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Head to the Southwest for Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving Ideas

Warm up for Thanksgiving or Find Snow for Skiing


Southwest Pumpkins

Celebrate Thanksgiving the Southwest Way

Copyright: Elizabeth R. Rose
Updated November 21, 2009
Thanksgiving in the Southwest

I used to work with a single woman who made a yearly pilgrimage to the Phoenix area to enjoy a communal meal with other women from across the United States, play a little golf, and enjoy the sun. I have other friends who just adore southwestern cuisine and look for a restaurant for a Thanksgiving meal that will feature cornbread, chiles, and, if the weather is right, a meal in front of an outdoor kiva fireplace.

A trip to the southwest is a great option for Thanksgiving, whether you are alone or with a large family. We found some great ideas to help you plan.

Dining out In Phoenix, Arizona

The Valley of the Sun is a warm retreat at Thanksgiving. But, in the evening as the sun sets, a chill comes over the desert so be prepared. Judy Hedding, Phoenix writer, has a great list of restaurants in the Pheonix area. Some serve special Thanksgiving buffets.

The historic Biltmore offers three different options, one of which is in their very elegant Gold Room. More... Holidays at the Biltmore.

My choice is always Lon's at the Hermosa for beautiful southwest ambiance.

To get you in the holiday spirit, visit the Desert Botanical Garden's, Las Noches de las Luminarias. Enjoy a magical evening strolling the garden's paths lighted by traditional luminarias.

Crafts and Gifts in Scottsdale

The day after Thanksgiving has traditionally been the start of the holiday shopping season. In Scottsdale, Arizona a post-Thanksgiving tradition has been shopping at the Briar Patch Marketplace gift and craft fair. Head out to Cactus and 64th Street to Sequoya High School for a little creative shopping.

Kicking off the Holidays in Tucson, Arizona

Tucson has a wide range of holiday events to choose from. One fun event is Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul Park.

Head to the hills for dinner at Signature's Grill at the beautiful Starr Pass Resort.

Bisbee, Arizona

Travel south to artsy Bisbee and enjoy the Bisbee Historic Home Tour.

Holidays in Red Rock Country

Up in Sedona, L'Auberge de Sedona has put together a lovely Fall menu. With its creekside setting, L'Auberge would be a fantastic place for a memorable Thanksgiving meal. Pair that with a viewing of the Red Rock Fantasy lights, and you have a great start to your holiday season. Red Rock Fantasy in sponsored, in part, by Los Abrigados Resort.

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Another place that is sure to have lots of southwest charm is Santa Fe. There are special events and some Santa Fe restaurants offer specialty meals for Thanksgiving. SantaFe.com has a great summary of what you can enjoy in Santa Fe.

For a real southwest treat, visit the Zuni Pueblo for the Annual Christmas Lights celebration held annually on Thanksgiving day.

San Antonio, Texas

I always enjoy the San Antonio River Walk year round. It would be a great place to stroll after a hearty Thanksgiving meal. The day after Thanksgiving the River Walk comes alive with the FORD Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony. And, beginning the 1st of December, experience the holiday serenity of the River Walk as you stroll along the lush banks of the San Antonio River guided by more than 2,500 luminarias. Warmly glowing candles in sand filled bags line the walkways to symbolically mark the "lighting of the way" for Holy Family. This centuries old tradition begins at dusk Friday, Saturday & Sunday only.

Things to Do Thanksgiving Weekend in Texas

Across the country, Thanksgiving kicks off the 'Holiday Season.' Texas is no different. In fact, from Thursday through Sunday, Thanksgiving weekend is chock full of activities across the Lone Star State.

Thanksgiving in Colorado

In Estes Park, Aspen Lodge puts on a special Thanksgiving meal. Across Colorado, the ski resorts are opening. Thanksgiving would be an ideal time to kick off the holiday season with a few days in the snow. The Colorado Tourism office provides updates on the snow scene at all the Colorado ski resorts.

Opening the day after Thanksgiving, Denver's Kristkindlesmarkt, styled after the German Christmas markets, follows an over 500-year old German tradition. Join the German-American Chamber of Commerce and Cherry Creek Shopping Center for some traditional German holiday spirit. You will find quality merchandise from the Old Country as well as food and drink, including Glühwein.

Squaw Valley Festival of Lights

If you are in the Lake Tahoe area, head for Squaw Valley for a little skiing and a beautiful evening Festival of Lights. The village is lighted. The first night see the lighting of the Christmas tree and have a visit with Santa.

Reno, Nevada

Reno Thanksgiving Day and weekend brings options for dining out, dining in, and participating in a variety of family friendly events and diversions. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it's a time when activities revolve around lots of good food and visiting with family and friends.

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