Your Fall To-Do List in the Valley of the Sun

Cooler temperatures are finally upon us in the Valley of the Sun, and with them come plenty of events for all ages to enjoy! Check out our guide to the best events in Phoenix and Scottsdale, and make sure to bookmark this page for updates on future events.

ZooLights Phoenix aerial
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Oct. 1-31: Celebrating the McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Celebrate 25 years of the scenic preserve in North Scottsdale, known for its extensive hiking trails and views of the Valley. Events include:

  • Oct 26, 9 am: Trailside Naturalist – Spooktacular plant and animal exploration
  • Oct 29, 8-11:30 am: Stoneman Road Educational Bike Ride on the old military road

Oct 25-26: Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival

Salt River Fields plays host to this Halloween celebration. Enjoy a display of 20+ hot air balloons, 4,000 pounds of candy, live music, and more!

Oct 25-26: Howl-O-Ween at Phoenix Zoo

Before the zoo lights up for end of year celebrations, it gets a spooky makeover for Halloween! There are more treats than tricks for the whole family at this annual event.


Nov 2: Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships

Westworld of Scottsdale hosts massive crowds for a four match event. Come for the matches, but stay for the VIP tents and DJs, concerts, ASU rugby match, and fashion show!

Dia de Los Muertos Phoenix
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Nov 3: Dia de Los Muertos

The sixth annual Day of the Dead festival in Downtown Phoenix honors deceased loved ones at the courtyard outside the historic St. Mary’s Basilica. This free event includes mariachi performances, ballet folklorico, and community altars to honor ancestors.

Nov 2-3: AZ Central Wine & Food Experience

Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski joins other celebrity and local chefs for a gourmet experience that is not to be missed. Cooking demonstrations, meet and greets, and tastings are just a sampling of the fun to be had during this exciting weekend at Salt River Fields.

Nov 8-10: American Cup Championship Arabian Horse Show

The equestrian in your family will enjoy several Arabian horse competitions, including dressage/sport horse and reining.

Wine tasting

Nov 16: Arizona Wine Growers Grand Tasting & Wine Festival

This premier event hosted at Kierland Commons by the Arizona Wine Growers Association and SAACA offers wine tastings from over 30 Arizona wineries, live music, and food from local restaurants. Before the festival, the Grand Wine Awards Ceremony announces the winners of the azcentral Arizona Wine Competition.

Nov 23-24: ArtFest of Scottsdale

Scottsdale is known for its vibrant local arts scene, which is showcased at this popular annual event. Check out the work of 150 artists, live music, fine food, and more in the sculpture garden at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall.

Nov 27, 2019-Jan 19, 2020: ZooLights

Nearly two months of holiday lights await you from 5:30-10:30 pm nightly. The Phoenix Zoo transforms into a (desert) winter wonderland with millions of lights, many set to classic holiday favorites. This is a great event for the entire family, and one of our favorites to bring out of town visitors to!

CitySkate in Downtown Phoenix
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Nov 24-Dec 22: CitySkate in Downtown Phoenix

Believe it or not, Downtown Phoenix is home to the Valley of the Sun’s signature holiday ice rink. CityScape at Central Avenue and Jefferson transforms into a winter wonderland where even Santa Claus himself pays a visit. Make sure to plan ahead so you don’t miss the annual tree lighting ceremony, as well!

Nov 26-Dec 31: Christmas at the Princess

This annual festival celebrates everything wonderful about the holiday season, from millions of twinkling lights to roasting marshmallows with family and giving Santa Claus your annual wish list. There’s never a dull moment, with HD video shows projected against the resort and a Build-a-Bear workshop for the kids.


TBD: Las Noches de Las Luminarias

Just down the road from ZooLights, this well-known event at the Desert Botanical Garden is the perfect way to enjoy our gorgeous winter weather. 8,000+ hand-lit luminarias illuminate the paths of the garden, which houses a stunning variety of desert plants and wildlife year-round.

Dec 6-8: Tempe Fall Festival of the Arts

Mill Avenue shuts down the first weekend in December for a celebration of the arts in all its forms. The event includes 17 visual arts categories, from jewelry to ceramics, photography, and wood work. Artists are chosen to participate by a jury of locals after applying for a spot, meaning you’re sure to see new artists each year.

Dec 11: Handel’s Messiah at the Phoenix Symphony

Nothing rings in the holiday season like festive music, and the annual Handel’s Messiah performance at Symphony Hall always delivers. The combined talents of the Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and brilliant soloists make this a night to remember every year. 

Dec 28: Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade This massive annual parade celebrates the Fiesta Bowl in the heart of Phoenix. This year’s theme, Women in Sports, lives up to its title with Grand Marshals Julie Ertz and Jessica McDonald (of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team) and the Phoenix Mercury’s own Diana Taurasi. Marching bands, balloons, and plenty of surprises await you!

RTT Home Group – RE/MAX Fine Properties | 21020 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 | 480.207.3500

Del Rounds – 602.809.7653 | Darren Tackett – 602.622.1226 | David Tucker – 602.762.7653

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