Apache Junction offers some of the most scenic drives and hikes in Arizona. Don’t miss a drive on the Apache Trial scenic byway, which offers spectacular views of Canyon Lake, Tortilla Flats and Roosevelt Dam. It also serves as the natural location to the state’s annual Renaissance Festival.
This community just west of Phoenix, off I-10 on the way to California, offers a farmer’s market each Saturday and community events throughout the year. Avondale is also home to the Phoenix International Raceway, which hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually. It has also hosted the Indycar Series, CART, USAC and the Rolex Sports Car Series. For those who wish to participate in the action, Avondale also offers the American Sports Center, a $7.8 million, 83,000-square-foot indoor sports complex offering year-round volleyball, basketball and soccer. It provides a wide variety of leagues, classes, clinics, tournaments and special events.
Almost 80 years ago, the Buckeye Chamber of Commerce started the Helzapoppin Days, which became a local tradition. The festivities included street dances, parade, carnival and a rodeo, and it was even attended by such celebrities as cowboy singing star Gene Autry. Today, you can still enjoy similar local holidays, such as the annual Pioneer Days, in this family-friendly town on the western edge of Greater Phoenix.
Known for Native traditions and Old West history, Casa Grande offers a traditional all-American feel with plenty of cultural attractions. Its Casa Grande Ruins National Monument was the first cultural and prehistoric site to be protected by the United States government and is open to visitors today. The town also plays host to a number of events and festivals celebrating its history, including Cowboy Days, an annual, weeklong event that draws visitors from across the area.
Where else in Arizona can you spy ostrich running wild once a year, but also find a state-of-the-art performance and visual arts center all year long? Chandler offers arts, culture, history and an array of events perfect for families. Everything from Chandler’s Day of Play Festival to local flamenco dancing to beautiful parks like Desert Breeze makes Chandler a great place to work and live.
Fountain Hills is home to the world’s highest fountain – at 560 feet, it’s higher than the Washington Monument, Notre Dame Cathedral, Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Cheops and Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Geyser. While it draws visitors from everywhere, so do Fountain Hills’ local theater, museum, winery and various local art galleries. Plus, nestled at the base of the Superstitions, this friendly town full of parks and shops is also replete with natural beauty and majestic mountain views.
Away from the bustle of Greater Phoenix’s most populated areas, Gila Bend offers a laid-back lifestyle with plenty of natural attractions. Located close to the South Maricopa Mountains Wilderness Trails, the Sonoran Desert National Monument – once praised by President Clinton – and Painted Rock Petroglyph Site, it’s a haven for hikers and history buffs alike. The Gila Bend Museum features artifacts found from earlier civilizations that once lived along the Gila River. With Gila Bend’s recent solar success and rapid growth, it also offers residents a wide range of community events.
Gilbert’s lifestyle scene caters to families, with multiple parks, children’s dance studios and also places like Bounce U and Family Time offering plenty of diversions for the kiddos. But don’t worry – it’s got a grown-up side, too. The town’s 4th Friday Gilbert Artwalk is growing, and venues like the Hale Centre Theatre, Higley Center for the Performing Arts and Gilbert Civic Center provide something for everyone.
Glendale is rapidly becoming the arts and entertainment center of the West Valley. Westgate City Center hosts continuous events and entertainment for residents, as well as shopping, dining and a movie theater. Sports fans will also have plenty to cheer for here – University of Phoenix Stadium hosts Arizona Cardinals games and Jobing.com Arena is home to the Phoenix Coyotes and is a major concert venue. Historical Downtown Glendale offers antiques, boutiques, restaurants and is home to
annual events like Glendale Chocolate Affaire and Glendale Glitters.
Goodyear is a tight-knit community dedicated to getting families out into the fresh air. It’s home to the Goodyear Ballpark, where MLB Spring Training takes center stage each spring, and a free family movie night takes place from May through October. The City of Goodyear also presents the Family Concert Series, where families bring lawn chairs and blankets to listen to a wide variety of bands. And the Goodyear market springs up once a month offering fresh produce, arts and crafts.
The City of Maricopa offers the experience of a small-town, rural atmosphere located just a short distance from two major metropolitan areas. Its annual salsa festival puts the best salsas in the Southwest up against each other and draws taste testers from around the state. It also hosts the Great American BBQ, the annual Fishing Derby and Movies in the Park. Maricopa is surrounded by Indian reservations and celebrates the Native American culture through local arts and events.
Mesa is home to some of the region’s major cultural attractions and entertainment. The award-winning Mesa Art Center’s five galleries showcase contemporary art from globally renowned artists. Home to Chicago Cubs spring training, Mesa’s Hohokam Park draws Midwesterners and Cubs fans in the springtime, and music lovers enjoy outdoor concerts at the Mesa Amphitheatre. From museums to concerts, history to modern art, Mesa offers a diverse lifestyle.
Peoria is home to a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, the Challenger Space Center, where visitors can explore the mysteries and wonders of space, science and the universe. The Peoria Sports Complex hosts two MLB teams each spring, the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners. Here, you can take your pick from the many local events, museums and theaters to visit – or join countless other Peoria residents for a relaxing day on Lake Pleasant.
You name it – Phoenix has it. From the world-renowned Phoenix Art Museum to the highly acclaimed Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix boasts a tremendous arts and culture scene that seems to be growing by the day. Live music including classical, blues, local bands and major concerts are easy to come by, and Downtown Phoenix’s First Friday Artwalk is a popular event each month with thousands of attendees. Phoenix is chock-full of local galleries, boutiques and studios. It’s also home to Chase field, U.S. Airways arena, The Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Gardens, and serves as host to various major events including the annual PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon.
Queen Creek is a quiet but friendly community that embraces art, history and music. Located in Greater Phoenix’s East Valley, it offers local dance studios, a pottery studio and a performing arts center. For a taste of this historically agricultural area’s past, don’t miss Schnepf Farms – a family-owned farm nearly 90 years old that has children’s rides, a restaurant, farm animals and an orchard. It even hosts large annual events like Country Thunder!
From the simple to the sophisticated, you’ll find a full range of arts and entertainment in Scottsdale. Beyond the many theaters, museums and galleries to visit – not to mention renowned nightlife – Scottsdale also plays host to many of the region’s major events including the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Barrett Jackson car auction. Old Town Scottsdale is very walkable, and residents enjoy local hiking, biking or simply relaxing in one of the city’s many beautiful parks.
Surprise residents in general are very active – both outdoors and within their community. Locally, they can hike, bike or camp in the nearby White Tank Mountains, enjoy the local aquatics center or the tennis and racquet complex or catch a Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium. Surprise also offers a local theater and performing arts center as well as various local arts and culture events.
Tempe is known for its vibrant, walkable downtown and college spirit, with plenty of cultural events centered around the ASU campus. From a casual lecture series to a poetry slam at a local coffee house, from a local artist’s showing at a Mill Avenue gallery to a major event like Tempe Festival for the Arts, there’s always something happening in and around Tempe. Gammage Auditorium and the Marquee Theater offer some of the best acts from around the world, there’s always a sporting event happening nearby and Tempe Town Lake offers residents and visitors not just a place to boat, bike and walk, but also non-stop events like outdoor concerts, races and festivals.
Tolleson offers a small community feel, but it’s also one of the closest cities to downtown Phoenix. The City of Tolleson hosts a variety of family events around holidays, like its annual Easter and 4th of July celebrations, as well as additional family-focused events throughout the year. From Movies in the Park to the Whoopee Daze Festival for teens to the Community Paint-a-Thon each year, where residents band together to improve the city’s neighborhoods, Tolleson is full of community-focused activities for all ages.
Once named the dude ranch capital of the world, Wickenburg now has a multitude of modern conveniences, but prides itself on being a place where the Western ambiance still thrives. Many People settle in Wickenburg for its abundant clean air and wide-open spaces. On the northern edge of the beautiful Sonoran Desert, it cherishes early-day traditions with events like the Gold Rush Days, Desert Caballeros Ride, Cowboy Christmas Poetry Celebration and the annual Bluegrass Festival.