Phoenix Area Events and Festivals in April

Phoenix Summer Skies
Jason Corneveaux / Getty Images

By the time April rolls around, the weather in Phoenix is already quite warm but still cool enough to enjoy the many outdoor events, festivals, and celebrations in the area. In fact, April is one of the best times to visit Phoenix, as locals pack the month with outdoor activities and exciting events before the scorching summer temperatures arrive just a few weeks later.

In Phoenix, there's something for everyone. Whether you're an art lover, foodie, sports fan, music enthusiast, or beer drinker, you'll be sure to find an event right up your alley. And don't limit yourself just to the Phoenix city limits; nearby suburbs like Mesa, Glendale, Tempe, and Scottsdale all offer local events that are definitely worth checking out.

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Art Walks and Gallery Events

Phoenix Art Museum entrance
Kirs10 at English Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

Of the many things Phoenix is known for, the art scene might be the most celebrated, and there are plenty of great events happening all month long in the surrounding area. Phoenix and many of the nearby suburbs host monthly art walk events, where an entire neighborhood turns into a giant art gallery. Visitors can enjoy not only the artwork on display, but listen to live music, shop at street markets, and snack on savory bites from food trucks.

Since the weather's warmed up by April, expect to find plenty of outdoor markets and fairs in the Valley of the Sun. Each city typically chooses a different day in the month to hold it's art walk night, and the first one is right in the state capitol during First Friday Phoenix. If you want to continue with the Friday art walks, head out to Mesa, Arizona, the following week for 2nd Friday Night Out in Mesa, and then to Chandler on the third Friday of the month for Chandler Friday Night Live. Don't forget about DT Mesa Fest, a twice-monthly event on the first and third Saturday of the month in Mesa that also features a lot of art, music, and delicious food.

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6th Street Market in Tempe

Downtown Tempe hosts a huge outdoor market on Sixth Street every Sunday throughout the winter and early spring, with the final market of the season held on the first Sunday in April. Since it's the last 6th Street Market until November, you can expect the city to go all out for the culminating event and the majority of locals to be in attendance. The market features dozens of local vendors selling everything from jewelry, art, home goods, bath and body supplies, and lots of food.

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Jazz Festivals

April is National Jazz Appreciation Month, and the city of Chandler, Arizona, hosts an annual two-day festival featuring stellar jazz artists from the local area and around the country. It's a free and family-friendly festival where spectators can listen to over 20 hours of performances from classic jazz to blues and fusion rhythm. Don't forget to bring your blankets and lawn chairs to fully enjoy this outdoor festival.

The town of Mesa hosts its own free jazz festival to commemorate Jazz Appreciation Month as well. Lovers of the genre will have plenty of options to get their fill of jazz in the Phoenix area throughout April.

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Country Thunder Music Festival

The Country Thunder Music Festival in Florence, Arizona, is a four-day music festival where spectators camp out in the desert and listen to some of the biggest names in country music. The camping isn't necessary if you prefer to commute in from Phoenix or another nearby city, but if you want the full Country Thunder experience, camping is the best way to go about it.

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Goodyear Lakeside Music Festival

The Goodyear Lakeside Music Fest features live music and dance performances, a kids' zone, beer and wine garden, arts and crafts, and food vendors at the scenic Estrella Lakeside Amphitheater. All proceeds from the event support West Valley Arts, a local organization that promotes the arts and humanities in the West Valley region of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

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Baseball Season

Even though baseball fans block to the Phoenix area in March to be a part of the Spring Training craze, the real baseball season begins in April. You can catch a professional game with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, or you could support the local—and very talented—college team, the Arizona State University Sun Devils, a PAC12 baseball team that plays at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Take a part in this great American pastime at any time in April to celebrate the start of the season.

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Arizona Bike Week

Whether you're into Harleys, Ducatis, or any other type of bike, Arizona Bike Week at the WestWorld of Scottsdale is the event for you. You can watch—or take part in—motorcycle competitions during this long weekend of bike-related activities, including exhibits, charity rides, auctions, raffles, and live music.

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Family Bike Ride

Chandler’s Family Bike Ride is a 7.8-mile bike ride along the Paseo Canal held in conjunction with Valley Bike Month in April. Families get an opportunity not only to get exercise and celebrate bicycling for recreation, but it's also an eco-friendly way to encourage sustainable transportation over using cars. It's free for anyone to participate, and bikers even receive a commemorative T-shirt. The only things you need to bring are your bike and a helmet.

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Dinner on the Desert

This stylish and sophisticated event at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is an annual dinner set outdoors in the beautiful desert garden. Dinner on the Desert begins with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while socializing with friends, before sitting down as the sun is setting in the open-air dining room for dinner. The event also features a fundraising auction, where attendees can bid on distinctive plants and foliage directly from the garden itself.

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Celebrate Mesa!

Celebrate Mesa! is a free festival that takes place each April in Mesa, Arizona, at Pioneer Park, bringing out the whole community for family fun, carnival rides, food trucks, live music, and more. The event always falls on the weekend before Earth Day, and the festival makes a point to highlight sustainability and taking care of the planet through interactive activities and games so you can have fun and learn at the same time.

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Katsina Doll Marketplace

The Katsina Doll Marketplace is an annual market that takes place each year in April at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, a museum that is dedicated to promoting Native American art. Katsina dolls are small figurines carved out of wood and are a traditional part of the local Hopi culture. The marketplace is the largest gathering of katsina doll carvers that takes place and is an excellent opportunity not only to learn about the history of the dolls and Hopi culture but to purchase one and bring one home. The market is free to attend, but if you want to enter the museum also you'll need to purchase a separate admission ticket.

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Phoenix Pride

Most gay pride events around the world take place in late June or early July, but in Phoenix—where summer temperatures would make for an unbearable event—the celebration is held a few months earlier. The annual festival and parade is a two-day event held each year in April, featuring live music performances and zesty shows from well-known drag queens. This event, held at Steele Indian Park, brings out over 40,000 attendees annually. The festival is family-friendly and a great way to support the Phoenix LGBTQ+ community.

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Arizona Ultimate Women's Expo

Arizona's Ultimate Women's Expo is the largest event of its kind in the entire nation, focused on helping women make connections, find resources, and support each other in business, home, and family life. Past keynote speakers include celebrities like Jane Fonda, Wynonna Judd, and Mo'Nique, among many others. It's a weekend filled with inspiring demonstrations, workshops, products, and services geared toward women at the Phoenix Convention Center.

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Chandler Craft Spirits Festival

Enjoy a boozy weekend out at the Chandler Craft Spirits Festival held at the end of April, which celebrates the burgeoning craft cocktail scene around Phoenix. You can taste wine and local craft beers, but cocktails are the stars of this annual event. There's a competition for the best spirits in each category, from whiskeys to rums to vodkas to tequilas and more (if you want to be a part of the judging, it's best to stick to just one category). Apart from the drinks, you can enjoy plenty of food, organized games, and lots of mingling with fellow revelers.

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Scottsdale Culinary Festival Weekend

Foodies visiting the Phoenix area in April will delight in the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, a full-day event of delicious bites from the best local chefs. Going just to enjoy the food is perfectly fine, but if you're looking for more of an experience, you can also take part in cooking demonstrations so you can go home inspired to create your own culinary masterpieces. Live music, dancing, a kids' area, and beverage tastings round out this day of scrumptious fun.

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