The desert is in bloom! Put on your hiking shoes and get ready for a beautiful display of color from the desert this spring. Here are the best places in Phoenix to see the desert wildflowers.
South Mountain Park/Preserve
Areas in the preserve with wildflower displays usually include the Bajada, Las Lomitas, Ranger Kiwanic accessible from the Central Avenue entrance. The roadway leading to the Gila Valley overlook (Central Avenue entrance) also offers wildflower growth. Also, look for wildflowers on the north facing slopes in the Pima Canyon and Beverly Canyon (Javalina Trail) entrances of the park.
Check the north-facing slopes on trails from the Desert Vista Trail trailhead parking area, including areas along the Desert Tortoise and Verde trails, both accessible from the trailhead parking area.
Piestewa Peak Area
Trail 8, the Quartz Ridge Trail – the trailhead is at 40th street south of Shea Boulevard. Several trails with north-facing slopes around Piestewa Peak that are accessible from the Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation area are also good spots for wildflower viewing.
Hillsides and washes surrounding Trail 100 out of the Dreamy Draw trailhead at Northern Avenue and Highway 51 often are covered in a wide variety of wildflower blooms.
For more up-to-date information about wildflower blooms around Phoenix visit the Desert Botanical Gardens Wildflower Info site.
As the Wall Street Journal declared this week, Phoenix is "the epicenter of baseball in March." As if all the Cactus League action wasn't enough, fans of America's pastime can revel in this weekend's Baseball City experience.
Adults and little leaguers alike can live out their big league fantasies with activities such as speed pitch competitions, a home run derby field, and a lil' sluggers field for the tykes. The newest baseball products and gear from companies such as Lids and Zinger Bat Company will be on display, and the MLB Network will broadcasting their signature radio show, MLB Tonight, live on site.
The experience will also allow fans to meet stars of the diamond from the past and present. Fan favorites such as Aaron Hill of the Diamondbacks, Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval of the Giants, and slugger Adam Dunn of the White Sox are just a few of the All-Stars that will be on hand. Fans also won't want to miss the chance to meet Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry, Ferguson Jenkins, Orlando Cepeda and Andre "The Hawk" Dawson.
Baseball City will be at downtown's Phoenix Convention Center from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, so there's time to enjoy the festivities either before or after soaking in the sun at a Cactus League game. Get full ticket info here.
If you can't stay out on a Monday night for St. Patrick's Day, fret not, because plenty of places will kick off their green beer festivities a few days early. Those St. Paddy's events are just a few of our top things to do in Phoenix this weekend:
Chicago Fest: March 14-16
All things Windy City will be celebrated at this weekend's festival, adjacent to the new Cubs Park at Mesa Riverview. Chow down on Chicago cuisine from places such as Mike Ditka's Restaurant while listening to live music from blues, polka and Irish bands. Admission is FREE with a ticket from a Cubbies spring training game.
Liquid Sol Music Festival: March 15
Another festival packed with bag-name bands rolls through Phoenix this weekend. The Liquid Sol Music Festival features Train, The All-American Rejects and '90s alt-rock favorites such as Everclear, Buckcherry, Tonic and the Arizona-bred Gin Blossoms.
St. Patrick's Day Parade and Faire: March 15
Don your favorite green garb and head to downtown's Irish Cultural Center for the 31st annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Faire. Marching bands, floats and - of course - bagpipes will be in the parade, which heads down 3rd Street from Sheridan south to McDowell at 10 a.m. The all-things Irish faire will have three stages of entertainment with music and dancers, plus plenty of Irish food to chow down on.
Experience Ireland at MIM: March 15-16
For a family-fun Irish celebration, head to the Musical Instrument Museum Saturday or Sunday for their Experience Ireland festivities. Gather for traditional Irish stories, play with the bodhráns (Irish drums), and take in Irish musical and dance performances. The festivities are included with general admission, so be sure to check out everything else in the one-of-a-kind museum.
Baseball City: March 15-16
Before or after you go to the ballpark to enjoy a Spring Training game this weekend, head downtown to the Phoenix Convention Center for Baseball City. The two-day fan fest will features activities such as a home run derby field, speed pitch competitions, a lil' sluggers field for kids and more. Fans can also meet players players such as Hall of Famers Andre Dawson, Orlando Cepeda, Fergie Jenkins and more.
Like music? We've got two events for you. Like art? We've got another two. Throw in dueling salsas and you've got our top things to do in Phoenix this weekend:
Paint PHX: March 6-9
Where one may see a plain ol' wall on a building or alleyway, Phoenix's talented mural artists see a blank canvas. Over four days this week, graffiti artists and muralists will be be working their craft at locations all across Phoenix. Check the event's website for specific locations where artists will be working.
Viva Phx Music Festival: March 7
One of the biggest musical events to ever hit downtown Phoenix is going down Friday night. Seventy bands will be rocking out across 14 stages throughout downtown Phoenix. See a number of local and national acts plus headliners such as The Neighbourhood, Pinback, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Kitten. See the full schedule here.
Artlink's Art Detour: March 8-9
A night after enjoying downtown's music scene, head back to explore the the area's bustling art scene. More than 100 artists, studios, galleries and spaces will open their doors to visitors for free for two days. Explore by foot, bike or a double-decker bus that will be circulating throughout the spaces.
Blues Blast Music Festival: March 8
Enjoy a sunny spring day jamming out to the blues at downtown's Margaret T. Hance Park. Get there early for the Generation Next Music Clinics at 10 a.m. before the first band hit the stage at 11 a.m.
My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge: March 8
Who doesn't love a good salsa? More than 100 types of the country's top condiment will be competing for the crown at the 30th annual My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge. The attendees are the real winners as everyone gets unlimited chips and salsa! Wash it down with a cold margarita or beer while enjoying the live music, too.
Clean and press your finest green garb and get your Guinness mugs polished: St. Patrick's Day is on the way! The holiday falls on a Monday this year but don’t fret, as there are plenty of festivities the preceding weekend. Check out these events celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Phoenix:
Saint Patrick’s Weekend Festival at Thirsty Lion Pub and Grill: March 14-17
Thirsty Lion’s will be serving green beer and featuring a hand-crafted Irish menu during their weekend festival. The Irish pub will also be serving 52 beers on tap and Irish cocktails. Enjoy live music and get involved with the Annual St. Baldrick’s head shaving event on Saturday and Sunday! Come out for a great cause and help raise money for childhood cancer research.
Details: Thirsty Lion, 2000 East Salado Pkwy, Tempe
31st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Faire: March 15, 10 a.m.
The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade embraces the heritage and traditions of the Irish culture by giving its guests an event to remember. The parade includes bagpipers, Irish step dancers, marching bands, police and fire vehicles, floats, and more. The Irish Family Faire begins after the parade and features three stages of Irish music and dancers, food and beverages, and crafts. There’s even a kid’s area for the wee lassies and lads!
Details: Margaret T. Hance Park, 1134 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix.
Admission (Faire): $10 for ages 13 and older
Kiss Me I’m Irish Run: March 15, 7:17 a.m.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a 17K or 8K run along the Arizona Cardinals Stadium and through the Westgate Entertainment District. Bringing the kids along? No problem! The event also has a 4K that’s perfect for the family, even pets. Everyone will receive a Hershey Kiss at the end of the run, and participants that are 21 and over will receive green beer. Spend the rest of the day showing off your moves and partying to live Irish music.
Details: Westgate Entertainment District, 6770 N. Sunrise Blvd, Glendale
Admission: $35- $50. Saturday, March 15th 7:17 a.m.
While you may not be able to skip town and revel on Bourbon Street next Tuesday, there are still plenty of things to do for Mardi Gras in Phoenix.
Though Saturday's Downtown Phoenix Mardi Gras Parade and Festival has been cancelled due to impending rain, there will still be plenty of parties throughout downtown that day. Check out the map below for details:
Get your Cajun kick at restaurants such as Flavors of Louisiana, Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen, Fat Tuesday, and Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, who will be serving a King Cake cheesecake through March 4. For some sweet Louisiana treats, head to New Orleans SNO BALL.
Laissez les bon temps roulez!