By Amanda Cardini, Co-editor
Spring seems to have sprung in Phoenix, with temperatures set to reach as high as 85 in the next week. Luckily, months of beautiful spring weather are what Phoenicians live for, here to remind us why we put up with triple digit temperatures in the summer. While the rest of the country continues fighting snow storms, the Valley is graced with clear blue, sunny skies and cool breezes that make everyone want to be outside. Arizona has its fair share of outdoor activities and events providing optimal opportunities for time outdoors.
Waste Management Phoenix Open
This week the “Greatest Show on Grass” kicked off in Scottsdale. As the highest attended golf event, the Phoenix Open continues until next Monday and is expected to bring in around half a million attendees. The event is famous for being unconventional by traditional golf standards; spectators are typically pretty rowdy, especially on the 16th hole. Taking place on the first weekend of February each year, the event is usually met with perfect weather, and the lush, grassy golf course provides a beautiful backdrop for a day outside. The event is also famous for its donations to Arizona charity organizations.
Noticed the green and yellow bikes placed on sidewalks throughout downtown Phoenix and Old Town Scottsdale? Companies like Limebike have made transportation in cities that much easier by providing bike rentals available through an app. Users simply download the app, walk up to one of the bikes, scan the QR code and are immediately charged by the hour or half hour for their ride. The app also shows where bikes are located near you and tracks your time, mileage, and calories burned while on the ride. With so much to do and see in Phoenix and Old Town, getting around on a bike is a fun way to enjoy these cities.
Beginning on February 23, 15 Major League Baseball teams travel to Arizona for the spring training season. Games are hosted at 10 stadiums across the Valley from Surprise to Scottsdale. Popular teams include the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, and of course, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Games are played several days a week, and tickets vary in price.
Though these events take place year-round, this time of year is a particularly nice time to walk downtown Phoenix at night. As the name suggests, First Friday takes place on the first Friday of each month from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and includes art, food, vendors, street performers, and music. The event stretches throughout downtown, with the heart of the event on Roosevelt Row. It’s free to attend, and as the Thunderbird administration has pointed out, it might be a good way to experience Thunderbird’s future home.
Music and Food Festivals
When the temperatures are bearable, there’s no shortage of outdoor festivals in Arizona. From food to beer and wine and music festivals, these events take place outdoors all over the Valley. In February, the third annual CRUSHBREW Festival returns bringing craft beer, artisan wine and craft distilled spirits to the Scottsdale Waterfront in Old Town. General admission comes with five drink tickets and costs $37. The McDowell Mountain Music Festival, also known as M3F Fest, also returns to Phoenix this year. As a 100% nonprofit event, the festival has donated over $1 million to local family-based charities since its founding in 2004. With culture as one M3F’s 3 C’s Mission, the event combines three days of music from top artists with food, art and experiences. The next few months are jam-packed with other unique events listed here.
The weather seems too perfect this time of year not to experience desert beauty first hand. Phoenix has plenty of hiking trails of varying difficulty and leading to different scenic viewpoints. Experienced hikers may test their strength at Camelback, a three mile hike with 360 degree views of the Valley from the top. McDowell Mountain Park holds more beginner-friendly trails including the North Trail, a three mile flat hike through the desert landscape.
Spring in Arizona is one of the most beautiful times of year, with beautiful, open skies almost every day and perfect temperatures for outdoor activities. Take advantage of all the Sonoran desert has to offer before we’re plunged back into the hellish summer heat!