Guide to Thanksgiving in Phoenix: Attractions, Events, and Things to Do


Phoenix Zoo

If you're traveling to Phoenix or Scottsdale in late November, whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving with family or friends or just happen to be there this time of year, there are plenty of festive celebrations, attractions, and things to do in the area this holiday season.

From Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trots to the opening holiday lighting ceremonies for some of the area's biggest attractions, Greater Phoenix has something for everyone to do on Thanksgiving Day, so even if you're just in town on a business trip, you can do something other than sit in your hotel room.

Check Out Fountain Hill's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Perhaps the biggest event of the holiday is the Fountain Hills' Thanksgiving Day Parade, which boasts itself as the only parade in the entire state on this special day. Featuring floats, horses, and even a Grand Marshall, the Parade of the Hills is a perfect way to start out your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Run the Turkey Trot

If you're more in the mood to work on your fitness during this feast-centric holiday, you can sign up for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot and participate in a competitive and fun run or walk. Sign up early enough and you might even be able to take advantage of reduced prices for advanced registration.

Visit the Hamilton Aquatic Center

Alternatively, you can burn a few calories before Thanksgiving dinner at the Turkey Swim in the town of Chandler. Chandler Aquatics staff are opening Hamilton Aquatic Center for visitors who want to swim a few laps before the Thanksgiving meal. The water is heated and admission is free to participants bringing a canned food item to be donated to the Harvest Compassion Center in Chandler.

See the Christmas Lights

Once you've had your fill of Thanksgiving food, check out the lighting ceremonies for area attractions that get decorated for the Christmas season in November. ZooLights in Phoenix and the holiday lights at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess are both great attractions if you're looking for something to do on the night of Thanksgiving

Arizona International Auto Show

The Arizona International Auto Show happens to start on Thanksgiving Day and is held at the Phoenix Convention Center. Here, you'll be able to see hundreds of the newest cars, trucks, minivans, and sport-utility vehicles that will be introduced by auto manufacturers in the upcoming year. It's a unique way to spend the day, especially if you're celebrating the holiday with any car-enthusiasts.

Drive the Apache Trail or Hike

Switch things up by taking an exciting scenic drive on the Apache Trail. This well-traveled road affords visitors an incredible view of canyons, geologic formations, and desert and lake views. Alternatively, you can go for a hike or visit a local riparian areaSouth Mountain is also a popular place for hiking, and you'll find many people climbing Camelback Mountain on the morning before the big meal.

Was this page helpful?