Phoenix’s hot summer temperatures have residents looking for indoor activities where they can spend time in air-conditioned bliss. Lucky for them, plenty of spots around town have opened or will be having events where they can spend time having fun in a cool environment.
From learning how to make Navajo waffles to tubing down the Salt River, here are nine ways to stay cool this summer!
868 N. Gilbert Road in Gilbert
Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the US. If you’ve been looking to try this cross between tennis and badminton, you can do so in an air-conditioned environment at Pickleball Backyard in Gilbert. The park opened in late June, making it the newest spot on our list. Pickleball Backyard features a total of six courts, two of which are championship courts.
Check out the events calendar to see when this spot hosts workshops for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players. A court reservation costs $12.50 per player, per hour. Drop-in play costs $10 per person.
1825 N. Central Ave. in Central Phoenix
From Aug. 2 to Sept. 3, you can catch a performance of the hit musical “Dreamgirls” at the main stage of the Phoenix Theatre Company. In case you need a refresher (the movie starring Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson came out in 2006), “Dreamgirls” follows the lives of three performers in the 1960s and their rise to stardom, inspired by top acts of the time like Diana Ross and the Supremes. Expect to hear hits like “One Night Only” and “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Tickets start at $50.
1100 N. Central Ave. in downtown Phoenix
Downtown Phoenix’s FOUND:RE Hotel wants you to “Be our Guest, Be our Guest at this Disney-inspired Food Faire” on July 22 from noon-4 p.m. Encouraged to don costumes, guests can stroll inside the hotel’s gallery and lounge as they nosh on foods inspired by Disney films or items served in the parks. While they stroll, visitors can watch and listen to clips of Disney films playing in the background. Expect to find Dole whip, smoked turkey legs, cheeseburger spring rolls, and baked meatballs topped with marinara inspired by “Lady and the Tramp.” Ticket prices start at $10 per person and can be purchased using this Eventbrite link. Every guest will be entered to win two Disneyland tickets.
Two locations in metro Phoenix
Strap on a pair of roller skates or blades and do some laps around the more than 13,000-square-foot rink. Skateland is perfect for adults and kids. Skaters of all levels are welcome. Kids can get adjustable roller skates designed for beginners or use plastic SkateMates (plastic frames on wheels that act similar to walkers) if they’re just learning. In between skating, kids can play games at the arcade. Skateland also has special events, as on July 29, when Skateland Mesa will host a Barbie Movie Skate. The best Barbie and Ken costumes take home prizes.
Check the schedule before you go, as Skateland has different sessions for skating at select times. First-timers must also sign a waiver.
7366 Paseo del Norte in Tucson
This might sound like something out of a storybook, but it’s totally true. The Queen of the Night is a desert flower that blooms for one night and one night only each year. To commemorate the occasion, Tucson’s Tohono Chul opens the doors to its gardens and galleries at night so visitors can see these beautiful flowers bloom together. Sign up for the Bloom Watch and email list to see when the flower will blossom. Notice can be as short as 12 hours.
Fun fact: Tohono Chul is home to the largest collection of Queen of the Night flowers in the world.
1201 N. Galvin Parkway in Phoenix
Grab your flashlight and head to the Desert Botanical Garden on Saturdays this summer for Flashlight Nights. From now until Sept. 2, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. nightly, Desert Botanical Garden stays open late and allows guests to explore the grounds. Attendees also can look forward to live performances, cool treats, activities like glow-chalk murals, and visits from Liberty Wildlife or the Phoenix Herpetological Society and their creatures. Visit this link to see who will be performing. Tickets for Flashlight Nights cost $16.95 per person and are sold in half-hour increments.
4725 E. Mayo Blvd. in Phoenix
From now until Sept. 10, you have a chance to see truly legendary musical instruments at the Musical Instrument Museum. The Rediscover Treasures: Legendary Musical Instruments collection features a total of 28 instruments, including a purple grand piano owned by Prince, as well as Eric Clapton’s “Brownie” guitar. This exhibit costs $7 in addition to general admission fees. Adult tickets cost $20 each, teens ages 13-19 cost $15, children ages 4-12 cost $10 each, and children ages 3 and younger are free.
1215 E. Missouri Ave., Ste. 1, in Phoenix
Flower shop Form Floral at the Fred will be hosting a special blue corn masa demo on July 13 from 6-9 p.m. Form carries blue corn masa from Masienda, which workshop attendees will use to make more than just tortillas from this food product. Lifestyle and food blogger Alana Yazzie from The Fancy Navajo leads the class. Yazzie will show attendees how to make blue corn waffles before allowing them to choose their own toppings. Tickets cost $55 each and include a waffle to eat and a bag of blue corn masa.
9200 N. Bush Highway in Mesa
Tubing the Salt River is a rite of passage for Phoenix residents. Rent an inner tube, hop on a repurposed school bus, then jump in the Salt River to cool off. Relax in the placid and cool Salt River as stunning Arizona scenery slips by. Many tubers bring adult beverages, food, and coolers to make the ride even more enjoyable—just make sure to plan for how to carry those (an extra float and a dry bag usually works).
Salt River Tubing also hosts themed events throughout the summer, giving floaters a reason to dress up. Themes include superheroes, Spooktacular Halloween, Mardi Gras Magic, and Mega Hawaiian Hula. All guests must be at least 8 years old and 4 feet tall. The last tube rental is at 2 p.m. and costs $25 per person, including the shuttle ride.
Pro tip: Be sure to bring a large towel or sheet to cover your inner tube. The rubber from the tub can burn your skin if it’s hot enough outside. Bring ropes if you want to tie tubes together so you can float and talk together.