There are only two weekends left to visit the Arizona Renaissance Festival before it is over for the season, so if you are wanting to visit now is the time to go! Tickets are $28 per adult and $18 per child at the festival, however you can buy slightly discounted ($1-$2 per ticket) tickets on their website or at Fry's Marketplace. The festival is opened from 10am until 6pm, it is located off of the US 60 in Gold Canyon, Arizona, for us it is about an hour drive if traffic isn't too bad. You can find a coupon for One free child per One paid adult Here.
Before you go there are three things you should keep in mind/do:
1. It is a good idea to go early if you don't want a long walk from the car to the entrance. Last year we arrived 15 minutes before gates opened and we were parked only three rows away from the entrance. This year it took a bit longer for all of us to get dressed and ready so we didn't get there until 15 minutes after they opened and we were marked about half a mile from the entrance. They do have a "VIP" parking area which costs extra, however I don't see anywhere on their site that tells you how to purchase tickets for that lot, and they have Handicap parking as well that is closer to the gate.
2. There are a ton of free shows to see and plenty of booths to "window shop" at however you will want to budget at least a $100-$150 for the festival to really enjoy the sights, vendor booths and food. All of the performers ask for tips, though it is not required for you to tip anyone it is how most of them make their living so we always make sure to bring actual cash with us for the shows we see. Some of the exhibits, rides and games require payment as well.
3. Bring sunblock & a water bottle! You are allowed to bring in one 16-24oz sealed water bottle per person, they have drinking fountains near all of the bathrooms so you can re-fill them if you don't mind fountain water or you can purchase a small water bottle at the food stalls for $2 each. Even on cool days, you will be out in the sun and several food booths and experiences have lines so you'll be planted in the sun. This year we completely forgot sunblock and I ended up with a red and angry sunburn.
Another great tip to keep in mind is plan to be there for most if not all of your day, there are fourteen different stages with performances all through out the day. Many of the acts are on for thirty to forty-five minutes, between watching several shows, browsing the vendor booths, grabbing lunch and everything else the festival has to offer time will fly by. We arrived at 10:15am and ended up leaving about 3:30pm when everyone was exhausted from the sun and walking around (you'll want to wear comfortable shoes, the festival is huge).
In all we saw three shows, took photos with our favorite Dragon, grabbed lunch and walked around several of the shops during our time at the festival. There is a ton to see and you may not get to do everything in one day so if you are wanting to see it all you can purchase a season pass at the front gate so you can visit as often as you'd like during the open season. One of my husbands favorite shows is the whip cracker and mine is the bird show, we got lucky and they were back to back so we grabbed a bench seat in the shade and relaxed with the kids while we watched the show. Shows tend to fill up quickly especially the more popular shows like the bird show so you might want to get there a few minutes early to get a decent seat. Many of the vendor booths have signs asking you not to take photos otherwise I'd share some of the wares with you!
If you are a foodie there are dozens of options to choose from along with lots of sweet treats, we each have our favorites my husbands being the spinach bowl and mine being the broccoli cheddar soup bowl but this year we were a bit disappointed. They had run out of the broccoli cheddar bowl and stated more wouldn't be ready for about forty-five minutes, at that point we had been in line for about twenty minutes in the direct sun and had acquired sunburns so I decided to skip the bowl, my husbands spinach bowl was so full it was getting every where and this year it tasted and looked kind of odd so most of it wasn't eaten. To make up for lunch we did stop by a chocolate booth on the way out and purchased a few goodies. Food costs are what you'd expect for an event like this, $3 for a small lemonade or soda, $2 small bottles of water, $4 for a slice of pizza, $7 per soup or dip bowl, small chocolates are 3 for $10 or two big pieces of chocolate such as a chunk of fudge + a slice of cheesecake for $13, and other prices vary.
One of our favorite parts about the festival is that anyone is allowed to dress up, this year the whole family dressed up and it was a lot of fun. There are several performers and acts that walk around the festival freely who stop to interact with guests and take photos. Over all we had a great time, at the end everyone was slightly "grumpy" just due to the rising temperature and being exhausted but it didn't spoil the fun we had and we highly suggest you head out to check it out before it is done for the year.
Disclaimer- Tickets to the event mentioned above were provided by the Arizona Renaissance Festival through the US Family Guidefor the review free of charge no other compensation was provided. However, no product compensation will influence the outcome of any review. My honest opinions are used in all reviews, they are solely my own & they may vary from others.My reviews are posted for readers in order to provide an informed decision before purchase.