Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Music meets fireworks at Fabulous Phoenix Fourth.
Music meets fireworks at Fabulous Phoenix Fourth. City of Phoenix
It's time to make some plans, Phoenix. This week, you can enjoy a stunning pyrotechnic display at 4th of Zooly, dance all night during Miami Nights, or explore a whole new world at Dirty Disney. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Fabulous Phoenix Fourth

Every Fourth of July, Americans look towards the sky, eager to see the fireworks that celebrate freedom and independence. Here in Phoenix, one of the largest celebrations is happening at Indian Steele Park, 300 East Indian School Road. That’s where the free Fabulous Phoenix Fourth event that draws thousands of people is happening on Thursday, July 4, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The fireworks start around 9:30 p.m., but the evening also includes live music and entertainment on two stages, a classic car show, and vendors selling food items and crafts. You can’t bring or buy alcohol. But you can bring the kids, who can check out the kids zone complete with rides, inflatables, a water spray area, and hands-on activities. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Who doesn't love an endangered species carousel? - PHOENIX ZOO
Who doesn't love an endangered species carousel?
Phoenix Zoo

4th of Zooly

Things are looking up at the Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, because they’ve got a special seating area near the back of the zoo where you can enjoy a great view of fireworks lighting up the night sky over Tempe Town Lake during the 4th of Zooly event that runs from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 4. Tickets are $45 (ages 13 and up) or $35 (ages 2 to 13), which includes a barbecue dinner, DJ music, and special animal appearances. From 7 to 8:30 p.m., guests can check out Stingray Bay and ride an endangered animal-themed carousel. Expect Tempe fireworks to start at 9 p.m. Bring extra money if you want to buy beer or wine while you’re there. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Celebrating independence. - GUDENSCHWAGER PHOTOGRAPHY
Celebrating independence.
Gudenschwager Photography

July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival

There are fireworks, and then there’s the July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival. A stunning pyrotechnic display will be set off over the Mill Avenue Bridge, synchronized to feel-good American music. Be sure to get there early: Not only can you stake your claim to the best view, but you can also check out the inflatable rides, rock climbing wall, and jam to some great cover bands.

The gates open at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, at 80 West Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. The fireworks start at 9:15 p.m. Ticket prices are $7 for advance tickets, $10 at the gate, and $60 for adult VIP.? Jason Keil

Scottsdale's 4th of July Celebration

Don’t feel like spending the holiday outside? Scottsdale’s 4th of July Celebration has packed a lot inside WestWorld of Scottsdale. There will be an obstacle course, a live Fortnite experience, a dog stunt show, a rodeo, and carnival rides. Enjoy the fireworks display over the grounds from the air-conditioned comfort of the facility’s North Hall.

The party starts at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, at 16601 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. The fireworks start at 9 p.m. Ticket prices are $15 for advance tickets, $20 per carload for the fireworks only, and $35 for the Backyard BBQ. Prices go up at the door. Jason Keil

click to enlarge This is how swing dance looks when you do it right. - DANNY NGAN
This is how swing dance looks when you do it right.
Danny Ngan

Swingdependance Weekend

If you’ve got a thing for swing dance, you might want to skip the fireworks and spend a night with fellow dance lovers as they kick off the four-day Swingdependance Weekend. It all starts with a free pool party at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, at 3145 East Fountain Street in Mesa. The evening includes dancing to DJ music, plus a barbecue. Organizers will provide burgers, but everybody needs to bring a side dish to share. While you’re there, you can get the scoop on other swing dance happenings around metro Phoenix, and maybe pick up a dance pointer or two. Lynn Trimble

Freedom Rock Fourth of July

Do you remember staying up late during summer vacation and catching all the weird commercials that played on cable? People of a certain age will recall one shilling for the compilation album Freedom Rock. Two hippies sat and talked about the good old days when songs from Three Dog Night, The Moody Blues, and Dion played on the radio. Now you too can be like those stereotypical bohemians and celebrate America’s birthday while listening to America’s “A Horse With No Name” at Thunderbird Lounge’s Freedom Rock Fourth of July. There will be drink specials all night and Short Leash Hot Dogs served.

Freedom rings starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, at 710 West Montecito Avenue. This is a free event. Jason Keil

Game Night: Mortal Kombat Vs. Super Smash Bros

Every year, fighting game fans all over the world convene on tournaments like Evo and the Capcom Cup to determine the world’s greatest (virtual) fighter. Shady Park Tempe is joining the battle with Game Night: Mortal Kombat Vs. Super Smash Bros. You can play the latest editions of these popular fighting games on a 12-foot LED display all night or check out different games on the smaller side screens while sipping the drink specials.
Finish your opponent from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, at 26 East University Drive in Tempe. This is a free event open only to those of drinking age.? Jason Keil

click to enlarge Everyone enjoys a good pyrotechnic display, even pro athletes. - JIM LOUVAU
Everyone enjoys a good pyrotechnic display, even pro athletes.
Jim Louvau

Arizona Diamondbacks

After taking off for Independence Day, the Arizona Diamondbacks hopefully will be well-rested to take on their division rivals the Colorado Rockies this weekend. They’ll need to swing for the fences to turn their fortunes around before the All-Star break. Even if David Peralta and the boys don’t put on a hitting display, there will be one hell of a show when the game ends with an extended fireworks display lighting up the downtown sky.

The starting pitch goes out at 6:10 p.m. on Friday, July 5, at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, with additional matchups through Sunday, July 7. Tickets are $22-$300. Jason Keil

Crit Hit 4: Summer of Summoning

Over the last few years, the isolation of playing online has led gamers back to role-playing and board games. The Valley community of players is gathering together at Crit Hit 4: Summer of Summoning. There you can attend a panel and bond with the strategically minded while learning and playing new games.

Roll the dice beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 5, at Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix South Mountain, 10831 South 51st Street, continuing through Sunday, July 7. Badge prices range from $15 for Friday only to $50 for the full weekend. This event is for those 18-years-old and older. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Grown-ups having fun at the Children's Museum of Phoenix. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Grown-ups having fun at the Children's Museum of Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble

Free First Friday Night

Nurture your inner child as the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, 215 North Seventh Street, presents Free First Friday Night on July 5. It’s a chance for everyone to explore the museum’s offerings, which promote everything from creativity to literacy. There’s an art studio where guests can get messy, a block area for building, and a market that’s great for pretend play. Typically, admission is $14.95. While you’re there, try making your way through the Noodle Forest made with pool noodles, or watching scarves fly through the Whoosh! contraption. It’s a great way to unwind from a long work week while you get fresh ideas for at-home playtime. The museum is located in the historic Monroe School, whose alumni include famed painter Jackson Pollock. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Channeling Frida Kahlo in Phoenix. - JOSE ALCAZAR
Channeling Frida Kahlo in Phoenix.
Jose Alcazar

Phoenix Fridas

The Phoenix Fridas artist collective, which includes 10 Latina artists inspired by Frida Kahlo, is celebrating its 15th year with an exhibition of new works at Fair Trade Cafe, 1020 North First Avenue. Join the free opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on First Friday, July 5, when the artists will also be showing homemade floral headpieces. Participating artists include Kathy Cano-Murillo, founder of The Crafty Chica, and Emily Costello, whose artwork has been featured on Arizona lottery tickets. If you need a bigger Frida fix, register for the free Phoenix Frida Fest happening the next day at Mucho Mas Art Studo. Lynn Trimble

Miami Nights

Aneesh from Live 101.5 FM is hosting a Friday night dance party all summer at The Van Buren. This month he’s bringing South Florida to the desert with Miami Nights. Rent an indoor cabana and get down to EDM, Latin Trap, Cumbia, and Moombahton spun by DJs M’Rocka and Melo. There will be go-go dancers and drink specials all night long. A dollar from every ticket sold will be donated to one•n•ten, a non-profit supporting LGTBQ youth.

Go tropical at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 5, at 401 West Van Buren Street. Tickets range from $8-$12. Jason Keil

click to enlarge The champagne of farmers markets. - HOTEL VALLEY HO
The champagne of farmers markets.
Hotel Valley Ho

Chefs + Market

Freshen up your weekend farmers market rounds with the Chefs + Market event at Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale. The free indoor market on Saturday, July 6, features food and live music inspired by the backyard grilling and chilling theme. It’s a chance to enjoy bites by chefs Sean Currid of Maple & Ash and Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood, plus spirit and wine tastings. You’ll need to RSVP ahead of time, because space is limited. Of course, the 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. event also includes a farmers market featuring fresh produce, and a cash bar so you can indulge in a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Lynn Trimble

Mujerxs Summer Book Club

The mission of Palabras Bilingual Bookstore is “to promote cultural representation and diversity through language, books, and the arts.” The store is meeting this goal with the Mujerxs Summer Book Club. The first Saturday of each month focuses on a book written by a woman of color. This month’s selection is All About Love: New Visions by author bell hooks. Each chapter of the non-fiction work focuses on an aspect of a loving relationship and the mistrust men feel when in one. There will be snacks and discussions served.

Turn the page at noon on Saturday, July 6, at 1738 East McDowell Road. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge Not your average Disney performance. - MELISSA FOSSUM
Not your average Disney performance.
Melissa Fossum

Dirty Disney

Are you getting sick of all the live-action remakes of your favorite animated movies? Dirty Disney is what you want to see. Leave the kids at home because this show will make Walt’s frozen head turn over in the subterranean bunker they keep it in. Pandora DeStrange and The Queens of The Crescent are going to warp your mind by turning the classics you loved on their head. Sing along to new hits like “Let It Flow” or get all “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” with Cherry Poppins. Nothing is sacred when this classic show returns to the stage with special guest Erikatoure Aviance.

A whole new world begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $20-$25. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Throwback to children's day in the garden. - JAPANESE FRIENDSHIP GARDEN
Throwback to children's day in the garden.
Japanese Friendship Garden

Day of Tanabata

It’s often said that putting your plans in writing increases the odds they’ll actually happen. It’s a practical step, but a poetic one as well, if you embrace the Chinese folklore at the heart of a Japanese tradition called Tanabata. You can learn more during the Day of Tanabata at the Japanese Friendship Garden, 1125 North Central Avenue, which takes place Sunday, July 7. Garden hours that day are 7 to 11 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. While you’re there, you can write a wish on a long strip of colorful paper, then hang it on a bamboo tree and imagine your wish rising up to the heavens. Admission is $7. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Trapeze as metaphor in Wings of Desire. - JANUS FILMS
Trapeze as metaphor in Wings of Desire.
Janus Films

Wings of Desire

High above the Berlin Wall, two angels watch the city below. They witness details in the lives of various passersby, from trapeze artists to Holocaust survivors, and even Peter Falk. In the 1987 film Wings of Desire, one of these angels decides to reject his immortality and descend from the heavens when he falls in love with a human Berliner. Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage starred in a loose remake titled City of Angels the following year, but it doesn’t capture the poetic mood that German filmmaker Wim Wenders created in the original. See whether you agree as FilmBar, 815 North Second Street, presents Wings of Desire at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Tickets are $9.95. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Scene from Prince's iconic Purple Rain. - WARNER BROS
Scene from Prince's iconic Purple Rain.
Warner Bros

Purple Rain

Maybe you’re feeling inspired to revisit Prince’s work after seeing Maggie Keane’s new Prince mural painted across from Weird Garden in Grand Avenue. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema can help with that. The Tempe location, 1140 East Baseline Road, is screening Purple Rain at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 8. For the uninitiated, the semi-autobiographical 1984 rock musical drama stars Prince as The Kid and features songs like “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and, of course, “Purple Rain.” You need to be 18 or older to attend, and tickets cost $12.98. This is a Prince party, so expect plenty of glowsticks, streamers, and tambourines. Lynn Trimble

Mondo a Go-Go

Let’s start with a disclaimer: Mondo a Go-Go is not the amusement park opened by the beloved Cartoon Network characters Ed, Edd, and Eddy. It is a night of rhythm and blues hosted by DJ Shane Kennedy. The eroticism of French pop or the groovy sounds of world disco will be playing into the wee hours of the morning. Kennedy even digs deep into the mysterious genres of “skronky tonk” or “jazz noir.” Grab your favorite cocktail and settle in.

Get the funk out at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. This is a free event. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Throwback to Ty McEwan painting spotted at Tempe Public Library. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Throwback to Ty McEwan painting spotted at Tempe Public Library.
Lynn Trimble

Monsoon Gardening

Never fear when rainy days come calling, and your desert garden gets soaked. Every problem is an opportunity, especially when it comes to growing plants. Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road, invited master gardener Emily Heller to give a free presentation called Monsoon Gardening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10. Heller grows edible flowers, and she’s an expert in growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs in the low desert using organic methods. She’ll share information about which plants can actually thrive amid monsoon rains and increased humidity, and give you tips for maximizing your garden by matching what you plant with the season at hand. Lynn Trimble
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble