If you’re planning a winter getaway, you may want to consider Phoenix as your destination. The city’s mild winter climate and rich culture make it an ideal spot to escape the winter cold.
It’s especially nice to spend time outside in Phoenix during the winter. In the summer months and even into the fall, the high temperatures and intense heat make staying indoors preferable. However, once the days shorten and the temperature cools, being outside is the perfect way to pass a winter’s day.
With that in mind, here are some things to do when you spend time in Phoenix this winter.
Las Noches de las Luminarias
This first event is an annual holiday tradition at the Desert Botanical Garden, Las Noches de las Luminarias. At night, the garden is filled with luminaria (traditional Mexican lanterns), holiday lights, and live music. The garden is always beautiful, but it’s especially entrancing when lit up at night. Seasonal treats like hot cider are available. For many Phoenix natives, a visit to the DBG is a holiday must. Las Noches de las Luminarias runs from November 25th through December 31st.
Another annual holiday event in Phoenix takes place at the Phoenix Zoo, where after dark the zoo is transformed with holiday lights and festivities. This is a great place to bring the kids to look at illuminated animals made of lights and to see some of the zoo’s nocturnal residents in a whole new way. Zoolights runs from November 23rd through January 8th.
True winter scenes are hard to come by in Phoenix, but Schnepf Farms has the answer with their annual Winter Wonderland. It features a skating rink, bonfires, hayrides, and holiday train rides, along with plenty of other holiday festivities. The Winter Wonderland is open from December 1st through January 15th. Check their site for special events like breakfast with Santa, too!
Tempe Festival of the Arts
Tempe is a close suburb of Phoenix and their annual Festival of the Arts should not be missed. This year, it’s running from December 2nd through December 4th. You can expect to find kids’ art, a chalk mural contest, artwork from more than 400 artists from around the country, plus live entertainment.
Mesa Arts and Crafts Festival
After the excitement of the holidays, why not brighten up your journey with a visit to the Mesa Arts and Crafts Festival? This annual event starts January 7th and continues until March 18th, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to check out local artisans and sample Mesa’s food and culture.
Street Eats Food Truck Festival
Who doesn’t love eating from a food truck? If the thought of trying a bunch of different food trucks appeals to you, then check out the Street Eats Food Truck Festival at Salt River Fields. In addition to all the food you can sample, you’ll also find cooking demos, eating contests, and live entertainment. This winter the festival will be held on February 11th and 12th. Related to food is the wonderful Farmers Markets in the Phoenix area. The weather is beautiful and the produce fresh and organic. Many artisan bakers and authentic ethnic food make the trip a day out.
McDowell Mountain Music Festival
For people who love music, the McDowell Mountain Music Festival offers an opportunity to enjoy terrific live music and give to a good cause at the same time. Each year, the proceeds of this festival help local charities including the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation. The festival will run from March 3rd through the 7th.
In addition to the events listed above, here are some other things that you may want to consider as part of your winter entertainment in Phoenix:
Decadence New Year’s Eve Music Festival, December 30-31
Barrett-Jackson Car Auction, January 14-22
Rock-n-Roll Marathon, January 14-15
Arizona Strong Beer Festival, February 11
Arizona Renaissance Festival, February 11 – April 2
No matter what your personal preferences, there’s something for the whole family in Phoenix this winter!