Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Great spot to check out the sights during Fantasy of Lights.
Great spot to check out the sights during Fantasy of Lights. Melissa Fossum
Are you looking for something fun and free? Look no further. This week, you can flow through thanks during Gratitude Flow, get lost in the holiday joy during Fantasy of Lights, or find comfort within nature at a Free Guided Bird Walk. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

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Feeling grateful.
Sutra Studios

Gratitude Flow

The annual Gratitude Flow, hosted by Sutra in the Park, is just outdoor yoga with dozens of strangers. But as the event organizers describe it, the gathering’s also a chance to give thanks and express gratitude. Considering Thanksgiving is now in sight, this seems like a perfect alternative celebration without all those pesky trans fats. The Flow forgoes yoga’s boring chanting in favor of musical performances. All you have to do is show up with a yoga mat, a durable beach towel, a water bottle, and a “spirit for adventure.”

The event is set for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 26, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 West Culver Street. It’s free, though a $5 donation is suggested (and who needs bad karma?). Chris Coplan

Take a seat, and let the poetry begin.
The Lost Leaf

Thanksgiving Day Compliment Deathmatch

If you’re looking for new holiday traditions, think about replicating the Thanksgiving Day Compliment Deathmatch around your holiday dinner table. It’s a local tradition that gives slam poets 30 seconds to poetically compliment their opponents, with a format used by Utah slam poet RJ Walker. The deathmatch is coming to The Lost Leaf, 914 North Fifth Street, on Thursday, November 28.

Show up at 7 p.m. to see the deathmatch, followed by three rounds of poetry performance by 15 poets. Poets will be judged by five randomly-selected audience members. This free event is organized by Lawn Gnome Publishing, which works to elevate local voices and highlight the local literary scene. It runs until 9 p.m. Lynn Trimble

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One of the parade floats zipping by during Fantasy of Lights.
Melissa Fossum

Fantasy of Lights

When it comes to light-themed holiday celebrations, there are a few options Valley-wide to satiate any yuletide yearnings. But after 25 years, few spectacles are as spectacular as Tempe’s annual Fantasy of Lights. Before shopping downtown, enjoy some live entertainment and the parade proper. From there, expand your holiday joy with a tree lighting ceremony and a meet-and-greet with Saint Nick himself. If there were any more warmth and good tidings packed in, they’d need elves to run things.

The Fantasy of Lights kicks off on Friday, November 29. The live entertainment begins at 4 p.m., with the parade set for 6 p.m. near Mill Avenue and Third Street in Tempe. It’s a free event. Chris Coplan

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Feeling the joy.
Christie Captain Photography

Merry Main Street

Mesa is ushering in an annual holiday tradition called Merry Main Street from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, November 29. The free event includes a tree-lighting for the city’s Christmas tree, free pictures with Santa, a Christmas market, selfie stations, and more. Most happenings take place along Main Street from Country Club Drive to just east of Mesa Drive. You’ll find food trucks at Pioneer Park, 526 East Main Street in Mesa.

Head to 20 East Main Street if you want to skate at the city’s Winter Wonderland holiday ice rink, located near City Plaza. The rink will be open from 6 to 10 p.m., and tickets are $10. From 5 to 10 p.m. that night, Valley Metro light rail rides between Country Club Drive and Mesa Drive are free, which certainly ups the jolly factor. Lynn Trimble

Feeling the typewriter love at Changing Hands.
Lynn Trimble

Free Type-In

Nothing beats a thank you card or holiday note created by your own two hands. Get inspired to type your seasonal notes during a free type-in happening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, November 29. The Typewriter Harvest at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road, is a chance to write your little heart out while enjoying the company of other locals who share your love for all things typed.

Bring your own typewriter, along with friends or family members who’d like to join the fun. It’s a great way to beat holiday stress while unplugging from the digital world for a few hours. Lynn Trimble

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Be one with the birds.
Rio Salado Audubon Center

Free Guided Bird Walk

It’s a bad month to be a turkey. But it’s a great time to be a bird lover because you can enjoy plenty of birdwatching here in the Valley. The Rio Salado Audubon Center, 3131 South Central Avenue, is holding a free guided bird walk from 8 to 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 30.

It’s designed for bird experts to novices, so you’ll feel right at home if it’s your first time giving birdwatching a try. All ages are welcome. Wear walking shoes and sunscreen, and bring water along for the walk. You can bring your binoculars and field guide, or borrow them from the center. Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the official start time. Lynn Trimble
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Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan