far away as the Catalina Foothills!

  • 2021 will mark Tucson’s 71st annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights. Homeowners in the area organize the Festival of Lights, putting on impressive displays of lights and decor. The event will take place daily from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm from Dec. 11th to the 26th. This is a walk-through experience, except for the 26th, which is the designated drive-thru night. If you plan to sight-see on foot, make sure you adhere to these safety tips for walking your dog during the holidays. This event is free to attend, but food donations for the local food bank are appreciated. 

  • Catalina Canyon Loop Trail in Tucson’s Catalina State Park makes a "furrific" place to stretch your legs with your fur-babies. The trail is sure to mesmerize your pack, with stunning mountain views, a beautiful flowing river, and diverse animal and plant life. Admission into the park is $7 per vehicle.  

  • Just outside of Tucson is the Oro Valley Festival of the Arts & Tree Lighting Celebration. This lively holiday extravaganza runs from December 4th through 5th, but the tree lighting starts at 6:00 pm on the 4th. Even if you don’t make it to the main event, your pack is sure to be impressed by the local artwork and performance artists.

Uptown, Phoenix

What is a holiday visit to Arizona without a stop at the state capital? Phoenix residents and business owners take holidays very seriously, decorating their homes and storefronts to the nines!

  • You can’t visit Phoenix during the holiday season without going to see the APS Electric Light Parade. This night parade is held December 4th, 2021 at 7:00 pm and features dozens of colorful lighted floats and live music.

  • Are you looking for a unique holiday gift for your friend or family member? Leash up Fido and head over to Bookman's Entertainment Exchange. You’ll find gently used books, gaming consoles, DVDs, games, cameras, and more at this used entertainment store. Not only will you get great deals on last-minute Christmas gifts, but you can feel good about your purchase’s impact on the environment. 

  • Finish up your holiday shopping with your fur-baby in tow at Phoenix’s own Biltmore Fashion Park. This outdoor mall has tons of dog-friendly stores that you can peruse with your pup. Afterward, stop by one of the fashion park’s many dog-friendly restaurant patios to grab a bite with your best "fur-iend". 

  • The best gift of all is quality time with your family, and Caesar Chavez Park is the "pawfect" setting for making memories with your loved ones. This family park boasts 2 off-leash areas for small and large dogs, as well as a skate park, sports courts, and a lake with fishing and boating opportunities. Want to keep the good times rolling? Check out this list of more "pawsome" pup parks around Phoenix!

Mill Avenue, Tempe

After Thanksgiving, the city of Tempe transforms into a winter wonderland with extravagant light displays and festive decorations all over town. Between Tempe’s decor and dog-friendly establishments, your pack is sure to get in the holiday spirit!

  • The Mill Avenue Fantasy of Lights spectacular in Tempe attracts thousands of families from all over the state. The festivities kick off November 26th at 4:00 pm with a parade, music, and an appearance by Santa himself! The opening night festival even features a holiday market where you can purchase gifts and stocking stuffers for your whole pack! This display will wow families from November 26th through January 1st.

  • Tempe Beach Park, a 25-acre dog-friendly beach, is situated on Salt River. This park makes a scenic spot for a family picnic or swim, but if it’s too cold to get your feet wet, you can rent a boat instead. The boat and paddleboard rental shop is right beside the beach and offers packs a fun and affordable way to stay afloat. Keep in mind dogs must be leashed at all times in the park, so make sure you abide by the rules. 

  • For pets in search of an off-leash adventure, hop over to Papago Bark Park. In addition to the dog park, Papago Park features walking paths, sports courts, grills, and picnic areas.

  • After your adventures, cozy up with a hot burger and some cold beer on the dog-friendly patio at Philly’s Sports Bar and Grille. This Priest Drive staple is a favorite of local pet parents, complete with a comfy patio and dog-loving staff. 

Traveling with a pet over the holidays is always an adventure. Unfortunately, not all events and establishments are pet-friendly — but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out when traveling with a dog.

If you’re looking forward to a humans-only attraction, book a dog sitting service through Wag!. Pet Caregivers with Wag! will ensure your pet is in good hands during your night out and take care of things like feeding, potty breaks, medicine administration, and playtime. The best part is, dog sitters with Wag! will come to you and stay with Fido as long as you need them to!

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