10 Best Thanksgiving Activities and Events in Arizona

Arizona knows how to celebrate Turkey Day in style. There's no shortage of festive fun, from grand parades to spirited turkey trots to heated college football rivalry games. Here are our 10 Best Thanksgiving Activities and Events in Arizona!

Coach House Tavern, Scottsdale, AZ

Thanksgiving weekend is filled with wonderful traditions. If Thanksgiving Day is the entree, Drinksgiving is the appetizer. Drinksgiving, 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. Kickstart your weekend with a trip to Coach House. This dive bar has been a Scottsdale staple since 1959. Though it is located near Old Town's ritzy bar scene, Coach House is known for cheap drinks and a 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.

Rock Springs Café, Rock Springs, AZ

No Thanksgiving is complete without a slice of pie. You can get your fix at Rock Springs Cafe. 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 and favorites like banana cream, rhubarb, and pecan. Don't forget to get your pie early. Though it is a stand-alone spot off the Black Canyon Highway, Rock Springs Cafe sells out quickly. Order your pies early to ensure you'll get them by Thanksgiving.

Von Hanson’s Meat and Spirits, Chandler, AZ

They don't call it Turkey Day for nothing. You can get your turkey and support a local business by visiting Von Hanson's Meat and Spirits. This longstanding butcher has an amazing selection of tasty meats. They offer custom cuts ground meats and are a full-service wild game processing center. Von Hanson's is also a go-to spot for Thanksgiving turkeys. 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 call in advance.

Thanksgiving Day Parade:The West Kept Secret, Fountain Hills, AZ

November 23, 2023 at 9:30am

Witness the excitement of the 39th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in Fountain Hills! Join them at Avenue of the Fountains to check out the floats, marching bands, animal groups, dance routines, and more. For the first time, Santa Claus will make a grand appearance at the end of the Parade. Let the "West" Kept Secret kick off your holiday season with a blast!

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. 

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 during the Territorial Cup on Thanksgiving weekend. 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-time series 49-40-1. Come to Tempe this year to see what the Duel in the Desert is about.

Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ

You can honor Native American history at the Heard Museum this Thanksgiving. Founded in 1929, this museum is dedicated to advancing 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 artworks from Native people from the Greater Southwest.

Phoenix Turkey Trot, Phoenix, AZ

You do not have to worry about your waistband this Thanksgiving. The Phoenix Turkey Trot welcomes anyone looking to burn 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.

Thanksgiving Workshop: Plant your Pumpkin, Phoenix, AZ

November 18, 2023 at 10:00am

Visit at 3015 North 16th Street for a fun-filled Thanksgiving Workshop! Get creative and craft your own unique pumpkin succulent arrangement to bring holiday cheer to your home. Refreshments such as small eats and beverages will also be provided. Support a good cause by donating non-perishable food items to St. Marys Food Bank.

ZooLights, Phoenix, AZ

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.

This text was created by the author with the assistance of GPT-3, a large-scale language generation model developed by OpenAI. The author reviewed, edited, and revised the draft language to their satisfaction and is fully responsible for the content of this publication.

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