Southwest Destinations for December

winter mount Sneffles, Colorado
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In the beautiful Southwest, you can enjoy the snow or choose a more sunny climate. There is much to do and see in December.
  • 01 of 11
    Sunset at Desert View Point
    Dean Fikar / Getty Images
    Experience winter at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You will be surprised at the warmth and holiday spirit you will encounter. We offer tips for making reservations, packing and experiencing the best of the Grand Canyon.
  • 02 of 11
    While many people vacation in Texas for only a week at a time, many of our northern neighbors have grown accustomed to spending the entire winter season in the Lone Star State. Here is a great list of places to stay and things to experience during a winter in the Lone Star State.
  • 03 of 11
    Christmas in the Square santa Fe, New Mexico
    Marcia Straub / Getty Images
    I just found out about the joys of the holidays in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sometimes the best ideas come from enthusiastic friends who have explored their “secret holiday place” for several years and cannot contain their excitement.
  • 04 of 11
    Sounds exciting! Rodeo, showgirls and even a Cowboy Christmas Gift Show. Held annually in Las Vegas, this mega rodeo event would be a fun and different destination event for December. The event takes place at the Thomas and Mack Center, walking distance from the McCarran International Airport and five minutes drive from the Strip.
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  • 05 of 11
    Cacti in the Desert Botanical Garden
    Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

    Once again, the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden will come alive with the magic of Las Noches de las Luminarias. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving and ending December 23rd, this evening celebration of Southwest luminarias, will put you in the holiday mood. Las Noches de las Luminarias is a great place to bring your out of town guests to give them a flavor of the southwest.

  • 06 of 11
    Whether you are looking for a warmer climate for your New Year's celebration or just want to find out what's happening in town on December 31st, you will find some great New Year's ideas in the Southwest.
  • 07 of 11

    Christmas at Aspen Lodge - Estes Park, Colorado

    USA,Colorado,Aspen,horse and carriage in winter snow
    David Hiser / Getty Images
    Celebrate the Christmas season at Aspen Lodge and experience the spirit of the holidays. Listen to the sleigh bells jingle as their Belgian Draft horses gently move you through the winter wonderland. Let Jack Frost nip at your nose while ice skating with your family on their mountain lake. The main lobby will also be graced with a 25-foot fragrant fir decorated Christmas tree.
  • 08 of 11

    Lake Havasu Boat Parade of Lights - Arizona

    Each year, the London Bridge Yacht Club (LBYC) puts on the Boat Parade of Lights. The Boat Parade is one of the city's signature events, and has earned a berth among the American Bus Association's Top 100 Events several years in a row and won a Governor's Tourism Award for the best event in a rural community.
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  • 09 of 11

    Winter Fun at Squaw Valley - Lake Tahoe

    snowshoeing Lake Tahoe
    Kai-Otto Meleau/Getty Images
    From Pet Photos to the Festival of the Lights, Squaw Valley provides lots of fun for the skier and non-skier alike.
  • 10 of 11
    Held at the Tumacacori historic Mission just south of Tubac, AZ. In recognition and celebration of the many cultures that were historically and are presently associated with the Santa Cruz Valley, the Tumacácori Fiesta presents the traditional creations of these cultures. The fiesta features some fifty food and craft booths, continuous live entertainment on stage, and children’s activities each day. A Mariachi Mass, preceded by a traditional procession, is held on Sunday beginning at 10:00 AM. The mission grounds are open throughout the weekend, and admission is free.
  • 11 of 11

    Red Rock Balloon Festival - Gallup, New Mexico

    Hot air balloon
    Anthony Quintano / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
    Held annually the first weekend of December in Gallup, New Mexico, 200 balloons from across the Southwest and around the world fly the ancient canyon walls of Red Rock State Park. Frequently described as a balloonist's paradise, a highly prized invitation to this event offers pilots the opportunity to compete for fine Native American Arts and crafts. You'll want to have your camera ready as these rainbow colored giants come to life.