Best Free Festivals in Phoenix

They only happen once each year, but they are fun and they are free. These are my favorite free festivals/events in the metro Phoenix area. I have noted when they usually take place, and they are listed in order of when they typically occur, starting with January. Of course, you'll have to pay for food you might want or any shopping that you might do, but admission is free. Have you been to one or all of these?

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Fiesta Bowl Parade

Photo Courtesy Fiesta Bowl

Of the many Fiesta Bowl events that take place in the Valley of the Sun in the weeks preceding the Fiesta Bowl football game, the Fiesta Bowl Parade is one of the most popular. Thousands of people will line the streets of central Phoenix to enjoy the bands and floats. January.

02 of 14

Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest

© Judy Hedding

Each year the Arizona Diamondbacks invite local Phoenix area fans to a fan appreciation day. There are ballpark tours, radio panel Q&A sessions, giveaways, clinics for the kids and more. Winter.

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Native Trails

© Judy Hedding

The outdoor amphitheater at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall comes alive with Native American music, dance and art. January through April.

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Glendale Chocolate Affaire

© Judy Hedding

The Glendale Chocolate Affaire features is a celebration of chocolate. Sure, there are lots of vendors trying to sell their products, but there are also samples, carriage rides, activities for the kids. Cerreta Candy Company gives free tours! February.

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05 of 14

Glendale Jazz & Blues Festival

Getty Images

Local, regional and national entertainment in Historic Downtown Glendale. Spring.

06 of 14

Katsina Doll Marketplace: Gathering of Carvers

rob castro / Getty Images

The nation’s largest gathering of Hopi katsina doll carvers takes place at the Heard Museum, as more than 100 artists gather to show and sell their unique creations. Enjoy musical performances, book signings, carving demonstrations and drawings. Spring.

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Arizona Aloha Festival

© Judy Hedding

Several stages of live entertainment, including music, dance, and lectures of Hawaii and Polynesia. The Island Marketplace is for shopping and eating. Spring.

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Mighty Mud Mania

© City of Scottsdale

Evey year gets bigger than the last -- it's the only place where not only are you allowed to get dirty, but it is encouraged and expected! Most participants are ages 1 to 17, but there is an opportunity for adults to get muddy for a fee. Early summer.

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09 of 14

4th of July

© Judy Hedding

Communities all over town have free 4th of July events, but the ones in Phoenix is considered the biggest and the best. July.

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Smithsonian Museum Day

© Judy Hedding

Many of our best museums open their doors to you and a guest on a designated special Saturday. September.

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Rainbows Festival

Michael Marquand / Getty Images

The Rainbows Festival & Street Fair in downtown Phoenix is a celebration of the diversity of the gay/lesbian community. It is one of the largest LGBT events in the state of Arizona. Fall.

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Fountain Festival of Arts and Crafts

© Judy Hedding

The Avenue of the Fountains in Fountain Hills is closed to vehicular traffic and is transformed into the Fountain Festival of Arts and Crafts, one of the largest arts and crafts events in the Valley of the Sun. November.

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Holiday Lights Events

© Judy Hedding

Most of our communities in the Phoenix area will have some sort of activity to celebrate the holiday season. Some cities and towns have their events on a single day. Some have month-long celebrations of lights, music and festive decorations. Almost all of the community sponsored holiday tree lighting events are free. November/December.

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Mesa Arizona Temple Gardens Christmas Lights and Concerts

© Judy Hedding

There are plenty of free community events relating the Christmas, but one of my favorites, no matter what religion you practice, or if you don't, is the holiday lights and concerts at the Mesa Arizona Temple. No one will try to convert you, but the music will have religious messages. The lights are fantastic, and there are always indoor exhibits, like nativity scenes. December.

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