A recent article in the Arizona Republic called "50 Ways To Love The Valley" offers a wealth of ideas for when there's nothing else to do. From nightlife to dining to sporting events, it's a well-rounded list and a great way to get started exploring what Phoenix has to offer.
I was pleased to see that several of my favorite places such as Arcosanti, the Mine and Mineral Musem, and the State Capitol Museum made the list. However, I think there are several attractions which are unique to Phoenix that should have been on the list.
So here are even more ways to love the Valley, from your friendly North Phoenix blogger:
- Go ice skating at one of our indoor, year-round ice rinks. There are locations in Peoria, Chandler, and Gilbert.
- Go to a water park during the summer. Check out Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa, Waterworld Safari in Phoenix, and Big Surf in Tempe.
- Get teed off at over 60 unique golf courses in the Phoenix metro area.
- The Charro Carousel at McCormick Ranch Railroad Park is one of only three operating carousels left in the state. Bring the kids!
- Both the young and the young at heart will cherish a ride on a scale model railroad. There are several sprinkled throughout the valley, including the Daisy Mountain Railroad in Anthem, the Freestone Railroad in Gilbert, and the Paradise and Pacific Railroad at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale.
- Go window shopping at over a dozen different malls and outdoor marketplaces. I don't even need to list them, they're all over the valley.
- Visit a family fun park such as Crackerjax, Golfland Sunsplash, or Castles-N-Coasters.
- Phoenix is a haven for indoor go-kart enthusiasts. If you have never taken a corner at 50mph at just inches off the ground, you are missing out. Try Speed Street in Glendale or Octane Raceway in Phoenix.
- Do you have a serious hobby? Join a group of like-minded individuals on meetup.com.
- Go panning for gold. Seriously.
- Catch a double feature at the Glendale Nine drive-in movie theatre. The Glendale Nine also hosts a killer swap meet on the weekends. (Sadly, the Scottsdale Six Drive In closed on August 28, 2011).
- Stock up on kitschy goodies at the centrally-located Brass Armadillo antique mall. There is also a permanent swap meet in the East valley (Mesa).
- Downtown is full of all kinds of museums covering more than just history, science, and art. Have you ever been to the Hall of Flame Firefighters Museum? Didn't think so.
- Get some fresh air and go hiking at one of the valley's seven mountain parks.
- Pick a local restaurant that sounds interesting and go try it out.
- Eat at Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa and hear the world's largest Wurlitzer pipe organ. It's really freaking cool.
- Soak up the architectural goodness of Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West and the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Scottsdale (yes I know he didn't design the Biltmore, but he did influence it greatly).
- Looking for live music on a Wednesday night? The weekly concert calendar in the Phoenix New Times covers all the bases from hip hop to indie and everything in between.
- Pack up the car and take a day trip to Flagstaff, Tucson, Sedona, Prescott, or Payson. Spend the day checking out used bookstores and antique shops. Contemplate moving there while dining at a local cafe. Return home feeling relaxed.
- Get in touch with nature at the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo. They're right next door to each other.
- Ever been to a ghost town? We've got plenty of them to choose from!
- If golf courses and concerts just don't do it for you, take a walk on the weird side with Weird Arizona, a showcase of all things wacky and unusual in the Grand Canyon State - featuring selected stories and photos from yours truly!