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The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Making space for veterans to share their stories.EXPAND
Making space for veterans to share their stories.
ASU Piper Center
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Looking for something fun to do, but short on cash? You’re in luck. This week, you can get the backstory on some of the city’s best-know places during a presentation on the book Phoenix Past and Present, celebrate the Year of the Rat at the Full Moon Lantern Fest, or catch the biggest game of the season at Game Day Tailgate. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Veterans Writing

If you’re a veteran searching for a safe space to share your stories while honing your creative writing skills, check out the Veterans Writing Circle happening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28. It’s presented by the ASU Piper Center, in partnership with the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and the Office for Veteran Military Academic Engagement.

It’s part of a monthly series of writing circle events designed specifically for student and other local veterans, which gives them a supportive place to write creative pieces and share them with fellow veterans. The free event takes place at the ASU Piper Center, 450 East Tyler Mall, on the university’s Tempe campus. Lynn Trimble

History is happening.EXPAND
History is happening.
Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Past and Present

Have you ever driven past an iconic Phoenix building like Tovrea Castle or Rosson House and wondered about its history? Now you can learn the backstory behind some of the city’s best-known places, during a free presentation by authors for a book called Phoenix Past and Present.

They’ll talk about the Orpheum Theatre, San Carlos Hotel, and much more from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 30. The free event is happening inside the Lath House classroom located behind the Rosson House, 113 North Sixth Street. You can purchase a book after the presentation if you like. Lynn Trimble

Fushicho Daiko drummers.EXPAND
Fushicho Daiko drummers.
Stephanie Yamamoto

Full Moon Lantern Fest

Festive lanterns will line the streets of historic downtown Glendale during the inaugural Full Moon Lantern Fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 1. It’s a free family-friendly event celebrating the Year of the Rat with cultural festivities, hands-on activities, and demonstrations. The lineup includes lion dancers, taiko drummers, and martial artists. Expect food, fashion, and yoga, as well.

Hit the information booth at 5836 West Palmaire Avenue in Glendale to get an event map and activities list. While you’re downtown, check out merchant discounts and a silent auction benefiting an organization that provides acupuncture to global communities impacted by disaster or human conflict. Lynn Trimble

Calling all car fanatics.
Calling all car fanatics.
Phoenix New Times Archive

Vee Quiva Cruisin’ Classic Car Show

There’s plenty of sweet car shows year-round in the Valley. While some events focus primarily on trucks or muscle cars, or even a certain magical era, the Vee Quiva Cruisin’ Classic Car Show has a much broader interest. At this show, every make, model, and year will be represented, a massive collection of automotive marvels for your slack-jawed perusal. If that weren’t enough, the show also features food trucks, vendors, and live entertainment. You may feel so welcome and overjoyed that you try and jump behind the wheel of a Camaro or two. But please don’t actually try.

This free show is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 1, at Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino, 15091 South Komatke Lane in Laveen Village. Chris Coplan

Explore the murals while you're at Mesa Urban Garden.EXPAND
Explore the murals while you're at Mesa Urban Garden.
Lynn Trimble

Gardening Q&A Event

Shifting weather patterns can make gardening in the urban desert a challenge, which is why Mesa Urban Garden is hosting a gardening Q&A event with Catherine, The Herb Lady. Catherine specializes in edible landscaping in the desert Southwest. She’ll be sharing techniques for sowing, planting, and gardening.

She’s also got tips on maintaining the ideal level of moisture in your soil, handling spikes in daytime temperatures, and dealing with episodes of hail and frost. The free event happens from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 1. It also include a seed share, so you’ll be able to pick up some seeds while you’re at MUG, 212 East First Avenue in Mesa. Lynn Trimble

Game Day Tailgate

Heads up NFL fanatics of the Valley – the biggest game of the seasons is about to kick off. The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will square off on Sunday, February 2, for their shot at gridiron glory during Super Bowl LIV. Tens of millions will be watching every play (and all those nifty commercials), including the crowds at Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard.

The outdoor mall will host a Game Day Tailgate with all the action being broadcast on giant LED screens in both the District Stage and Barnes & Noble Courtyard. Football-season staples like grilled brats will be available for purchase from eateries and pop-up bars will sell brews and libations. They’ll also have oversize lawn games, DJs, entertainment, interactive activities, and giveaways.

The event runs from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

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