Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Santa Paws is happening at the Palm Court inside Scottsdale Fashion Square.
Santa Paws is happening at the Palm Court inside Scottsdale Fashion Square. Scottsdale Fashion Square
It's officially December, and the Phoenix event calendar is packed with activities, holiday and otherwise. Here are a few suggestions to fill your week with fun.

click to enlarge Picture this covered with oodles of noodles. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Picture this covered with oodles of noodles.
Lauren Cusimano

Cocktail Party Cooking Class

Maybe you’d love to throw together some cocktails and small bites for friends and family this holiday season, but you’re feeling a little unsure about what to serve or whether you can actually pull it off. There’s an easy fix for that, over at Sweet Basil Cooking School, 10749 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. Lisa Brisch will be teaching an Easy Holiday Cocktail Party class from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 2, where you can learn to prepare a tasty assortment of cocktail foods from pine nut salad spears to miniature browned butter almond cakes called raspberry financier. The lineup also includes mini quiches, grilled shrimp skewers, fig and blue cheese savories, and more. The class costs $75. Of course, Sweet Basil is also a cooking store, so take along your shopping list if you still need to snag some gifts for the kitchen lovers in your life.

click to enlarge Making homemade cards is a great way to unwind during the holidays. - MESA ARTS CENTER
Making homemade cards is a great way to unwind during the holidays.
Mesa Arts Center

Cardmaking Workshop

Chasing around looking for the perfect greeting cards can up your stress level this time of year, so think about doing some homemade cards instead. It’s a fun way to unwind, and let people know you care enough to add that personal touch to your holiday sentiments. You’ll find fresh inspiration during the Cardmaking Workshop happening at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, Mesa, which takes place during from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, December 3. It’s being taught by artist Rachel Goodwin, who will be sharing techniques for printmaking and paper cutting. Once you’ve got the skills, you’ll be able to make homemade cards with flair for any occasion, and you’ll have a new creative outlet for those times you just want to relax and roll with your inner muse. The class costs $40.

click to enlarge This is where the FABRIC fashion magic happens. - CITY OF TEMPE
This is where the FABRIC fashion magic happens.
City of Tempe

Fashion Show

The return of Tempe’s Festival of the Arts will bring a flurry of activity to Mill Avenue, including a fashion show happening at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, at 132 East Sixth Street, Tempe. The LabelHorde Fashion Show will bring together local designers, models, and hair and makeup designers for a runway show benefiting FABRIC, a Tempe-based nonprofit supporting fashion entrepreneurs. Designed to showcase Arizona’s fashion community, the event will also include vendor booths where people can shop for local brands featured on the runway. Admission is free for those who want to gather around and watch, but you’ve got two options if you want to take a seat for the runway show. Runway seats are $15 and VIP seats are $25.

Grand Avenue Shopping

If shopping local is one of your priorities this holiday season, you’ll have an amazing array of options during the first weekend in December, when several artists are holding studio sales and others are gathering for holiday markets. Along a historic strip of Grand Avenue that’s filled with murals, galleries, and funky street art, you’ll find a free Holiday Bazaar where local artisans and makers will be poised to help you shop an eclectic assortment of unique gift items on Sunday, December 5. Hours for the Desert Sun Plaza Holiday Bazaar are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The plaza is located at 1325 Grand Avenue, near several creative spaces where you’ll find even more great gift options. If you head over Saturday, December 4, you can shop the Bragg's Pie Factory Pop-up Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1301 Grand Avenue. Take your camera along, because Grand Avenue between Seventh and 15th avenues is filled with funky selfie backdrops.

click to enlarge Explore a Mesa family-owned farm filled with holiday lights. - VERTUCCIO FARMS
Explore a Mesa family-owned farm filled with holiday lights.
Vertuccio Farms

Lights at the Farm

You can support local farming while you experience more than two million holiday lights when you head to Vertuccio Farms, 4011 South Power Road, Mesa. The family-owned farm is holding its fourth annual Lights at the Farm event this year, where you can stroll through holiday light displays with various themes, explore a light tunnel, and check out their 30-foot Christmas tree. They’ve got different ticket packages, with opportunities to add other activities such as ice skating to your visit. Lights at the Farm basic admission on Monday, December 6, is $12, and you’ll get to choose from two time slots. The lights are synchronized to classic holiday tunes, so be forewarned: you may find yourself humming Christmas songs even after you leave all those bright lights behind you.

click to enlarge Santa Paws is happening at the Palm Court inside Scottsdale Fashion Square. - SCOTTSDALE FASHION SQUARE
Santa Paws is happening at the Palm Court inside Scottsdale Fashion Square.
Scottsdale Fashion Square

Santa Paws Photos

Admit it. All you really want to do this holiday season is dress your pets up in cute outfits so you can post their pictures on social media. You’ll be happy to know that Scottsdale Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, is doing a Santa Paws event where the dog in your life can do the whole photo with Santa Claus thing. Santa Paws hours on Monday, December 6, are 4 to 8 p.m. Reservations are recommended, of course, because you wouldn’t want to dress your fur baby only to discover at the mall that all the time slots are taken. Photo packages start at $39.99.

Elf Tale

Talk about an identity crisis. Imagine growing up as an elf at the North Pole only to discover that you’re actually a human and your biological father lives in New York City. That’s the premise of Elf The Musical, which is based in the 2003 comedy film that starred Will Ferrell as the elf on a mission to find his true identity. Things don’t go as planned in NYC, of course, which is what makes the musical so endearing. It’s being performed by Arizona Broadway Theatre, where you can just go to see the show, or do the whole dinner theater experience before the curtain rises. The Tuesday, December 7, performance starts at 5:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary, and there’s no extra charge to embrace your inner Elf, although you might want to leave the green felt suit, striped socks, and pointy shoes at home that night.

click to enlarge Explore works by local artists inside the FOUND:RE Hotel. - FOUND:RE HOTEL
Explore works by local artists inside the FOUND:RE Hotel.

‘Focal Points’ Exhibit

You could always head to the art hotel FOUND:RE Phoenix if you wanted to do a little staycation surrounded by artworks made right here in Phoenix. But you don’t have to book a stay to enjoy them. Common areas are always filled with paintings, sculpture, photography, and other works of art. The hotel presents rotating exhibitions, which provide new opportunities to explore the talent in our midst. Current offerings include “Focal Points,” an exhibition featuring works by 79 artists, which is being presented with support from Artlink. Head over anytime on Wednesday, December 8, to take a look. You’ll find the artworks exhibited throughout the ground floor of the hotel. There’s no charge to view them, and it’s a great way to see a sampling of work by local creatives.
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble