Arizona events, road trips and travel tips


Even though Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer for much of the country, here in metro Phoenix it’s not the end of anything, especially the heat, as The Arizona Republic’s Bill Goodykoontz laments. 

It is, however, a three-day weekend for many people. And honestly, Arizonans love a good road trip, so plenty of folks will take Friday off as well to get a jump on their campouts, family reunions and friends getaways.

But don’t stress if you haven’t made plans yet. Here are the best things to do if you’re itching to head out of town or you prefer to stay close to home.

History lesson:Why do we celebrate Labor Day? What to know about the celebration

Labor Day weekend travel tips

Prepare yourself: If you’re flying or driving out of town for the weekend, here’s what to expect at Sky Harbor Airport and on Arizona’s highways. Find out when the conditions will be most hectic and why you should pack an emergency kit for your road trip.

Spur-of-the-minute road trips: No plans yet? No worries. Our guide to Arizona destinations for Labor Day weekend includes iconic scenic locations and some high-country getaways where you can cool off in the woods.

This is the 70th year for the Coconino County Fair, which takes place at Fort Tuthill County park just south of Flagstaff.

Best Labor Day events around the state: From a rodeo in Sonoita to a county fair with carnival rides and livestock exhibitions in Flagstaff to a huge gem and fossil show in Tucson, there’s plenty to choose from. Here are five of the best Labor Day weekend 2022 events labor day events around Arizona.

Ice cream joy: Road trips and rocky road go together like, well, you get the idea. And we’ve got a guide to the best scoops to try on your next day trip. Build a day around the  whiskey-infused ice cream on Whiskey Row at Fite and Sons Mercantile in Prescott. What’s a more perfect Arizona experience than that? Or if you’re headed to Sedona, Flagstaff, Jerome, Tucson or Lake Havasu city, we’ve got you covered.

Labor Day weekend things to do in metro Phoenix

Cowboy hats and spurs: The Arizona Black Rodeo is in town for three days of bull and bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping and more. Cheer on your favorite cowboys, cowgirls and cowkids at WestWorld of Scottsdale.  

September First Friday: Stroll the streets of Roosevelt Row and downtown Phoenix to explore galleries, see pop-up art stands and hear live music at this popular monthly art walk. Here are some stops you shouldn’t miss. 

Take a hot air balloon ride: Deer Valley in north Phoenix is home to several hot air balloon companies that will take you soaring for epic views of the Valley and Sonoran Desert. Here’s how to book a flight and what it will cost. 

Play indoors: If it’s just too hot for your liking, there are lots of fun things you can do indoors in metro Phoenix. Our guide includes places where you can play paintball, rock climb, drive go karts and jump on trampolines.

See a movie for $3: AMC, Harkins and Cinemark theaters are selling movie tickets for $3 in honor of National Cinema Day on Sept. 3. Here’s how to get the ticket deal, as well as specials on popcorn and soft drinks.

Need more inspiration? Check out our guide to the top events happening in metro Phoenix on Labor Day weekend. Catch an Arizona Diamondbacks game, float the Salt River or chill at a pool party. We’ve included free events, too. 

End-of-summer eats

Head to the Fred: If you haven’t been to The Frederick on Missouri yet, there are two good reasons to check out the cool, reimagined midcentury building in central Phoenix that’s now home to boutique storefronts. One is Mahalo Made, which serves delicious Hawaiian shave ice layered with ice cream and drizzled with rich sweet condensed milk. The other is the super adorable coffee shop Berdena’s, which recently opened.

Make a reservation: According to Arizona Republic dining critic Andi Berlin, you can take a trip to the fine dining side of Hermosillo right here in Scottsdale at the swanky modern Sonoran restaurant Call Her Martina. Try charcoal ribeye aguachile or bone marrow birria tacos along with a creative cocktail designed by one of the Valley’s top tattoo artists. It’s a scene. In the best possible way. 

Have a cook-in: While many people are firing up the grill, the toasty forecast is more suitable for a potluck. Robin Miller offers suggestions for dishes that are known crowd pleasers and super easy to make, from peach galette to potato salad.


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