Best Car Show 2023 | Guadalupe Car Show | Fun & Games | Phoenix

The free-of-charge lowrider car show's appeal lies in its blend of elements that cater to a wide range of interests. The April event has been Guadalupe's hometown staple for 20 years now — and keeps growing. From the stunning display of lowrider cars to the car hop contest for starters, this competition draws the top car builders from all over metro Phoenix and beyond. The vehicles that compete are of all eras and sport lots of chrome, candy paint jobs, tuck-and-roll interiors, hydraulic pumps and loud bass music. Then, the live music, local food and family-friendly activities create camaraderie and fam bam reunions for metro Phoenicians and out-of-town cruisers. Its unique setting is located in and around the hacienda-style El Mercado de Guadalupe and the closed-down Guadalupe streets for blocks. The above mentioned elements focus on community engagement, making this a standout car show. After a day of festivities, hundreds of vehicles pull out and cruise Priest Drive, while spectators post up on the adjoined sidewalks and parking lots to watch the art-in-motion lowriders drive into the sunset. The Guadalupe Car Show promoters, Miguel Alvarado and his Intimidations Guadalupe AZ car club, have their next date on lock for April 28, 2024.

For cyclists, Phoenix is a hostile place. It's frequently ranked one of the most dangerous cities in the nation for bicycles, with its giant boulevards, poor bike infrastructure and urban sprawl. But every so often, a group called Critical Mass Phoenix takes to the streets. With Critical Mass, dozens, sometimes hundreds, of Phoenix cyclists ride together, often down Central Avenue, taking over the streets themselves. These rides usually happen at night, starting at sunset. Cyclists wear fluorescent orange and yellow; some attach colorful lights to their bikes. Critical Mass is a nationwide movement dating back decades, but its nighttime Phoenix rides are a sight to behold — a reminder of the power of collective action, even in a car-centric desert city like Phoenix.

The view from Dobbins Lookout in the South Mountain Preserve is always beautiful, sure. But it's at night that you can witness the true glory of this popular scenic spot. From this vantage, the full expanse of Phoenix and its surrounding sprawl is set, panoramic, before you, glistening. The barren desert extends out into the horizon. If you're driving, make sure to get to South Mountain before sunset as the entry gates close at 7 p.m. (and if not, there are various not-too-strenuous treks up to Dobbins). Once at the lookout, settle yourself on a cobblestone bench or boulder at the top and watch Phoenix, as the sunlight fades, disintegrate into an expanse of lights. The city comes alive at night, both up close and from 2,300 feet up.

Maybe your idea of a wild and crazy night has nothing to do with bars but rather with a jaunt through nature. You're in luck, as Phoenix is jam-packed with trails that are open far into the evening, and few of them are as compelling as the Alta Trail. Located at South Mountain Park & Preserve (just a short-ish drive south on Central Avenue), the trail is nine miles — or five hours round trip — of moderate climbing. And, sure, that may be a bit of a trek for some, but Alta is truly worth the slightly achy muscles and slight windedness. You can spend much of the night (the trails are open until 11 p.m.) taking in the gorgeous heights of the Estrella Mountains, a continuously underrated part of Phoenix's many picturesque ranges. Or, you can get it done early enough by starting mid-afternoon and enjoying sunset in one of the most bright and vibrant locales across the city. Either way, this trail is a way to celebrate a different side of nightlife in the Valley, and to see our city in a whole new way. Then, when you're done, go grab a celebratory drink or two.

Evie Carpenter

There's something a little magical about descending the staircase at The Salt Cellar into its wood-paneled depths. No matter what time it is outside, things are always the same in this long-standing underground bunker in south Scottsdale. But the benefit of visiting at night is a stellar reverse happy hour. From 10 p.m. to midnight each evening, oysters, clams and oyster shots are only $3, and gargantuan shrimp deck out a cocktail for $16. During happy hour, the prices take a spin back in time, with discounted well drinks and a friendly cohort of regulars to chat and sip with.

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