Scottsdale
Photo Courtesy of The Boulders

Scottsdale ArtWalk is the country’s longest-running event of its kind. Every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m., the free block party keeps the art district’s galleries open late with live demonstrations, complimentary drinks and bites, and other forms of entertainment. Nearby, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (also free on Thursdays!) is a five-gallery minimalist building designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder. It’s right next door to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, a premier concert hall nationally recognized for its diverse programming. At the Musical Instrument Museum, you can see 15,000 different instruments from around the world and even drop into a drum class. And between museum hopping, don’t forget to take in the city’s public art program, which includes 50 permanent pieces from the likes of Robert Indiana and Donald Lipski.

Winter and early spring are busy with events. Things kick off in January with a series of international auto auctions and then roll right into the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, aka “The Greatest Show on Grass” and one wild party. In March, Cactus League spring training takes over the town and appeals just as much to sunbathers as to baseball lovers.