The plates are cleared, the dishes are washed, and the leftovers are loaded into the fridge. You’re sitting around with family and friends, with the top button of your jeans unsnapped (to ease digestion) as you fight off the effects of the tryptophan. Another Thanksgiving dinner is in the books. With the final few minutes of the football game ticking down, you want nothing more than to succumb to the food coma and fall into a deep autumn nap. But with a house full of guests, sleep is not on the menu today. It’s time for you to entertain. So what in the world can you do in Phoenix on Thanksgiving? Quite a lot, actually…
Hit the Movies
10 big films are being released this month, ranging from reboots of The Grinch and Robin Hood to the Queen movie to sequels from Rocky, Wreck-It Ralph, and Fantastic Beasts (from the Harry Potter universe). Send your guests over to The Shops at Norterra, where Harkins Norterra 14 will be open for Thanksgiving. No matter how full everyone is, there’s always room for popcorn. While this might not be the most active of activities, it’s a great way to clear your house of relatives while you tidy up the kitchen and maybe even take that nap you’ve been craving.
Take a Hike
Need to walk-off that dinner? 36 miles of hiking and walking trails are here in our own backyards! The Sonoran Preserve features desert beauty your out-of-towners will love (You’ll chuckle at how many pictures of cacti they take). And your after-dinner hikes can be tailored for all ages and skill-levels. Whether it’s a 10-minute stroll or a 3-hour quad-burning power hike, the whole experience feels very Arizona. If you want to feel even better about that second helping of mashed potatoes, knock out your hike in the morning, before you eat. Trail maps and planning tools available at Phoenix.gov. Safety tip: Don’t overestimate your hiking skills or your endurance. No one wants to take that $15,000 Air Evac helicopter to the hospital. And BRING WATER. Not Diet Coke. Not beer. WATER.
Prepare to Shop
With Black Friday looming, the die-hard shoppers should begin stretching, warming up, and strapping on the body armor in advance of the doorbuster specials. Details and hours vary, but expect big things from Wal Mart, Best Buy, and the Outlets at Anthem. Less violent shopping experiences can be had at The Shops at Norterra and the Happy Valley Towne Center. And other low-key bargains are available at locally owned shops throughout 85085. For PhD-level home decorators, Black Friday is an excellent time to score a deal on Thanksgiving décor to be purchased then put away for next year.
Get Ready to Rock
Blast your guests back to the early-2,000s with a Black Friday concert featuring the pop-punk band Good Charlotte, playing live at the Van Buren in downtown Phoenix. The band behind the top-20 hit Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous has more than 11 million albums sold. Odds are you’ll recognize more than a handful of danceable tunes throughout the show. And unofficially, all that jumping in place counts toward your Fitbit steps.
Howl at the Moon
Spend the evening in a room full of ice! Your Arizona Coyotes host the Colorado Avalanche the day after Thanksgiving. Throw on a scarf and a beanie (“Toque” if you’re Canadian. “Tuque” if you’re EXTREMELY Canadian) and head to the arena for some NHL action. Westgate is a fun destination, and the home ice of Gila River Arena is about as close as most Phoenicians get to a traditional winter. Coyotes games are a great place to hoot, holler, and pound on the glass for 60 minutes before returning home for leftover turkey sandwiches.
You’ve got options, both inside the neighborhood and around the Valley. Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, but manageable. Just remember the basics: Keep everyone hydrated, fed and entertained. Put those cousins to work washing the dishes. No 3rd glass of wine for Uncle Lyle. And unless you want those hockey-style fights to break out at the dining room table, don’t bring up anything to do with politics. Trust me on this one.