Holiday Guide: The Quintessential Thanksgiving in Arizona

Arizona knows how to celebrate Turkey Day in style. There’s no shortage of festive fun to be had, from grand parades, to spirited turkey trots, to heated college football rivalry games. Here’s how to have the quintessential Thanksgiving in Arizona! 

1. Coach House Tavern, Scottsdale, AZ

Thanksgiving weekend is filled with wonderful traditions. If Thanksgiving Day is the entrée, Drinksgiving is the appetizer. Drinksgiving, or more commonly known as Thanksgiving Eve, is one of the busiest bar nights of the year. You can get in on the fun whether you’re young, old, or a bored adult returning to your hometown. Kick start your weekend with a trip to Coach House. This dive bar has been a Scottsdale staple since 1959. Though it’s located near Old Town’s ritzy bar scene, Coach House is known for cheap drinks and down-to-earth vibe. It’s also decked out in an epic Christmas light display every holiday season. Looking to head back for round two on Thanksgiving night? Coach House is open 365 days per year. 

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2. Rock Springs Café, Rock Springs, AZ

No Thanksgiving is complete without a slice of pie. You can get your fix at Rock Springs Café. This longtime establishment holds the honor of being the oldest independently-owned restaurant still operating in Arizona. That longevity can be attributed to many things, but chief among them is their delicious pie. Their homemade creations are the best in the state. Their all-star lineup includes Thanksgiving classics like pumpkin, apple crumb, and blueberry in addition to favorites like banana cream, rhubarb, and pecan. Don’t forget to get your pie early. Though it’s a stand-alone spot off the Black Canyon Highway, Rock Springs Café sells out quickly. Order your pies by early to ensure you’ll get them by Thanksgiving. 

3. Von Hanson’s Meat and Spirits, Chandler, AZ

They don’t call it Turkey Day for nothing. You can get your own turkey and support a local business by making a trip to Von Hanson’s Meat and Spirits. This longstanding butcher has an amazing selection of tasty meats. They offer custom cuts, ground meats, and are even a full-service wild game processing center. Von Hanson’s is also a go-to spot for Thanksgiving turkeys. All of their turkeys arrive fresh from Northern Minnesota a few days before the holiday. The never frozen turkeys allow for maximum flavor and freshness. Von Hanson’s has a limited supply so be sure to call in advance.  

4. Thanksgiving Day Parade, Fountain Hills, AZ

Tired of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Shut off the TV and head to Fountain Hills. Downtown Fountain Hills is home to the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. This family-friendly event kicks off at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. The hour-long parade features floats, marching bands, a Grand Marshall, horses, and of course, an appearance by Santa Claus. The Thanksgiving Day Parade is supported by tons of local businesses, schools, and clubs. 

5. Cabela’s, Glendale, AZ

There’s no denying the appeal of Black Friday. This post-Thanksgiving celebration is all about fighting sleep, crowds, and angry shoppers in the name of good bargains. There’s no better place to celebrate than Cabela’s. Arizona’s only Cabela’s is located inside a monstrous 160,000-square-foot showroom in Glendale. They have deals on all things outdoors—from camping gear to hiking attire. They also host a Black Friday Celebration where you can play games, eat food, and enjoy giveaways while you wait for the doors to open. 

Trying to pic out the right cooler for this Drinksgiving.

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6. The Territorial Cup, Tempe, AZ

Wildcats or Sun Devils? That’s a question every Arizonan is familiar with. The ASU-UA rivalry is one the best in collegiate sports. It comes to a head every year on Thanksgiving weekend during the Territorial Cup. The Wildcats and Sun Devils trade hosting duties and play for the honor of winning the NCAA’s oldest trophy. The longstanding rivalry game started in 1899, with the Arizona Wildcats leading the all-tine series 49-40-1. Come to Tempe this year to see what the Duel in the Desert is all about.

7. Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ

You can honor Native American history this Thanksgiving at the Heard Museum. Founded in 1929, this museum is dedicated to the advancement of American Indian Art. It’s home to a remarkable collection of artwork from American Indian artists and different tribal communities. The museum holds over 40,000 objects and 4,000 fine art works from Native people from the Greater Southwest. 

8. Phoenix Turkey Trot, Phoenix, AZ

You don’t have to worry about your waistband this Thanksgiving. The Phoenix Turkey Trot welcomes anyone looking to burn some calories before the big feast. This family-friendly race starts at the Wesley Bolin Plaza and ventures through downtown Phoenix. Race day events include a 10K, 5K, and one-mile gobble dash for less serious runners. The Turkey Trot is held on Thanksgiving morning and includes pumpkin pie and cranberry aid stations that give runners an extra boost. They also hand out prizes for the best-dressed turkey and other costumes. 

9. Thanksgiving Meals Throughout the Valley, Phoenix, AZ

Looking to give back this holiday season? You can get started with Thanksgiving Meals Throughout the Valley. St. Vincent de Paul hosts this annual event, which serves about 4,500 Thanksgiving Day meals throughout the Valley. Each of their five dining rooms provides turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, pie and more to underprivileged families. You can help by cooking, preparing, and serving hot meals on Thanksgiving. 

10. ZooLights, Phoenix, AZ

Come join the Valley’s brightest holiday tradition at ZooLights. ZooLights kicks off Arizona’s post-Thanksgiving holiday celebration. You can lament the end of your feast by welcoming an epic light display at the Phoenix Zoo. ZooLights includes hundreds of displays, a three-story lighted tree, music-in-motion shows, and sneak peeks at critters after dark. 

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