There are a few activities that are the hallmark of every Memorial Day weekend, such as parades, veterans' celebrations, flag-folding ceremonies, and barbecues. There are also a helluva lot of parties.
Memorial Day weekend has always been a major occasion for local bars, clubs, and party venues, most of which will offer a variety of daytime fetes, afternoon pool parties, and nighttime blowouts. True to form, the three-day stretch from Friday, May 24, to Sunday, May 26, will be filled with such affairs in nightlife and party hubs like Tempe, Scottsdale, and downtown Phoenix. There will also be hip-hop shows, bar parties, and more.
Here’s our annual rundown of the biggest parties and hangouts happening during Memorial Day weekend in the Valley of the Sun.
Aura Nightclub411 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
On Saturday night, Australian-born DJ/producer Wax Motif will be in the mix at this Mill Avenue nightspot. It's an 18-and-over event that gets going at 9 p.m. General admission is $20 and VIP tickets are $30. Aura will also offer a Memorial Day Bash on Sunday night, May 26, with DJs, drinks, and dancing. They’ll have $100 bottles of Ciroc in the lounge until 11 p.m. Anyone who’s 18 can attend, but you have to be 21 to drink. Doors are at 9 p.m. and there’s a $10 cover.
2601 on Central2601 North Central Avenue
The folks behind The Beatlocker Show from local hip-hop station 101.5 The Beat are putting on a Memorial Day weekend showcase on Saturday night, May 25, with live performances, DJs, drinks, bottle service, and more. Performers include Hannibal Leq, Jsph Lior, Denzel Davis, Pokafase, Opusonemuzik, Bruc3, Big M., and Julius King. DJs like Marvel and KNS Bigandbad will be on the ones and twos. Start time is 9 p.m. and tickets are $10.
Valley Bar130 North Central Avenue
Local vinyl DJ collective Maintenance will put on its monthly session in Valley Bar’s Rose Room on Sunday night, May 26. A Claire Slattery, DJ Davina, and special guest Erika M. Sharpe will spin mixes of all-vinyl selections of everything from post-punk to electro-pop. It starts at 9 p.m. and admission is free.
Crescent Ballroom308 North Second Avenue
Flashy dress and “super sass” are both encouraged if you plan on attending the Studio 54 Disco Dance Party on Sunday night, May 26, at the Crescent. The Hi-Dreams DJ Collective, Kim E. Fresh, and DJ Melo will provide the soundtrack while patrons will provide the booty-shaking. There will also be disco lights, go-go dancers, drag queens, specialty cocktails, and more. The disco inferno starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $3 in advance, $5 at the door.
The Van Buren401 West Van Buren Street
Nerdy dancing will be happening at The Van Buren on back-to-back nights during Memorial Day weekend. Local Daft Punk tribute act One More Time will bring its pyramid stage and authentic-looking costumes to the spot on Saturday night, May 25. W.A.S.H. will open. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $20. Game of Thrones fans and cosplayers will then flock to the place on Sunday night, May 26, for the Rave of Thrones, which will feature actor Kristian Nairn (a.k.a. Hodor) playing the role of DJ. Locals Michael Hooker and Frank Terry will open. It’s an 18-and-over event that starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $22 to $33.
Found:RE Phoenix Hotel1100 North Central Avenue
Just in time for Phoenix Fan Fusion, the folks at Found:RE will present a superhero-themed pool party on Saturday afternoon, May 25, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Costumes are, of course, encouraged and there will be live entertainment, food and drink specials, DJs, and more. Admission is free but will be on a “first-come, first-served basis.” Guaranteed admission is also available for $25.
C.A.S.A. Tempe5 East Sixth Street, Tempe
The Circuit Showcase on Sunday night, May 26, will feature a number of local house music DJs and producers, including Juheun, Michelle Sparks, Hybrid Mind, and Disco Zombie. The beats start dropping at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
Talking Stick Resort9800 East Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
The resort will host its popular Release pool parties on back-to-back days during Memorial Day weekend. Yellowclaw gets things going on Saturday, May 25, with Steve Aoki taking over on Sunday, May 26. Expect plenty of rowdy fun, particularly during Aoki’s set (we’re guessing he’ll be up to his usual cake-throwing antics). Gates open at 1 p.m. both days. Tickets are $30 for Saturday, $35 for Sunday.
Maya Day & Nightclub7333 East Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
Maya will host a weekend-long celebration kicking off on Friday night, May 24, with a DJ set by CID in its nightclub. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10. Two days of Soundwave pool parties will follow with Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike headlining on Sunday, May 26, (admission is $15), and Gryffin on Monday, May 27, (admission is $30 to $40). Doors open at noon each day. Check out Maya’s website for full details.
Casablanca Lounge7134 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale
If you’re interested in kicking off the holiday weekend in stylish fashion, Casablanca will host an All White Affair on Friday evening, May 24. It's being put on by the people behind the bar’s weekly "Grown and Sexy" night and will include live music from Eclectic Rhythm from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m., spins from DJ Sir-Plus and DJ M2, and more. If you’d like to pop for bottle service, it starts at $100 (they’ll also have $150 bottles of Circo until 11 p.m.). Women are free and guys are $5 before 10 p.m., provided they RSVP online. Stylish white clothing is recommended.
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Lustre Rooftop Bar2 East Jefferson Street
The Summer Kick-Off Party at Lustre on Saturday afternoon, May 25, will feature live music, DJs, specialty cocktails, small plates, barbecue, and more. It's open to the general public, runs from 1 to 5 p.m. and is free to attend.
Salt Tacos y Tequila6751 North Sunset Boulevard, Glendale
Rap duo Ying Yang Twins will headline Salt’s Memorial Day weekend party on Saturday night, May 25. You can also expect drink specials, DJs, and more. The party starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.