The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Week


You made it to Thanksgiving week. Over the next seven days, you’ve probably got extra time off, family in town, or both. Make it a week to remember with a classic movie screening in downtown Phoenix, yoga at the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit, a grown-up puppet show, and more.

Fitness Hike

Tough choices abound around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Dark meat or light? Sparkling cider or wine? Pecan pie or pumpkin? It’s easy to overindulge and wind up feeling like you’re the bird that got stuffed. Maybe you’re used to taking a leisurely holiday stroll after you eat, hoping a burn off a few of those calories. Try hiking before your big meal this year, with the free More Pie Please Fitness Hike happening from 9 to 10: 30 a.m. on Thursday, November 25, at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a desert habitat filled with multi-use trails. Meet up with Steve Dodd, who’ll be leading the 2.5 mile moderate-level hike, by 8:45 a.m. at the entrance to the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead located at 12601 North 124th Street, Scottsdale. No dogs, please. But bring along water and trail snacks. There’s a bathroom at the trailhead, by the way. And there’s plenty of natural beauty to get your day off to a great start. Lynn Trimble

Die Hard: A Christmas Story

Some things are inescapable during the holidays, such as Christmas music and bad Lifetime made-for-TV movies about city slickers falling in love while visiting quaint mountain towns. In recent years, it’s also become increasingly hard to avoid the pointless social media debate over whether Die Hard should or shouldn’t be considered a holiday movie. And while the All Puppet Players’ annual staging of Die Hard: A Christmas Story, a reimagining of the 1988 action flick with felt and cloth characters, probably won’t sway you to either side, it will definitely entertain. It’s the same epic plot you remember (everyman cop versus European terrorists inside Nakatomi Plaza), albeit with puppets. Performances start on Friday, November 26, and take place Thursday through Sunday evenings until December 26. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. each night and are only open to those 17 and older. Tickets are $29 to $81. Benjamin Leatherman

Paint Night

Make a short list of the best-known muralists around metro Phoenix and it’s sure to include Lalo Cota, an artist whose paintings of sombreros imagined as flying saucers dotted the urban landscape during protests against Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 legislation of 2010. He’s still painting his iconic skulls, lowriders, and desert motifs around town, and he’ll be sharing his creative skills during a painting night for the age 21+ set happening from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, November 26, at the creative space Frida’s Garden, 2800 North 16th Street. It’s located next to Barrio Café, in a building covered in artworks by Cota and other prolific muralists. It’s a chance to paint a masterpiece, taking inspiration from the unique style of Bob Ross, who spoke in soft tones during the TV show where millions learned to paint “happy little clouds” and other serene subjects. Email [email protected] to get ticket information and make sure there’s still space for you to join the fun. Lynn Trimble

Frances Pop-up

The popular Crafeteria market typically held on December First Friday is getting nixed for a second year due to Covid-19, but they’ve lined up a compelling plan B over at the Frances boutique, 10 West Camelback Road. Instead of one massive market, the charming shop will hold a series of pop-ups with local artisans and makers during the holiday season. The free pop-up on Saturday , November 27 will include Citizen HD, Cosmic Hour, Golden Hour Pastry, Jackie Jaz Art, Mod & Co, Mudhead Soaps, Naked Rebellion, Pure Life Jewelry, and Vintage & Co. The event runs from noon to 5 p.m., giving you plenty of time to find unique fare for all the family and friends on your holiday gift list. The Stinkweeds record shop next door will be doing a sidewalk sale with DJ stylings that day, so you can indulge your love for vinyl at the same time. Finally, some hard evidence that shopping doesn’t have to be a big bore or a major chore. Lynn Trimble

Arizona State University vs. University of Arizona

Sun Devil fans who love to hate the University of Arizona’s football team have had plenty of ammunition this season. The Wildcats have been at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings the past few months while racking up an abysmal 1-7 conference record. Meanwhile, Arizona State University’s team is likely bound for a bowl game within the next few weeks after played a decent year and earned a 7-4 overall record. So when Arizona heads north to Sun Devil Stadium, 500 East Veterans Way in Tempe, for this year’s Territorial Cup game (a.k.a. the annual football showdown between the two rival schools) on Saturday, November 27, expect a slaughter by ASU. They’re 20-point favorites going into the contest, which kicks off at 2 p.m. It might not be as lopsided as last year’s 70-7 drubbing of the Wildcats, but the maroon and gold crowd will probably have a good day. Tickets are still available but start at $53 via Ticketmaster. Benjamin Leatherman

The Big Wheel Open

As any seven-year-old on a sugar bender could tell you, there are few kiddie-friendly thrills as epic as rolling down a hill at crazy speeds while riding Big Wheel tricycle, throwing caution (and good sense) to the wind. The members of the Arizona Cacophony Society, the local urban prankster and social group, will try to recapture this preadolescent exhilaration during the Big Wheel Open on Saturday, November 27, in Phoenix’s Sunnyslope neighborhood. Participants are encouraged to bring the namesake trikes (or similar plastic children’s vehicles) to the quiet residential intersection of Butler and 14th streets in the ‘Slope starting at 2:30 p.m. They can then “race that sucker down the hill,” according to the Society’s website, along with other riders. It’s not a competition, per se, so prizes or awards probably won’t be awarded, though you can earn plenty of “bruises, rashes and memories” from the experience. The event goes until dusk, it’s free to participate, and more details are available here. Benjamin Leatherman

Museum Store Sunday

There’s a different theme for every popular shopping day around Thanksgiving time, from Black Friday and Small Business Saturday to Cyber Monday. Five years ago, a clever group of museums decided to enter the fray with Museum Store Sunday. This year the event takes place on November 28 at participating museums. Some local museums take part by offering discounted admission, gift shop sales, or other promotions. Others just open their doors with their usual touch of museum magic. Either way, museums are here for you this shopping season. You’ll find museum stores inside Heard Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Typically, you don’t need to get a museum ticket in order to shop. Your best bet is checking museum offerings, hours, and pricing before you go. Be sure to take along your holiday shopping list, and leave a little extra time in case you decide to get a museum ticket and explore some exhibits along the way. Lynn Trimble

Yoga and Art

Everybody seems to jump on the wellness bandwagon this time of year, eager to mitigate the impacts of holiday-related weight gain and stress. For some, finding fresh ways to center physical and emotional wellness is a challenge, in part because most exercise regimes don’t sound all that enjoyable. Try a new approach surrounded by imagery culled from the works of Vincent Van Gogh, the Dutch 19th century artist best known today for works including The Starry Night and Sunflowers. There’s a 35-minute yoga session for all levels happening at 8:15 a.m. on Monday, November 29, at the Lighthouse Artspace inside a commercial center at 4301 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. The cost is $54.99 plus fees, and also includes 25 minutes to explore the exhibition featuring projections of Van Gogh’s artworks. Bring your own fitness mat, and be ready for a creative mix of movement and visual art. Lynn Trimble

Downtown Skating

Roller skating is pretty easy to come by here in metro Phoenix, whether you prefer lacing up and striding down the sidewalk or hitting a roller rink for disco theme nights. Ice skating is a relative rarity, given the scarcity of snow and ice. So when select Valley cities open up their holiday skating rinks, locals know it’s time to don the winter wear and enjoy some times gliding across the ice. You can skate under the stars on Monday, November 29, where the CitySkate rink will be all decked out for the winter holiday season. Ninety minute sessions start at 5 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm at the CityScape complex located at Patriots Park, 11 West Washington Street. Admission is $18 or $16 if you bring your own ice skates. It’s a chance to see downtown in a whole new light and make fond winter memories that don’t revolve around cactus or flip flops. Lynn Trimble

Hitchcock Moment

You might love curling up on the couch to watch old movies this time of year, but sometimes it’s nice to sit in the theater with fellow cinema buffs. Kick your theater experience up a notch at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street, where you can watch films surrounded by elaborate architecture and a ceiling painted with a blue cloud-filled sky. The Friends of the Orpheum Theatre have partnered with Downtown Phoenix Inc. to present a series of classic films. Next up is the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho, complete with opening scenes filmed in downtown Phoenix. It’s being screened at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30. In addition to watching the digitally remastered film, you’ll experience some “theatrical surprises” meant to up the entertainment value of the evening. Tickets are $16 for adults. If your inner film critic feels like discussing the masterpiece with friends, you’ll be near several bars and eateries where you can meet up to share your spectacular insights. Lynn Trimble

Songwriter’s Showcase

There’s a new songwriters showcase in town, where emerging and established artists can share their work at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Jesse Teer of The Senators is hosting a weekly curated artist showcase called Wednesday, Wednesday, which launched on Wednesday, December 1. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the free 7 p.m. show, which takes place on the venue’s balcony. Songwriters who want to be considered for a slot should email Teer with their music submissions at wednesdaywednesdayphx.com. Moving forward, Teer suggests artists attend a showcase before sending their music for consideration, just to get a better feel for it. And there’s something else worth noting: Don’t be one of these creatives who never shows up to support other artists, but always wants to put their own work center stage. Lynn Trimble





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