Nerd Culture

11 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

New Times picks the best things to do in metro Phoenix from Friday, August 5, though Sunday, August 7. For more events, see our curated online calendar.

Game On Expo
If Pokémon Go leads you in the direction of Mesa Convention Center this weekend, it’s not a fluke: The second annual Game On Expo is bound to turn the hall into one giant Pokémon gym.

While the augmented reality app is sure to dominate the conversation, there’s plenty else to see and play. Attendees can compete in the Retro Championship 2016 featuring Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris, brush up on skills during Dungeons & Dragons role-playing sessions, dress to impress during cosplay competitions, and hear from voice actors Steve Downes (Master Chief from the Halo series) and Jen Taylor (Princess Peach from Mario Golf).

Whether following lures or reliving your youth, the fun starts at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 5, at 263 North Center Street. Admission is $10 for Friday or $45 for a weekend pass; prices vary for Saturday, August 6, and Sunday, August 7. Visit Janessa Hilliard

Creatures of the Wheel
Gnar, shred, thrash: These are words to add to your everyday vernacular before Friday, August 5, for what’s being billed as “a one-night-only mega mix of old-school skate movie mania.”

Creatures of the Wheel is a “cinematic creation,” or a blending of skateboard and roller-skating film highlights from decades past. This wheel-heavy mashup is brought to us lucky folks by Unfathomable Film Freakout – local dudes specializing in rock and roll cinema – as part of a final Friday film series at FilmBar. Also, there’ll be live painting from Love & Hate Tattoo & Piercing.

The Unfathomable Film Freakout will host Creatures of the Wheel at 10 p.m. at 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $7 per person via This is a 21-and-up event, though under-agers can get in with a legal guardian. For more information, call 602-595-9187 or visit Lauren Cusimano

Aloha at the Heard
Wind down from your work week with shaved ice and free museum admission during Aloha at the Heard, happening from 6 to 10 p.m. on First Friday, August 6, at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue. Sure, you’ll have to pay for your Kona Ice truck frozen Hawaiian treats, but you’ll get to check out several exhibitions for free.

While you’re there, catch a free iTheatre Collaborative reading from The Women Who Loved House Trailers by Cherokee playwright Diane Glancy.

Need a little more aloha in your life that night? Throw on a Hawaiian-style lei and grab a cocktail sporting a pink umbrella before you jump on the light rail or Artlink trolley. Thumbs up on Hawaiian shirts, but nix the grass skirts. Visit Lynn Trimble

Iron Boy MMA 2
If you missed the first of Iron Boy’s MMA events in June, here’s a quick recap of how each fight ended: submission by choke in round two, referee stoppage from strikes in round one, referee stoppage from strikes in round two, referee stoppage from strikes in round one, unanimous decision, submission by guillotine in round two, and submission by rear naked choke in round three. That’s enough punches, kicks, chokes, and action to make us very, very interested in the promotion company’s second event.

Make your own unanimous decision to attend Iron Boy MMA 2 beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 5, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets start at $29. Visit for more. Zach Fowle

Night Race #4
Stock up on glow sticks and party lights (but not for what you think), as glow-in-the-dark gear is encouraged for Night Race #4 of the Night Pop 5K Series. Hosted by AZ Virtual Running, this four-part night race series is having its final dash on Friday, August 5.

Check-in is at 7 p.m. at Road Runner Sports Tempe, 43 South McClintock Drive, followed by a five-kilometer run along the path around Tempe Town Lake. Custom finisher’s medals are handed out around 9:15 p.m. — along with all the free Otter Pops you can handle.

Price for the fourth and final race is $25. Find details at The event promotes the veteran support organization Team Red, White & Blue. Call 602-722-6503 or visit Lauren Cusimano

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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Zach Fowle
Contact: Zach Fowle
Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young