14 Fun Things to Do in Phoenix This Winter
These are the most fun activities, tours, farmers markets, events, and more to make the most of the season.
It’s prime time for locals and visitors alike in Phoenix—the sun is shining, the wind has a slight chill, and it’s time to take advantage of the beauty of the outdoors during this magic moment following a long hot summer but before the onslaught of spring tourists. Whether your idea of the outdoors is al fresco dining, or you love a long, challenging hike, there’s no shortage of ways to make the most of this season in the Valley.
Catch a Phoenix Suns game
The Phoenix Suns have quickly become one of the most talked about teams in the NBA, and if another playoffs run is in the team’s future (which we hope it is!), you’re going to want to see them play now.
Play a game of pickleball with your friends
Pickleball’s popularity is on the rise, and if you haven’t joined the bandwagon yet, Arizona’s crisp winter temps and sunny skies are all the reason you need. Plus, there’s plenty of places to play for free around the Valley. Some of our favorite courts include the Tempe Sports Complex, Scottsdale Community College, and G.R. Herberger Park.
Take a hike through the mountains of Arizona
It’s time to take full advantage of the Phoenix metro area’s cooler weather by taking a hike into one one of the state’s incredible mountain ranges. Challenge yourself by scaling Camelback, revel in the view at the top of Pinnacle Peak, or take it easy with a short hike up to Papago Park’s Hole in the Rock.
Eat your way through a high-end dining experience outdoors
Cloth & Flame’s dinners are a must-try experience, and a great way to meet new people by dining at their stunning community table. Their incredible menus and beautiful tablescapes have even attracted the likes of Google, Bentley, and Chanel—to name a few. Whether you opt for a cannabis dining experience or a sunset dinner in the desert, you’re sure to have an unforgettable meal. Dinners sell out fast, so make sure to check their ticket page often.
Head up north for a snow day
Don’t let the Phoenix desert fool you—Arizona has snow capped mountains and freezing temperatures just a couple hours drive from the Valley. Head up to Snowbowl in Flagstaff or Sunrise in Greer for world-class slopes perfect for a day of skiing or snowboarding. Or, opt out of the snow sports to enjoy the view and a cold beer at the lodge.
Take a leisurely stroll through the luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden
Las Noches de las Luminarias is the Desert Botanical Garden’s longest-running tradition dating back to 1978, making it a can’t-miss winter event. Leisurely stroll through the 140-acre garden lit by the luminarias while enjoying twinkling holiday lights, live music, and desert beauty for a fun and festive date night or family outing.
Even if you haven’t made a trip to the ocean in a while—you can pretend at OdySea, the largest aquarium in the Southwest featuring more than 30,000 marine creatures. The multi-level aquatic museum will keep you busy for a while, with tons of tropical fish, otters, and penguins—to name a few.
Peruse modern art at Wonderspaces
If you want to experience art and not just look at it, you’ll love Wonderspaces, a one-of-a-kind interactive contemporary art experience. Plus, you can sip one of their craft cocktails while you walk through the captivating exhibits.
Gather with friends at downtown Phoenix’s hippest collective space
Pemberton PHX is part art piece, part dining destination with pop up eateries and bars such as The Local Donut, Baja Hot Dogs, and more—making it the perfect place for dinner and drinks with friends. Just make sure you allow extra time to explore the colorful, quirky property for your next ‘Gram-worthy photo.
Swing by Fourtillfour Coffee for espresso with a side of vintage (or just really cool) rides
Recurring every Saturday
Old Town Scottsdale
Do you like cars? How about great coffee? We’ve got just the thing. Roll into Old Town Scottsdale and pull up at Cars and Coffee, an unmissable, laidback weekly auto meet hosted by the friendly folks at Fourtillfour Coffee. Each weekend has its own unique theme—think Aircooled Volkswagens, Adventure Machines, and Porsches.
Find tranquility and peace at the Japanese Friendship Garden
Let’s be real, we could all use a little zen around the holidays, right? Modeled after the traditional strolling gardens throughout Japan, Phoenix’s own Japanese Friendship Garden provides a serene and peaceful setting that often plays host to traditional tea ceremonies, informative workshops, and even group activities including tai chi classes.
Shop your community farmers market, in person and online
Multiple locations, online
Whether you’re searching for locally made pasta, fresh-baked breads, cage-free eggs, seasonal organic veggies and fruits, or tapenades, Valley farmers markets including the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, Uptown Farmers Market, and the Downtown Mesa Farmers Market have what just what you need to conquer your shopping list. You'll leave with a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you’re supporting local farmers, makers, and vendors during these uncertain times. And that feels good, doesn’t it? Just make sure to check for updated winter hours!
Appreciate Arizona’s best-loved visual art at the Phoenix Art Museum
Head out to the Phoenix Art Museum for exhibitions such as Gods and Mortals: Arts of India and Demonic, Divine, Human: Japan’s Noh Theater. Plus, you can experience the immersive You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies. Want to keep the arts shining bright in your city? Adopt a digital firefly from the installation. You’ll get sweet perks like unlimited admission, invitations to exclusive members only events, free or discounted tickets to workshops, lectures, and films, plus some other cool benefits, too. Plot your visit and explore the world-class exhibits and comprehensive, and we mean comprehensive, collections right here. The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest art museum in the Southwest, after all.
Hit the drive-thru, but not the fast-food type
Hungry? Take your rumbling stomach to the drive-thru. Local joints like Federal Pizza, 32 Shea, and Melrose’s Copper Star Coffee all have really fantastic menus and convenient drive-thrus. Fast food just got a lot tastier. Now, who’s up for some sugar-coated, chocolate-dipped bombolini?