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Winter is finally in full swing here in the desert, and with it comes the excitement of various winter activities for you to enjoy with your friends and family. Though the Chandler area may not have the traditional weather associated with winter fun, it marks the best weather of the year. As it happens, the entire East Valley provides numerous opportunities to enjoy the winter, so here is a list of activities to mark on your calendars this year.
Merry Main StreetThe Temple Lights event, held annually at the Mesa Arizona Temple Grounds, will unfortunately not be possible this year due to renovations. However, the Merry Main Street event held in downtown Mesa, is still planning to go on strong from the end of November through the beginning of January. The event will have an ice-skating rink, a meet-and-greet with Santa, a Christmas market, and a fantastic ride on the Polar Express via the light rail.
One of the most magical part of the holidays in many communities is the lighting of the town Christmas Tree. The tree lighting event in Chandler combines the festive decorations of the holidays with a desert twist - a tree made out of tumbleweeds. Children can visit Santa’s house and workshop and also write letters to him, that are guaranteed to be delivered in time for Christmas! At 7 p.m., there will be a parade for all to enjoy, and the lighting of the tree takes place around Eight.
Because the Phoenix winter weather is the best weather of the year, it’s a good idea to stay outside. Riverview Park is one of the top parks for a day outdoors. There are several climbing structures and all-age zip-lines. Spend some time having a late Friendsgiving or Friends Christmas BBQ at one of the many picnic areas.
Alamo Drafthouse Chandler
Nothing screams the holidays like a winter movie marathon. The folks at Alamo Drafthouse Chandler are holding a number of movie parties, including the Alamo Encore series, where they’ll be playing classics like Love, Actually, Elf, A Christmas Story,and Scrooged. They’ll also be holding a number of kid friendly events and have special discounts for different days.
And, of course, nothing beats the classic holiday tradition like loading up the carand heading out to view neighborhood Christmas lights. Ahwatukee, Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert have some of the best voted housesfor light displays. Spend some quality time with the family enjoying each, and maybe come away from the experience with a few ideas for your displays for next year!
Whatever you choose to do, the important part is the time you spend together. Each of these activities are sure to bring good cheer and lifelong memories. Get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather of the winter season in the East Valley!
A few miles southeast of Phoenix, the East Valley is a loosely defined area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe and many other towns in the Phoenix Metro Area. Unlike Arizona’s capital and neighboring resort destination Scottsdale, the East Valley often floats under the tourism radar though it boasts its own share of unique and exciting things to do. This fall bring the whole family and explore the many attractions, natural wonders and exciting events across the East Valley.
Fall in Puppy Love at Barktoberfest
Bring your pups and celebrate man’s best friend during the 20th annual Barktoberfest on October 13th in Gilbert. Check out the dog-friendly vendors, dog wash, agility and lure courses, raffles, competitions and more. You can even adopt a new furry pal to make your fall extra special!
Celebrate International Archaeology Day at Pueblo Grande Museum
Dig up some adventure at the Phoenix area’s only preserved archeological site open to the public, the Pueblo Grande Museum. To celebrate International Archaeology Day the museum hosts a variety of interactive events and activities from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on October 20th. If you register online you can also receive two-for-one admission to the museum.
Get in Touch with Your Inner Child at the Legoland Discovery Center
After a few days of outdoor adventure treat yourself to a day of indoor fun and games at Legoland Discovery Center in Tempe. With rides, interactive exhibits, a large play area and a 4-d cinema, kids of all ages can reconnect with their creative side and build something amazing.
Check Out Local Food and Crafts at the Gilbert Off the Street Art and Music Festival
On November 2nd and 3rd the Heritage District of downtown Gilbert is overcome with vibrant creative energy during the Gilbert Off the Street Art and Music Festival. Enjoy live music, street performers, kids activities, food trucks, craft vendors and chances to make your own art as a part of the chalk art walk and other activities. Check out their website for a calendar of events and a map of family-friend activities throughout the weekend.
Explore the National Parks of the Sonoran Desert
As the summer heat gives way to gorgeous fall afternoons, take advantage of the mild weather while hiking the trails at one of the many gorgeous mountain parks. San Tan Mountain Regional Park or Usery Mountain Regional Park both offer panoramic views, caves to explore, and diverse wildlife. Or take the family up north to McDowell Mountain Regional Park for Mountain biking, horseback riding, and family friendly guided hikes and events.
Take A Sculpture Tour of Downtown Mesa
Swing by the Visitor’s Center in Mesa for a map of the 38 permanent public art installations across the downtown area. Stop in for a sweet treat or check out the wares at one of the many locally-owned shops and make sure you take a photograph with your favorite sculpture. Afterwards you can keep the creative vibes flowing with a visit to the Mesa Arts Center, Arizona Museum of Natural History or Arizona Museum of Youth nearby.
Dive Into Adventure at Sea Life Arizona Aquarium
Though it is designed to engage children, Sea Life Arizona has something for everyone. Transport your family into an underwater oasis as you learn about ocean wildlife and conservation. Get up close and personal with wild animals like snakes, tortoises and tarantulas, and then swing by the Interactive Tide Pool and Bay of Rays. You can even strap on your scuba gear and dive into the action at Ocean View to say hello to Ziva, a rescued sea turtle.
Rent a Paddle Boat or Visit Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake
Tempe Town Lake is Arizona’s second-most visited attraction hosting almost two and a half million people each year. Located in the heart of Tempe, the two-mile long lake includes paths to jog, bike or walk as well as vendors offering boat and kayak rentals. From October 12th to 14th the area is home to Four Peaks Oktoberfest, a free German celebration of fall featuring live music, food vendors, carnival rides and much more.
Learn How to Make Olive Oil at Queen Creek Olive Mill
Queen Creek Olive Mill is a family-owned farm where you can tour the fields and see how olive oil is made. They also produce cold-pressed oils, vinegars and stuffed olives as well as a variety of other tasty food and drinks to sample during your trip. Check out their calendar for a variety of family-friendly events throughout the fall.
Watch A Free Movie in Kiwanis Park
Every Friday in October at 6:00 pm the city of Tempe hosts free family-friend movie nights in Kiwanis Park. Pack a picnic and a blanket and enjoy screenings of Peter Rabbit, Ratatouille and Cars 3 in the north soccer field at Baseline Road and Ash Avenue.
The darwin Wall Team. Assisting Arizona Home buyers and Sellers in the East Valley.