Winter Activities in Phoenix, AZ
What started as a small event with no more than a handful of participating galleries in 1993 has since grown into a staple on the Phoenix nightlife and events scene. First Friday (named so because it takes place on the first Friday of each month) in downtown Phoenix now has more than 80 galleries and art-friendly businesses that stay open later for you to peruse at no cost. Join 10,000 of your closest friends and take in the sights and sounds of street vendors, live music, and exhibit openings. First Friday in Phoenix is the nation’s largest event of its kind.
It’s been said that you’re not a true Phoenician until you hike Camelback Mountain. So what better way for you to act like a local on your vacation? To Phoenix residents, Camelback is like the Eiffel Tower to Parisians or Statue of Liberty to New Yorkers. It’s the beach to Los Angeles. You get it yet? It’s an iconic landmark that sits (almost) smack in the middle of the Valley and offers some of the most fantastic views around. It’s also shaped like a resting camel, hence the name. Camelback Mountain offers challenging hiking and biking trails.
The Greater Phoenix area was once an agricultural center so it’s only natural that farmer’s markets are a favorite activity among locals. The Old Town Scottsdale Farmer’s Market (pictured) is arguably one of the most popular in town, partly due to the support it’s received from local chefs and restaurants. (You’ll find Scottsdale favorite, FnB Restaurant, there on a regular basis). There are also fresh flowers, pastries, and tamales. The Gilbert Farmers Market is the newest kid on the block and quickly gaining momentum. Besides fresh produce, you’ll find handcrafted candles, fresh roast coffee, and homemade apple butter. All local!
The Desert Botanical Garden houses 145 acres of 50,000+ plant displays showcased in a natural Sonoran Desert setting. It is one of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums and sees more than 640,520 visitors annually. Walking the grounds is interesting enough, but DBG also plays host to several special events throughout the year. In February, Corks & Cactus is a local favorite. There are boutique wines, gourmet appetizers, musical entertainment and more. Visit with representatives from a variety of wineries and purchase a bottle or case. All wine purchased at the event directly benefits the Garden.
While First Fridays in Phoenix tend to attract more of a hipster crowd (think tight jeans and earrings – on everyone), the Downtown Chandler ArtWalk is a scaled-back version that’s a great option for families. It takes place on the third Friday of every month and typically features approximately 100 artists each event. Exhibits are set up along San Marcos Place and Boston Street, as well as in the Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. Besides the artist demonstrations, the ArtWalk features live music from local bands and performers. On display you’ll find bridal and formal jewelry, beadwork, pottery, fused glass and more.