Phoenix and Scottsdale Events in January

An aerial view of downtown Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding urban area shot from a helicopter nearing dusk.

 Getty Images/Art Wager

January is not the most travel-friendly month for many places, but in Arizona, it's considered to be peak season. The weather is warm and dry compared to other parts of the country (highs of 68 and lows of 45 degrees Fahrenheit) and there are a slew of events going on throughout the month.

Tourists will be treated to art walks, movie nights, vendor fairs, sporting events, and Martin Luther King Day celebrations, of which Phoenix has more per capita than almost any other U.S. city.

01 of 09

Music Events, Festivals, and Concerts

spark! After Dark music event in Phoenix

Fans of classical music will love the annual Arizona Bach Festival in Phoenix or the eclectic Arizona Musicfest in Scottsdale. Alternatively, seeing the Chandler Symphony Orchestra's January concert or attending a Sunday A'Fair at the Scottsdale Civic Center is an equally great way to experience some classical performances (as well as pop, rock, R&B, and more).

Contemporary music festivals and events happening throughout the month include the concerts at Desert Ridge Marketplace and the Out to Lunch Concert Series at the Mesa Arts Center. For nighttime entertainment, consider the family-friendly concerts at Chandler's Environmental Education Center—part of its Sonoran Sunset Series—or head over to the Mesa Arts Center for a grown-up night out full of art, music, and local food and drinks courtesy of Spark at Dark.

02 of 09

Art Walks and Festivals

Scottsdale ArtWalk, Scottsdale, Arizona

TripSavvy / Jackson Vance

Art and community walks are extremely popular in this region of Arizona. In fact, the cities of Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Guadalupe all get together in January for the Regional Unity Walk, a community celebration that starts in Tempe and makes its way all the way around the Greater Phoenix area. Other art and community walks include:

Meanwhile, the Native American Arts Festival is held in downtown Litchfield Park and the Arizona Fine Art Expo kicks off its 10-week event in Scottsdale, which actually hosts a separate Celebration of Fine Art at the same time.

Also check out First Friday in Phoenix, the Gold Canyon Arts Festival, and the Quilt, Craft and Sewing Festival in Phoenix, which begins on the last day of the month.

03 of 09

Vendor Fairs and Special Markets

Native American Markets in Arizona

Christmas might be over, but market season is still in full swing come January. In Downtown Tempe, visitors can browse local goods and listen to live music at the 6th Street Market every Sunday. To celebrate the native people of the region, the Cave Creek Indian Market at the Stagecoach Village in Cave Creek offers traditional arts and crafts, Native American dancers, musicians, storytellers, and traditional southwest cuisine.

04 of 09

Events for Animal Lovers

Phoenix ZooLights
Nick Bastian/Flickr

The annual ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo can be enjoyed well into January (through the 19th in 2020). Another event for animal lovers is the monthly Birds 'n' Beer happy hour at the Rio Salado Audubon Center. The event is free and occurs the third Thursday of the month.

Arizona is also home to one of the largest populations of Arabian horses in the world and with the annual New Year's Arabian Horse Farm Tour in Scottsdale, you can meet the National Champion horses and top trainers of this prominent farm.

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05 of 09

Sports Events and Fitness Opportunities

Arizona Cardinals
Getty Images

Sports fans will have no problem finding entertainment in January. 'Tis the season for the Phoenix-local Arizona Cardinals football team, the Arizona Coyotes hockey team, and the Phoenix Suns basketball team. You can also catch the Arizona Rattlers Training Camp or one of the Arizona Derby Dames' roller derby matches. Additionally, the TPC Scottsdale golf course hosts its annual Waste Management Phoenix Open Golf Tournament during the last week of January.

Nature lovers can participate in a First Day Hike (a hike on the first day of the year) at one of Arizona's State Parks whereas runners might rather sign up for the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon. True daredevils should consider taking the Polar Bear Plunge at The Lakes for charity.

06 of 09

Special Interest & Community Events

Courtesy of Experience Scottsdale 

Arizona is extremely popular for auto shows and car-centric events this time of year, so if you're a fan of anything auto-related, you can check out the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction in North Scottsdale, Friday Night Drags in Chandler, the Military Vehicle Show in Tempe, or Motorcycles on Main in Mesa.

For gun lovers, the Crossroads of the West Gun Show will feature hundreds of exhibits at Mesa Centennial Hall in mid-January. Alternatively, the gardener in the family will swoon over the Maricopa County Home and Garden Show, which will include seminars, demonstrations, and displays aplenty at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

The city of Chandler hosts its Multicultural Festival in January and Improv Everywhere holds its annual No Pants Light Rail Ride (which is exactly what it sounds like) in Phoenix.

07 of 09

Food Events and Wine Tastings Affairs

 Courtesy of Visit Phoenix

Those who come to the Southwest looking for Mexican-inspired flavors will go wild for Tacolandia, presented by the Phoenix New Times, at the Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. Taco samples and live entertainment will both be offered in abundance. For winos, there's the annual Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival.

08 of 09

Science, Discovery, and Historical Events

Courtesy of Visit Phoenix 

Get educated at Astronomy Evenings, hosted by NASA Solar System Ambassador Mark Johnston, in Scottsdale, or by visiting the Arizona Science Center in Downtown Phoenix for Science With a Twist, a unique tour of the museum's exhibits.

Those interested in the history of flight in Arizona should check out Aviation Day at the Capitol, when aircraft owners and pilots, airport managers, aviation manufacturers, educators, and members of the local military community discuss the importance of aviation in Arizona with state legislators. The annual ​Flagg Gem and Mineral Show at Mesa Community College is a fun and educational event, too.

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09 of 09

Movie Nights and Film Events

CityLights Movie Nights

If you'd rather sit back and relax with a film, then Talk Cinema nights at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts might be more your jam. Here, you can discuss new releases with the people who helped make them.

Arizona also plays host to a couple film festivals in January: the Chandler International Film Festival and the Breaking Ground Festival at Tempe Center for the Arts.