Our family has been living here in Phoenix for over 10 years, now. It took me a long time to start calling Phoenix “home.” But while starting our family and establishing our roots, I realized Phoenix really is home and holds a very special place in my heart. Phoenix is absolutely beautiful a good seven to eight months of the year. If you come in the summertime, you’ll be surprised by all the fun you can still have, even despite temperatures up to 120 F. Here’s a fun guide to things to do in Phoenix.
Reasons to Come to Phoenix
NASCAR Races – One of the big attractions Phoenix is known for is the NASCAR races. They’re held at the Phoenix International Raceway twice a year — in spring and fall. The races bring lots of loyal fans, fast cars, and good times.
The Renaissance Festival – The annual Renaissance festivals are heading into their 27th year here in the valley. It’s a big deal here, complete with an amusement park filled with rides, a theater, an arts and crafts sale, circus acts, and even a jousting tournament. Costumes are encouraged for this event that takes place each spring.
Spring Training Games – Come watch your favorite baseball teams train with cheap tickets and absolutely beautiful weather. There are different stadiums all over the valley to host the different teams as they gear up for their upcoming Major League Baseball games.
Grand Canyon – Many who come to Phoenix sneak away for a day trip up to the Grand Canyon and there’s good reason. There isn’t a ton to do up at the Grand Canyon, so you don’t need a long trip. You can easily make the drive there, wander around, and drive back all in a single day, or make it an overnight trip. Either way, the views are incredible and the first time you see the Grand Canyon, you’ll definitely be saying “WOW!” You can visit the Grand Canyon year round, since the scenery changes for each season. Be aware that some roads are closed in the winter months.
Reasons to Stay and Play
Tube the Salt River – Getting out and floating on the Salt River is a perfect way to cool off in the hot summer months. Tube rentals and a bus lift back to the parking lot for a small fee make this an inexpensive activity.
Hike Camelback Mountain – You’ll have to be an early riser for this one if you’re hiking in the middle of the summer, but any other time of the year it’s a great hike that’s right in the center of Phoenix. There’s an easy and hard path, so you can take your pick.
Golfing – Any time of the year is a good time to golf here in Phoenix. Fall through spring, the weather is fantastic, and during the summer, you can start early and get in a game at really low rates.
Where to Dine While You’re Here
Oregano’s – If you love a good pizza, make time to stop at Oregano’s. They make an amazing thin crust pizza that’s worth the stop. Be aware that there’s almost always a wait, but they’ll bring you pizza dough for the kids to play with at your table or in the waiting area to keep the kiddos entertained if you ask for it.
Durants – This recommendation is on the pricey end, but if you want a nice place for a meal this should top your list. It’s a seafood and steakhouse restaurant that knocks all the chain steakhouses out of the park. It’s got a vintage red-velvet feel that’s really unique, too.
The Grind – Looking for a modern and hip place to grab a burger? Stop at The Grind. It won’t feel like any ole’ burger shop. The Grind has an upscale feel and really great burgers.
DeFalco’s – For the Italian foodies, pencil in a stop to DeFalco’s. It’s a family-run deli and marketplace where you can also buy filling sandwiches, pastas, and of course, sausage!
Have Fun in the Sun With the Kids
Railroad Park – By far the top “must do” activity with the kids in the valley. The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is our favorite spot on the east side of town. Let the kids climb on the small town replica, play on the large playground, and walk through a real train. Then, hop on a smaller train for a ride or go for a spin on the carousel. Finally, stop in the shop for a scoop of ice cream. It’s a delicious way to cool off and a pretty inexpensive treat. There’s no admission charge for the park and the rides have a nominal fee per person.
Phoenix Zoo – We love going to the Phoenix Zoo, which boasts a big variety of animals including all the Savannah favorites. Stir-crazy summer visitors should head here early in the day to see the animals active and awake and then wander over to the splash pad at the zoo to cool off before heading home.
Main Event Entertainment – For fun all year long, Main Event Entertainment has great promo offers on various days of the week with unlimited arcade games for a low rate, or all you can play laser tag, gravity maze, or billiards. Avoid the weekends where it can get busy. We like to head here to celebrate birthdays or to play indoors in the summer months.
Splash pads – A summer visit requires frequent trips to any of the many splash pads around the valley. Just about every neighborhood has one. They’re super fun for kids and even the parents get to cool off as the little ones run and splash around!
Not matter what you choose to do in Phoenix, make sure you are prepared to want to come back again soon!