Tourists and locals agree, spring is Arizona's time to shine between the sports, shows, conventions, and exhibitions. With so much going on in just one season, it's time to get off the couch and get planning.
Here are Jackalope Ranch's top 30 events to attend this spring.
Spring Training Various locations Now through March 29
Spring training continues through the final week of March as the Cactus League brings 15 Major League Baseball teams to 10 stadiums across the Valley, including Camelback Ranch, Goodyear Ballpark, Maryvale Baseball Park, Cubs Park, Peoria Sports Complex, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Scottsdale Stadium, Surprise Stadium, Tempe Diablo Stadium, and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Prices and times vary. For tickets and the full schedule, visit cactusleague.com.
Expand your mind and your imagination at the Arizona Science Center's "The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not." In addition to special weekend events, this exhibit includes: Extreme Biology, The Wonderful World of Ripley, Weird World - Past and Present, Cultural Practices, Gallery of the Unexpected, and Perceptions and Illusions. Tickets range $11.95 to $16.95. Visit www.azscience.org or call 602-716-2000.
The tragic and romantic tale of West Side Story comes to Orpheum Theatre for one weekend only. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday, March 21, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 22, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 23. Tickets range from $70 to $281. For details, visit www.orpheum-theater.com or call the box office at 602-534-5600.
Celebrate the arrival of spring in traditional Japanese style with "Haru in the Garden" at the Japanese Friendship Garden. This evening event runs 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, and features live traditional Japanese music performances, art displays, a spring stroll through the garden, and a beer garden. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Visit japanesefriendshipgarden.org or call 602-274-8700.
Author, actress, comedian, and host of Chelsea Lately , Handler is bringing her newest tour, "Uganda Be Kidding Me," to Comerica on Saturday, March 22. The show starts at 8 p.m. with ticket prices ranging from $71.50 to $103.50. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.comericatheater.com or call 602-379-2800.
Handler will also be signing her book, Uganda Be Kidding Me, at Changing Hands Bookstore that same day at 2 p.m. Single tickets are included with each book purchase. Visit www.changinghands.com or call 480-730-0205.
The Caledonian Society of Arizona invites locals to put on their finest kilts as they celebrate the 50th Annual Arizona Scottish Gathering Highland Games. There will be highland games, bag pipes, plus traditional Scottish dancing and food. Festivities run 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 22, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 23. Tickets range from $5 to $15. Visit www.arizonascots.com.
Amy Schumer is bringing her Back Dour Tour to Phoenix for one night only. The actress, comedian, and star of her own Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, will be at Celebrity Theater on Tuesday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $38.50 to $46. For more information, visit www.celebritytheatre.com or call the box office at 602-267-1600.
Follow the yellow brick road to Phoenix Art Museum this spring as it hosts its newest exhibition, "Hollywood Costume." The exhibition showcases the costume designs made iconic throughout more than 100 years of cinema. Concurrent with this exhibition will be "Hollywood Red Carpet" on display in the Ellman Fashion Design Gallery and running March 26 through July 6. Museum admission ranges anywhere from free to $15. While "Hollywood Red Carpet" is included with museum admission, "Hollywood Costume" is a ticketed event ranging $10 to $20. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-1222.
Join Ballet Arizona as it hosts Masters of Movement for one weekend at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix. This powerful showcase of dance will feature the choreographic works of Alejandro Cerrudo with his film-inspired presentation piece, Off Screen, as well as Indigo Rhapsody, and Ib Andersen's Symphonie Classique. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27, 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 28, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, and 1 p.m. Sunday, March 30. Tickets are $15 to $135. Visit balletaz.org or call 602-381-1096.
Pilobolus is a ground-breaking dance company that uses human contortion and movement as a means of expression. The world-renowned company takes to the Virginia G. Piper Theater stage Friday, March 28, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 29, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets range $35 to $69. Visit scottsdaleperformingarts.org or call 480-499-8587.
The Pancake and Booze Art Show returns to The Duce, Friday, March 28, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. As usual, the lively affair will be dripping in paint and syrup with an all-you-can-eat pancake bar, live body painting, over 50 local and emerging artists, DJs, musical performances, and more. Cover is $5. For more information, visit The Pancakes and Booze Art Show on Facebook.
Modern Phoenix Week Various Locations March 28 through April 6
As expected, this year's Modern Phoenix Home Tour sold out fast. Fortunately for those who didn't snag tickets, there are still plenty of retro-centric events happening throughout Modern Phoenix Week including talks, lectures, hotel tours, movies screenings, and more. For a detailed list of events, visit modernphoenix.net.
Blue Collar Comedy veteran Ron White is taking his liquor- and cigar-fueled comedy to Ovations Live! Showroom at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino on Friday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range anywhere from $55 to $155. For details, visit www.wingilariver.com or call the box office at 1-800-946-4452.
The Windsor Historic Home and Garden Tour returns Sunday, March 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a self-guided showcase of 10 homes and two gardens. The tour, which kicks off at the intersection of Orange and Second streets, features food and craft vendors as well as a beer garden by SunUp Brewery. Tickets cost $13. For more information, visit windsorsquarephoenix.org
The Copperstate 1000 is a four-day vintage car rally returning to the Valley for its 24th year. During this event, spectators can view more than 80 prime condition vintage rides designed no later than 1973 or cruise the scenic desert route in their own mint condition autos, provided they made the January 31 deadline and paid the whopping $5,950 entry fee. For more information and a look at the soon-to-be-shown-off cars, visit www.mensartscouncil.com.
Filmmaker Geoffrey Madeja will come to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to screen and discuss his documentary, Paolo Soleri: Citizen of the Planet. The film focuses on the late Soleri as a bold thinker and futuristic designer. Admission is $7. To purchase tickets, visit www.smoca.org or call the box office 480-499-8587.
In honor of its "Hollywood Costume" exhibition, the Phoenix Art Museum is hosting a Hollywood Costume Party from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, April 11. Guests can dress up in their best iconic Hollywood attire for a chance to win the museum costume contest or mix and mingle with industry insiders and designers. There will be food, drinks, music, prizes, and more. Tickets are $25. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-1222.
These 420 veterans are coming to Phoenix on 4-12 for an evening of comedy, music, and the usual Cheech and Chong shenanigans. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range $46 to $97. For details, visit wingilariver.com or call the box office at 1-800-946-4452.
The 13th Annual Katsina Doll Marketplace is bringing live musical performances, carving demonstrations, and, of course, plenty of hand-crafted Katsina dolls to Steele Auditorium inside the Heard Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 12. Admission to the marketplace is free, but museum admission is not. For more information, visit www.heard.org or call 602-252-8840.
When rugby and motorcycles come together, it can only mean one thing: the inaugural Spikes and Spokes Rugby Bowl. Happening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, this event will offer motorcycle displays, food trucks, an after-party and a much anticipated rugby match between Brigham Young University and ASU. Tickets start at $12. Visit therugbybowl.com or call 480-840-0457.
The ZapCon Arcade and Pinball Machine Convention heads to downtown Phoenix Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, bringing with it some of the more obscure, classic, and coveted games in the industry, including Addams Family, Judge Dredd, Terminator 2, Mario Bros., Spy Hunter, Pac-Man, Senko no Ronde, Turkey Shoot. One-day admission is $25, weekend passes are $35. Visit zapcon.com for more information.
The classic, dramatic musical, based on the the book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer returns to Phoenix Theater in its 93rd season. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, as well as 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $40 to $75 . Visit phoenixtheatre.com or call 602-254-2151.
The Tony award-winning Broadway musical Once tells the story of two Dublin artists whose musical chemistry helps them to pursue their dreams. Showtimes vary. Tickets range $28.10 to $143.55. Visit asugammage.com or call 480-965-3434.
Comedian, actor, filmmaker, and This American Life-contributor, Mike Birbiglia is returning to Mesa Arts Center with his new show, Thank God for Jokes. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $42. Visit mesaartscenter.com or call the box office at 480-644-6500.
With just five minutes of talking time and a 20-piece slideshow presentation, outgoing locals will share their experiences, hobbies, passions, and stories on the Virginia G. Piper stage for Ignite Phoenix No. 16. The always eclectic and ever-unexpected show will kick off at 6:30 p.m. followed by a 9:30 p.m. after-party. Tickets are $15 and will be available April 5. Visit www.ignitephoenix.com.
Shakespeare's classic A Midsummer Night's Dream is reinvented for the Desert Botanical Garden in Southwest Shakespeare Company's outdoor show, Fairyworlds. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Admission ranges from $35 to $55. Visit swshakespeare.org to purchase tickets.
Step back in time and into old-school suburban culture with Bill Owens' photographic series "Suburbia." The exhibition will be on view at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art from May 17 through September 7. Museum admission is $5 to $7 and free on Thursdays.Visit www.smoca.org or call 480-499-8587.
Experience Polynesian culture with the Musical Instrument Museum. This two-day celebration will feature live music, dance performances, and family-friendly cultural activities.The festivities run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 31, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 1. Experience Polynesia is included with regular museum admission. Visit mim.org or call 480-478-6000.
Phoenix Comicon 14 will bring together all the comic book nerds, graphic novel junkies, video game enthusiasts, and anime geeks to the Phoenix Convention Center for four days of talks, celebrity panels, demos, screenings, and more. Registration prices range from $25 to $85. Visit phoenixcomicon.com for details.
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A lot can happen in seven minutes. Case in point: Space 55's 7 Minutes in Heaven. This spontaneous spring show gives performers seven minutes to do whatever they like on stage: sing, strip, samba, you name it. If the audience doesn't like it, they only have to wait seven minutes for the next act. Showtimes are 9 p.m. on Saturdays through the month of June. Tickets are $10. Visit www.space55.org for details.
Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.