With summer in full swing, there is no shortage of things to do in the desert. Check out our top-13 recommendations for family-friendly events taking place throughout the month of July in the Scottsdale, AZ area.
- Fourth of July Events (Tuesday, July 4)
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess celebrates both America’s birthday and the resort’s 30th birthday during the Seventh Annual Fourth of July Freedom Fest. From June 30-July 4, the resort celebrates with a patriotic party featuring concerts, fireworks, military tributes, a vintage air show, and poolside fun. Complete event details here.
Westworld of Scottsdale is taking the family-friendly Fourth of July party indoors with an afternoon of entertainment. The event features a Kids Zone, Stunt Master’s BMX Show, “All-Star Stunt Dogs Challenge” brought to you by @Stunt Dog Productions, bull riding, pony rides and petting zoo, a Princess and Super Hero Meet & Greet, Lego Adventure Land, and caps the night with a spectacular fireworks show. Complete event details here.
Join the Phoenix Zoo for an all-American Fourth of Zooly Celebration. A catered BBQ dinner will be served at the Lakeside lawn, where families will enjoy a night of music and entertainment, an inflatable bounce house available for the kids, and special animal encounters. Close out the night with a special viewing of the Tempe Town Lake Fireworks Spectacular. Complete event details here.
2. Moonlight Swim at McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center (Friday, July 7; Friday, July 21; Saturday, July 22)
Want to take a dip but can’t take the heat? Head to the McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center on Friday, July 7 and swim under the stars. The event is open to the public from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with additional moonlight swim events taking place throughout on Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22. Complete event details here.
- Winter in July at the Phoenix Zoo (Saturday, July 15)
With temperatures hovering the triple digits, the Phoenix Zoo is set to transform into a winter wonderland on Saturday, July 15. Cool off with over 40 tons of snow, wet and wild play areas—including a Toddler Snow Pile for little ones aged five and under—and help the animals cool off with icy treats. Complete event details here.
- Brick Fest Live! (Saturday, July 22; Sunday, July 23)
Head to Westworld of Scottsdale on July 22 and 23 for Brick Fest Live! See mind-blowing creations from all over the world made entirely of LEGO bricks! Build and race your own LEGO derby car down a 35-foot timed track, enjoy a LEGO mini-golf course, shop new and vintage LEGO sets, and compete in the video game arena. Other attractions include The Glow Zone, collaborative building activities, inspirations stations, the Brick Fest Theater Trivia & Entertainment, and much more. Complete event details here.
- Live & Local Fridays Summer Concert Series (Starts Friday, July 28)
Back by popular demand, the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts opens the Live & Local Fridays summer concert series on July 28. This year’s event features an expanded lineup with Arizona-based groups spanning Americana, blues, flamenco, jazz, Latin, and pop. For the first time, bands will be performing in both the Virginia G. Piper Theater and the more intimate Stage 2. Happy hour begins at 6 p.m. and concerts start at 8 p.m. Admission starts at $12 per person. Complete event details here.
- Comedian Demetri Martin’s Let’s Get Awkward Tour (Saturday, July 29)
On Saturday, July 29, comedian Demetri Martin brings the Let’s Get Awkward Tour to The Showroom at Talking Stick Resort. A staff writer on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, Martin has been featured on his own Comedy Central show, “Important Things with Demetri Martin”, as well as Showtime’s “House of Lies” and Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock”. Complete event details here.
- McDonald’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Car Show at The Pavilions (Saturdays)
Have a car enthusiast in the family? Head over to the Pavilions at Talking Stick Shopping Center on Saturdays from 4-8 p.m., for the McDonald’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Car Show. Admission to the classic car and motorcycle event is free, featuring hundreds of vehicles and classic 50’s era music provided by “Party Time DJ’s”. Complete event details here.
- Native American Dancing (Fridays)
Celebrate Arizona’s rich tradition of Native American culture at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. Recurring every Friday from 5-5:30 p.m. at the Fountain Court, Native American dancers from around Arizona share the traditions of their tribes, including performances of hoop dancing, known as the “dance of life”. Complete event details here.
- Scottsdale Gallery Association ArtWalk (Thursdays)
Now in its 42nd season, “America’s Original ArtWalk” is an open house for the Scottsdale Gallery Association galleries, which showcase the works of the Southwest’s most outstanding artists. Beat the summer heat with this nighttime event, which takes place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Thursday nights. The galleries are located along Main Street from Scottsdale Rd. west to Goldwater Blvd., and on Marshall Way north of Indian School Rd. to Fifth Ave. Restaurants, museums, and free trolley and/or horse-drawn carriage rides are available during ArtWalk to transport attendees from the numerous free parking areas throughout the Scottsdale Arts District and Scottsdale Downtown. Complete event details here.
- Flashlight Tours at the Desert Botanical Garden (Thursdays & Saturdays)
Grab your flashlights and explore the Desert Botanical Gardens in a whole new way. Tour down self-paced trails and discover plants and animals that are most active in the dark. The evening tours take place weekly on Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Complete event details here.
- Ocean of Light: Submergence – A Squidsoup Project (Daily)
Squidsoup, a U.K. based collective, showcases its installation, Ocean of Light: Submergence, all summer long at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The installation uses light-based data visualization to create an augmented reality environment that challenges the spatial and the sculptural and provides a context for understanding just how immense data can be. Located in Old Town Scottsdale, the museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, Noon-5 p.m. Complete event details here .
- Save More After 4 p.m. at OdySea Aquarium (Daily)
July is Shark Month at the OdySea Aquarium. Featuring over 40 sharks and 13 different species, it’s the largest and most diverse collection in Arizona. The aquarium is set to open its new Shark Exhibit, featuring five different species of shark, a Special Edition: Behind the Scenes Tour about Sharks, a sneak peak of Discovery Channel’s new Shark Week episode “African Shark Safari” and more. All month long, admission to the OdySea Aquarium will be discounted on Thursdays through Saturdays after 4 p.m. Complete event details here .
- Enjoy Family-Friendly Events All Month Long at Butterfly Wonderland (Daily)
From weekend children’s face painting to Tuesday evening Yoga in the Rainforest, there’s no shortage of things to do at Butterfly Wonderland this summer. Wake up with the butterflies on Saturday mornings, talk bees with the curator and tour the rainforests on Sunday afternoons, or enjoy storytime for tots on Wednesday mornings. For a complete calendar of July events at Butterfly Wonderland, click here .