The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend: December 28-31 | Phoenix New Times

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend (And New Year's Eve)

Ring in the New Year!
Here's a new twist on holiday lights.
Here's a new twist on holiday lights. Lantern Festival
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Get warmed up for New Year's Eve with this weekend's best events: See glowing lanterns at the State Fairgrounds, try some year-end trivia at Valley Bar, or catch a theatrical showing of Die Hard (which is definitely a Christmas movie).

For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Blockbuster Scores: Music from TV and Film
What makes a great television show even better? A memorable theme song definitely helps, especially one that you’ll be humming long after you’ve left the theater or finished binge-watching. This weekend, you can hum along with these themes when the Phoenix Symphony presents Blockbuster Scores: Music from TV and Film. Led by conductor Stuart Chafetz, the musicians of the PSO will perform legendary themes from a variety of popular television shows and flicks, including House of Cards, Downton Abbey, Wonder Woman, and Lost. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 28, and Saturday, December 29, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 30, at Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Tickets are $30 to $108. Call 602-495-1999 or see Benjamin Leatherman

Smile, and say 'donate blood.'
American Red Cross
American Red Cross Blood Drive
You’ve raced all over town looking for those perfect gifts. You’ve showered love ones with attention. You’ve cooked (or eaten) all your holiday favorites. Maybe you’ve even invented a festive cocktail or two. But, there’s one more thing you can do to make the season bright. Head over to the Saguaro Branch of the Phoenix Public Library, 2808 North 46th Street, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, December 28. That’s where you can participate in an American Red Cross blood drive, so people who need blood due to accidents or health conditions won’t have to go without. Think of it as the perfect red bow to top off your holiday season. Visit Lynn Trimble

Year in Review Trivia
In a perfect world, we’d all have a warm place to sleep at night. But homelessness persists, and big solutions are hard to come by. Do what you can in little ways, like attending Year in Review Trivia at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue, where admission is a $35 donation and proceeds benefit Central Arizona Shelter Services. Solo competitors or teams of up to six people can participate. Just show up and sign up starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, December 28. The 20-question competition starts at 6:30 p.m.

Pro tip: Brush up on your 2018 pop culture, music, film, politics, sports, business, and newsmaker facts before you go. Visit Lynn Trimble

Love trivia and do good works.
Valley Bar
Die Hard Movie Party
We’re sure you’re sick of hearing about how no, really, it’s actually a Christmas movie, but nevertheless, Die Hard is still a sick flick, pitting Bruce Willis’ iconic hero John McClane against the late Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber in a skyscraper showdown. Film buffs will be converging on Alamo Drafthouse in Tempe, 1140 East Baseline Road, for a Die Hard Movie Party at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 28. Expect theme props like cap guns, lighters, and Twinkies – plus people way too skilled at delivering their Yippie-Ki-Yay tributes.

Tickets are $12.98. There’s no extra charge for all those memories of 1988 that might come flooding back. Visit Lynn Trimble

Lantern Festival
There’s no shortage of holiday lights this time of year. But sometimes you long for a more creative twist. Enter Lights of the World, which is presenting a Lantern Festival at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road. The festival couples fresh technologies with Chinese lantern traditions, and displays spotlight diverse civilizations and global cultures. The festival also includes carnival rides, games, crafts, music, and dance performance. You’ll also have plenty of food options to choose from, and unique backdrops for festive holiday photographs.

The festival happens from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 29. Tickets are $19. Visit Lynn Trimble

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Looks like there's a fire-breathing dragon at Taliesin West.
Jeff Goodman
Night Lights Tour
Need to share a little romance with the light of your life? Or impress your holidays guests with some local flavor? Take them along for the Night Lights Tour at Taliesin West, the winter home and desert laboratory for famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, which is a national historic landmark. Established in 1937, it’s located at 12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale. The tour is offered from December 26 through 29 at 5:30, 6, and 6:30 p.m. It’s designed for visitors ages 13 and up, and reservations are required. Tickets are $50. During two hours, visitors see some of Wright’s most personal spaces, from garden room to cabaret theater. Visit Lynn Trimble

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Checking out Lisa Von Hoffner's work for Local Light.
Lynn Trimble
Local Light
Shiny objects abound in Old Town Scottsdale, where holiday celebrations share a Scottsdazzle theme. For localists, the brightest lights belong to area artists and small business owners. Turns out, you can explore both thanks to public art installations collectively called Local Light. Scottsdale Public Art commissioned local artists to create works for eight sites around Old Town, including several concentrated near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Marshall Way. Featured artists include Mike Butzine, Casey Farina, Lynn Gustafson, Lisa Von Hoffner, Michelle Meyer, Mike Miller, Craig Randich, Lily Reeves, Eli Richard, Jenny Willigrod, and Danielle Wood. Head over after dark on Sunday, December 30, if you want to stroll around and take them all in. There’s an online map that makes finding the artworks easy. Visit Lynn Trimble

Noon Year's Eve
Whoever said you’re obligated to stay up late on New Year’s Eve? If you’d rather be in bed by midnight but still want to party it up, the Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, is putting on a Noon Year’s Eve party that’s fun for the whole family. From 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, December 31, you and your too-young-to-stay-up-late kids can have fun with party games, dancing, a “dung beetle ball drop,” and 30 tons of snow to play in. Get there before the hot Arizona sun melts it all, maybe?

Access to Noon Year’s Eve events is included with zoo admission, which is $24.95 for adults and $16.95 for children ages 3 to 13. Tickets are slightly cheaper online. Call 602-286-3800 or visit Douglas Markowitz

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A group shows off their flannel at last year's Flannel Ball.
Blake Bernard
New Year's Eve 2019 Block Party
It goes without saying that there’s an excess of big parties and celebrations happening on New Year’s Eve. One of the biggest in the Valley happens each year at the Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, when the downtown Phoenix venue and the surrounding area transforms into a massive fiesta. This year will be no exception when the Crescent hosts its New Year’s Eve 2019 Block Party on Monday, December 31.

The streets on either side of the venue will be shut down and will each host different stages, art cars from Walter Productions, multiple bars, heated tents, and more. Second Avenue will have a “classic ’70s get-down” with the members of the Hi-Dreams DJ Collective and local soul/funk band Calumet while Third Avenue will see Sean Watson and the DJs of Drip Drop Records dropping beats. Meanwhile, Crescent’s main room will boast a Studio 54-style “drag disco dance party” emceed by the always entertaining Pandora DeStrage.

The party starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance. Call 602-716-2222 or see Benjamin Leatherman

Flannel Ball
Think the craze for flannel and beards is played out? Think again, baby. Here in Phoenix, we don’t even pick up on fashion trends until they’re at least five years old in New York — just to make sure they’ve aged well — and with all those mountains and forests up north near Flagstaff, why would we just let go of dressing like lumberjacks all of a sudden?

Can you relate? If so, we have the perfect New Year’s Eve party for you. The Flannel Ball is taking over Roosevelt Row from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Monday, December 31. Centered around the Roosevelt Growhouse, 1025 North Second Avenue, the party will feature games, art, food trucks, live music, and a craft beer garden. Don your sharpest tartan shirt and don’t get too wasted before the all-important New Year’s toast. Tickets are $20 now and $25 on the night of. Visit Douglas Markowitz
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