Recently several friends have asked for eatery recommendations and things to do in my neck of the woods, so I’m sharing my favorite ways to kick it outside of my house (even though staying home with a passel of crazy little minions is my jam).
Phoenix is a great place to live! We have lots of great sports teams (including Spring training for the Chicago Cubs), great weather (er, minus the heatwave in June-August), an amazing food scene and beautiful mountains and desert landscape.
The east valley (Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe and Chandler) is my favorite, though, because it’s where I live! If you’re local or planning a visit, I hope this gives you some ideas.
Chelsea’s Kitchen – This is one of my favorite date night restaurants. With a really simple but flavorful menu, I’m always thrilled with whatever I choose. There’s usually a wait on weekends and other peak times, but the salted chocolate chip cookies they offer to those waiting for a table makes it well worth it!
La Grande Orange (LGO) – Owned by the same people as Chelsea’s, this cute little grocer offers much more than your typical deli. Salads, sandwiches and baked goods abound, plus gifts and knick knacks to keep you browsing for hours. Right next door is a pretty great sit-down pizzeria with more dessert!
Sweet Republic – This adorable little ice cream shop is a bit of a drive for me (located in north Scottsdale) but I make it without hesitation for this place. Their Toffee Banofi Sundae has been written about in multiple magazines and it’s definitely worth the hype. The midwife I used with Finn was located down the street from this place and that was, er… dangerous.
Downtown Gilbert – This quaint old-timey district is home to all kinds of yummy food: Joe’s BBQ, Liberty Market, Joyride, Postino, Romeo’s Euro Cafe, I love it all! It’s always hopping in the evenings and there are almost a dozen restaurant choices all within walking distance. A great place to hit up for lunch, too!
City pools & water parks – If you happen to come to the Valley of the Sun when it is, indeed, sunny, you’ll want to hit up a local pool! I love the local city pools. A far cry form the public pool of yesteryear, these things have water slides, lazy rivers, climbing structures in the shallow area and beach-style entry perfect for little non-swimmers. Chandler pools are my favorite on this side of town!
Bonus: you can get the whole family in for about 10 bucks!
If you’re in town during the really hot months, or prefer to stay indoors, check out Oceanside Ice Arena. There are actually quite a few ice rinks available in the area but this one is the closest to me (my boys will be starting hockey at one of these rinks soon!).
There are lots and lots of great hiking trails in the Phoenix area! I found two awesome guides to some fun trails: check out this one and this one. It’s pretty much perfect hiking weather here from September to May! Not just Phoenix, but the whole of Arizona has some of the best trails and the best scenery for hikes. For example, the wave in the Vermillion Cliffs is a fantastic route! However, it can be incredibly difficult, so it’s best to invest in the wave az tours, which can also enrich your experience as the experts know where the best scenery is.
If you’re interested in something artsy, see what’s playing at ASU’s Gammage auditorium. I’ve seen lots of Broadway plays here and there’s really not a bad seat in the house! The Mesa Arts Center also offers some great performances, plus the downtown Mesa area is full of cute shops and more art.
Lastly, don’t forget to check out Eventbrite for local events in my area or yours. I just bought tickets for an event through their website recently and was amazed at all the other great stuff I saw…professional meetups, parties, classes, you name it! I found out you can also create your own event through Eventbrite. I’ve been wondering what kind of raging party I can plan to use it. You know a party’s legit if you buy tickets through an actual 3rd party website! Haha!
Let me know who wants to come to town and party with this teetotaler, sleep-deprived mom-animal. #partylikeits1999