While it might not start fully feeling like autumn in Arizona for a few more weeks, September brings the first taste of fall to the Valley. With a new season comes new opportunities to get out in the community and enjoy fall activities. It is never too early to start planning your fall bucket list! Between watching football to riding the ferris wheel at the state fair, you won’t run out of activities this year in the Valley!
Go to a Football Game
Photo credit: Stadium Journey
The start of fall delights football fans everywhere, as football season kicks off and we can once again spend our weekends rooting for our favorite teams. This year, make it a priority to get a football game in-person to really uplevel your fall football season! There are lots of teams to cheer for in Scottsdale. For a low key local experience, attend a Friday night football game at your local high school.
If you love college football, head to Tempe to root for the ASU Sun Devils at one of their home games this season. The Sun Devils will be playing the Colorado Buffaloes at home on September 25th, or you can watch them play Stanford at home on October 8th.
If you love watching pro football, the Arizona Cardinals are your team! They play as part of the NFC West, and their home stadium is in Glendale, Arizona at the State Farm Stadium. You can watch the Cardinals take on the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, September 19th at 1:00 pm. Tickets start as low as $64, so it can be fairly affordable for your whole family to attend a game.
Watch the Leaves Change Color in Sedona
Photo credit: Arizona Big Media
While there may not be too many trees changing color in Scottsdale during the fall, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some fall foliage within the state. In fact, all you have to do is take a two hour drive north to Sedona, Arizona to witness incredible fall colors, set against the stunning backdrop of the red rocks. Known as “leaf peeping,” people set out every year to soak in and photograph the beautiful colors of autumn.
If you head out to look for the leaves, the drive along State Route 89A is a sure bet for seeing some great fall colors. The very best hiking spot in Sedona to see the leaves change colors is along the West Fork Trail. It costs $10 to park along this trail, and it does tend to get quite crowded on the weekends. Go early during the peak weeks of fall to ensure you get a spot!
Visit the Arizona State Fair
Photo credit: Arizona State Fair
The Arizona State Fair is back this year and better than ever! The fair officially opens for the 2021 season on October 1st at 5 pm. Don’t worry if you can’t go the first weekend, because the fair will be in town until October 30th. You can purchase your tickets online in advance to save yourself the time of standing in line while you are at the fair. General admission for the Arizona State Fair costs $12 for adults, and parking costs an additional $25.
At the Arizona State Fair, you can enjoy eating all the delicious fair food, ride on many attractions, and enjoy seeing animals in the livestock exhibit. It’s a great way to enjoy the cooler fall weather and entertain your whole family!
Attend the Goldrush Music Festival
Photo credit: Dancing Astronaut
Another reason to love fall is that it kicks off music festival season around the country. The Goldrush Music Festival is Arizona’s local opportunity to enjoy the festival scene with EDM artists. The Goldrush Music Festival takes place the weekend of September 24th, and goes for three days until Sunday, September 26th. Goldrush always takes place in Chandler, Arizona at Rawhide.
You will want to break out those cowboy hats and cowboy boots, because Rawhide is an old Western town! This really creates a fun ambience for a musical festival. This year some of the festival headliners include ZEDD, Illenium, Diplo, and a ton more artists. As with many music festivals, you can decide whether you want to buy a single day pass, or if you would rather get an all access pass to attend for the whole weekend. The day passes are $109 for a single day, or $289 for the whole weekend pass.
Experience Medieval Times
Photo credit: Medieval Times
Something about fall feels like the right time of year to take a trip back in time to the 11th century to experience a jousting tournament between knights. Medieval Times is a family-friendly event that has it all, from the incredible knight costumes to the majestic horses. While you watch the knights duel, you will have an opportunity to dine on a four-course medieval feast, with delicacies like roasted chicken, sweet buttered corn, and dessert served with coffee.
Attending a show at the Scottsdale castle location costs $36 for children, and $46 for adults. They have performances on Thursday-Sundays, with daytime performances during the weekends.
Attend Pumpkin Fest at the Princess
Photo credit: Arizona’s Family
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is kicking off the fall season early with their annual Pumpkin Fest. The event runs from September 16th to October 31st this year, giving you plenty of time to stop in during the fall season on a day when you want to plan something festive with your whole family.
The Pumpkin Fest is a nighttime event that takes place Monday through Thursday from 5 pm- 9 pm and Friday through Sunday from 4 pm to 10 pm. If you are looking for a way to get in the fall spirit, this is the place to go. The Fairmont Princess will be transformed into a seasonal wonderland with a pumpkin patch, lawn games, and fall treats like homemade pie and hot cider.
Attendees can enjoy activities like picking out your own pumpkin from their pumpkin patch or exploring their hay maze. This event costs $18 for a general admission ticket, and you have to pay an additional fee for parking.
As the fall season arrives in the Valley, it is the perfect time of year to enjoy those cooler evenings and celebrate the season. The city really comes alive during the fall with tons of events to fill your social calendar in the months ahead. These are some of our favorite ideas to pencil onto your fall bucket list for September and the beginning of October!