Families and Kids

Things to do this Labor Day in Tempe and Phoenix

To many, Labor Day symbolizes the last day of summer and the kick start of fall. In Arizona, summer temperatures continue through September. That means Labor Day is an extra day off to splash in a swimming pool or enjoy fun activities that will officially bring summer to a close.

Before we all move on to pumpkin spice lattes, here are a few suggestions for things to do in Tempe and Phoenix during Labor Day weekend 2020.

Places to stay

Why not make your Labor Day weekend a staycation if you live in the Phoenix area, or a quick getaway if you live out of the area? Check out all of the great hotels in Tempe and find one that’s perfect for you, from a family-friendly suite to one with a rooftop pool and on-site restaurant options.

Here are a few special offers that you can take advantage of over Labor Day weekend.

Check out the newly opened rooftop bar, Alibi, at the Canopy by Hilton Tempe Downtown. This Labor Day weekend, there will be a multi-day celebration for hotel guests at the Canopy by Hilton featuring a specialty holiday food and drink menu and music from poolside DJs. A limited number of day passes are available to the public on Eventbrite and ResortPass starting at $35. For guests looking to turn the weekend into a full getaway, Canopy Tempe is offering a “Sunsation” stay package with rates starting from $129 per night, which include a stay at the hotel and special access to the events at Alibi.

Canopy Tempe Guest Room

The Tempe Mission Palms is offering 15% off of standard rates. With their rooftop pool and their reasonably priced and delicious breakfast buffet each morning at Mission Grille, you will really feel like you got away from it all.

Stay at the AC Hotel Phoenix/Tempe Downtown at get free breakfast for two and for children under 12. And, this isn’t your typical breakfast fare. Think croissants that taste like they’re from a Paris café, Iberico ham, egg tarts, a variety of cheeses and Nespresso coffee.

Things to do

Support your favorite local eateries over the holiday by dining-in, ordering takeout or delivery. We’ve compiled a list of Tempe restaurants serving everything from Mexican to Mediterranean to desserts. We think food just tastes better when you don’t have to cook it yourself.

Starting in August, Tempe Marketplace is bringing back their Friday and Saturday night live music events on The District Stage. In an abundance of caution for COVID-19, there will be limited audiences with acoustic and smaller band setups, space for social distancing for guests and musicians, and free reusable masks for the first 25 listeners for each performance. Complimentary disposable masks will be available for additional guests walking through The District, to comply with the mask requirements at Tempe Marketplace. Live shows are from 7-10 p.m.

This Labor Day weekend enjoy The Color 8 on Friday, September 4 and Electric Barbarella, a Duran Duran cover band, on Saturday, September 5.

While you’re there, don’t miss A Buzz & A Bloom, an overhead canopy of bees, bugs and blooming flowers near The District Stage. They’re perfect for Instagram.

Main Event Tempe is always a fun place for a family outing or a date night. Enjoy the newest and classic video games, bowling, laser tag, gravity ropes course, billiards and two restaurant options on site. They have specials throughout the week, but on Labor Day, Sept. 7, take advantage of their Monday Night Madness. From 4 p.m. to close, you will get all-you-can-play activities or arcade games just $10.95 per person.

Saturday, September 5th will be the last night of Flashlight Nights at Desert Botanical Garden. From 6:30-9 p.m., bring your own flashlight and take a self-guided tour to see how the Garden comes lives after dark. You might see a few nocturnal desert creatures, night-blooming flowers and you will definitely see the Wild Rising by Cracking Art exhibition, with animal-themed sculptures along the trails.

On Saturdays through September, go to Desert Botanical Garden early from 6-9 a.m. for Dog Days at the Garden, a chance for your dog to take you along for a scenic stroll. Dogs are free with all paying humans.

Everyone loves a good deal and Arizona Mills will celebrate the holiday weekend with lots of sales throughout the mall. Visit the deals page on the Arizona Mills website to find out about special savings throughout the mall. Don’t forget to check out the brand-new Dick’s Sporting Goods Warehouse Sale. And, take the kiddos to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium or Tilt Studio for arcade games.

See the Phoenix Zoo in a totally different way during their Cruise the Zoo events in September, including Labor Day weekend. You can purchase a ticket for your family to drive through the Zoo in your own car and see animals such as giraffes, elephants and flamingos while you practice social distancing. Tickets are limited for each day and reservations must be made in advance. This popular event does sell out. Find all of the details and reserve your spot on the Phoenix Zoo Cruise the Zoo webpage.

See a movie at Alamo Drafthouse. Yes, Alamo Drafthouse opened on August 31st. This is just in time for the movies that we’ve been looking forward to this summer, including Bill & Ted Face the Music, Tenet and The New Mutants. There are new COVID-19 safety protocols that you should be aware of before you go, from their extra cleaning measures to mask requirements to reserving your seat and ordering your food before you arrive at the theater.

Harkins Theatres have also reopened in Arizona. Check out their website for locations and movie times.

Play a game or two at Snakes & Lattes. This fun Downtown Tempe spot is home to hundreds of board games, from classic to brand new, for all ages. Order delicious food and drinks and choose a game to play. It’s like having a fun house party without the hassle. Check out their online calendar for daily specials like daily happy hour from 2-6 p.m.

Get out on the water this weekend. Boat Rentals of America – Tempe Town Lake offers fun pedal boats that look like swans, dragons and ducks, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. At Boat Rentals of America – Kiwanis Lake (open on Saturdays and Sundays), you can take out kayaks and pedal boats. And, if cruising on land is more your style, both locations rent surrey bikes.

Make a reservation for a a delicious dinner at Rustler’s Rooste on Saturday, September 5th and see a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Their fireworks on July 4th were amazing and this display from their mountain top location will be something to remember for sure. Visit their website or call them at (602) 431-6474 to make a reservation. Spots are going fast so be sure to reserve your table in advance.

Go to one of Tempe’s many parks. Beginning Friday, September 4, all Tempe neighborhood park playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment will reopen. The city’s three splash pads at Esquer, Hudson and Jaycee parks will also reopen. Kiwanis Tennis Center will resume leagues, drop-ins, challenge courts and mix & match.

Written Toni Smith

An Arizona native, Toni Smith loves to dine out, conquer hiking trails, go to concerts and survive hot yoga classes. She has also never met a dog she didn’t love instantly. She lives in Tempe with her husband and daughter.