From checking out your local library, a holiday swim party and fun at an iconic Phoenix resort, to the opportunity to help save Arizona lives, here are four free ways to spend your Saturday and Sunday this Independence Day weekend. Summer Reading Game

Get out of the heat and into the library. It’s not too late to participate in the Phoenix Public Library Summer Reading Game. This year’s theme, “Oceans of Possibilities,” encourages readers young and old to explore their world through reading at least 20 minutes per day. The game officially began June 1, but a long, hot holiday weekend is the perfect time to get in some reading before the end of the summer program, Aug. 1.

Phoenix public libraries are open until 5 p.m. Saturdays, and Burton Barr Library is open Sundays, 1­–5 p.m. All libraries will be closed July 4 for the Independence Day holiday. To register for the reading game, visit To find a Phoenix Public Library in your area, visit

Help save a life

The need for blood donations has never been greater. Vitalant was forced to announce nationwide critical appeal for blood donors on June 14, and this weekend, Valley residents are invited to participate in the Saving Arizona blood drive July 2–3:

  • Saturday, July 2, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Gila River Arena
  • Sunday, July 3, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tempe Center for the Arts

While blood donations drop during holiday weeks, more traffic on the highways increases the potential for accidents and the need for blood. Going into the holiday weekend, supplies of Type O blood are 50 percent below required levels with just a 2-day supply. All blood types are needed, especially Type O.

Vitalant has teamed up with organizations Valley-wide to host Arizona’s largest blood drive to build blood supplies during the Independence Day holiday weekend. One lucky Saving Arizona donor will be drawn as one of the 10 finalists for a 2022 VW Taos, donated by the Valley Volkswagen dealers. All donors will also be thanked with a Vitalant summer grilling apron, as well as a voucher for a free Whataburger, and tickets will be raffled to the Oct. 14 PBR event at Gila River Arena.

Appointments are strongly recommended for social distancing: visit or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).

Photo courtesy of Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Red, White & Biltmore

Area residents looking for a cool escape this Fourth of July weekend are invited to head to the Arizona Biltmore. The iconic property will host Red, White & Biltmore — a free celebration taking place 6-10 p.m., Sunday, July 3, for resort guests and off-property visitors.

The festivities will kick off with the return of drum corps, who will march to the beat of their own drums in five unique performances throughout the resort.

Guests can enjoy DJs playing the summer’s hottest tracks at Saguaro and Paradise Pools on July 2 and 3. On Spire

Lawn and in front of Cottage A, the property will offer exclusive Biltmore bites, chilled libations, and frozen indulgences through $5 ticket increments.

The resort will also offer attendees retail pop-ups, which will accept cash and card. As the night winds down, an environmentally friendly laser light show will light up the desert sky starting at 9 p.m.

Residents looking for a staycation can take advantage of the hotel’s 4 on the 4th offer. Details can be found on the resort website. The property is also offering a Hometown Heroes Discount on all stays now through August 2022 for first responders, active-duty military members, veterans, nurses, doctors and teachers.

Star Spangled Splash

Looking for a place for the family to cool off this weekend? The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department will host a Star Spangled Splash event Sunday, July 3. In celebration of Independence Day, the City will be offering free open swim at City Pools on July 3, 12–6 p.m.

Visit to find a pool near you.



Hello, North Central neighbor — thank you for visiting!

Sign up to receive our digital issue in your inbox each month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.