It's going to be a fine weekend for foodies with three food and drink festivals, beer week events, and the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown birthday bash all on our list of the top things to do in Phoenix this weekend:
Renaissance Downtown Birthday Bash: February 22
How nice of the Renaissance. It's their birthday, but they're throwing the party for us! Head to the streets of downtown Saturday night as the Renaissance celebrates with live music, food from R Kitchen, art, auctions and more. The Renaissance is near the light rail and will also have a bicycle valet the night of the bash.
Matsuri Festival of Japan: February 22-23
All things Japan will be celebrated at the 30th annual Matsuri Festival. Dig into Japanese cuisine from Roka Akor, Asahi Bakery, Pink Pepper and more and shop from dozens of vendors. Don't miss the traditional Japanese performances going on throughout the weekend across three stages.
Flavors of the West: February 23
West Valley chefs get their time to shine at Saturday's Flavors of the West culinary festival in Litchfield Park. General admission gets patrons unlimited food sampling about 30 West Valley restaurants plus 10 drink tickets. Live bands will be performing throughout the day while you enjoy your gastronomic delights, plus silent auctions, corn hole, a kid's zone and more.
Best Food Truck of Arizona: February 22-23
Help decide who gets crowned king at the Best Food Truck of Arizona festival. All you have to do is eat delicious food and vote! Over 50 food trucks from across the state will be at Chandler's Tumbleweed Park offering half and full servings of their dishes. The family-friendly event will also have a kid zone play area and live music to enjoy while you sample the best food truck cuisine in the state.
Arizona Beer Week events: Through February 22
Arizona Beer Week wraps up this weekend with events each night through Saturday. Events include Friday's Phoenix Beer and Arts Phoestival at the Phoenix Ale Brewery and Saturday's Oskar Blues Brewing Bike Pub Crawl in downtown Phoenix.
The familiar sounds of bats cracking, mitts snapping and fans cheering are returning to greater Phoenix. It's time for Cactus League Spring Training! We’ve put together the ultimate spring training guide of where to eat and drink before or after the game, where to park, what you can bring in to each ballpark and more below.
Don’t forget to check out our Cactus League Spring Training page on our website for places to stay, a map of all the ballparks, and special spring training packages.
• Wear sunscreen! This is the first time in months that our skin has seen the daylight. Put on your sunscreen before you head out and bring more to apply during the game.
• Lawn seats can get hot, fast. Make sure to drink plenty of water and bring a hat and lightweight clothing to protect yourself from the sun.
• Bring cash. Many of the concession stands will take a credit card, but you’ll pay extra. There are ATMs at most stadiums, but you’ll get charged a fee to use them.
• Get your tickets early. Popular teams will sell out fast so plan ahead.
• Rules about outside food and drink vary by stadium. Check our tips below and/or the stadium website or call before you go to see what is/is not allowed.
Break out the shorts and t-shirts and get ready to enjoy a warm weekend! Bask in the sunshine with these top things to do in Phoenix this weekend:
Body Art Expo: February 14-16
Tattoo fanatics and pierced people alike will want to take advantage of this year’s Body Art Expo. The event will have over 300 of America's best tattoo and piercing artists to work their magic on you. Attendees will have the chance to win cash prizes for tattoo contests like best sleeve, most unusual, best color, most realistic and more.
59th Annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show: February 13-23
Whether you are a horse owner, rider or just simply a horse lover, you won’t want to miss this event. The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show attracts thousands of visitors each year to witness the beauty of the Arabian horse breed. Enjoy the excitement of the competitions or spend your time browsing the more than 300 vendors and exhibitors.
Golf Fest: February 14-15
Arizona is a golfer’s paradise, so it’s no surprise why everyone in the industry would want to gather here. The Golf Fest will feature great values on clothing, golf resorts and emerging golf company products. Guests will also have the chance to improve their game with free lessons by teaching pros, and receive a free round of golf at Longbow Golf Club.
Arizona Beer Week: February 15-22
Beer connoisseurs from all over town will join in celebration of the one thing they love most: beer. Strong Beer Fest revelers can enjoy a little hair o' the dog all week long, as more than 100 breweries, restaurants and watering holes across the state collaborate to bring craft brew enthusiasts food pairings, tap takeovers, pub crawls, and special giveaways.
Native Trails: February 15 (Select Thursdays and Saturdays through April)
Get an extraordinary look into the cultures and traditions of the Native American nations that span the Southwest. Experience traditional native music, dance, and art and watch as the stories of Southwestern tribes come alive through colorful dances and traditional instruments. The event, held at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, will also feature an American Indian artisan marketplace.
Who knew you could find water sports, bats, a castle, a Japanese garden and more in the greater Phoenix area? Check out these unexpected attractions that just may surprise you.
Perched atop a cactus-covered hill in east-central Phoenix, Tovrea (pronounced TOE-vree) Castle at Carraro Heights has intrigued generations of Valley residents. The castle and surrounding cactus garden have recently been restored and are currently open for tours.
The Rio Salado Audubon Center is a nature center in the heart of the City of Phoenix’s Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, a 600-acre park along the Salt River. Located less than two miles from downtown Phoenix, this unexpected Phoenix attraction is a gateway to a lush riparian habitat used by more than 200 species of birds. Other wildlife you might spot on a visit to the restoration area includes beavers, muskrats, coyotes, jackrabbits, cottontails and javelinas.
The Japanese Friendship Garden—Ro Ho En—features more than 1,500 tons of handpicked rock, more than 50 varieties of plants, flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall and a Koi pond. The garden is the product and shared cultural vision of the Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji, Japan. This unexpected Phoenix attraction is a great way to spend a sunny day.
Did you know Phoenix has a great urban bat-watching spot? Each summer several thousand Mexican free-tailed bats and western pipistrelle bats use the Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel near 40th Street and Camelback Road as a day roost.
Enjoy the beautiful sandstone buttes that define Papago Park and climb to the park’s most popular spot, Hole-in-the-Rock, to enjoy sweeping views of Phoenix.
Located about 45 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is always bustling with water sports and outdoor enthusiasts. The 10,000-acre lake is enjoyed by windsurfers, boaters, sailors, jet skiers and fisherman.
The Hall of Flame Fire Museum has almost an acre of fire history exhibits with more than 90 fully restored pieces of fire apparatus on display dating from 1725 to 1969. The Hall of Flame sponsors the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, which honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty or have been decorated for heroism.
A few popular cultural festivals return to town this weekend and D-Backs fans get their first taste of the upcoming season in our top things to do in Phoenix this weekend:
Glendale Chocolate Affaire: February 7-9
Chocolate lovers, this is the place to be this weekend. Why wait until Valentine's Day for your box of chocolate when you can indulge in three days of chocolate-covered strawberries, nuts cheesecake and...well, just about anything else that can be covered in chocolate. The family-friendly event also features hands-on arts and crafts, carnival rides and more. But mostly chocolate.
Chinese Week's Culture and Cuisine Festival: February 7-9
The Year of the Horse will be celebrated at Phoenix Chinese Week's Culture and Cuisine Festival. The 24th annual festival, at its new location at Margaret T. Hance Park, will feature cultural entertainment such as dragon and lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, authentic Chinese cuisines and lots more.
Arizona Renaissance Festival: February 8-9 (Weekends through March)
Hark back to the royal festivities of the 16th century with this weekend's return of the annual Arizona Renaissance Festival. The popular outdoor faire features 2,000 costumed entertainers, 13 stages of entertainment, brave knights jousting, an artisan marketplace, and the festival's famous ginormous roasted turkey legs.
World Championship Hoop Dance Contest: February 8-9
The Heard Museum is the setting for the spectacular performances of those competing in the 24th annual competition. American Indian and Canadian First Nation hoop dancers will wow onlookers with performances that combine athleticism, artistry and cultural traditions.
D-Backs Fan Fest: February 8
We're only weeks away from the familiar sounds of bats cracking and mitts snapping and the time is now for Diamondbacks fans to get ready for the 2014 season! Head to Chase Field Saturday afternoon for the free D-Backs Fan Fest where fans can tour the clubhouse, catch a fly ball on the field, hit the batting cages, meet and greet D-Backs players and much more.
The time is near when wildflowers blossom, crops ripen and delectable food festivals fill our calendar. Here are the details on this year's spring food and beverage festivals in Phoenix.
February 9: Taste in Tempe
Sweeping panoramic views greet guests as they enjoy an adventure in food and wine, plus musical entertainment all at Tempe Center for the Arts Amphitheater. Guests experience a variety of popular dishes from 30 restaurants, 30 wineries and 30 craft breweries. The perfect prelude to Valentine's Day, what better way to celebrate and enjoy up-close-and-personal celebrity chef demonstrations, plus romance-themed vendors offering flowers, chocolates, jewelry and more. CBS Radio delivers LIVE music to set the mood.
To celebrate Phoenix's cocktail culture, seven "Startenders" go head-to-head in the Fifth Annual Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition! Using locally distilled Arizona Distilling Company Gin and Copper City Bourbon, local favorites come together to mix their drink of choice. Judges will rate each handcrafted concoction and, after considering votes from the audience, crown the "Devour Phoenix Best Cocktail of the Valley 2014!" The event features three live acoustic music sets, two energy-infused rounds of high-stakes mixology, and seven cocktail samples per attendee--one from each contestant!
February 14-16: Chocolate Lovers' Festival
During the Verde Canyon Railroad's Chocolate Lovers' Festival a decadent platter for two is served at your seat and a chocolate fountain invites you to create your own sweet temptations. Hot, fresh specialty coffees are included as are Verde Canyon Railroad’s first-class appetizers. Private label champagne may be chilled on ice right at your seat, a perfect way to toast the end of winter in the remarkable canyon through which we travel. Regular first-class and coach seats are also available.
February 14-21: Arizona Cocktail Week
More than 30 events from whiskey seminars for professionals to cocktail-pairing dinners open to the public are scheduled during this second-annual celebration. See their website for locations and times of events.
February 15: Arizona Strong Beer Festival
Arizona Beer Week kicks off with the Arizona Strong Beer Festival, held at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. Although strong beers (those with high alcohol content) are the focus at the festival, a huge variety of craft beers, as well as specialty styles and unique, just-for-this-event brews are made available to festival-goers, who will receive a commemorative four-ounce tasting glass and 15 tasting tickets for the price of admission. VIP admission includes 20 tickets. And because food and beer just naturally go together, there will be plenty of top-notch food vendors on hand, serving up tasty eats that wash down well with frosty suds. Live music will keep the atmosphere rockin.'