By Casey Blake
Nearby News contributing writer
The holiday months are upon us, when schedules become demanding and calendars fill fast.
Amid the planning, shopping and gifting, there are options to help you and your families stay connected and calm.
Whether it’s a date night you’re after or a day out with family and friends, downtown Mesa has an abundance of entertainment options to choose from as you head into the holiday season.
Low or no cost
To get the little ones out of the house, on Sunday, Dec. 4, the i.d.e.a. Museum will offer a free-admission family day.
Visitors can stay busy building a master project on Rigamajig, designing a dream robot in Robot Corner, creating with pixels, gears and more in Wee Design, or playing in ArtVille, a socks-only space aimed at ages 4 and younger.
Looking for shopping and entertainment? The annual Mesa Arts Festival, Dec. 11-12 at Mesa Arts Center, not only offers unique and handmade gift options but is entirely outdoors in the beautiful Valley late-autumn weather.
With nonstop music performances, hands-on activities for little hands, and tasty foods, this free event will help you cross items off your list and keep a smile on your face.
Educational for the entire family
Want to keep the learning going outside of school? The Arizona Museum of Natural History is hosting Family/Scout Geology Day, 9-11 a.m. Nov. 5.
Special discount general-admission rates of $7 per person and $2 for members will apply only for this early-opening time.
At the event, everyone can learn about their favorite rocks and minerals. Have fun making a rock collection, or bring in some rocks for the Rock Identification Station.
Learn about volcanoes, and make a plaster cast of a real fossil. This is sure to be one unique rock party.
Date night, tonight
To get away without getting away, consider attending a live performance at Mesa Arts Center.
The Performing Live series presents the gamut of the performing arts, including Broadway, comedy, live music and theater.
Highlights in November include singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright; The Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten; the bluesy Paul Thorn Band, and a special Roy Rogers tribute performance by Riders in the Sky.
See a complete lineup and get tickets at mesaartscenter.com.
Downtown Mesa Association, local businesses, and the arts and cultural institutions will keep your calendar full with fun events nearly every day of the week, all year long.
On the first Friday of every month, find the street lined with motorcycles for Motorcycles on Main, a Sturgis-style event with live music, beer gardens and bike vendors.
Every second Friday, come in costume for a themed art walk with live bands, more than 50 art vendors, gallery openings, and entertainers.
During October through April, view unique artist creations at the Mesa Arts and Craft Festival every first and third Saturday.