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.
Take a First Day Hike
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!
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.
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.
AddressPhoenix, 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.
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.
AddressTaliesin 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.
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.
Address9500 East Vía de Ventura, Scottsdale, AZ 85256, USA
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.
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.
Get a Tee Time
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.
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.