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13 Fun & Best Things to Do in Chandler, Arizona

Chandler might not be that well-known outside of Arizona, but it’s a beautiful suburb southeast of Phoenix. The city is a vacation destination with gorgeous parks, a vibrant downtown, championship golf courses, and numerous shopping and dining opportunities, all with a Sonoran Desert landscape.

The area is also rich in culture and history, with the Gila River Indian Community located in South Chandler. There are so many things to do in Chandler, Arizona, no matter your age!

Kids will love top attractions like the Crayola Experience (one of only 5 locations in the world!), where they can turn themselves into a coloring page and name their crayons! With almost 11 months of sunshine, families will enjoy one of the largest playgrounds in the area at Tumbleweed Park.

This playground is impressive, with bridges, tunnels, and slides! Finally, budding train conductors will love the Arizona Railway Museum, with train cars from different periods on display.

Golfers will enjoy the Bear Creek Golf Complex, with two courses to suit all skill levels. In addition, shoppers will be surprised that Chandler has one of the region’s largest malls, the Chandler Fashion Center Mall, with almost 200 stores!

The dining scene is incredible, with culinary delights ranging from Southern comfort to exquisite Japanese. And this suburb of Phoenix also has one of the best art galleries showcasing American Indian art and Western American art.

Whether traveling as a family, group (or even solo!), you’ll have access to plenty of art, culture, shopping, dining, golf, and local events! Here are the top fun and best things to do in Chandler, Arizona.

Cambria Hotel Phoenix Chandler Fashion Center
1. Cambria Hotel Phoenix Chandler - Fashion Center Top Recommendation

The Cambria Hotel Phoenix Chandler - Fashion Center is located off Interstate 10 and just minutes from downtown Phoenix. This pet-friendly hotel, which offers free WiFi access in all areas, serves a daily continental breakfast with fresh fruit and pastries. All guest rooms are equipped with a work desk, microwave and refrigerator.

Holiday Inn Phoenix Chandler an IHG Hotel
2. Holiday Inn Phoenix/Chandler, an IHG Hotel

Holiday Inn Phoenix/Chandler, Arizona is a three-story hotel with a seasonal outdoor pool, central air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. It is located on Highway 60 near the Loop 202, which offers access to nearby attractions such as Ocotillo Golf Resort, Arizona Railway Museum and Chandler Fashion Center.

Sonesta Select Phoenix Chandler
3. Sonesta Select Phoenix Chandler

The Sonesta Select Phoenix Chandler is a modern hotel located in the heart of Chandler, Arizona. It is a short drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and only minutes away from attractions such as the Desert Botanical Garden. In addition to spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi, it features an outdoor pool, a hot tub and a full fitness center.

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – Tumbleweed Ranch
  • Best park – Desert Breeze Park
  • Best free activity – Chandler Nature Center
  • Best activity for kids – Crayola Experience Chandler
  • Best activity for adults – Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
  • Best food – Shimogamo Japanese Restaurant
  • Best nightlife – The Ostrich
  • Best all-around accommodationSheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

Best & Fun Things to Do in Chandler, Arizona

1. Downtown Chandler

Downtown Chandler
Mark Skalny / Shutterstock.com

Address: 240 S Washington St, Chandler, AZ 85225

Downtown Chandler is the cornerstone of the city’s culture, arts, dining, and shopping! Not only does it have the Chandler Center for the Arts, but historic downtown Chandler has colorful street art, boutique shops, delectable restaurants, and trendy brew pubs, and it is the home of numerous special events.

Some popular events include the You’re Bacon Me Crazy Brunch Crawl, the Chandler Jazz Festival, Sippin’ Santas Pub Crawl, Kids Day at the Downtown Chandler Farmers Market, and Yoga at the Market. But the fun doesn’t stop there!

With six breweries spanning two miles, you can delight in some or all of the frosty local beverages on the Chandler Beer Trail. And if you’re hungry, you’ve got almost fifty dining establishments nearby! You can also find live entertainment every night of the week, from comedy shows to karaoke and live music.

So, if you find yourself visiting this Phoenix suburb, downtown is easily one of the best things to do in Chandler, Arizona!

After a day of shopping, dining, and sightseeing, cool off at the swimming pool at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn. Within walking distance of all of the downtown fun, you can rest your eyes without worrying about driving anywhere.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Phoenix, Arizona

 2. Chandler Center for the Arts

Chandler Center for the Arts
Image by KayliekochanskiCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 250 N Arizona Ave, Chandler, AZ 85225

Opened in 1989, the Chandler Center for the Arts is an outstanding venue for live theatrical and music performances. In addition, the beautiful building is home to the Chandler High School theatre program.

Conveniently located in downtown Chandler, guests can eat a delicious meal before enjoying one of the many shows. In addition, the Center has weekly performances and rotating art exhibits. There are two galleries and three theaters, each providing patrons with a unique experience.

The largest theater is the Main Stage, with seating up to 1,500, but no seating is more than 99 feet from the stage. The more intimate theaters include the Recital Hall and the Hal Bogle Theatre, with 246 seats and 346 seats, respectively.

When visiting Chandler, check the event calendar at this “best-kept secret” to score a seat at one of the weekly performances!

If you want to step back into the 20s and have a cocktail before (or after) your show, head to The Ostrich nearby. This basement speakeasy is a hidden gem!

See Related: Best Things to do in Arizona & Places to Visit

3. Veterans Oasis Park

Veterans Oasis Park

Address: 4050 E Chandler Heights Rd, Chandler, AZ 85249

If you are looking for outdoor activities in Chandler, you must put this park on your itinerary. Veterans Oasis Park spans over 110 acres, with an outdoor amphitheater, equestrian trails, a lake for fishing, and hiking trails. Much of the park is designed for wetlands and groundwater recharge zones, so visitors often see unique wildlife.

If you’re hoping to fish, drop a line into the park’s quiet lake. You may catch a feisty catfish! Anglers can also expect to catch largemouth bass, hybrid sunfish, rainbow trout, and bluegill. The city stocks the lake twice a month from fall to summer, so you’re almost guaranteed a great catch! However, make sure to have a fishing license before you head to the park, as they’re not sold there.

Kids and adults will love the self-guided Solar System Walk, where each foot represents 1.5 million miles. This path is to scale, so the distance from Earth to the sun is 62 feet or 93 million miles. Within 2,500 feet, you can “see” the entire solar system, including the planets, the sun, and other celestial objects.

Veterans Oasis Park also hosts seasonal events, including monthly bird walks. If you’d like to see more about local wildlife in Chandler, stop by the Chandler Nature Center for their nature exhibits!

This 110-acre park is easily one of the best things to do in Chandler, Arizona, whether you’re a birdwatcher, equestrian, or playground climbing kid.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Jerome, Arizona

 4. Crayola Experience Chandler

Address: 3111 W Chandler Blvd Suite 2154, Chandler, AZ 85226

With 20,000 square feet of creative space for kids and adults, the Crayola Experience is one of the best tourist attractions in Chandler! Unfortunately, there are only 5 locations worldwide, so make sure to put this on your itinerary when you’re in Arizona.

Adults will love learning about the history of the Crayola crayon, while kids will love all of the interactive play! There are almost 20 fun and whimsical exhibits, including “Be a Star,” where your image is printed on a coloring page, and “Wrap it Up,” where you can customize your own Crayola crayon!

This superb attraction is perfect for a rainy day activity, with so much creative fun to explore. And it’s fun for the whole family, not just the kids. Prepare to spend a few hours here, so plan your day accordingly and grab your skip-the-line tickets before you go.

5. Chandler Fashion Center

Chandler Fashion Center

Address: 3111 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

You may not expect one of the region’s largest shopping malls to be in Chandler, but the Chandler Fashion Center has all the retail stores and boutiques you could possibly want. With almost 200 upscale stores, including lululemon, Macy’s, Apple, and Urban Outfitters, you could spend all day here!

Of course, there are numerous restaurants if you work up an appetite while tackling your shopping list. Feel like a snack? Grab a warm pretzel at Auntie Anne’s and a boba tea from Boba Tea Company.

There are also casual lunch options like Panda Express and Five Guys Burgers, but if you’re still at the mall at dinner time, stop at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar or Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant for some delectable options!

The mall often has special events, especially around the holidays. Wintertime brings photos with Santa and a Winter Wonderland Vendor Market. There’s even a sensory-friendly Santa event!

And while parking is plentiful, there is a valet for your convenience. And bonus, you don’t have to hold on to a paper valet ticket to retrieve your car! (Hint: it’s ticketless through your phone)

If you can’t get all of your shopping done in one day, stay at the Element Chandler Fashion Center, where you can rest up before tackling your shopping list again!

See Related: Cheapest Shopping Destinations in the World

6. Koli Equestrian Center

Koli Equestrian Center
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 6940 West Broken Ear Road, Chandler, AZ 85226

Located on the Gila River Indian Reservation, the Koli Equestrian Center offers miles of horseback riding trails to enjoy. Although it’s just minutes from downtown Phoenix, you’ll think you’re somewhere else with all the breathtaking scenery.

In addition, you may even spot some wild horses at Wild Horse Pass if you take a private horseback trail ride! Whether you’re an expert equestrian or the closest you’ve gotten to a horse is a game of horseshoes, they’ve got you covered. It’s as simple as riding a horse in the Arizona sunshine!

Not only do they cater to beginners and experts, but they can also accommodate private rides or group rides. One important note: all of their experiences are “walking rides” for the safety of the horses and participants.

However, if you have a lot of experience, they suggest a private ride so you can participate at your skill level. In addition, you can often see where the wild horses roam!

Some of the popular experiences include:

  • Trail Ride and Cowboy Sunset Dinner
  • Early Bird 60-Minute Ride
  • Saturday Date Night
  • Birthday Party
  • Margarita Sunset 60-Minute Ride
  • Hay Wagon Ride

This family-friendly activity is fun for the whole family, though if you have younger kids, they may appreciate the Hay Wagon Ride experience the most!

Need a massage after horseback riding? The nearby Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass has a full-service spa that can relieve all of your stress and worries. Stay the night at this incredibly beautiful resort and enjoy the 5-star restaurant while you’re there.

7. Bear Creek Golf Complex

Bear Creek Golf Complex
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 500 E Riggs Rd, Chandler, AZ 85249

Fore! Whether you’ve got the itch to play a round of golf or your buddies coerced you into it, you should book a tee time at Chandler’s Bear Creek Golf Complex. The complex has two courses, one of which is a links-style championship course, while the other is more family-friendly.

The championship course is the Bear Course, which plays to a par 71 and stretches almost 7,000 yards from the back tees. This course includes well-conditioned greens, strategic bunkering, and rolling fairways. Most golfers finish the Bear Course in about four hours.

However, think about the Cub Course if you’ve got less time and more mulligans. This par 59 course is perfect for all ages and abilities, with just over 3,500 yards in length. Most holes are par 3s, with only some as par 4s.

You’ll get to test out every club in your bag, though, with the varying lengths of each hole. And, unlike the Bear Course, golfers should finish this course in about two and a half hours.

If you look forward to the 19th hole, you’ll find it at the Bear’s Den Bar & Grill. This casual grill has outdoor seating and flat-screen TVs and serves sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and the like.

The Bear Creek Golf Complex has something for everyone from beginner to expert, so make sure to put it on your Chandler itinerary!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Cave Creek, Arizona

8. Arizona Railway Museum

Arizona Railway Museum
Image by Clay Gilliland used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 330 E Ryan Rd, Chandler, AZ 85286

The Arizona Railway Museum is dedicated to showcasing the railroads of Arizona. Open from September to May every year, the museum has an extensive display of railroad artifacts and rolling stock.

Currently, twelve rail cars are on display, ten of which are Santa Fe cars, one is a Southern Pacific car, and one is a South Carolina business car. In addition, two of the rail cars on display are designated as part of the National Register of Historic Places – the Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive No. SP 2562, Tender No. 8365, and the Railroad Steam Wrecking Crane and Tool Car.

If you’ve got a budding train conductor on your hands, a trip to this museum should be on your must-do list! While the best part of the museum is walking through the old train cars, the small building and gift shop resembles an old railroad depot.

9. Tumbleweed Park

Tumbleweed Park Chandler Arizona
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 745 E Germann Rd, Chandler, AZ 85286

Located in South Chandler, the 2.5-acre Tumbleweed Park is the area’s pride and joy. This incredible park has something for all ages, from a fossil dig area to zip lines and everything in between.

Tumbleweed Park is a kid’s dream park, and parents will love that there is a sizable, covered playscape to keep your tots out of the sun. In addition, there are plenty of biking trails, pavilions, sports courts, picnic tables, tennis courts, and fields, so you can do pretty much anything here!

The Tumbleweed Recreation Center is also at the park, with over 60,000 square feet of racquetball courts, a dance studio, fitness areas, a gym, and an indoor track. This remarkable indoor space offers drop-in access, so you can stop by for a game of basketball or racquetball while in town!

And if you happen to be in town during the Ostrich Festival, you’re in for a real treat. In addition to games, rides, food, and fun, you can also see ostriches!

So, whether you’re looking to run a few miles, let your kids burn off some extra energy, or enjoy one of the many local events, you’ll find it at Tumbleweed Park!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Prescott, Arizona

10. Desert Breeze Park

desert breeze park chandler arizona
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd., East Chandler, AZ 85226

Chandler, Arizona, has some of the best parks in the area, and Desert Breeze Park is no exception. The park’s amenities are seemingly endless, such as a splash pad, fishing lake, carousel, train, and hummingbird garden. Locals and tourists love this park!

Kids will love the splash pad, especially on those hot Arizona afternoons! However, there are also three playgrounds where kids can get their wiggles out, walking trails, and plenty of terrific places for a picnic, especially the ramadas. And if you’re feeling like dropping a line into the water, you may catch sunfish, bass, trout, or catfish.

You can also enjoy nature for a few hours with the park’s shady mesquite trees and tall palms that provide a little respite during the hot summer. In addition, the Hummingbird Habitat gives you a close-up view of hummingbirds visiting southwestern plants. Trail markers identify some of the plants.

The whole family will love the Desert Breeze Railroad, the open-air train traveling around the lake and park. And for some vintage fun, you should ride the park’s carousel, which only costs one ticket!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Pine, Arizona

11. Chandler Museum

Chandler Museum
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 300 S Chandler Village Dr, Chandler, AZ 85226

The Chandler Museum is a fantastic history, culture, and art source, with its world-class exhibits, online resources, and presentations. While the Chandler Museum is physically located on S. Chandler Village Drive, it comprises numerous buildings and displays across town. 

The main building showcases Chandler’s rich history with photographs, oral histories, and artifacts. Adjacent to the main building is the historic McCullough-Price House, which now houses the research and archive library. 

However, eleven permanent displays around the town also tell the area’s story. These park kiosks are essential to Chandler’s history, telling the stories of local businesses, people, and culture. 

The park kiosks are located at the following parks: Arbuckle Park, Tibshraeny Family Park, Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, Snedigar Park, Espee Park, Thude Park, Nozomi Park, Ryan Park, N.J. Harris Park, Silk Stocking Pocket Park, and Park Manors Park.

In addition to the parks, you can visit the Chandler Police Station and the Chandler Fire Station for their museum displays highlighting their history. Finally, if you’re craving more local history, see the administrative office at Chandler High School and the San Marcos Hotel, with exhibits of their century-old history.

Tumbleweed Ranch, also operated by Chandler Museum, highlights the city’s early agricultural roots, with the importance of sheep, sugar beets, dairy, alfalfa, cotton, and citrus. This museum and its exhibits across the town are one of the best ways to learn about the history of Chandler, Arizona!

And, if you are hungry after your day of sightseeing, try some of the most exquisite Japanese fares at Shimogamo Japanese Restaurant, including Omakase and Wagyu beef.

See Related: Things to Do in Page, Arizona

12. Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park

Address: 20000 S Maricopa Rd, Chandler, AZ 85226

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, look no further than the 450-acre Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. This incredible racing complex has been open for almost 40 years and is a staple in the local racing scene. 

Chandler may be a small town, but this Motorsports Park has seen racing legends from Mario Andretti to Shirley Muldowney grace its tracks. Since its opening, it’s become a racing competition destination. Visitors to the track can see car shows, off-road racing, or 300-mph dragsters! With four tracks, there is something for every race car lover:

  • 1/4 mile drag strip (NHRA sanctioned)
  • 1.25-mile road course with ten turns
  • 1.6-mile road course
  • 1.1-mile road course with 11 turns

Not only can you watch adrenaline-pumping racing, but you can participate too! Radford Racing School (formerly Bob Bondurant School) is also located on the property. Learn how to drive a Dodge SRT, keeping performance and thrill in mind.

One important thing to note: after the Winter 2023 NHRA Camping World event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the facility will be shut down to make way for a new highway. So, if you’re looking for an exhilarating experience while visiting Chandler, Arizona, now is your chance! 

13. The Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery

The Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery Chandler
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 22402 S Basha Rd, Chandler, AZ 85248

Opened in 1992, this regional art gallery focuses on contemporary American Indian art and contemporary Western American art. Its vast collection includes charcoal drawings, pottery, oil paintings, acrylics, sculptures, and kachinas. With over 3,000 pieces of art, you could spend hours in this gallery.

Ironically, this fantastic art gallery is located at the grocery store chain Bashas’ headquarters. The CEO, Eddie Basha Jr., dedicated the gallery to his art-loving aunt.

The exhibits showcase the events and people that shaped the area, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Native Americans, and the rise of the railroads. This free art gallery in Chandler, Arizona, is worth a visit, especially if you’re a history and art lover!

FAQ

What is the best thing to do with kids in Chandler, Arizona?

With fantastic weather roughly 11 months out of the year, there are many family-friendly activities in the such as Veterans Oasis Park and Desert Breeze Park. You can ride a carousel and take the Desert Breeze Railroad at Desert Breeze Park, or drop a line in the water at Veterans Oasis Park. In addition, a stop at the Arizona Railway Museum is a must for kids, with twelve railway cars on display!

What are some fun things to do in Chandler, Arizona?

Historic downtown Chandler is definitely a good place to start, with everything you need in a short walkable area. Whether you’re hungry for ramen or burgers, thirsty for local craft beers, or want to do some shopping, downtown should be your first stop! If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also go horseback riding at Koli Equestrian Center or watch a race at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

What are some things to do in Chandler, Arizona, when it’s raining?

If you’re looking for relaxation, head to the 5-star spa at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa for a facial and massage. The Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery and the Chandler Museum are absolutely necessary stops if you’re a lover of art, history, and culture. And if you’d like to get some shopping done, the Chandler Fashion Center is THE place! And, if you’re hoping for some exercise, try a day pass at the Tumbleweed Recreation Center.

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