Things To Do In Scottsdale
Scottsdale, and the surrounding metro-Phoenix area are HOT in the summer, I’m not going to lie. While many people get away during the summer, many more of us don’t. For so many reasons, plenty of us stay put during the summer months. And, as crazy as it may sound, many people actually want to visit Scottsdale and the Phoenix-area. If there’s one thing you absolutely know coming here, there will be sun!
Scottsdale has a lot of options when it comes to planning your staycation. Add in all the other metro-Phoenix fun and your summer will be jam-packed. While not an exhaustive list, here is my list of fun things to do in Scottsdale Arizona.
Many of the local resorts have special summer rates. Take advantage of a getaway without have to get away? Enjoy the pool and amenities, and dine like you’re on vacation.
Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott Resort and Spa, is recognized as one of the premier resorts in Scottsdale. With summer packages for time at the spa, golfing, or just relaxing by the pool, you’ll find a promotion to fit your budget.
This summer, the Omni Resort’s Montelucia Resort and Spa is offering a resort credit with a multi-night stay. While family friendly, this resort tends to cater to couples and individuals.
Not to be outdone, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa is offering a summer adventures package for the family. Between June 13 and July 27, 2014 rolls out the “Building Fun Under the Sun” summer camp. Room rates start at $149 per night, based on two-night minimum.
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa Family Flings & Swing Summer Package is back again this year. With nights throughout the summer starting at $159, choose from the golf, spa, or ultimate package. Amenities include free golf after noon, kids meals, and a $50 resort credit. The hotel is waiving its $25 resort fee and will not charge for self-parking. Free bike rental and tennis time is also included.
The Radisson Fort McDowell Resort & Casino is offering a SunSational Getaways package starting at $129 per night. Enjoy a $50 food and beverage credit, and much more when you book using the code SUMM14. Families have access to free dive-in movies at the pool, and a poolside BBQ on Friday nights. With over 10 promotional packages, you’re sure to find one that fits your needs.
Scottsdale Plaza Resort, Paradise Valley, brings back its summer staycation special with nights starting at $99/nt with $50 resort credit toward restaurant, pool or spa/salon services. There are also golf, spa, shopping, and romance packages with exceptional discounts. These summer promotions run thru Sept. 1st.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, is offering a reduced rate of $169 per night and a $50 daily resort credit between May 23rd and August 31st. Water lovers will enjoy the new SplashRider X-treme – an unending water pipe experience, 200-foot waterslides and five sparkling pools. And don’t miss out on the Techno-Glo pool parties with live DJ, LED hula hoops and fireworks every Saturday night.
Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort at Troon North, Very Important Kids package, starting at $169/nt thru Aug. 26th. This promotion requires a minimum two-night stay and includes a $100 resort credit for every two nights, snack mix at turn-down, a free in-room family movie and a poolside smoothie for up to two children per room. The resort’s kids program is free for all guests and poolside cabanas are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa offers an Aloha Summer special between May 26th and September 1st. With rooms starting at just $149 per night, guests receive a daily $50 resort credit, along with buy one get one free FlowRider sessions as well as the resort’s kid fun programs.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch has several special offers this summer, throughout the summer. The summer package includes a guest room, free dinner for kids with a paying adult, along with family and kids activities poolside each day. Rates vary. You don’t want to miss the 30-foot, 3-sotry high waterslide at the Hyatt Scottsdale.
One of my favorite places in Scottsdale for Afternoon Tea, The Phoenician is offering several special summer discounts. Starting at just $159 per night, use code SUMMER when booking for a stay between May 26th and September 1st. With a new splash pad for the kids and over 12 daily summer activities for the kids to choose from, it’s sure to be a fun time.
Summer Like a Local at the FireSky Resort & Spa, a Kimpton Hotel. With several packages to choose from, you’ll enjoy discounts of up to 20% off deluxe rooms, evening cocktail reception, and more.
The iconic Arizona Biltmore offers summer rates starting at $134 per night and resort room credit for guest who want to come and enjoy the waterslides, Splash Cinema, golf course, or spa.
Local Public Pools
Kiwanis Wave Pool – One of the few indoor pool options, this wave pool is always a comfortable 84 degrees. Ride the 3-foot waves, or zip down the 127-foot long double spiral water slide until the sun goes down. You can rent a tube on-site. If you have inexperienced swimmers, check the rules regarding flotation assistive devices.
Cost: $5 per person ages 2-12; $7 per person age 13 and older. Season passes $36-$46.
Location: 6111 S. All-America Way, Tempe
Tempe Pools & Splash Pads – run by the city of Tempe, there are two public pools, one splash playground and three neighborhood spray pads. The Splash Playground located at Tempe Beach Park is part of the Tempe Town Lake project that offers many outdoor water activities.
Mesquite Aquatic Center – The only pool in Gilbert with a double water slide, kiddie slide, diving board, full concession stand and play mushrooms in a zero-depth area, this pool is very popular and fills up early.
Cost: $1 per person ages 17 and younger; $3 per person ages 18 and older.
Location: 100 W. Mesquite St., Gilbert
Buckeye Aquatics Center – This city pool offers a zero depth area with water features, 10-foot high dive, low dive and 160-foot water slide. With a variety of day and evening programs, there’s sure to be something for everyone in the family.
Cost: $2 per person. Season pass $50-$150.
Location: 207 N. Ninth St., Buckeye
Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center – With two giant slides, a zero-depth entry leisure pool with spray features, an aquatic playground and a lazy river you’re sure to have a great time, no matter how old you are.
Cost: $2.50 per person ages 3 to 17 and 55+; $5 per person 18 and older; children under 3 free.
Location: 5600 W. Union Hills Drive
Rhodes Aquatics Complex – Who knew summer and winter would collide? FlowRider combines snowboarding, skateboarding and wakeboarding, and is designed for all skill levels. The pool has a beach entry, three diving boards and elaborate splash pads and tumble buckets for the smaller swimmers. There are a variety of shade structures and concession stands.
Cost: Pool is $2 per person ages 17 and younger; $4 per person ages 18 and older; season pass $210. FlowRider is $5.50 per hour ages 17 and younger; $11 per hour ages 18 and older; punch ticket rates also available. Check pool for available discounts on Mondays.
Location: 1860 S. Longmore, Mesa
Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center – Apache Junction welcomes swimmers at its state-of-the-art Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center which features two water slides, diving boards, and a vortex whirlpool. There is also sand volleyball,and a zero-depth, beach-entry pool.
Cost: $1 per person ages 17 and younger; $2 per person ages 18 and older. Season passes $45-$95.
Location: 1091 W. Southern Ave, Apache Junction
Pecos Pool – With two water slides and the separate diving well with diving boards this pool is a Phoenix favorite. It also has several water features and an 8-lane competition size pool with beach entry.
Cost: $1 per person ages 17 and younger and seniors; $3 per person ages 18 and older. Season passes $20-$75.
Location: 17010 S. 48th St., Phoenix
Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center – Another Chandler favorite, This huge aquatic complex boats a zero-depth entry and water playground, a lazy river with a dumping bucket barricade, two water slides (one enclosed), a vortex whirlpool and an interactive water structure with two toddler slides, water guns, and valves kids can open and close. There are shady areas for kids and parents alike.
Cost: $1 per person ages 2-17; $2.25 ages 18-54; $1.25 per person age 55 and older; children under 2 are free. Family season pass (for Chandler residents only), $112.
Location: 5901 S. Hillcrest Dr., Chandler
Sunrise Pool – The best public-pool bargain in the Valley, this pool has a beach entry, large water slide , several water features as well as two diving boards and plenty of shaded seating for Mom and Dad.
Cost: $0.50 per person ages 17 and younger; $1.50 per person ages 18 and older. Season passes (family) $60.
Location:21321 N. 86th Drive, Peoria.
Surprise Aquatic Center - Surprise joined the supersized public pool party in 2002 with their own aquatic center featuring zero-depth entry with water-play features for the little ones, two water slides and a diving well with two diving boards. Kids go crazy for the vortex whirlpool, which will open with the rest of the center Saturday, May 26. Check the website for special programs and events, including an Itty Bitty Beach Party, Dive in Movies and a 4th of July Pool Party.
Cost: $1 per person ages 17 and younger; $2 per person ages 18 and older. Season passes $20-$80.
Location: 15831 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise
Indoor Fun Spots
Makutu’s Island – A multilevel indoor playground for kids which includes several play areas, an arcade, a 35-foot slide (children younger than 5 must have parental/guardian supervision), and tunnels and mole holes in the 25-foot indoor oak tree.
Jambo! Indoor Amusement Parks – formerly Jeepers!, this children’s “entertainment center” offers several amusement-park-style rides, including a mini roller coaster, bumper cars, spinning cups, safari train and carousel.
Arizona Museum for Youth – although advance sign-up is required, this hands-on, kid-friendly museum is a great way to entertain kids in an education setting.
Arizona Museum of Natural History – often called the dinosaur museum (formerly known as Mesa Southwest Museum) is more than just dinos.
Butterfly Wonderland – This one-of-a-kind museum boasts the largest butterfly pavilion in the United States. The pavilion is designed to be an interactive experience of both education and beauty. Not just a place to see butterflies, Butterfly Wonderland is the first phase of “Odysea in the Desert, a 35-acre, multi-million-dollar entertainment complex that will include the largest aquarium in the Southwest region (scheduled to open in 2015); an IMAX theatre; a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum; and a “Taste of the World” culinary showcase with 14 to 16 distinctive international restaurants.
Chandler Museum – from the first inhabitants to the pioneers, to the modern age, learn about the history of Chandler, AZ.
Arizona Capitol Museum – why not cap off Arizona’s Centennial with a visit downtown to the capital area. Tour one of the legislative chambers and see a portion of the USS Arizona battleship as well as learn about the history of the state that joined the union on Valentine’s Day 1912.
Tempe History Museum – after undergoing a major renovation, this museum takes you through the history of the valley’s college town and how it came to be one of the premier cities in the country.
Pump It Up – with 4 locations around the valley, this Tempe-based indoor inflatable playground is a fun way for kids to get exercise and give mom and dad a respite from the heat.
Amazing Jake’s Food & Fun – a rock wall, go-karts, laser tag, bowling, mini golf and kiddie rides, this Mesa fun-town is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Arizona Science Center – one of the premier science centers in the country, the exhibit galleries here keep everyone engaged and entertained with plenty of hands-on exhibits as well as an IMAX theater and interactive spaces.
Rosson House – located near the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix, this 1895 Victorian home provides a glimpse into life during the territorial period of Arizona.<
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting – a favorite of both boys and girls, as well as adults of any age, this exhibit of firefighting history includes over 100 wheeled firefighting vehicles as well as a hands-on area for kids.
Mesa Historical Museum – another opportunity to beat the heat and learn about one of the cities that makes up the Phoenix-metro area.
Heard Museum – one of the premier native american museums in the country, everyone will enjoy this look at the history and beauty of the native people
Musical Instrument Museum – one of the only musical instrument museums in the world, the MIM showcases musical instruments from around the work, including the fiddle used in Harry Potter and a banana harmonica. BabyGirl wrote a review of the musical instrument museum if you’d like to learn about it from a young girl’s perspective.
Halle Heart Children’s Museum – open by appointment only, this is a small museum to help kids learn about the heart and being healthy. Maybe not as fun as a roller coaster, but when BabyGirl went she enjoyed herself and learned a lot.
Chase Field Tours – get a glimpse of this unique domed Major League Ballpark and see what makes the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks so special.
Stuffington Bear Factory – a local destination, Stuffington Bear Factory offers FREE daily tours Monday through Saturday at 1:00pm. This mini tour takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and you get to see the manufacturing floor up close. Check out the site for more details on the variety of animals they offer. Located just east of AZ51 on Thomas, Stuffington has been a valley institution since 1959.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeological Park – a National Historic Landmark, this park is a way to learn about the Hohokam people. With a good part of it being outside you’ll want to go early and dress accordingly.
Oceanside Ice Arena – who can’t use a day to cool off in a 50-degree fun spot? Rent a pair of skates and make this a family affair!
Arcadia Ice Arena – another location to truly beat the heat! Offering open skate as well as day camps, this location is sure to help you beat the heat.
Laser Quest – recommended for ages 7 and older, suit up in this high-tech play space and go on missions as you score points in this modern game of hide-and-seek.
Octane Raceway – formerly F1 Race Factory, this indoor racetrack is an opportunity for kids to see what driving is all about.
Dave & Buster’s – let the kids go while you enjoy the Wi-Fi! A full arcade with plenty of kid favorites, plan on spending several hours here.
Local Library Culture Pass Program – With 12 local library systems participating, there are hundreds of opportunities to visit 12 popular destinations FREE. The Culture Pass gives library cardholders free admission for 2 people at participating local museums when they “check-out” the admission at their library. Check with your local Phoenix-area library for details.
Children’s Museum of Phoenix – in less than 5 years, this museum has become one of the top-rated children’s museums in the country with hands-on, interactive exhibits for kids up to about 10 years old.
Phoenix Art Museum – one of the largest art collections in the southwest, this museum has programs specifically for kids 12 and under. PhoenixArtKids helps kids understand the look but don’t touch concept of the main part of the museum but also includes a kid-friendly section. Special programs held throughout the summer.
Wells Fargo History Museum – learn about the role Wells Fargo (and their famed stage coaches) had in shaping Arizona and the southwest. This is one of several Wells Fargo museums throughout the US
Harkins Summer Movie Fun – with 10 movies for about $1 each this is a way to beat the heat and have a few hours of not hearing the kids complain about being hot.
Great Arizona Puppet Theater – nearing its 30th year, this theater offers kids of all ages great entertainment
Arizona Challenger Space Center – part of the Smithsonian Institute, kids with an interest in space will love this museum.
Penske Racing Museum – tucked inside a car dealership, this little museum is FREE but features dozens of pristinely maintained race cars. The Penske team is the winningest team in Indy Car racing.
Cabela’s Kids Kamp – Throughout the summer, Cabelas offers FREE 45-minute educational sessions on a variety of topics. The local Cabelas is out in Glendale and could easily occupy kids of all ages for a few hours.
Bass Pro Shop – Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, the local Bass Pro Shop in Mesa will hold Family Summer Camp from 1-5pm. With a variety of activities, games and treats for the kids, this FREE program is one sure way to beat the heat.
Arizona Desert Botanical Garden - one of the top gardens in the country, Desert Botanical Garden offers a terrific flashlight tour during the summer months. See what the desert does when the sun goes down.
Phoenix Zoo – arrive early to beat the heat and have the best opportunity to see the animals
Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix – water slides and attractions for kids of all ages
Splash Pads – located around town at many of the outdoor shopping areas, water features beckon children to cool off while mom and dad relax.
Castles and Coasters – rollercoasters in Phoenix? Absolutely! For little kids and big kids alike, you can get your thrill on with coasters and big drops.
Enchanted Island – part of the Encanto park area, this amusement park has a variety of carnival-type rides and attractions kids love. There are also pedal boats and a carousel.
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium – encounter wildlife up close. Check their website and local flyers/coupon booklets delivered to your home for coupons.
Taliesin West – Renown architect Frank Lloyd Wright established Taliesin West as his winter home. Now part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the property is home to learning for visitors and students alike. While Wright did not spend many summers here, today it is a fully-functioning school and office complex. This summer, the property will be open for the Summer Junior Architect Tour for school-aged children and their families.
Westin Kierland PaintScaping – From May 23 – July 4, 2014, resort guests and locals alike can enjoy The Westin Kierland’s PaintScaping. A themed 3D image and animation show is projected across the Resort’s 11-story main building and set to music. This summer the PaintScaping show will feature all-American imagery paired with patriotic music. Held at 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly, the show is free and open to the public.
Arizona Biltmore Dining After Dark is back for 2014 from June 1 through August 31 – head out when the sun goes down for some dinner and shopping. Select restaurants will offer a pre-fixe menu from 8pm to close which includes an appetizer, two entrees, two alcoholic (or non alcoholic) beverages, and one dessert for either $50 or $35, depending on the establishment.
Where it’s said to be 10-degrees cooler, Pinnacle Peak Patio has been a local favorite for over 50 years. With specials throughout the summer, it’s a fun way to experience “the old west” in your own backyard.
Morton’s, The Steakhouse is rolling out the red carpet with its summer 4-course pre-fixe menu. For $49 per person, their favorite menu items are offered on a select menu for your. Choose an appetizer, salad, entree and side, and dessert for a truly elegant meal. Valid through June 27th you must print out the special menu and take it with you as this menu is not available from the standard Morton’s menu.
Splash Pads For the Littles (check locations for rules relating to kids in diapers)
City of Scottsdale Parks offer splash and spray parks throughout the city. There is no admission fee.
- Vista del Camino Park is located at 7700 E. Roosevelt. This park is located in the Indian Bend Wash complex, near Hayden Road.
- Paiute Park is located at 3210 N. 66th street, South of Osborn Road.
- McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is located at 7301 E. Indian Bend Road (Scottsdale Road, north of Lincoln) has spray poles at the playground.
- Agua Linda Park at 8732 E. McDonald (Pima Road and McDonald) also has spray poles on the playground.
- Florence Ely Nelson Desert Park (formerly La Mirada Park) has sprayers. The park is located at 8950 E. Pinnacle Peak Road in north Scottsdale.
- Chesnutt Park spray pad is located at 4565 N. Granite Reef Road.
- Pima Park is located at at 8600 E. Thomas Road and has a spray pad.
Scottsdale Quarter, which is located on the Northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Greenway has a splash area for kids and adults. Surrounded by a grassy area with lounge chairs, there is no admission to this summer fun spot.
Kierland Commons splash pad is open from 10am to 9pm during the summer months. It’s a fun place for locals and visitors alike.
Tempe Marketplace, located at McClintock and Loop 202, splash pad is open daily from 7:00am to 11:00pm.
The Splash Playground at Tempe Town Lake is located on the south bank of the lake in Tempe Beach Park. It is open daily from 10:00am to 7:00pm. This one-acre park is free and has lifeguards on duty.
Phoenix Zoo Leapin’ Lagoon is open throughout the summer. This year the zoo has Prowl & Play planned on dates throughout the summer for a special opportunity to visit the zoo at night during the summer
Not to be outdone, many of the City of Phoenix parks also boast splash facilities for kids.
- Altadena Park Spray Pad: 3711 E. Altadena Avenue. Major cross streets are 36th Street and Cactus Road. 602-262-6696.
- Civic Space Park Spray Pad: 424 N. Central Ave in Downtown Phoenix. 602-262-6412. Accessible by METRO light rail.
- Edison Park Spray Pad: 901 N. 19th Street. 602-262-6412. Major cross streets are 19th Street and Roosevelt.
- Francisco Highland Park: 2702 E. South Mountain Avenue. Major cross streets are 28th Street and South Mountain Avenue at the base of South Mountain. 602-262-6111.
- Harmon Park Spray Pad: 1239 S. 5th Avenue. Major cross streets are 5th Avenue and Buckeye. 602-262-6412.
- Laveen Village Park Spray Pad: 3146 W. Vineyard, Phoenix. Major cross streets are 31st Avenue and Baseline Road. 602-262-6111.
- Mountain Vista Park Spray Pad: 13647 S. 50th Street in Ahwatukee Foothills. Major cross streets are 50th Street and Ray Road.
- Nuestro Park Spray Pad: Ninth Street and Pima, south of downtown Phoenix. 602-262-6111.
- Pecos Park Spray Pad: 48th Street and Pecos Road in the Ahwatukee Foothills area of Phoenix. Enter from 48th Street, via Chandler Boulevard. 602-262-6111.
While there are a lot of things on this list, it’s not comprehensive. There are hundreds and hundreds of great activities around the valley. If there’s something you think others would enjoy, please share in the comments. Enjoy your summer! Or, if you’re just thinking of visiting the Phoenix-area you now have a great list of things to do.
If you happen to be in the Phoenix area for Thanksgiving, check out my Ultimate Guide to Dining Out on Thanksgiving.