Rosson House on a sunny day in Phoenix

Explore these haunted Phoenix sites on your next date night

7 historic haunted places that will bring you closer together

Phoenix as we know it today, with its modern skyscrapers, sprawling swaths of planned communities, acres of industrial complexes and perpetually sunny skies, may not immediately conjure images of spooky specters and mythical monsters. But the state’s capital has a rich history filled with Wild West outlaws, pesky poltergeists and tragic tales of murder and misfortune.

While the Halloween season sees the appearance of plenty of bone-chilling theme attractions that require expensive tickets for only a few minutes of fabricated fear, the Valley of the Sun also offers plenty of supernatural settings and paranormal hotspots that are guaranteed to induce hair-raising thrills and chills. Here are some of the best spots in Greater Phoenix for frightful fun with your favorite, erm, boo.

1. Central Phoenix

Rosson House

Based on appearances alone, if any building in Phoenix is guaranteed to harbor ghostly apparitions, it is the historic Rosson House, with its gingerbread trim, ornamental ironwork and golden witch’s hat turret. Built in 1895, the opulent Queen Anne Victorian-style mansion reportedly has been haunted since 1981, when the museum’s caretaker was fatally shot on the grounds. Visitors and staff have reported seeing unusual shadows and hearing phantom footsteps, experiencing doors locking and unlocking on their own, and feeling heat from an unused fireplace.  

Communicate with the caretaker — or others in the spiritual realm — during a Séances & Spiritualists Tour. The inherently spooky attempts to contact the dead were a popular pastime during the Victorian era. For a more modern celebration, Halloween at Rosson House promises a fun-filled evening full of candy and costumes that’s perfect for a first date or a family outing.

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The Stockyards

For the ultimate frightful feast, head to the restaurant the Food Network named the most haunted in the state. Just don’t be surprised to find an extra guest at your table.

Part of an actual stockyard and slaughterhouse in the early 1900s, The Stockyards originally was built to feed the workers. In 1947, the steakhouse officially opened and quickly gained a reputation for serving delicious Western-inspired cuisine — and for spooky encounters. Helen Tovrea, wife of the first owner is said to still haunt the property. Some guests have seen a woman in red reflected in the bar mirror. Others tell stories of disembodied voices, footsteps, and dishes and paintings that move on their own. If you go, sit near the mural that showcases a woman in a red dress, said to be Tovrea, and perhaps she will join you for a drink.

Orpheum Theater

For more spine-tingling entertainment, head to one of the most haunted buildings in downtown Phoenix. Built in 1929, the Orpheum Theatre is no stranger to ghostly guests and supernatural shenanigans. Four spirits, including ones of original owner Harry Nace and a purring panther-sized feline, are said to haunt the former Vaudeville venue. The most famous is a little girl named Maddie. She has been known to bop audience members on the head, shush them during performances and even photobomb unsuspecting selfie-takers. Enjoy a first-class performance or classic movie or join in on a haunted tour and learn more about the true phantoms of this opera house.

View inside the Orpheum Theatre Phoenix

San Carlos Hotel

As the curtains close on your night of eerie adventures, check in to the San Carlos Hotel. This historic boutique property was a frequent go-to for the elite of Hollywood’s Golden Age, including Clark Gable, Mae West and Marilyn Monroe. But some guests never checked out.

The spirit of a young woman named Leone Jensen who jumped off the roof just weeks after the hotel opened in 1928 is said to still roam the rooms. Her final accommodation, Room 720, is particularly popular with ghost hunters. Hotel guests report visions of a woman in white standing near their bed, lights turning on and off on their own, and laughing and crying children in the hallways. Sleep well.  

2. Tempe

Casey Moore’s Oyster House

Located in the early 1900s former home of William and Mary Moeur, this Irish eatery known for its seafood and beer selection is a longtime favorite of Arizona State University students and Tempe locals alike — and of its original owners. The spectral shapes of the Moeurs have been seen floating up the stairs and dancing on the second floor long after the restaurant has closed.  

Other spirits aren’t as content. In the 1940s, the property is believed to have been a bordello, and one young woman named Sarah, who is said to have been strangled by a jealous lover, remains onsite, haunting the restaurant as a poltergeist. Diners have noted hearing disembodied whispers, forks flying off tables, and pictures falling off walls. Will the ghosts you meet be delightful or disruptive? Down some brews and find out.

Four Peaks Brewing Co.

Your terror tour of Tempe continues with a haunted brewery tour at Four Peaks Brewing Co. Housed in a former creamery that dates to the late 1800s, the brewery is known as much for its ghosts as it is for its namesake craft beer.

Since it first opened in 1997, the brewpub has been the site of strange and mysterious happenings. From ghostly apparitions to weird noises and missing equipment, the presence of unknown supernatural forces is undeniable. Nightly ghost tours share the history of the property, from early workers whose spirits have never left, to a nearby tragic train crash in 1898 that still echoes throughout its walls.

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3. Paradise Valley

Lon’s

Alonzo “Lon” Megargee was one of the Valley’s most renowned cowboy artists. His former home, an adobe one-room studio on 6 acres that he lovingly built by hand, is now the centerpiece of the historic Hermosa Inn, one of the Valley’s most luxurious resorts. With its picturesque setting, nestled in the shadows of Piestewa Peak in the exclusive Paradise Valley neighborhood, it’s easy to see why Lon never wanted to leave. And it appears that he didn’t. He loved his home so much that he is said to have moved right back in after his death in 1960.

The artist’s ghost is blamed for myriad mysterious events at the resort, primarily in its signature restaurant Lon’s, which is housed in the Megargee’s former abode. Diners and staff have reported sightings in the bar and foyer of a lanky spirit wearing a cowboy hat that’s often blamed for glasses and bottles sliding off the bar, pots and pans falling off shelves, and toilets flushing by themselves. Everyday activities in the life of a cowboy, perhaps?

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The insiders’ guide to Phoenix Pride 2023

Festival organizers share what you need to know about the event

Don your rainbow gear and dancing shoes and get ready to feel the pulse of the LGBTQ+ community at the Phoenix Pride Parade and Festival on Oct. 21-22. 

Founded in 1981, Phoenix Pride is expected to attract about 55,000 people throughout the weekend to band together “United Against Hate,” as this year’s theme states.

“It is one of the most positive, welcoming, energizing atmospheres I’ve ever been a part of,” said Jeremy M. Helfgot, spokesperson for Phoenix Pride. “We see a wonderful mix of all ages; all demographics. And really the core of the whole thing is celebration. It’s everyone just being positive and having a good time.”

What to expect at Pride

The Phoenix Pride website has the full lineup of events and activities and a map, with the festival running from noon to 9 p.m. both days and the parade starts at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. 

Attend the Festival on Oct. 21

The family-friendly festival takes over the bulk of Steele Indian School Park spread across 60 acres with seven stages and over 150 performances ranging from local folk and acoustic performers to high-energy drag headliners. Tickets start at $34.

The grounds also feature 300 exhibitors, food and drink vendors, community stages, KidSpace, an all-day Dance Pavilion and the Fiesta Caliente Latin Stage, which Helfgot said has become a huge centerpiece of the festival in recent years. Headliners include Ashanti, Donna De Lory, Niki Harris, Paulina Rubio, Ultra Naté and ZEE MACHINE.

The VIP Experience will feature a lakeside air-conditioned tent with a two-level bar, a bistro, special bathrooms, entertainment by Ru Paul Drag Race All-Stars and more.

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See the Parade on Oct. 22

Another big element of Pride is the free parade, which starts at 10 a.m. at Third Street and Thomas Road and travels north, ending at Third Street and Indian School Road. More than 2,000 individuals walk and ride the route as 15,000 spectators cheer them on. 

Safety and security are paramount throughout the weekend, Helfgot said, although they’re integrated seamlessly so it doesn’t feel intrusive. 

“We are constantly looking at and revising security plans per the information we receive in partnership with public safety,” he stated. “I feel our events are very safe, very much secure, and people can feel comfortable coming.”

A pair of attendees at the Phoenix Pride Festival
Photo by Leakedglass Photography/Phoenix Pride
Group in tie-dyed attire marching in Phoenix Pride Parade
Photo by Leakedglass Photography/Phoenix Pride

Pro tips for enjoying Pride

Streets are closed on both sides along the parade route on Sunday, so Helfgot urges people to have a parking plan and a backup. He also urges everyone to use light rail, bus or rideshare. 

The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of finding a spot in a lot or garage. If you’re willing to drive around and walk a mile or so, you might find free street parking in nearby neighborhoods. The festival is just north of the end of the parade route.

The announcer stages for the parade are at Third Street and Osborn, so Helfgot advises staking a claim nearby if you want to hear the chatter. 

Take plenty of water to the parade or take cash to buy it from vendors who cruise the sidewalks selling cold bottles for $1 as well as rainbow garb and other goods. Credit cards are generally accepted at the festival. 

Pets on a leash are welcome at the parade but not at the festival. Check the website for the list of prohibited items at the festival.

Once the parade winds down, bars and restaurants from the Melrose District to Roosevelt Row and beyond see a surge in business. LGBTQ+ classics like Stacy’s@Melrose and Boycott Bar are particularly popular, but many other places—like Hula’s Modern Tiki and Morning Squeeze, to name a couple—roll out the welcome mat with Pride-themed cocktails to keep the good vibes flowing.

Festival after-parties are prevalent, too, from the official one on Saturday at Walter Where?House to a smattering of bars around town.

Group of Pride Festival attendees in brightly-colored attire
Photo by Leakedglass Photography/Phoenix Pride

A deeper connection for the community

No matter how you celebrate Pride, it’s key to remember the underlying purpose. The event is a touchstone for many in the LGBTQ+ community who look forward to it all year so they can express their true selves.

And unlike neighborhoods like West Hollywood in Los Angeles or the Castro in San Francisco, Phoenix’s LGBTQ+ community isn’t concentrated in one area, so this is a way for them and their allies to connect in one central location.

“It’s hopeful, it’s reassuring, it exudes some sense of optimism that people really can come together and maybe one day we will get past all of the bias and hatred that exists,” Helfgot said.

More than four decades after Pride’s founding, Helfgot noted, “There’s still a lot of work to do as we work to eradicate hate and intolerance and work toward equality for all people. Equality and equity for everyone is the end goal.

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Phoenix Pride Festival

When: Noon-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 21-22

Where: Steele Indian School Park, Indian School Road and Central Avenue, Phoenix

Cost: $34 and up

Phoenix Pride Parade

When: 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 22

Where: From Third Street and Thomas Road to Third Street and Indian School Road, Phoenix

Cost: Free

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Two cosplayers at a convention center in Dallas, TX

11 fall events that you might not have tried – but definitely should 

Experience something new and amazing during Texans’ favorite season

Though fall is a relatively short season weather-wise, DFW comes alive with a variety of festivals, each offering its own unique charm and flavor. While the Metroplex offers plenty of beloved, established fall favorites, there are new, unique and unmissable events that you might not have experienced yet. Journey with us to find your new fall favorite. 

October 21:
Best Little Brewfest in Texas

Featuring more than 40 craft breweries from Texas and around the world, this is drinking done for good: The event donates 100% of the net proceeds to local charitable organizations. Sample a wide variety of beers while perusing retail vendors, trying local food trucks and listening to live music. A general admission ticket includes 12 beer tickets, a souvenir cup, access to vendors — and the knowledge you’re helping the community. Located at Old Town Lewisville, 151 W. Church St. Tickets start at $45.

An individual smiling as they prepare food at the Dallas Soul Food Festival

October 22:
Dallas Soul Food Festival

Dallas’ culinary diversity will be front and center at this year’s Dallas Soul Food Festival. Attendees can sample the rich and savory flavors of Southern cuisine, with soul food staples like oxtails, collard greens, and candied yams taking center stage. But it’s not just about the food; this festival features plenty of vendors to shop and a community-centric atmosphere that invites everyone to savor the tastes and traditions of the South. Located at Lofty Spaces, 816 Montgomery Street in Dallas.

October 20-22:
The Dallas Fan Festival

Also known as Fan Expo Dallas, the Dallas Fan Festival is one of the region’s best-attended pop culture and comic conventions. This experience is heaven on earth for fans of comics, movies, TV shows and gaming, featuring celebrity guest appearances, cosplay competitions, panels and a vast exhibition floor filled with merchandise and collectibles. Located at the Irving Convention Center, 500 W Las Colinas Blvd. Tickets start at $20.

October 29:
Rest in Plano (R.I.P) Fest

Back for a second year, the Rest in Plano Fest invites you to explore Downtown Plano’s haunted past, with walking guides through homes and businesses that are home to true-life macabre tales. Featuring Halloween-themed fun for all ages like tarot readings, spooky photo ops, pumpkin-sculpture demos alongside food and beverages, this is Plano like you’ve never seen it. Located in Historic Downtown Plano

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November 4:
Diwali Mela

Diwali – or the Hindu festival of lights – is one of India’s most important holidays of the year. Celebrate here in Dallas with Diwali Mela, where organizers say you can expect thousands of attendees who come for the vibrant, joyful atmosphere. The event will feature laser shows, fireworks, kids’ rides, performances (including a Bollywood Concert), a Desi Bazaar and plenty of excellent food options. Located at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park, 3750 The Midway in Dallas. Tickets start at $12.

A table with a white tablecloth and various dishes at Diwali Mela

November 3-5:
Greek Food Festival of Dallas

The Greek Food Festival of Dallas is a delightful (and delicious) celebration of Greek culture and cuisine. This annual event immerses visitors in the flavors and traditions of Greece, offering an array of authentic dishes like gyro, souvlaki, moussaka and baklava. Beyond the food, the festival features live music, traditional dance performances and artisanal vendors offering Greek crafts and goods. It’s a family-friendly affair with a dedicated children’s area, complete with games and activities. Located at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road in Dallas

November 4 & 5:
Fall Japanese Festival 

Embrace Japanese culture and traditions while you escape the hustle and bustle at the Japanese Fall Festival. Held at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, this festival is a cultural gem that transports visitors to the enchanting world of Japan. Attendees can expect martial arts demonstrations, serene tea ceremonies, captivating traditional dance performances and exquisite ikebana (flower arranging) displays, all with the stunning backdrop of the botanic garden. Adult tickets are $12. Located at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. in Fort Worth.

November 4 & 5:
The Romanian Food Festival 

Take a delectable journey into the heart of Romanian cuisine and culture! Hungry visitors are treated to an array of traditional Romanian dishes, including mămăligă (cornmeal porridge), sarmale (cabbage rolls), mici (grilled sausages) and an assortment of pastries and desserts. It’s a culinary adventure that brings the flavors of Romania to Dallas, with plenty of live music, dance performances and cultural exhibitions, too. Free to attend. Located at St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church, 3801 Glade Road in Colleyville.

November 5:
Sazon Latin Food Festival

A must-visit for food enthusiasts looking to explore the rich gastronomic heritage of Latin America without leaving home, this festival celebrates the diverse and flavorful cuisines from the Caribbean, Central and South America. The event promises great drinks, music and a festive atmosphere, creating an immersive experience that captures the essence of Latin American culture. Located at Lakewood Brewing Company, 2302 Executive Drive in Garland.

November 11:
Fort Worth Water Lantern Festival

At the Water Lantern Festival, people from all walks of life will come together to release beautifully crafted lanterns onto the water’s surface. This often produces a sense of unity, hope and reflection as people inscribe personal messages or wishes on their lanterns before releasing them. Tickets start at $35.99. Located at Panther Island Pavilion, 395 Purcey Street in Fort Worth.

A jewelry display with beaded jewelry, stones, and crystals at the Turtle Creek Fine Arts Festival

November 11 & 12:
Turtle Creek Fine Arts Festival

This festival showcases a diverse array of artistic talents, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry and photography, giving attendees the opportunity to interact with artists and purchase unique pieces directly. Visitors can also enjoy live music, delicious food and a tranquil outdoor setting, making it a perfect weekend outing for art lovers of all ages. Free to attend. Located at Reverchon Park, 3505 Maple Ave in Dallas

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