Winter has finally arrived, and with it comes the promise of chilly mornings, snowy nights, and sparkling icicles.
But not in Phoenix.
If you love warm weather, inviting palm trees, and beautiful desert landscapes, Phoenix is the place for you during the winter. The metro area enjoys temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit through most of the winter, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors all year. Additionally, the valley averages less than one inch of precipitation per month during the winter, so you’ll never have to worry about driving on slick, dangerous roads.
But you probably already know how lovely Arizona is during the winter. What you might not know is what to put on your itinerary if you plan to visit the Valley of the Sun this winter.
Thankfully, you’re in luck. We’ve put together a list of the top seven activities to do in Phoenix between November and February. Whether you’ll be in the city for a few days or a few months, these activities will surely keep you entertained.
1.Las Noches de las Luminarias
If you’re looking to bring the desert to life, Las Noches de Las Luminarias is a must-attend event. The event takes place every night in December at the Desert Botanical Garden, a building which is home to 21,000 plants and 139 endangered plant species.
Staff and volunteers line the garden’s pathways with more than 8,000 luminaries to create an otherworldly experience. Musicians also perform throughout the night, and light refreshments are served.
Admission costs $25 for adults and $13 for children.
2.Cityskate Ice Rink at Cityscape
If you love the romantic feeling of ice skating underneath the stars but hate the feeling of your toes and fingers going numb, head over to the outdoor ice rink in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Here, you can skate underneath the desert sky while listening to live Christmas music and sipping hot cocoa.
The ice rink is also just blocks away from downtown shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Skating costs $12 for day sessions and $15 for evening sessions.
3.Holidays at the Heard
Native American culture is a staple of Arizona culture. Each year, residents celebrate this culture in tandem with the holidays during a week-long festival. At the festival, visitors can enjoy live music and dance performances, arts and crafts booths, and freshly prepared Native American food.
Each year, Holidays at the Heard take place on December 26 – 31. Admission costs for the festival are included in the price of admission to the Heard Museum ($18 for adults and $7.50 for children).
Whoever said you can’t go hiking in the winter has clearly never been to Phoenix. In fact, perhaps the best time of year to hike Camelback Mountain-the valley’s most prominent landmark-is during the winter.
Camelback Mountain offers a variety of hiking and biking trails, all with varying degrees of difficulty and length. Whether you prefer a challenging hike or a relaxing afternoon stroll, you’ll find something to love at Camelback.
If you’ll be in Phoenix at the beginning of the month, mark your calendars for a cultural event unlike any other. First Fridays, which take place on the first Friday of every month, began in 1993 and have since become a staple of Arizona nightlife.
During each event, more than 80 art galleries and art-friendly businesses stay open for a few extra hours to allow guests to browse the various paintings, sculptures, and other pieces of art.
As the largest event of its kind, Friday Fridays are one of the best ways to experience Phoenix’s culture and spirit while mingling with locals.
6.Professional Sporting Events
After you finish perusing high-end art galleries, why not head to a football or basketball game? Phoenix is home to five professional sports teamsthe Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Phoenix Suns (NBA), the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), and Phoenix Coyotes (NHL). While attending games costs more than most of the other activities on this list, these events offer a
great way to get to know the local culture.
Winter just wouldn’t be winter without a holiday light show, would it? Each year, ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo puts on one of the largest and brightest holiday light displays in the Southwest. Around 2.5 million lights illuminate the zoo, casting a magical glow on the plants and animals that inhabit the facility.
Other ZooLights festivities include camel and wagon rides, a carousel, a stingray touch tank, and an orchestrated light show that takes place every hour.
ZooLights run from late November through early January. Admission costs $18.
If you’re visiting Phoenix in the winter, you’ve already shown a propensity for a no-nonsense way of life. Take things a step further by booking a taxi cab to get you to and from the airport, as well as any other locations you’re just dying to visit. Adventure awaits!