Guide to New Year's Day in Phoenix: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Arizona Grand Resort

Every city around the world celebrates the night of New Year's Eve, and Phoenix is no different. However, the city also takes advantage of the many activities that occur the day after on January 1. From the zoo to ice skating, there are many events that stay open on New Years Day for visitors and locals alike to enjoy.

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Take a First Day Hike

Take a Hike
Judy Hedding

You'll find a variety of hiking trails, nature trails, and picnic facilities all over the central Arizona area, many of which are open on New Year's Day. Arizona State Parks participate in a special program called "First Day Hikes" where you can take a ranger-led hike at one of the lovely state parks. In fact, there are several within just a couple of hours from Phoenix!

02 of 11

Wander in the Desert Botanical Garden

Claire Cohen / TripSavvy

1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA
+1 480-941-1225

This wonderful garden is open regular hours on New Year's Day. Get some fresh air after New Year's Eve night with a walk through the Desert Botanical Garden in Papago Park. The 50-acre expanse has more than 21,000 plans and many beautiful paths, including the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail.

03 of 11

Visit the Musical Instrument Museum

Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona

 TripSavvy / Jackson Vance

4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050, USA
+1 480-478-6000

The Musical Instrument Museum in North Phoenix is a unique experience with immersive galleries that showcase the musical depth of America and the world. One of the most anticipated exhibits is The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon, which displays more than 80 rare electric guitars (opening November 9, 2018 and running through September 15, 2019). On New Year's Day, there will be two special jazz concerts by The Hot Sardines.

04 of 11

Go to The Phoenix Zoo

White wolf (Canis lupus) yawning, Out of Africa zoo.
Mark Newman / Getty Images
Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA

The Phoenix Zoo is open on New Year's Day for regular zoo animal visitations. It has about 2.5 miles of walking trails across the 125-acre property, including the Arizona Trail, the Africa Trail, the Tropics Trail, the Discovery Trail and the African Savanna. These major areas feature more than 1,000 animals on exhibit. In the evening, ZooLights is the attraction.

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05 of 11

Visit Sea Life Arizona Aquarium

Sea Life Arizona
Judy Hedding
5000 S Arizona Mills Cir Suite 135, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA
+1 855-450-0559

Sea Life Arizona will be open on New Year's Day. Here you can see 12 distinct habitats housing more than 5,000 creatures in 200,000 gallons of water. The aquarium is home to a variety of sea creatures such as seahorses, rays, sharks, and species indigenous to Arizona.

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Take a Tour at Taliesin West

 Claire Cohen / TripSavvy

Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA

On New Year's Day, you can take the popular Insights Tour at Taliesin West, the site of Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and the current home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The tour will give you access to their private quarters and living room, the garden room, the drafting studio, the music pavilion, the cabaret, and more.

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Ice Skate at CityScape

CitySkate in Downtown Phoenix
Courtesy CityScape Phoenix
CityScape, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

Every winter season, CityScape has an outdoor ice skating rink in downtown Phoenix. NRG Ice Rink admission includes skate rental and unlimited skating for the day. There is also a tree-lighting ceremony, live music, and holiday performances at CityScape as well. Note: you can get to CityScape on Valley Metro Light Rail.

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Swim with Dolphins at Dolphinaris

Kiss a dolphin at Dolphinaris in Scottsdale.


9500 East Vía de Ventura, Scottsdale, AZ 85256, USA
+1 480-407-5154

Play with the dolphins, get a dolphin hug, and even a New Year's kiss. The water is warm and wet suits are available, but if you prefer to stay dry, there is the Dolphin Land Experience. Reserve your time online or by calling 480-407-5154.

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09 of 11

Go to an Amusement Park

Castles 'n' Coasters in West Phoenix
Judy Hedding
9445 N Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix, AZ 85051, USA
+1 602-997-7575

There's really only one place around the Phoenix area to ride a roller coaster, and that's at Castles 'n' Coasters near Metrocenter Mall. The arcade and miniature golf open at 10 a.m. Go Karts and bumper boats will open at 11 a.m. The Ride Park opens at noon.

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Get a Tee Time

Golfing in Phoenix
Judy Hedding

If you are a golfer, you'll find plenty of golf courses that are open on January 1. However, keep in mind that the holidays are high season in Phoenix, so the rates tend to be high. Legacy Golf Resort is one of the most popular thanks to its high-end amenities, including a deluxe health club, large outdoor pool, the 300+ Spanish mission-style guest suites, and of course the 18-hole championship golf course.

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Go to Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium
Judy Hedding
16501 W Northern Ave, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340, USA
+1 623-935-9453

The holidays are a great time of year to visit animals, and Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium on the west side of town is a local favorite spot. Many people come just to feed the giraffes, an experience not many other zoos offer. It is open regular hours on January 1.

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15 Things to Do for New Year's Day in Phoenix