Prescott: Arizona’s Christmas City

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Just over 3 hours from Tucson, or 90 minutes from Phoenix, you’ll find the town of Prescott, Arizona. (Pronounced like press-kit, not pres-cott) At an elevation of 5300′, Prescott has a very different climate than the big cities of Arizona, and therefore makes an excellent weekend getaway if you’re looking for cooler weather, fall color, or winter snow! Additionally, Prescott is a super dog-friendly destination. You and your pup will have lots of options for pet friendly hotels in Prescott, AZ and dog-friendly restaurants in Prescott, AZ.

Arizona’s Christmas City

Prescott is known as Arizona’s Christmas City. I arrived just a week too early to see the holiday festivities, but the preparations were in full swing. Starting with the courthouse lighting on the first Saturday of December, followed by weekly events like a holiday parade, lighting parade and musical performances throughout the town, Christmas season is a big deal in Prescott!

Prescott Courthouse LightingCourtesy of Dave Veatch, provided by Visit Prescott

(Photo courtesy of Visit Prescott, photographer: Dave Veatch)

To get a feel for the town, first take a stroll around the Courthouse Plaza.

Each street around the square is lined with shops and restaurants, and many buildings have a ton of history dating back to the 1800’s, which you can sometimes spots on plaques throughout the downtown area.

Where to Eat in Prescott

Prescott has so many restaurant options, from your favorite chain restaurants to historic saloons serving up Western fare. There is no shortage of great places to eat, and plenty of dog-friendly restaurants in Prescott, AZ.

Prescott Station Grill and Bar

I treated myself to a nice dinner upon arrival in town, after 2 days of “road trip food.” Prescott Station has a very eclectic menu – everything from seafood, pasta, ramen, poke, elk fajitas and steaks. The service and food were both excellent. What slightly irked me was the 4% “service charge” added to all bills due to “rising healthcare costs.” It frustrates me when businesses pass along business expenses in hidden charges like this rather than just raise their prices to cover the cost of doing business. I worry that customers will think this is a tip and reduce theirs accordingly. End rant. Good food, questionable pricing strategy.

Dinner at Prescott Station

Prescott Station, Gurley St & Marina St, $40 for 1 entree + wine. Dog-friendly patio in season.

The Barley Hound

If you want a more hipster atmosphere, The Barley Hound has an interesting menu and a heated, dog-friendly patio. The Duck burger seemed to be the house specialty, so I went with that. It also came with duck-fat fries, which were pretty good. Even better when I realized the weird taste was from the curry ketchup and not the fries! It was pretty dark inside, so I had no idea what I was eating! An added bonus is an actual dog-menu – yep, your pup can have his own dish (chicken & rice or steak & rice) straight from the kitchen!

The Barley Hound, Prescott

The Barley Hound, Cortez St, $18 for a burger + soda, Dog-friendly heated patio

The Palace

The Palace is the oldest frontier saloon in Arizona, dating back to 1877. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday are some of the famous patrons who used to frequent the saloon. Today, you’ll find the same old west atmosphere (including costumed wait staff) and a nice menu of typical American fare, including steaks and burgers. There is a dog-friendly patio out back, and they’ll even bring you a water dish for your pup.

The Palace on Whiskey Row, sandwiches $8-12, steaks $18-35, dog-friendly patio


Where to Play in Prescott

Prescott is an outdoor lover’s dream, and I anticipate returning here in the summer when Tucson weather gets too hot. There are tons of trails close to town, and if hiking is your jam, you’ll love this list the city put together complete with mileage and links to download maps here. If you feel like a drive, Prescott is just 1.5 hours from Sedona and 2.5 hours from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

Watson Lake Park

Watson Lake is super cool and deserves a spot on your Prescott itinerary. I first spotted this beauty on Instagram, and it was also recommended to me by several locals. The trail around the lake is just under 5 miles. Watson Lake also has a campground that is open from Spring through Fall. If you happen to visit in October, you might even partake in the Dogtoberfest celebrations.

Watson Lake, Prescott

Lynx Lake – Prescott National Forest

Lynx Lake is a beautiful National Forest property just 5 minutes off the main highway. There is a lovely path around the entire lake, which is just over 3 miles. In season, there are boat rentals as well. Parking is $5, unless you have a National Parks pass. This was my favorite hike in the Prescott area.

Lynx Lake hike, Prescott

Goldwater Lake

Goldwater Lake is another great spot to soak up some nature super close to downtown Prescott. There are concessions and boat rentals here as well.

Goldwater Lake, Prescott

Where to Stay in Prescott

Residence Inn Prescott

Marriott’s Residence Inn is one of my favorite dog-friendly hotel chains, but we don’t often stay in them because the $75 pet fee is a bit high for a 2-3 night stay. I love the consistency between properties and the layout of the suites always leaves me wanting to move in. I mean, I literally could live in one and be perfectly happy as there’s everything I need and nothing more! The Prescott location is just on the edge of town as you enter from Prescott Valley. It is close to shopping, dining and downtown Prescott is just minutes away. Add a hot breakfast, heated outdoor pool and complimentary grocery-shopping service – what more could anyone need? (Weekend rates starting at $179)

If you prefer a more historic lodging option, the Hassayampa Inn is a beautifully restored 1927 boutique hotel in the heart of historic downtown Prescott. Pets under 45 lbs stay for free! (Weekend rates starting at $179)

Getting to Prescott

Prescott is easy to access, no matter your mode of transportation. It’s an easy drive from anywhere in Arizona. (3 hours from Tucson or 90 minutes from Phoenix) Prescott’s airport has daily flights from Denver and Los Angeles, and the Arizona Shuttle can bring you to Prescott from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.

Are you ready to start planning your visit to Prescott, Arizona? The Visitor’s Center website is a great place to start!

Have you heard of Arizona's Christmas City? @visit_prescott Check it out for a cool weather break from the heat of Arizona! Click To Tweet


I received a discounted media rate at the Residence Inn Prescott. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.

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6 thoughts on “Prescott: Arizona’s Christmas City

    • I haven’t heard of Mayer – I’ll have to check it out! I’m sure I’ll be back up in that area quite a bit!

  1. Wow! Visiting Prescott during Christmas time seems like a great idea. I will have to add it to my bucket list. How many days would you recommend staying there?

    • Hi Agness – I think Prescott would be great for a 3-4 day trip! If you go, come back and let me know what you think!

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