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15 Things to do in Phoenix (Even in the Summer Heat!)

Our family has lived in Phoenix for over 10 years. It took me a long time to start calling Phoenix “home” and not refer to the state I grew up. But starting our family and establishing our roots, I realized Phoenix really is “home” and holds a very special place in my heart.

This post in in partnership, and inspired by, CubeSmart Self-Storage’s recent post on 12 Reasons to Move to Phoenix! There really is so much to love about this area, so I put together a fun guide to share my favorite things to do in Phoenix.

Phoenix is absolutely beautiful and wonderful a good 7-8 months of the year. Even if you come in the summer time, you’ll be surprised by all the fun you can still have, even despite temperatures up to 120° F.

4 Reasons to come to Phoenix

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Grand Canyon – Many that come to Phoenix sneak away for a day trip up to Grand Canyon and there’s good reason as to why. There isn’t a ton to do at the Grand Canyon so you don’t need multiple days. You can easily make the drive there and back and wonder around the area for a few hours or spread it to an overnight trip.

Either way, the views are incredible and the first time you see the Grand Canyon it will make you say “WOW” for sure! You can visit year round, the scenery changes for each of the seasons. Be aware that some roads are closed in the winter months.

Attend a NASCAR Race – One of the big attractions Phoenix is known for are the NASCAR races. They are 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.

Go to a Spring Training Game – Come watch your favorite baseball teams train with cheap game 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 games.

Renaissance Festival – The annual Renaissance festivals are heading into their 27th year here in the valley. It’s a big deal with a full on amusement park feel with rides, theater, arts and crafts sale, circus acts, even a jousting tournament. Costumes are encouraged. This event happens each spring.

3 Reasons to Stay and Play

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Go Hiking – You’ll have to be an early riser for this one if you are hiking in the middle of the summer, but any other time of the year it’s a perfect place to hike. Try Camelback Mountain that’s right in the center of Phoenix. There’s an easy and a hard path, so you can take your pick. Or head up the short drive to Sedona to hike in the gorgeous red rocks.

Tube the Salt River – Getting out and floating on the Salt River is a perfect way to cool off in the hot summer months. It’s an inexpensive activity with tub rentals and a bus lift back to the parking lot for a small fee.

Golfing – Any time of the year is a good time to golf here in Phoenix. Fall through spring the weather is fantastic and the summer you can start early and get in a game at really low rates.

4 Ways to Have Fun in the Phoenix Sun with Kids

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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.

Hop on a smaller train for a ride around then park or go for a spin on the carousel. Don’t leave without a stop in the shop for a scoop of ice cream. It’s a delicious way to cool off and a pretty inexpensive treat. There is no admission charge for the park, but the rides have a nominal fee per person.

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 are super fun for kids and even the parents get to cool off as the little ones run towards you splashing you!

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Phoenix Zoo – We love going to the Phoenix Zoo, which boasts abig 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.

4 Fantastic Places to Dine in Phoenix

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Oregano – If you love a good pizza, make time to stop at Oreganos. They make an amazing thin crust pizza that’s worth the stop for. Be aware that there is nearly always a wait but they will bring you pizza dough for the kids to play with at your table or in the waiting area to keep you entertained if you ask for it (think edible play dough!).

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. It’s got a vintage red-velvet feel that is really unique, too.

The Grind – Looking for a modern and hip place to grab a burger? Then stop into The Grind. It won’t feel like any ol’ burger shop. The Grind has an upscale feel and really great burgers.

Dillion’s – For a fun family dining experience, visit Dillion’s in the parking lot of the World Wildlife Zoo on the west side of Phoenix. It’s connected to the shark tank from the zoo so you’ll have a unique dining experience! Or, choose to dine outdoors when the weather is nice and you’ll have a front row view of the flamingos. The food isn’t amazing, but it’s not bad either, and for the experience it’s one worth a visit. Make sure you get the onion rings, which are fantastic!

No matter what things you do in Phoenix, make sure you are preparing yourself for another visit! Once you visit, you’ll be eager to be back again soon.


Wednesday 12th of September 2018

If we were anywhere near Phoenix, we'd be all over Spring Training. Been to it in Florida, but my Cubbies are in Arizona!

Becky Willis

Wednesday 12th of September 2018

Wow, such a great list of things to do in Phoenix. I would have to come and stay long enough to experience all that you wrote about.


Wednesday 12th of September 2018

I love Phoenix - it's hot just like Texas. I can't wait to go back.

Marcie W.

Tuesday 11th of September 2018

Such an awesome list of activity suggestions! Phoenix is only about a four hour drive away and it looks like we need to take a trip soon.


Tuesday 11th of September 2018

Ohh Phoenix has been on our radar of places to visit -- hiking Camelback Mountain looks like a must-do for us!

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