Chandler, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix, is home to unique museums, performing arts and fun activities. Go on a horseback riding adventure at Koli Equestrian Center, visit the Arizona Railway Museum, view Western American and American Indian Art at the Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery, and stop by the Environmental Education Center.
Best things to do in Chandler, Arizona, include the Tumbleweed Recreation Center, Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass and the Desert Breeze Railroad.
1. Chandler Center for the Arts
© Chandler Center for the Arts
Located in downtown Chandler, the Chandler Center for the Arts is home to a 1,500-seat theater that presents a calendar of shows, plays, presentations, and exhibitions of visual arts and media throughout the year. The center is one of the top Chandler attractions and functions as the arts center for the City of Chandler and the home theater for Chandler High School.
Rotating exhibits and displays from over 350 local and regional artists are showcased in the Exhibition Hall and Vision Gallery featuring a broad range of different media, including ceramics, textiles, painting, sculpture, glass and metal.
250 N Arizona Ave, 480-782-2680
2. Arizona Railway Museum
© Arizona Railway Museum
The Arizona Railway Museum was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to showcasing the history and heritage of the railroads of Arizona and the Southwestern United States.
The museum features an extensive collection of railway-based artifacts and objects, including the Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive No. SP 2562 and the Railroad Steam Wrecking Crane and Tool Car.
The Arizona Railway Museum is one of the best things to do in Chandler, Arizona on your vacation.
Visitors to the museum can explore the inside of some of the trains, such as the Santa Fe "Diablo Canyon" Coach Car and the Santa Fe "Plaza Taos" Dome Car's "Lounge Room" which was built in 1950.
330 E. Ryan Road, 480-821-1108
3. Koli Equestrian Center
© Koli Equestrian Center
Koli Equestrian Center offers horseback riding adventures and experiences for all levels of riders. Situated on the Gila River Indian Reservation and just minutes away from downtown Phoenix, Koli Equestrian Center features spectacular natural landscapes and breathtaking vistas that can be enjoyed on guided outrides, private and group rides, wagon rides and special events.
Friendly, experienced wranglers take care of every guest’s need, from pairing riders to the right horses to guiding visitors on rides around the ranch and keeping an eye out for wild horses at Wild Horse Pass. Riders receive instruction and safety briefings before heading out onto the network of spectacular desert trails, where the sunrise, sunset, beautiful landscapes, natural scenery and fauna and flora can be enjoyed.
Koli Equestrian Center hosts Cowboy or Cowgirl's birthday parties, and provides Horsemanship 101 courses and enjoyable horse drawn hay rides for guests of all ages.
Near Wild Horse Pass Blvd and Maricopa Rd off Koli Rd, 6940 W Broken Ear Rd, 602-796-3495
4. Crayola Experience Chandler
© Crayola Experience Chandler
There’s nothing quite like a newly opened box of Crayola Crayons, but what about extra-large, taller-than-you crayons? You’ll find them at the Crayola Experience in Chandler. At the Crayola Experience in Chandler, you and your family can play with the countless possibilities of colors with hands-on and creative attractions perfect for children of any age. The Crayola Experience is an easy drive from Phoenix and promises bigger, bolder, and brighter attractions like the Chaos and Creativity Show, Melt and Mold stations, Crayola Modeling workshops, Colossal Caddy, which features huge crayons, Scribble Square, where kids can literally draw on every surface, and even a Wrap It Up! Studio where visitors can name and wrap their own crayons.
3111 W. Chandler Boulevard Suite 2154, Chandler, Arizona 85226; Phone: 602-581-5370 (Website)
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5. Environmental Education Center
© Environmental Education Center
Chandler’s Environmental Education Center (EEC) offers a range of educational programming for nature, wildlife, natural sciences, health, fitness, and general ‘outdoorsmanship’. Based at the Veterans Oasis Park, which boasts 113-acres of beautiful Sonoran Desert landscapes, the center provides an opportunity to inspire, encourage and educate the public about the surrounding environment. If you are wondering what to do in Chandler, Arizona with kids, this is a great place to visit.
The ECC features several classrooms, pavilion spaces with exhibits, and a display of wildlife that visitors can explore. Some of the signature events include the Earth Day and Arbor Day Celebration, the Sonoran Sunset Series, Dragonfly and Butterfly Bash, the Fall Fishing Clinic, Chandler Scout Jamboree and Outdoor Safety Event.
The Veterans Oasis Park features a variety of diverse fauna and flora that live in both lush wetlands and arid habitats, as well as a network of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, shaded picnic areas and armadas. There is an outdoor amphitheater and a unique, learning-oriented playground, and an outstanding butterfly and hummingbird habitat.
4050 E. Chandler Heights Road, 480-782-2890
6. Aji Spa at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa
© Aji Spa at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa
Based at the five-star Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, Aji Spa is a luxurious spa and wellness center that offers a range of authentic Native American spa services. Named after the nearby Aji Mountain in the Gila River Indian Community, the spa’s name means ‘sanctuary’ and lives up to that name where sacred Pima and Maricopa traditions are practiced and shared.
Echoing the ancient Pima and Maricopa cultures in the architecture, design, décor and artworks of the center, the spa offers a variety of spa treatments, facials, massages, nail and skin care packages. An exclusive
Indigenous Collection features treatments designed by Pima and Maricopa Cultural Caretakers, such as Ho’ishp (a sacred prickly pear body treatment), Pima Medicine Massage, and Ongam Hobin (sacred salt wrap).
Aji Spa also offers a range of gentlemen’s spa services, salon services, makeup applications for special occasions and fitness and recreation facilities.
5594 W Wild Horse Pass Blvd, 602-225-0100
7. Tumbleweed Recreation Center
© Tumbleweed Recreation Center
The Tumbleweed Recreation Center (TRC) is a family recreational facility that features a variety of sports facilities, games areas, classes, activities and events for visitors of all ages. The center has an indoor running track, state-of-the-art gymnasium, two racquetball courts, several exercise and dance studios and modern locker rooms and changing facilities.
Classes and programs include exercise and dance classes, youth programs and summer camps, SilverSneakers exercise programs for senior citizens, and an exclusive Child Watch program allows for parents to enjoy some exercise while their little ones are safe.
745 E. Germann Road, 480-782-2900
8. Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass
© Courtesy of Paolo Gallo - Fotolia.com
Featuring an array of attractions, retails stores and one of Arizona’s best steakhouses, Rawhide is a family-friendly tourist attraction in the form of an 1880s western town that gives visitors a taste of the Old West. Stroll around the town and take in the old buildings, saloons, and stores; watch a show at the Six Gun Theater and witness gunfights, daring falls, and all the antics of the Wild West’s Rough Riders.
Enjoy a hearty meal at The Steakhouse, one of the top restaurants in the area. Browse the little stores in the town where you can purchase western gear and clothing, candy, gifts and sundries that represent the spirit of the west.
5700 W. North Loop Road, 480-502-5600
9. The Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving
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The Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving offers classes and lessons to learn how to drive high performance cars. The school provides a range of courses from racing and off-road driving courses to karting, military, tactical and teen driving programs.
There is also a technical course for car enthusiasts who want to learn more about power, torque, and tech. Based on 60-acres of ground with a bespoke 1.6-mile racing track designed by world champion driver Bob Bondurant, the driving center offers a range of vehicles to choose from, classroom facilities for theoretical classes, and an on-site maintenance facility to ensure all the cars are in excellent condition.
It also offers knowledgeable, enthusiastic instructors, and a unique pit side classroom and crew for a truly interactive experience. The Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving also offers group events, team-building, and themed parties.
20000 S. Maricopa Road, Gate #3, 800-842-7223
10. Burst of Butterflies Paint Your Own Pottery and Art Studio
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Located in Historic Downtown Chandler, Burst of Butterflies Paint Your Own Pottery and Art Studio presents a variety of canvas, ceramic, porcelain and pottery classes for all ages. Established as an outlet for creativity and to support and promote local arts and culture, the family owned art studio presents an array of art and pottery-based classes, including canvas painting, candle making and glass fusion.
There are classes for couples, singles, and groups. A large outdoor patio is a perfect place to enjoy outdoor painting and group art events. Generally classes need to be booked in advance, however, there are ‘walk-in’ ceramics and canvas painting classes that can simply be joined without reservation.
141 West Boston Street, 480-559-8016
11. Chandler Fashion Center
© Chandler Fashion Center
Home to more than 180 retail stores, Chandler Fashion Center is a premier shopping destination in the Southeast Valley. Located on Chandler Boulevard, the center features four department stores - Dillard’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Sears – a wealth of high-end brand stores such as Ann Taylor, Sephora, Banana Republic and Michael Kors, as well as restaurants, cafés, bars and other shops.
Dining options include California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Wildflower Bread Company and Kona Grill while stores like LEGO and The Disney Store will keep the kids occupied for hours. The Chandler Fashion Center also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as free YouthSpark camps and monthly workshops at Microsoft, Lululemon complimentary yoga and fashion shows.
3111 W Chandler Blvd, 480-786-9307
12. Tryst Cafe
Tryst Cafe has been heralded as one of Arizona's best breakfast spots, serving up delicious organic, health-conscious cuisine with a focus on gluten-free and vegan options. The restaurant, which was opened in 2010 by Lisa Khnanisho, offers two locations throughout southern Arizona, including a new Chandler location. Diners can enjoy egg breakfasts paired with favorites like falafel, chorizo, or breakfast nachos, along with a menu of griddle favorites like banana quinoa pancakes or strawberry custard French toast. At lunch and dinner, beef and vegetarian burgers take center stage, along with harvest Buddha bowls, Thai shrimp lettuce wraps, and unique appetizers like honey-glazed Brussels sprouts. Locally-produced kombuchas, botanical iced teas, and organic coffees are available throughout the day, along with superfruit smoothies.
4205 S. Gilbert Rd, Chandler, AZ 85249, Phone: 480-656-1011
13. Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill
© Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill
Modern Asian meets American comfort in Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Owned by partners Ling and Louie, the celebrated restaurant can be found in six locations across the country, serving a comprehensive menu of traditional Asian-American fare for lunch and dinner.
From Hand-wrapped Pot Stickers and Loaded Nachos for starters to New Wave Pad Thai and Ling’s Meatloaf for entrées, whether you feel like East or West, Ling and Louie’s has it all.
Sip signature cocktails and handcrafted mules or choose from a range of spirits, wine and beer to go with your meal or enjoy a special menu and drinks specials during Happy Hour.
5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd, 520-796-7281
14. Ocotillo Golf Club
© Ocotillo Golf Club
Ocotillo Golf Resort is an award-winning golf course designed by Ted Robinson which opened in 1986. The course features fairways with lush surrounding landscapes of cascading waterfalls and colorful flora that are in striking contrast to the valley’s desert scenery.
Ocotillo Golf Resort features three nine-hole courses that can be played in various combinations, each laid out in formations that create birdie opportunities for golfers looking to challenge themselves. The golf club also boasts a full-service clubhouse with an award-winning golf shop, men’s and women’s modern locker rooms and Bernard's Restaurant & Bar.
Golfers can make use of outstanding practice facilities, which include a driving range, putting green and chipping green, as well as enjoy private and group lessons from professional golf instructors.
3751 S. Clubhouse Drive, 480-917-6660
15. Nando's Mexican Cafe
© Nando's Mexican Cafe
Nando’s Mexican Café is an easy-going, family-friendly restaurant that serves authentic and traditional Mexican cuisine, and tequila-inspired cocktails. Bright and airy, the restaurant boasts a warm and welcoming atmosphere with a menu of Sonoran-inspired dishes that include tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, chimichangas, and chipotle barbecue ribs.
There is also a choice of Mexican-inspired burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and platters, as well as seafood and barbecue meat dishes. Combo platters are ideal for sharing with family and friends while a range of side orders such as cilantro slaw, jalapeno cheese toast and pico de gallo are the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
Finish the meal with chocolate nachos, nutty banana flan or deep-fried ice cream, and a shot of mesquite or tequila.
1890 W. Germann Road, 480-855-4344
Shimogamo brings the best of fine Japanese cuisine to Chandler with an unforgettable dining experience. Owner and Executive Chef Sanae Otomo has created a menu that reflects the deep-rooted culture and heritage of Japanese cuisine, from fresh, made-to-order sushi and sashimi to small plates and entrées.
Start with miso soup and squid salad mixed with mountain vegetables, followed by small plates such as small plates such as pan-fried dumplings, assorted tempura and fried oysters and entrées like teriyaki spare ribs, grilled black snapper or deep-fried chicken cutlets accompanied by rice or noodle sides. The Japanese-influenced beverages list offers a range of hot and cold sake, shochu, beer, plum and other wines.
2051 W Warner Rd. #14, 480-899-7191
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17. Desert Breeze Railroad
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Located in Desert Breeze Park on Desert Breeze Boulevard, the Desert Breeze Railroad Express is a replica engine from the 1880s that offers rides around the park for both children and adults. With open-air coaches for added comfort, the train chugs around Desert Breeze Park on a scenic three-quarter mile tour, cruising past grass parks, lakes, and an old western town.
The park also has a beautiful antique carousel resplendent with over 30 painted ponies to take a twirl on to the sound of music. Stop by the snack bar, which serves a variety of light meals, snacks, and drinks, or host a birthday party for kids ages 2-10 at the park. The train runs on weekends from Labor Day through Memorial Day.
660 North Desert Breeze Blvd. East, 480-893-6652
18. SanTan Brewing Company
© SanTan Brewing Company
SanTan Brewing Company is one of Arizona’s favorite craft breweries. Established by Brewmaster Anthony Canecchia in 2007, SanTan Brewing produces and distributes Southwestern Style Ales throughout the state of Arizona, as well as pairing craft beer with craft food at their friendly neighborhood Brew Pub located in Downtown Chandler.
Featuring exposed brick walls, air vent pipes and simple wooden tables and chairs, the Brew Pub serves a creative menu of craft food made from locally sourced ingredients. Tuck into small plates of nachos, sliders, tostadas and chicken wings, followed by signature burgers and pizzas, handcrafted sandwiches, fish and chips. and shrimp and grits.
A full-service bar and an impressive wine list featuring local and international wines, craft beers, and cocktails are all available during Chandler’s popular Happy Hour. The Brew Pub is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and hosts special events such as Monday Movie Night and beer festivals.
8 South San Marcos Place, 480-917-8700
19. Chandler Museum
© Chandler Museum
Experience the cultural side of Chandler when you drop by the Chandler Museum. This one-of-a-kind destination features community-focused exhibits, forums, and programs that are designed to engage participants from all kinds of backgrounds. The Chandler Museum also features spectacular traveling world-class exhibits, which means that there is always something new to see and behold with every visit. Visitors to the museum can also peruse the vast collection of photographs, artifacts, oral histories, and other archival materials which depict and tell the story of Chandler’s diverse and colorful history. Students and researchers will also find a fantastic resource center at the museum in addition to the East Valley History Center.
300 S. Chandler Village Drive, Chandler, Arizona 85226; Phone: 480-782-2717
20. Gila River Hotel & Casinos - Lone Butte
© Gila River Hotels & Casinos - Lone Butte
The Gila River Hotel and Casinos at Lone Butte promise to be your place, and your vibe. Known as the East Valley’s “Hub of Fun”, Lone Butte features well over 1,200 slot machines, each with the latest and most popular gaming themes. Lone Butte is also home to a BetMGM Sportsbook and dozens of playing tables like roulette, blackjack, craps, and baccarat. For poker enthusiasts, Lone Butte is a perfect choice as the casino welcomes players to participate on one of 30 tables via a private entrance and convenient parking spaces. Visitors to Lone Butte are sure to have many dining options as well with restaurants like the Fullhouse Cafe, Taste Kitchen, Aroma, and Panda Express.
1077 S. Kyrene Road, Chandler, Arizona 85226; Phone: 800-946-4452
21. Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center
© Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center
Beat the Arizona heat at the Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center, a shared-use public facility conveniently located across the Basha High School. Awarded the Outstanding Facility Award in 2009 by the Arizona Parks and Recreation and the 2nd Best Kids Water Park or Pool by Arizona Republic Reader’s Choice, this aquatic center delivers fun through amazing features like a lazy river, a bridge waterfall, and a family play pool. That’s not all the center has to offer though as it also has an SCS interactive water feature, a 6-foot, 725-gallon tumble bucket, a fun water vortex, a water spray pad, as well as two water slides. Visitors to the center who want to get some exercise can maximize an 8-lane competition pool right next to the aquatic play area.
5901 S. Hillcrest Drive, Chandler, Arizona 85249; Phone: 480-782-2635
22. 810 Billiards & Bowling - Chandler
There’s a motto at 810 Billiards and Bowling that its regulars take to heart: “Drink up. Chow down. Rack ‘em up. Knock ‘em down. Be social.” New guests are welcome to live this motto out, too, when they visit this beloved local community center. More than just your typical bowling and billiards spot, 810 dishes up fantastic drinks and food to enjoy while playing a game or two with your family and friends. Top-notch billiards tables and bowling lanes are accompanied by cornhole areas, a shuffleboard spot, a darts area, and other gaming opportunities like complimentary use of the latest board games, and even arcade games like basketball shooting games. Happy hour specials are available from 3 pm to 6 pm from Monday to Friday and lanes can also be reserved ahead of time.
3455 W. Frye Road, Unit 2, Chandler, Arizona 85226; Phone: 480-847-3091
23. Huhugam Heritage Center
© Huhugam Heritage Center
A beloved project of the Gila River Indian Community, the Huhugam Heritage Center is more than just a museum, it is a center wherein culture thrives and is celebrated in the best way possible. This modern and well-curated cultural center beautifully depicts the ancestral and current cultures of the Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh Tribes. The Huhugam Heritage Center, which was built in 2003, is the joint effort of these two tribes, which are united under the banner of the Gila River Indian Community. Through the center, the tribes showcase their culture, community, land, tradition, as well as spirit in an effort to preserve their unique way of life. See beautiful tribal art, artifacts, archeological finds, and many more at the Huhugam Heritage Center.
21359 S. Maricopa Road, Chandler, Arizona 85226; Phone: 520-796-3500
24. Gravity Extreme Zone Trampoline and Adventure Park
Experience an incredible rush at the Gravity Extreme Zone Trampoline and Adventure Park, or The Rush Fun Park as it’s known in Chandler. Arguably one of the best ways to spend your day indoors in Chandler, this trampoline park is so jampacked with attractions and features that there won’t be enough time to experience everything in just one day! Among its many features, the Obstacle Course is an undeniable favorite with several tricky obstacles designed to test strength, balance, and bravery. The Super Racing Slides are equally popular as kids can reach incredible speeds as they zip down slippery and steep slides. Just a few of the other attractions to enjoy at The Rush include a challenging climbing area, Flying Hoops, and of course, a huge trampoline zone filled with all different kinds of trampoline runways.
190 S. Kyrene Road #5, Chandler, Arizona 85226; Phone: 480-757-5411
25. The Perch Pub and Brewery
© The Perch Pub and Brewery
Nestled in Chandler’s Historic Downtown area is The Perch Pub and Brewery, a beloved local watering hole known for being home to more than 50 eye-catching and vibrantly colored tropical birds. All of the birds at The Perch Pub and Brewery were rescued, making this attraction special to animal lovers in addition to beer lovers. A visit to The Perch treats guests to a gorgeous panoramic view of the Downtown Area care of the rooftop bar. Meanwhile, in the pub’s courtyard, guests can sip on up to 30 different craft beers on tap while enjoying a lush garden atmosphere. Pair your choice of beer with passionately crafted menu items thanks to Craft Food or try out one of The Perch's craft cocktails if beer isn't your thing.
232 S. Wall Street, Chandler, Arizona 85225; Phone: 480-773-7688