Come winter, Arizonans keep active—or, at least, actively entertained—with a busy sports calendar that capitalizes on the Phoenix area's famously sunny weather. From Phoenix Suns and Arizona Coyotes games to college-football bowl matchups to pro golf's "greatest show," there is plenty to cheer (in addition to the weather) in Arizona during the holiday season and beyond.
College football's postseason in Arizona kicks off with the Cheez-It Bowl in downtown Phoenix on Dec. 26 at Chase Field. Formerly the Cactus Bowl, the state's second-oldest bowl game gets the festivities rolling with a pre-game party featuring live music, a marching band, cheerleaders, interactive games and giant screens replaying the participating teams' season highlights. (For information on what to do and where to stay, check out Visit Phoenix's Cheez-It Bowl page.)
Then, on Dec. 29, Tucson hosts the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium on the University of Arizona campus. Teams from the Mountain West and Sun Belt conferences compete in this newest addition to Arizona's bowl season, and this year's pregame party—which is open to the public—features a free concert by Everclear and big screens showing the CFP Playoff semifinals. (Check out Visit Tucson's Arizona Bowl page for more information and ideas for things to do during your stay.)
Finally, on Jan. 1, 2019, the party returns to the Phoenix area with the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. Even those not interested in football will enjoy the Fiesta Bowl Parade, pep rallies and other events related to this New Year's Day classic. (For more information about the game and things to do in Glendale. Check out Visit Glendale's Fiesta Bowl page.)
Waste Management Phoenix Open
"The Greatest Show on Grass" returns to TPC Scottsdale Jan. 28–Feb. 3 with some of the best professional golfers competing in this PGA Tour event.
Nearly three-quarters of a million spectators attended last year, making it one of the largest galleries of any golf tournament in the world. Equally as popular is the legendary Birds Nest, a four-night party and concert series for golf fans 21 years and older, held inside a tent in north Scottsdale. Tickets to the Birds Nest are sold separately, and they sell fast.
Tack on some extra days before or after this year's PGA face-off and try the championship course yourself.
Humana Rock ’N’ Roll Arizona Marathon and ½ Marathon
Runners, cheerleaders and spectators can party before, during and after the Humana Rock ’N’ Roll Arizona Marathon and ½ Marathon on Jan. 19-20, as it weaves through the streets of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe.
The annual marathon and its events attract almost 25,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes, from top professionals to first-time marathoners, with viewers lining the streets for the music as much as for the races.
Bands placed at every mile of the course keep spectators entertained and participants energized. Rollicking times continue with a public finish-line concert at Tempe Beach Park. Online registration closes Jan. 13.
A free-to-the-public Health and Fitness Expo kicks off the event on Jan. 19, featuring the latest in running gear, sports apparel and health and nutrition information.