20 Reasons to Love Fall in Arizona

Adios, Arizona summer. Fall brings with it a slew of fun things. In case you've forgotten what the Copper State has to offer, thanks to spending the last few months cooped up in air-conditioned bliss, here are a few of our favorite things to get you up and at 'em.

Driving North to See the Leaves Change Craving more than just a hot season and a cold season? Lucky for us Valley dwellers, Northern Arizona and its full range of seasons are easily accessible. Spend a few hours driving and you'll be rewarded with scenery that gets prettier with each minute. Heading up that way is always a fun excursion, especially when the leaves are starting to change -- something of an anomaly to those of us living down here.

See also: 8 Reasons Hiking in Phoenix is Awesome

Day Hiking In June, we listed night hiking as one of the best things about summer in Arizona. Those of you who aren't big fans of that night hiking business, fret not. The fall is the perfect time for morning, mid-day, and evening hikes. If you time it right, you can even hit the top of your peak for a famous Arizona sunset, then head back down before it gets dark.

The Arizona State Fair The Arizona State Fair comes to town October 11 and runs until November 3. As one of the most family-friendly festivals in Arizona, the fair brings Native Spirit Dancers, petting zoos, circus acts, a demolition derby, and more. If you're a foodie, it's the place for you. If you're an art lover, it's the place for you. If you're a thrill-seeker -- well, you get the picture. There's something for everybody. Ticket prices may vary by day and option. For more information about event dates and times, visit the

Going Outdoors You know when you look outside during the summer, see the beautifully blue sky and a bright shining sun, and you think to yourself, "I think I'll spend some time outside today." Instead of stepping one foot across the threshold and immediately regretting your decision, soon you'll be able to enjoy the outdoors sans super-sweaty sadness. Look forward to walking, no, sitting -- nay -- simply being outside again.

Football It's time to whip out those jerseys. Or at least start wearing them with a purpose, because football is back. Between the NCAA and the NFL, there's plenty to keep your sporty side entertained this season. You've got cheering to do, and the Sun Devils and Cardinals need you.

Monday Holidays Okay, okay. So technically you don't have to be in Arizona to get Columbus Day and Veterans Day off. But with mellow fall temperatures, a three-day weekend in Arizona offers so many possibilities for ways to spend your days off, from day trips and staycations to parties, museums to visit, and hikes to take.

Sunnyslope Art Walk Twice a year, Sunnyslope's shop and restaurant owners join to put together the Sunnyslope Art Walk. On the second Saturday of October, from Central and Dunlap avenues to Central and the Arizona Canal Trail, art of every medium will be on display and awaiting your perusal. Go for the food or buy some art, but if you do nothing else, get to know the people involved with this unique arts festival. The Sunnyslope Art Walk takes place on October 12, from 5 until 9 p.m. For more information, visit Sunnyslope Art Walk's Facebook.

Decreased Perspiration Not having to deal with the constant bodily shock of walking in and out of an overly air-conditioned building? Not having to avoid certain colors because of how they show off your sweat stains? The days of not having to carry deodorant on your person at all times truly exist -- in fall, at least. For the first time in months you will sweat like a normal (non-Arizonan) human being. And that's something worth appreciating.

Basketball We don't have Kobe or LeBron, but basketball in Arizona still promises serious entertainment. This year's Phoenix Suns squad is equipped with new uniforms and new prospects (though it remains to be seen if they'll help the team top last year's sad showing). ASU's men's team bounces into play this fall, too. Have your foam fingers and face paint at the ready, it's time to trot out your team spirit.

Zombie Walk Halloween is made only better by knowing the annual Zombie Walk will be happening in downtown Phoenix. Participants dress in full makeup and distressed garb, and walk/drag themselves through the streets. Some put on masks, others tatter their clothes, and there are always at least three eccentric zombie brides. So if you're looking for something to get you into the Halloween spirit, head out to spectate. Or you could always walk with the living dead yourself...if you dare. For more information on the free, October 26 event, check its Facebook page.

An Almost New Wardrobe Remember last Christmas when you got all those adorable socks from your grandmother? The ones you were able to wear for a month before they were relegated to the bottom of the sock drawer? It's time to pull those back out and start layering -- Arizona-style. That's to say, anything goes. Heavy boots and T-shirts, cardigans and mini-skirts, really whatever clothing combo feels right you can get away with during the fall. However, a sweater, scarf, and boots are pretty perfect for the autumn temperament. And don't forget the added bonus that every season change brings: new merch at your favorite boutiques.

Outdoor Yoga No longer will your yen for outdoor yoga result in a Bikram-style sweat-soak. This season outdoor yoga will be fun. Various places around the Valley offer yoga classes, both inside and out.

Hockey Returns This year's National Hockey League season is set to begin on October 1. What's more exciting than curling up under a warm blanket and watching some of the toughest athletes in the world smack each other around while wearing ice skates? We'll tell you what: the anticipation.

Theater Is Back With the changing leaves comes the return of the theater. Actors return to their stages in full regalia, ready to woo you with their stories once again. The Phoenix area is home to many talented companies and venues that host traveling troupes, too. This fall will bring many a masterpiece to theaters all over the Valley.

Picking Pumpkins Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek hosts an annual Pumpkin and Chili Festival that runs for the entire month of October. In addition to an array of festive activities, you can be oh-so-traditionally fall and choose your favorite pumpkin from the patch. Pumpkin carving is an essential part of any October. Oh, and the return of pumpkin flavored everything.

All Souls Procession The All Souls Procession takes place in Tucson and serves to commemorate the lives of those lost this year. The event was inspired by Día de los Muertos. Some participants dress in lavish costumes, others paint their faces like skulls, and many create altars that they wheel along during the procession. All are welcome to participate. So make your way out to Tucson the first weekend of November to experience this enormous yet intimate ceremony. Information on how to participate can be found at the All Souls Procession website.

Going to the Movies for Movies Even with all of the blockbusters that premiered this past summer, you can't deny that the reasons behind most of your trips to the movie theater were a comfy seat and chilling in AC. In fall, you can buy movie tix for their original purpose: to see movies. If you're looking for weird or one-of-a-kind theater-going experiences, check out our favorite movie theaters in Phoenix.

Arizona Fall League For those baseball fans who just can't get enough of America's favorite pastime, October 8 marks the beginning of a fresh season for sport with The Arizona Fall League. It's your chance (and scouts', too) to get a look at up-and-coming baseballers vying for spots on MLB squads. Games take place at Camelback Ranch, Surprise Stadium, Mesa Hohokam Stadium, Salt River Fields, and Scottsdale Stadium.

Phoenix Design Week The fifth annual Phoenix Design Week is coming in October. This celebration of design brings lectures, conferences, workshops, and more to Arizona. Expect after-parties galore. The week rolls to a conclusion with Pedalcraft Volume Three, an event that blends cycling and design. For more information about the week-long event and for registration information, visit the Phoenix Design Week website.

Bike Rides The fall brings that perfectly crisp weather that's perfect for a bike ride. Those who are bike-reliant year-round can look forward to arriving at their destination looking the same as when they left the house, not sweat-drenched or red-faced. If four-wheeled, motorized life is more your style, fall gives you the chance to take the two-wheeler out for leisurely jaunts whenever you want.

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Alexandria Conrad