Don’t miss the top 12 activities, events, and festivals of early 2024

The Valley has plenty to keep you occupied during the next few months.

Events are as plentiful as out-of-state license plates in Phoenix during the first few months of the year. Arts and culture festivals abound, food and drink events fill our plates, spring training is in full swing starting in March, and we pay tribute to Arizona’s roots with horse shows, rodeos, and more.

These are some of the top time-tested, best-attended, best-organized, and most fun things to do covering a broad range of interests. Put on your comfy shoes, and get out there!

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Arizona Renaissance Festival

Weekends Feb. 3-March 31; also Feb. 19

Gold Canyon

$34 adults; $22 ages 5-12

Roughly a couple of hundred Renaissance festivals or “faires” exist in nearly every state, but we were told by a veteran of them that ours is among the best. Why? The stunning mountain views, expansive and easy-to-traverse fairgrounds, and variety of attractions and shows lift ours to a new level. This year, the event is adding another music stage, a pub crawl, new food items, new vendors, and new acts (we’re especially intrigued by Supernova the Strongwoman). Pro tip: Food and beverage booths and rides accept cash only, and the ATM lines can be lengthy, so hit the bank before you go.

Scottsdale Parada Del Sol

Feb. 3

Old Town Scottsdale

Free

Plan to make a day of this starting at 10 a.m. with a massive parade featuring floats, riders on horseback, marching bands, stagecoaches, and more. This year’s theme is “70 Years and Still Groovin’, the Western Cool Vibe.” Afterward, they’ll be dancing in the streets as the Trail’s End Festival takes over with live entertainment on multiple stages, a kids’ zone, food trucks, beverage stands, and arts and crafts booths. 

Phoenix Chinese Culture & Cuisine Festival

Feb. 3-4

Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix

Free

This 34th annual event will celebrate the Year of the Dragon with lion and dragon dances, which are a sight to behold. There will also be traditional Chinese dances, martial arts demonstrations, food booths, vendors, art, hands-on activities, a beer garden, a koi exhibit, and more.  

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Feb. 3- Feb. 11

The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale 

Free and up

The “Greatest Show on Grass,” also known as “The People’s Open,” is more than a golf game: It’s one of the biggest parties of the year in the area and the most-attended golf tournament in the world, with roughly 90,000 spectators per day and 700,000 over the entire event. This event is infamous for rowdy, booze-fueled crowds packing the stands. Still, it’s been named Tournament of the Year five times by the PGA. A Post Malone concert tees up the event on Feb. 3, with golf commencing on Feb. 5.

Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show

Feb. 15-25

WestWorld of Scottsdale

$15 for adults; seat costs vary

If you want to see some of the most spectacular stallions in the world, they’ll be here at the largest Arabian horse show, competing for more than $3 million in prize money based on versatility, beauty, grace, and more. In addition to admiring the animals, you can shop for fine art, crafts, clothing, and jewelry at the Shopping Expo. 

Arizona Gay Rodeo

Feb. 16-18

Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, Phoenix

$20

Imagine one of the most jovial Pride festivals you’ve ever been to, with live music, drag queens, drinking, and dancing. Now add a real rodeo with competitions including bull riding, steer riding, calf roping, pole bending, and more, along with three “camp” events: goat dressing (a challenge to put underwear on feisty goats), steer decorating, and a wild drag race. This 38th-annual festival also features food trucks, lawn games, mechanical bull rides, and dozens of vendors.

Arizona Cocktail Weekend

Feb. 16-20

Various locations

Free and up

Now in its twelfth year, this spiritous series pays homage to the people and products that have led us into the creative universe of craft cocktails. It includes dozens of events, including tastings, expert-led educational seminars, and three signature events. The Cocktail Carnival features drinks paired with circus performances along with a DJ, food trucks, and more. Top Bars highlights talented mixologists from the world’s best bars under one roof. And Last Slinger Standing is a mixology competition judged by a panel of global cocktail experts.

Cactus League Spring Training

Feb. 22-March 26

10 stadiums Valleywide

Cost varies

East side, west side, and all around the town, you can attend MLB spring training, thanks to 15 teams playing in 10 ballparks for about five weeks. Salt River Fields on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is the spring training home of the D-Backs and Colorado Rockies and is perfect for visitors thanks to its architecture, size, amenities, and views.

Innings Festival 

Feb. 23-24 and March 1-2

Tempe Beach Park 

$160 and up

Blend your love of MLB and live music at this massive Spring Training kickoff party. More than 18 acts this year include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow, Macklemore, and hometown favorites the Gin Blossoms. Baseball legends will appear over both weekends to sign autographs and pose for photos, and you can practice your skills at the batting and pitching cages. Tip: Tickets sell out fast!

Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market

March 2-3

Heard Museum, Phoenix

$25; discounts available

More than 600 of the nation’s top American Indian artists convene here each year to show and sell their magnificent works. From paintings and sculptures to pottery, textiles, jewelry, and more, the best of the best from multiple generations of working artists can be found. The Guild bestows prize money based on a juried competition as well, so look for the ribbons and congratulate the talent. 

Chandler Ostrich Festival 

Tumbleweed Park, Chandler

March 8- March 10 and 15-17

$30 adults; $20 ages 5-12

Ostrich ranches were plentiful in the early twentieth century when feathers were de rigueur for women’s hats. In 1988, Chandler revived the birds’ popularity with this quirky festival, which has grown to one of the largest in the state. It now features the namesake flightless feathered friends, major musical acts, a carnival midway, and vendors, including food booths galore. This year, look for Wynonna Judd, Shaggy, Big Kenny and John Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and Cowboy Troy to take the stage.

Art Detour

March 1-31

Valleywide

Free and up
Phoenix’s beloved and long-running First Fridays arts event each month has ballooned over the years — enough to fill an entire month. That’s why Artlink, the nonprofit behind that successful series, also organizes Art Detour, a 30-day extravaganza showcasing activities, artists, arts groups, and venues all over town. You can consult the calendar and devise your own “artinerary” that might include visual, performing, and culinary arts; fashion design; public art; and more.

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People enjoying immersive art at Meow Wolf

9 spots for indoor fun in Dallas-Fort Worth

Temps too extreme to go out? No problem!

North Texas sees its fair share of beautiful weather, perfect for getting outside in the sunshine. But when the extreme temps hit (both hot and cold), we have to find our entertainment indoors. Turns out, there are plenty of fun hotspots in Dallas-Fort Worth where you can have a ball inside. Let’s check out a few of our favorites.

Let’s Get Active

Fowling Warehouse DFW

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to bowl by throwing footballs, wonder no more. Fowling Warehouse DFW is a unique concept where players throw footballs at pins — and it’s tougher than it looks! This huge facility in Plano offers a full bar and kitchen, private VIP options, and more to create a unique way to play two classic sports. Open play starts at $15, with reserved lanes available. Located at 1714 14th St, in Plano.

Another Round

Another Round mini golf in Plano features unique and challenging holes with imaginative designs you won’t find at other mini golf experiences. The venue is family-friendly and suitable for all ages, including groups or date nights. Non-serious golfers only! And be sure to sample the spot’s full bar and menu when you need a break from the putts. Pricing starts at $14 per person. Located at 660 Fort Worth Avenue in Dallas.

SIXES Cricket

New to the U.S., SIXES might make you a cricket fan, but even if it doesn’t, you can still enjoy cocktails, tasty food, and plenty of entertainment. SIXES also offers karaoke rooms and batting cages in a colorful and playful location. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, SIXES is fun for everyone. Adult tickets start at $10/each. Located at 5740 Grandscape Blvd. in The Colony.

Let’s Go High Tech

Immersive Gamebox

Step into a totally different digital world at Immersive Gamebox, where players of all ages can compete in high-tech games like Tetris, Squid Game, and more. This multidimensional full-body experience uses sensors, cameras, and more to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping! Games start at $34.99. Located at 2525 Elm Street in Deep Ellum and 5752 Grandscape Blvd. in The Colony.

Puttshack

Another high-tech option, Puttshack, is a mini-golf and social entertainment venue with a new location in Addison, TX. Puttshack offers a modern mini-golf experience with interactive games and digital scoring in a vibrant atmosphere, with a full-service bar and a full menu of food and beverages. Starting at $14 per person. Located at 5100 Belt Line Rd #600 in Addison.

Electric Shuffle

Head back to Deep Ellum to play, drink, and dine at Electric Shuffle. Named for its signature high-tech shuffleboard, this super-fun, high-energy spot has everything for your next date night, girls’ night out, or group outing. Try the flatbreads to start, alongside a range of cocktails and mocktails, and end with a round of cake pops. $15 per person for 90 minutes of play. Located at Deep Ellum, 2615 Elm Street in Dallas.

Let’s Get Some Culture

Meow Wolf

The world-renowned immersive art experience Meow Wolf has come to DFW. See the Real Unreal exhibit, a huge, psychedelic display of art, color, sound, and texture featuring local artists who have helped create its surreal and fantastical environments that encourage exploration and discovery. Tickets start at $40. Located at Grapevine Mills Mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway in Grapevine.

Sweet Tooth Hotel

Picture yourself in a hotel dedicated to sweet treats. That’s the idea behind Sweet Tooth Hotel, an interactive art museum in Downtown Dallas. Complete with a very real bar serving very real drinks, and this sugary spot boasts plenty to explore, photograph, and discover. Check the schedule online because there are often themed events and parties going on. Tickets start at $20. Located at 1500 Elm Street in Dallas.

Kimbell Art Museum

Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum is known for its impressive art collection from antiquity to the 20th century. The museum, designed by architect Louis Kahn, is celebrated for its architectural significance and houses works by artists such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Monet. We recommend you stop by The Kimbell Cafe for a meal to top off your visit. Adults’ tickets are $18. Located at 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth.


A Person's Hands Hovering Over a Table Full of Small Candles

8 indoor playgrounds to enjoy fun and games in Atlanta

These creative ideas make for an excellent time with friends, even when the temps get crazy.

If you live in Atlanta, you know the weather can sometimes make or break fun plans. Fortunately, as this city grows, so have the options for entertainment, so you don’t have to let extreme temperatures or rainy days stifle your next adventure. Check out these indoor activities for ways to get out of the house without having to plan around the elements.

The Painted Duck 

976 Brady Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Have you heard of duckpin bowling? It’s a fun variation on the original, with smaller balls and shorter, squattier pins, creating a challenging sport that’s just as rewarding as its 10-pin cousin. You can see for yourself at The Painted Duck, an adults-only alley (kids are welcome on weekend afternoons), offering everything you need for an excellent night out. The full bar includes signature cocktails and an impressive menu with classic pub fare, plus unexpected additions like Thai ahi tuna skewers or a mixed berry salad. If bowling isn’t your thing, there’s also shuffleboard, pool, knuckleball, horseshoes, darts, and more to keep the good times rolling. 

Beat the Bomb Atlanta

1483 Chattahoochee Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

If you’ve been to an escape room before, you understand the premise: A group of people work together to solve clues to “break out” of a room you’ve been locked into. Beat the Bomb Atlanta integrates a futuristic, interactive spin on the concept, with lasers, lights, projections, and touch-screen puzzles. If you love to solve a riddle, inject some (low stakes) adrenaline into your next adventure at this elevated escape room. 

Splatter Studios

792 North Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

If you want to express some creativity, Splatter Studios is a colorful way to let your inner artist shine. The canvas-covered studio allows participants to freely explore and make a mess by splattering, throwing, dripping, and tossing paint at canvases. You’ll be provided paint, tools, and gear, so you can simply show up and embrace the therapeutic freedom of a little free expression. Plus, you can take your work of art home with you as a souvenir of your experience.

Bear and Honey

421 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Create something you can enjoy for months to come with a candle making workshop in Little Five Points. This is a calming activity to learn, and easily doable for first timers who would love having a hand-made, custom candle around the house. Relax and enjoy a scent-sational experience. Just be sure to book in advance — this class can fill up quickly. 

Overlook Rock Climbing

1030 White St SW, Atlanta, GA 30310

Rock climbing can be physically and mentally challenging, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. The Overlook Rock climbing gym, located right off the beltline in the West End, focuses on making rock climbing an accessible, fun experience for all who want to explore a new activity in a supportive environment. If rock climbing isn’t of interest, Overlook also hosts yoga and HIIT classes for alternative options to get out of the house and get moving. 

Woman Enjoying Indoor Skydiving

iFly

2778 Cobb Pkwy SE, Atlanta, GA, 30339

Thinks of this option as skydiving without the life-or-death risks. At iFly, you can experience the freedom of flight via state-of-the-art indoor wind tunnels that simulate the feeling of free falling while floating on a column of air. Thrill seekers can even opt for a “high flight” that is faster and higher. Accessible to people of all ages, indoor skydiving is a guided activity, and participants are trained, suited up, and well-prepared for maximum fun — no plane necessary. 

Joystick Gamebar 

427 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA, 30312

When nostalgia hits, bring a bag of quarters and get in the game at Joystick Gamebar on Edgewood. Filled with wall-to-wall retro arcade games like Pac-Man, Galaga, Mortal Kombat, and more, Joystick is an affordable way to feel like a kid again. Make sure to grab a cocktail at their bar or shareable bites from the kitchen to refuel and keep playing. If you’re not a gamer, keep an eye on the events calendar, as this bar-cade also doubles as a venue that regularly features events, trivia nights, karaoke, and more. 

Topgolf

1600 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW Atlanta, GA 30318

It’s a classic for a reason. With three floors of climate-controlled hitting bays, you can perfect your swing even when it’s chilly outside. With high-tech, microchipped balls that score themselves, you can keep track of your progress — or forget about scores altogether. You’ll be surrounded with 200 HDTVs, alternative games, music, fire pits, and plenty of food and beverages to enjoy in between hitting holes-in-one.