Living in Avondale, I have witnessed its remarkable transformation from a sparsely populated farmland to a bustling suburb of Phoenix, a mere 15 miles away. Situated alongside the picturesque Agua Fría River, Avondale has a rich history dating back to the 1890s when it was originally established as Coldwater, Arizona. Over time, it acquired its current name, Avondale, due to the proximity of the post office to Avondale Ranch. Like many other towns in Arizona, Avondale experienced significant population growth starting in the 1990s, shortly after achieving city status in 1946. Today, it stands as a modern city with a thriving community, offering a favorable climate throughout the year. Its prime location within the Phoenix metropolitan area provides convenient access to the state capital and its myriad opportunities.
With so much to offer, I’m more than thrilled to help you plan the best trip of your life and let’s delve into some of the best things to do in Avondale:
1. Avondale Historic Corridor and Billy Moore Days
As a traveler of Avondale, I am proud to witness a community that cherishes its history and celebrates its vibrant downtown area. The heart of the city is adorned with the historic corridor, a charming district brimming with small, independent shops and businesses. These local establishments are supported by the dedicated Historic Avondale Merchants Association, which strives to preserve the warm and culturally diverse environment in this part of town.
Walking through the streets, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant street art adorning the walls and the delightful array of shops and restaurants that offer a perfect blend of authenticity and contemporary flair.
Throughout the year, the Avondale historic downtown area hosts a variety of events that showcase the town’s rich heritage. One of the most significant occasions is Billy Moore Days, a cherished celebration held in late October. This four-day extravaganza pays homage to the town’s founder, William “Billy” Moore, and his enduring legacy. The festival is filled with joyful activities, including a carnival, parade, and various cultural festivities that bring the community together.
2. Phoenix International Raceway
Embrace the racing spirit and make your way to the ISM Raceway in Avondale for an unforgettable motorsports experience that will leave you craving more speed and excitement. This renowned raceway serves as Phoenix’s premier destination for thrilling motorsports action, hosting not one, but two exhilarating NASCAR race weekends each year.
The history of the ISM Raceway is rich, having also welcomed other prestigious racing events throughout the years. From the high-speed excitement of the CART and Verizon IndyCar Series to the thrilling races of USAC and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, this iconic raceway has seen it all.
For those who crave more than just spectating, the ISM Raceway offers an incredible opportunity to experience the thrill firsthand. With the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience, you can step into the shoes of a NASCAR racer and feel the adrenaline rush as you take to the track. Whether you choose to drive or ride shotgun, this immersive experience will leave you with memories to cherish.
Prepare to satisfy your need for speed as you navigate the course, pushing your limits lap after lap. The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience offers various packages, each with a different number of laps, ensuring there’s an option suitable for every racing enthusiast.
3. Monument Hill
As I explored the outskirts of Avondale, I stumbled upon a hidden gem known as Monument Hill. This spot is not only a favorite among racers seeking an affordable vantage point to view the thrilling events at the ISM raceway, but it has much more to offer than meets the eye.
Nestled in the northernmost foothills of the Sierra Estrella, Monument Hill boasts a rich history. Here, I discovered the Gila and Salt River meridian, marking the original land survey point for the entire state of Arizona. This important landmark played a crucial role in the United States Geological Survey, shaping the way we understand and map our surroundings.
Today, Monument Hill stands as a testament to Arizona’s past. Recognized as a historic landmark on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places, it serves as a tangible reminder of the region’s heritage. As I stood atop this hallowed ground, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of reverence and awe.
From this elevated vantage point, I take in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The sprawling vistas and rolling hills stretch out before me, offering a glimpse into the natural beauty of the area. It’s a serene escape from the bustling city, allowing me to connect with the land and appreciate the wonders of nature.
4. Tres Ríos Base and Meridian Wildlife Area
Nestled near Monument Hill, where three rivers converge, lies the Base and Meridian Wildlife Area. Despite the encroaching urbanization in the surrounding areas, this beautiful natural space stands firm, serving as a crucial habitat for a diverse array of wildlife.
As I walked along the winding trails of the wildlife area, I found myself immersed in nature’s wonders. Birds soar above, mammals scurry through the underbrush, and reptiles and amphibians bask in the warm sunlight. It’s a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering year-round opportunities to spot fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.
One event that shouldn’t be missed is the Tres Rios Nature Festival, which takes place in early March. This festival caters to all ages, providing a wealth of activities to engage with nature’s bounty. From canoeing along the rivers and trying your hand at archery to bird watching and fishing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
As the festival draws to a close, the magic continues with a captivating concert. As the sun sets over the tranquil wetlands, the melodies fill the air, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere.
5. Ak-Chin Pavilion
As I made my way between Avondale and Phoenix, I stumbled upon a remarkable open-air venue nestled on a picturesque hillside. This place is none other than the Ak-Chin Pavilion, a beloved destination for music enthusiasts like myself. With a seating capacity of 8,000 within the pavilion area and an additional 12,000 on the grassy slopes, it proudly holds the title of the largest venue in the region.
Over the years, the Ak-Chin Pavilion has undergone various name changes, but it currently bears the name of its sponsor, the Ak-Chin Indian Community. This partnership has not only preserved the venue’s legacy but has also contributed to its continued success.
Stepping into the Ak-Chin Pavilion, I was immediately struck by its incredible acoustics. This is a place where the music truly comes alive, and I couldn’t help but be in awe of the talented artists who have graced its stage. From legendary festivals to unforgettable tours, this venue has played host to some of the biggest names in the industry, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
One of the things I love most about the Ak-Chin Pavilion is the vibrant atmosphere that permeates the air. As I joined fellow music lovers in the crowd, there is an undeniable sense of excitement and anticipation. The energy is infectious, and I find myself completely immersed in the music, singing along and dancing to the beat.
6. St. Thomas Aquinas Church
As I stepped into the serene embrace of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, I was immediately captivated by its warm and welcoming atmosphere. This contemporary place of worship combines modern elements with classic architectural touches, resulting in a visually stunning sanctuary both inside and out.
The beauty of St. Thomas Aquinas Church is undeniable, and it drawn me in whether I am attending a service or simply admiring its aesthetic. Every detail, from the intricate stained glass windows to the meticulously crafted altar, exudes a sense of reverence and awe.
I discovered that St. Thomas Aquinas Church has a rich history that spans over a century. It began as a humble mission in the early 1900s and has since grown into a vibrant community serving over 1300 families. The church’s expansion is a testament to its deep-rooted faith and its commitment to nurturing the spiritual lives of its parishioners.
On any given weekend, the church comes alive with the celebration of six Masses, providing ample opportunities for the community to come together in prayer and worship. The services are filled with heartfelt sermons, uplifting hymns, and a sense of unity that transcends individual differences.
The parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas Church are known for their warmth and hospitality, embracing newcomers and long-time members alike. The strong sense of community fosters a supportive environment where everyone feels valued and included. It’s a place where individuals and families can deepen their faith, find solace in times of need, and forge lifelong friendships.
7. Estrella Mountain Regional Park
One of the highlights of the Estrella Mountain Regional Park is its remarkable nature center, a marvel of sustainable design that seamlessly blends with the natural environment. The moment I entered, I was greeted by the friendly and knowledgeable staff, who are always eager to provide park information and guide me in the right direction.
Within the tranquil sanctuary of the park, I had the opportunity to embark on various adventures. Whether I choose to hike along the winding trails, set up camp amidst the rugged wilderness, or explore the rugged terrain on a bike, Estrella Mountain Regional Park offers endless possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts like myself.
One of my favorite ways to soak up the scenery is by horseback riding. As I leisurely trot along the designated paths, I am treated to panoramic views of majestic mountains, vast expanses of desert, and the unique flora and fauna that call this park home.
The park’s trails cater to a range of skill levels, allowing both beginners and experienced adventurers to find their perfect route. Each step I take unveils new wonders, from the vibrant wildflowers that dot the landscape to the mesmerizing rock formations that have been shaped by time.
8. Friendship Park
When it comes to parks in Avondale, Friendship Park takes the crown for its outstanding amenities and diverse offerings that cater to everyone’s park day needs.
It’s no wonder why Friendship Park is a favorite among families—the three playgrounds and splash pad provide endless entertainment for children of all ages. I watch as kids climb, swing, and slide, their laughter filling the air with pure joy. Walking further into the park, I came across a serene pond where ducks gracefully glide across the water’s surface. Nearby, fish and turtles eagerly await visitors with crumbs of bread to feed them. It’s a charming sight, and I took a moment to appreciate the tranquility of this natural oasis within the park.
For those looking to enjoy a picnic amidst the beauty of nature, Friendship Park offers plenty of picnic areas where families and friends can gather, share meals, and create lasting memories. The shade from the towering trees provides a pleasant respite from the sun, allowing everyone to relax and savor their time together.
Friendship Park also caters to our furry companions with two well-designed dog parks. These spacious areas provide ample room for dogs to frolic and socialize while their owners chat and enjoy the vibrant community atmosphere.
Sports enthusiasts will find their haven here, as Friendship Park boasts multiple playing fields and courts. Whether it’s a friendly game of soccer, baseball, basketball, or tennis, there’s something for every sports lover. The park is alive with the sounds of cheering and the exhilaration of friendly competition.
9. Desert Diamond Casino – West Valley
If you’re looking for a bit of excitement and have a little extra cash to spare, why not venture into the desert casino nestled in the heart of the West Valley? Located just a short 20-minute drive from Avondale, this casino offers a unique desert atmosphere, adding to the allure of the experience.
The desert-inspired decor creates a distinct ambiance that sets the stage for an unforgettable evening. What makes this casino even more appealing is the fact that it operates 24 hours a day. Whether you’re an early bird looking for some late-night entertainment or a night owl seeking an escape from the scorching heat, this place has you covered. And if hunger strikes or you’re in need of a refreshing drink, there’s a wide selection of delicious food and beverages available to satisfy your cravings.
As I approached the gaming area, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of anticipation. From slot machines to card tables, the casino offers a range of games to suit every gambling enthusiast. The possibility of winning big hangs in the air, adding an extra thrill to the experience. I took a seat at a poker table, joining other players eager to test their skills and luck.
Throughout the evening, I immersed myself in the exhilarating atmosphere, fully embracing the entertainment and excitement that surrounds me. The sound of slot machines ringing, the cheers of winners, and the shuffling of cards create a symphony of chance and possibility.
Of course, luck plays a significant role in the outcome, but as the saying goes, “You’ve got to play your cards right.” So I take calculated risks, carefully strategizing my moves, hoping that fortune will smile upon me. Even if luck doesn’t favor me this time, the experience itself is worth the thrill.
10. Tierra Verde Lake Park
When the scorching Arizona heat becomes too much to bear, I know just the place to escape and unwind. Tierra Verde Lake Park in Litchfield, a short distance from Avondale, offers a serene oasis where I can find respite from the sun.
The park provides ample picnic spots, inviting me to lay out a blanket and indulge in a delicious meal while surrounded by nature’s beauty. The cool breeze rustles the leaves, creating a soothing melody that puts my mind at ease. Feeling the need to stretch my legs, I explored the trails that wind their way through the park. Each step brings me closer to a sense of peace and connection with the natural world. The well-maintained paths offer a pleasant walk, and I relished in the opportunity to immerse myself in the scenic surroundings.
As I continued my stroll, I came across fishing areas, beckoning me to cast a line and try my luck at reeling in a catch. The calm waters of Tierra Verde Lake provide a haven for anglers, and I find solace in the rhythmic motion of casting and waiting for a bite. Whether I catch something or not, the experience is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The serenity of the surroundings envelops me, allowing me to forget my worries and simply be in the present moment. Tierra Verde Lake Park is also a haven for furry friends. I often bring my dog along for a leisurely stroll, relishing in the joyous wag of his tail as he explores the sights and scents of the park. It’s a delightful experience to witness his excitement and share in the simple pleasures that this park has to offer.
11. TJ’s Homestyle Restaurant
TJ’s is renowned for its mouthwatering breakfast options, and I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in their hearty morning meals on several occasions. From fluffy pancakes drizzled with maple syrup to perfectly cooked bacon and eggs, their breakfast menu is a true delight. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, creating a cozy ambiance that sets the tone for a delightful start to the day.
But TJ’s isn’t just limited to breakfast. I’ve also made a point to stop by for a satisfying lunch experience. Their menu features a variety of classic American dishes, from juicy burgers and crispy fried chicken to comforting sandwiches and homemade soups. Each bite is infused with rich flavors and prepared with care, ensuring a memorable dining experience.
What sets TJ’s apart is not just their delectable food but also the warm and welcoming atmosphere. As a family-run business, they exude a sense of genuine hospitality that makes me feel right at home. From the moment I step through the door, I’m greeted with friendly smiles and attentive service that makes me feel like a valued guest.
One of the things I appreciate most about TJ’s is their commitment to providing generous portions at reasonable prices. Every plate is filled with hearty goodness, leaving me satisfied and content. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the overpriced and overly pretentious dining experiences I’ve encountered elsewhere.
12. Arizona Science Centre
As soon as you step through the doors of the Arizona Science Center, you’re greeted by a world of wonder. The center is filled with hundreds of permanent exhibits that bring science to life in exciting and interactive ways. From exploring the wonders of space to delving into the mysteries of the human body, there’s never a dull moment here.
One of the things I love most about the Arizona Science Center is how it inspires a love for science in children. Through hands-on experiences and immersive displays, kids have the opportunity to engage with scientific concepts in a way that sparks their curiosity and makes learning a joy. It’s the perfect place to nurture their inquisitive minds and ignite a passion for discovery.
But the Arizona Science Center isn’t just for kids. They also offer a variety of programs and events tailored to different audiences. For high school teens, there’s a science social where they can connect with like-minded individuals and explore fascinating topics in a fun and social setting. And for adults, there are special science-themed nights where you can delve deeper into scientific subjects while enjoying the company of fellow enthusiasts. It’s a great way to feed your curiosity and expand your knowledge.
The Arizona Science Center truly understands that science is for everyone, regardless of age or background. They strive to create an inclusive and welcoming environment where people of all walks of life can come together to celebrate the wonders of science. It’s a testament to their commitment to making science accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
13. Garden Patch Community Garden
One of the things that truly sets The Garden Patch apart is its commitment to giving back. I was inspired by the dedicated plots of land that are specifically cultivated to produce food for local food banks. It’s heartwarming to know that our community garden is making a difference by providing nourishment to those in need. The garden is not only a source of fresh and ecological produce for the community, but it also serves as a gathering place where people can connect with one another.
As I strolled through the garden, I often encounter fellow gardeners who are tending to their plots with care and passion. Many of them find solace and relaxation in gardening, using it as a way to de-stress and reconnect with nature. I’ve had the pleasure of striking up conversations with these gardening enthusiasts, and they are always eager to share their knowledge and experiences. Whether it’s tips on growing vegetables or advice on creating a beautiful flower bed, their passion for gardening is infectious.
14. Equinox Hot Air Balloon Ride
To embark on this thrilling journey, I turned to Equinox, a reputable hot air balloon company based in Goodyear. What sets Equinox apart is their commitment to creating a fun and intimate experience for every guest. With no more than six passengers on board, I know I’ll have plenty of space to soak in the awe-inspiring scenery and enjoy the tranquility of the flight.
As the hot air balloon gently ascends into the sky, a world of wonders unfolds before my eyes. The vast expanse of the Sonoran desert stretches out beneath me, its rugged beauty captivating my senses. I’m mesmerized by the contrasting hues of the landscape, from the rich earth tones to the vibrant greens of cacti and desert flora. The distant mountains create a majestic backdrop, adding a touch of grandeur to the panoramic view.
Equinox ensures that my hot air balloon flight is not just about the incredible vistas but also about safety and expertise. The skilled pilots and crew are dedicated to providing a safe and enjoyable experience from start to finish. Their knowledge of the Phoenix area and the Sonoran desert is invaluable, as they navigate the winds and guide us on a smooth and memorable journey.
As we glide gracefully through the sky, I felt a sense of serenity and exhilaration. The silence is broken only by occasional bursts of the burner, sending gentle puffs of heat into the balloon to maintain our altitude. It’s a peaceful and awe-inspiring experience that allows me to appreciate the beauty of Arizona from a whole new perspective.
15. Goodyear Community Pool
When the scorching Arizona desert heat becomes too much to bear, there’s nothing quite like a rejuvenating day at the pool to cool off and unwind. Luckily, the community pool in Goodyear is the perfect oasis for such an escape.
As soon as I arrived at the pool, I was greeted by a lively and welcoming atmosphere. Whether I’m seeking some quality family time, looking to make a splash using the diving boards, or aiming to refine my swimming skills in the dedicated lanes, there’s something for everyone here.
The pool isn’t just a place to beat the heat; it’s a vibrant hub of activities and events. From swimming lessons for all ages to fun-filled days and movie nights, there’s always something happening to keep the community engaged. For those seeking a more invigorating workout, there are even adult exercise classes available, catering to various fitness levels and preferences.
What truly sets this community pool apart is the genuine passion and dedication of the staff. Their commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of every visitor is evident in their vigilant watchfulness. They are always ready to assist, answer questions, and provide guidance, creating a secure and enjoyable environment for everyone.