It’s that time of the year when the weather begins to cool and the nights come alive with energy around southern Arizona. After a year and a half of social distancing, people are clamoring to experience live events again and get a taste of normalcy.
Fortunately, the fall season in southern Arizona presents a wide array of ongoing events to help people reconnect with the community and appreciate the unique arts and culture that characterize Arizona.
The upcoming events also provide us with the opportunity to strengthen our economy as we start to emerge from the thick of the pandemic. In our Essential Customer video, which we launched in partnership with the Tucson Metro Chamber, we emphasize the importance of supporting our local businesses and organizations. After the catastrophic losses of last year, everyone’s continued support helps ensure that our communities bounce back stronger than ever.
Music Venues Make a Comeback
Live entertainment venues were among the most economically impacted entities of 2020. But as the economy continues to reopen, music venues in Arizona are ready to make up for lost time and give us the soundtrack for the fall season.
At the Rialto Theatre in downtown Tucson, late August brings indie rock acts like Amigo the Devil, Neko Case, and The Flaming Lips. The rock continues into September when the Rialto hosts Modest Mouse and Tucson’s own Calexico on the 25th.
Tucson’s historic Fox Theatre is also bouncing in September with swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, along with singer-songwriter Chris Isaak, and the return of Cinema Tucson, a celebration of Mexican cinema featuring a different screening every month at the theatre.
Meanwhile, some of the world’s biggest musical acts will make their way to Phoenix this fall. The action begins at the Footprint Center (formerly known as the Phoenix Suns Arena) in September, when the Eagles will perform their seminal album Hotel California in its entirety. In October, the Arena hosts hip hop superstars J. Cole and 21 Savage, along with Grammy-award-winning artist Marc Anthony.
In addition, the hits keep coming to the Ak-Chin Pavilion, which ushers in some of the world’s most popular musicians to Phoenix in September, including Pitbull, Lil Baby, and country stars Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.
Farmers Markets Deliver Fresh Food and Community Connection
As the weather begins to cool, fall presents the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the dozens of farmers markets popping up all over southern Arizona and Phoenix.
In Tucson, the largest Heirloom Farmers Market runs every Sunday at Rillito Park. The event features more than 5,000 square feet of shopping space, along with food trucks, entertainment, chef demonstrations, and the weekly “Taste of the Market,” a speaker series centered on food literacy.
The Phoenix metro is home to more than 20 farmers markets across the city, from the Anthem Farmers Market at Anthem Community Park, to the Cosmic Vegan farmers market in Glendale. On Saturdays, the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market gathers in excess of 100 vendors to the sculptured grounds outside the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
In addition to Phoenix and Tucson, Casa Grande offers two farmers markets that feature fresh produce, entertainment, and educational panels. The Creative Farmers Market begins November 9 and runs every Saturday at the Avocado Nursery on Overfield Rd. There’s also the Casa Grande Farmers Market, which runs every Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church on Cottonwood Lane. Casa Grande Farmers Market offers up to 70 pounds of produce for just $12 (cash only).
Art Markets Show Off Arizona’s Creative Side
Southern Arizona has long been an arts mecca due to its unique culture and natural beauty. So it’s no surprise the region hosts plenty of opportunities for artists and artisans to show off their wares to the community.
Every weekend from 8am-12pm, Tucson’s St. Phillips Plaza holds a diverse arts market featuring handmade goods and delicious food in their shady courtyard surrounded by peacefully flowing foundations.
On September 24 from 6-10pm, the Mercado San Augustine (MSA) Annex closes out its Summer Night Market. All your favorite MSA Annex shops stay open late as guests peruse the wide array of handcrafted arts, created by local artisans.
On the First Friday of each month from 6-10pm, Phoenix typically features its First Fridays Art Walk, one of the nation’s largest self-guided art tours, with more than 70 galleries, venues, and art spaces participating. While the event scaled back for the pandemic, many galleries and venues still host their own events, offering free or discounted admission. Participating organizations include Art Park at Alwun House, the Phoenix Art Museum, Five15Arts, and the Pemberton PHX Dance Company.
Outdoor Adventures Offer the Perfect Fall Escape
You can’t talk about southern Arizona without mentioning the virtually limitless outdoor activities available. Fall is certainly no exception, as Arizonans rush for the outdoors after spending the scorching summer inside.
As we get closer to Halloween, Tucson will see the return of its famous corn mazes to delight those up for a challenge and a scare. The most popular corn maze is Terror In The Corn, located at Buckelew Farm. In addition to the maze itself, Terror In the Corn features a Zombie Mud Run, a Zombie Paintball Shootout, and the Terror Express, a clown-themed 3D experience guaranteed to terrify even the bravest among us. Terror In The Corn is held every Friday and Saturday until Halloween, beginning October 2.
For those looking for something a bit lighter (and with fewer clowns), there’s Las Noches de Las Luminarias, held October 31 through November 3 at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens. Each night, thousands of hand-lit luminarias light the garden pathways to create a beautiful, unique and peace-filled experience.
And, if you want to celebrate Halloween in true Wild West fashion, then check out Helldorado Days, held every third Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in downtown Tombstone. The event features gunfight reenactments, fashion shows, and more as visitors immerse themselves in the history and one-of-a-kind culture of Tombstone.
However you choose to spend the fall season, there are options for many interests that make it easy to keep your spending local.