Fall is the prime time to get out and enjoy life in Phoenix. Thanks to the city’s desert location, autumns are pleasantly warm. The first frost typically doesn’t come until mid-December. The climate may be why so many activities take place in the fall in Arizona's capital. Just take a look at all the things you can do before winter sets in.
The Arizona State Fair is one of the best-attended state fairs in the country, bringing in more than 1 million people each year. It boasts nearly 100 amusement rides and more than 400 food and sales booths. For a sky-eye view of the valley and mountains, try the giant La Grande Wheel, one of the largest Ferris wheels around. It will lift you 130 feet into the desert sky. Big-name concert performers play throughout the fair’s run. The fair has actually been around longer than the state, getting its start in 1884 when Arizona was still a territory.
The Arizona Cardinals have the distinction of never losing an NFL playoff game at their home field, now called State Farm Stadium. Those home games typically bring out more than 62,000 fans. The Arizona State Sun Devils are also a must-see. They're usually high in the NCAA Pac-12 conference standings, have been conference champions 17 times, and fans can enjoy a stadium that recently enjoyed a $300 million update. Check out our apartments near campus!
If the whine of engines and the smell of rubber is your thing, the ISM Raceway is the place to be. The raceway is on the NASCAR circuit and will host the 2020 Championship Weekend, the ultimate prize in NASCAR. In addition to other events, the raceway becomes a holiday wonderland during the Zoomtown Lights display. In December, visitors can drive their own vehicles on the pit road to see 50 miles of holiday season wonder — or about 3 million points of light.
Because of its mild climate, Phoenix hosts dozens of autumn festivals and fairs. Hayrides, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches abound in the fall. The Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular is a Halloween spectacle lit by glowing hot air balloons. There's also the Rainbows Festival, sponsored by Phoenix Pride. You'll find 150 exhibitors catering to the LBGTQ+ community.
Phoenix is famous for its rugged Southwest vistas, but fall touches the leaves here, too. A short drive will take you to some magnificent scenery. Mogollon Rim is an easy day’s drive and gives you a magnificent view of the seasonal turning of the hues. For a weekend outing, head to Flagstaff to see the aspens do their thing. The chairlift is open to give you a bird’s-eye view. Prescott National Forest is another spot where nature likes to show off. You’ll find plenty of hiking trails in and around Phoenix, and the weather is perfect for a long stroll.
You don’t have to go farther than your backyard or balcony for a fall experience the family will enjoy. Because the first frost comes late in Phoenix, the autumn gardening season is long. Whether you’re growing a vegetable garden with the kids, or a patio herb garden, you can harvest until December. Flowers you can plant and see bloom in autumn include pansies, snapdragons, carnations, French marigolds, and begonias.
Folks in other parts of the country may be keeping a wary eye on the start of winter, but in Phoenix, you still have plenty of time to get out and enjoy!
By Kyle Ryan
Kyle Ryan is an outdoorsman who loves photographing everything in nature. He spends most of the year traveling and saves money by camping at the best spots around the country.