Although Phoenix is known as the Valley of the Sun, the mysteries of the desert nights are worth exploring. The days heat up quickly in the valley area, but the air is comfortable once the sun sets. When the moon rises high and the stars sparkle, it’s time to venture out for an entirely new experience. There are numerous nocturnal activities to do in the Greater Phoenix area, and each provides a unique perspective on desert life.
Watch the Stars Dance
The vast Arizona sky comes to life when darkness falls. To get away from any artificial lights, head to South Mountain Park and Preserve or Cave Creek Regional Park. If you want an even closer peek at the sky, check out Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory. Spend your Friday or Saturday nights stargazing and discovering facets of the universe you never knew existed.
Hike in the Moonlight
Even though it’s amazing to see the desert sunsets color the trails, a moonrise hike is downright mystifying. Many parks offer flashlight or candlelight tours, so you can learn about the rich history of each area as you travel the somewhat eerie terrain. If you’re feeling really brave, you can go on a scorpion hunt at Spur Cross Ranch or Usery Mountain Regional Park. Just don’t wear sandals on this unusual quest.
Take the Trail Challenge
The twists and dips of the mountain trails are challenging enough for daytime bikers, but the difficulty is amplified at night. If you have the experience and curiosity, bring your bike and headlamp to the Night Shredders ride at San Tan Mountain Regional Park, or attend the Mountain Bike by the Moonlight events at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. You’ll still see plenty of incredible scenery as the streams of bicycle lights weave through the shadows.
Experience the Nightlife of the Natural World
Some wildlife creatures perk up after the sun disappears. You can see and hear many of them at the Phoenix Zoo. The nighttime attractions paint a completely new picture of the zoo and its residents. You can also spot some after-dark activities at the Desert Botanical Garden. A guided flashlight tour will lead you through various discovery stations highlighting night-loving critters and plant life.
Absorb Some Culture
Phoenix and the surrounding areas are famous for their cultural experiences. You can take it all in during the day, but a night setting presents a more inspiring vibe. One example of this is at Scottsdale’s Taliesin West, the masterpiece of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The lights bouncing off the distinctive sharp angles of the structures create a powerful visual. A sculpted fire-breathing dragon perched like a guard in the garden just adds to the drama.
If you move slower in the daytime heat and need a release once the air turns cool, Phoenix gives you plenty of opportunities. Glide along on a kayak under the moonlight at Tempe Town Lake, or play a round of Night Flight Golf surrounded by multicolored glow lights at the beautiful Palo Verde course. To tire out little ones before bed, bring them to the wet and wild Night Splash at Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa.
The Greater Phoenix area at night captivates people of all ages. There is always something to enjoy no matter what your interests are. You may prefer the urban lifestyle and want to spend your evenings club hopping or visiting museums, or you might want to see the moonlit silhouettes of the stately saguaro out in the wilderness. Regardless of what you choose to do, your nighttime adventures will be memorable.