25 Best Things To Do In Chandler (AZ)

Written by Sofia Jones
Updated on
Our travel recommendations are based on our personal experiences and research, written by locals and travel experts with deep familiarity with the destination. When you book a hotel or tour that we link to, we may earn a commission.

Welcome to Chandler, a city with a rich history and a vibrant present. Founded by the visionary Dr. Alexander John Chandler in 1891, this thriving community traces its roots back to his pioneering work in irrigation. With a mere 80 acres of land, Dr. Chandler embarked on a mission to study and advance the science of irrigation, ultimately leading to the development of an extensive canal system and the expansion of his ranch to a staggering 18,000 acres by the early 1900s.

Today, Chandler has blossomed into a vibrant town, boasting a population of approximately 254,000 residents as of 2014. While I could tell you the whole story, I believe it’s much more exciting for you to uncover the fascinating details yourself.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into the best things to do in Chandler and embark on your own exploration of this remarkable city’s offerings!

1. Saddle up at the Koli Equestrian Center

Horseback RidingSource: Aidan.Morgan / Flickr | CC BY-ND
Horseback Riding

If you’re a fan of horseback riding, I’ve discovered the perfect day out for you at the Koli Equestrian Center, nestled in the heart of the scenic Gila River Indian Reservation. This hidden gem offers miles of breathtaking scenery and splendid riding trails, ensuring a memorable experience for the entire family.

At the Koli Equestrian Center, their team of qualified wranglers is always eager to share their extensive knowledge and make sure you have all the information you need for an enjoyable riding adventure. What sets this center apart is their commitment to providing an exceptional experience for riders of all skill levels.

One of the highlights is the freedom to explore the trails in a more interactive way. Unlike the typical “head to tail” single line formations, at Koli Equestrian Center, riders are given the opportunity to spread out, allowing for a more personalized and engaging experience. It’s a wonderful chance to not only enjoy the majestic surroundings but also to connect with fellow riders and forge new friendships along the way.

Website: KOLI Equestrian Center

2. Arizona Railway Museum

Arizona Railway MuseumSource: Clay Gilliland / Flickr | CC BY-SA
Arizona Railway Museum

As I stepped into the Railway Museum, a fascinating journey into the past begins. This captivating establishment not only provides a glimpse into the bygone era of rail travel but also offers a remarkable learning experience, especially for children. Dedicated to the railroads of the South Western United States, the museum holds a treasure trove of history.

Upon entry, one is immediately transported back in time, surrounded by a captivating collection of artifacts and antique railroad cars. The sight is truly awe-inspiring, with a variety of carriages including a dining car, passenger cars, and even a horse car. The children, in particular, are sure to enjoy the delightful experience of ringing the steam locomotive bell, adding a touch of excitement to their visit.

To enhance the journey, the museum boasts a knowledgeable and friendly staff who are always ready to assist and answer any queries visitors may have. Their expertise ensures a fulfilling and enriching visit, as they share insights and stories about the exhibits.

3. You can shop (and eat!) till you drop at Chandler Fashion Center

ShoppingSource: VGstockstudio / shutterstock

If you’re a fun of shopping and malls you may want to stop-over this incredible shopping center, which happens to be the second largest mall in the Phoenix metropolitan area. From the moment you arrive, its grandeur is evident. The mall boasts an impressive array of shops, restaurants, and beauty salons, all strategically positioned in the heart of the town for easy accessibility.

One notable advantage is the consolidation of all the major department stores under a single roof. This layout ensures a seamless shopping experience, as you can conveniently navigate through the different sections without having to venture far. The mall’s interior is meticulously maintained, with spotless tile flooring adding a touch of elegance to the surroundings. Moreover, the temperature-controlled environment provides a cool and comfortable atmosphere throughout

When hunger strikes, the expansive food court awaits, offering a diverse range of culinary delights. Whether you prefer sit-down restaurants or grab-and-go options, there is something to satisfy every craving. Additionally, parents will appreciate the convenient play area designed specifically for the little ones, ensuring an enjoyable visit for the entire family.

As you explore the mall, make sure not to miss a quick glance inside the Cheesecake Factory. Their delectable offerings are simply irresistible, and you might find it difficult to resist indulging in a treat or two.

4. Life’s a breeze at Desert Breeze Park

Duck PondSource: Srinivasan.Clicks / shutterstock
Duck Pond

Desert Breeze Park offers an ideal day out for the whole family, providing activities and amenities for all age groups. Personally, I find it to be a fantastic place to visit, especially for kids who can indulge in a wide range of enjoyable experiences. One of the highlights is the delightful train ride that takes you around the park. Whether you’re young or old, this train is suitable for everyone. Additionally, the park features a picturesque lake that is abundantly stocked with fish, providing a perfect opportunity for fishing enthusiasts. Not only that, but there are also numerous ducks to feed, which adds an extra touch of amusement.

If you’re looking to cool off, the park has a fun-filled splashpad where children can play and have a great time. For those who prefer to stay dry, there are ample shaded areas available. Furthermore, the park boasts strategically placed ramadas, creating a perfect setting for a delightful picnic. Whether you’re looking to relax or engage in sports, Desert Breeze Park has you covered. It offers baseball fields and tennis courts for sports enthusiasts to enjoy. Additionally, there are some incredible bike trails that add an exciting element to the park.

5. Chandler Center for the Arts

Chandler Center for the ArtsSource: Kayliekochanski / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 4.0
Chandler Center for the Arts

The Center is an incredibly popular venue that offers a wide array of captivating entertainment right here in town, eliminating the need to venture to the big city. Personally, I find it to be a fantastic place to experience fascinating plays, shows, ballet performances, and even hilarious comedy acts. The variety of offerings is truly impressive.

One aspect that sets The Center apart is its exceptional staff, known for their helpfulness and attentiveness. Moreover, the venue boasts a clean and tidy décor that adds to the overall pleasant ambiance. However, what truly stands out, in my opinion, is the outstanding acoustics. Whether you’re seated near the stage or at the back of the theater, the sound quality is simply phenomenal. The fact that the venue isn’t overly large ensures that every seat provides an excellent view of the performances.

From the moment you step into the beautifully decorated lobby, you’ll immediately sense that you’re in for a truly delightful and memorable experience. And let me assure you, that feeling won’t disappoint. The Center truly knows how to deliver an exceptional time filled with captivating entertainment.

6. Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports ParkSource: Christopher Halloran / shutterstock
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park

If you’re seeking an exhilarating experience watching road racing in a quarter-mile dragstrip, then this motorsports park is an absolute must-visit! Personally, I can attest that it satisfies all the criteria for a fantastic time. This incredible facility boasts multiple tracks, including the thrilling quarter-mile strip and an exciting off-road track. Not only that, but the park is exceptionally well-managed and offers an affordable price for admission.

Interestingly, the park’s name, Wild Horse Pass, carries a meaningful history. It derives from the time when vast herds of wild horses freely roamed the Gila River floodplain for centuries. It’s a captivating nod to the area’s rich past and adds an extra layer of intrigue to the overall experience.

To top off your perfect outing, I highly recommend paying a visit to the nearby Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse. It serves as a delightful ending to an already thrilling day. The Western Town offers a charming atmosphere where you can immerse yourself in a captivating Old West setting, and the steakhouse provides a delectable dining experience.

7. How it all started in Chandler

Chandler Museum ExteriorSource: Around the World Photos / shutterstock
Chandler Museum Exterior

When you visit the Chandler Museum, you’ll have the opportunity to delve into the captivating history of the city and its founding. I find it to be a remarkable place to explore and gain insight into Chandler’s past. Previously known as The Chandler Vintage Museum of Transportation and Wildlife, the museum houses an intriguing collection of photographs and other memorabilia that beautifully depict the rich family histories of the Chandler area.

One of the highlights of the museum is the historic McCullough-Price House, a significant architectural gem that has earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places. Stepping inside this well-preserved house is like stepping back in time, offering a unique glimpse into the lives of those who once resided there.

With its compelling collection and the fascinating stories it holds, the Chandler Museum provides a comprehensive understanding of the city’s heritage. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the origins of Chandler, this museum is an excellent destination to immerse yourself in the past and gain a deeper appreciation for the city’s evolution.

8. Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse

Rawhide Western TownSource: marada / Flickr | CC BY-ND
Rawhide Western Town

Immerse yourself in the enchanting Wild West atmosphere by visiting this renowned replica of an 1880 frontier town. As soon as you step foot into this captivating destination, you’ll be transported back in time. The town offers an array of engaging experiences, including a shooting gallery and an assortment of delightful shops that boast an impressive selection of Western-style shirts and toys. Additionally, there’s a charming gift store and a steakhouse that truly captures the essence of the Old West.

Prepare your taste buds for a tantalizing adventure at the steakhouse, where you can savor the delectable fare on offer. From mouthwatering barbecue dishes to succulent mesquite-grilled steaks, the menu is sure to satisfy your cravings. What’s more, the meals are served by friendly cowboys who enhance the dining experience with their authentic presence and even some traditional sounds!

For families, this frontier town provides a wide range of exciting Western-themed activities that are sure to delight your kids. They’ll have a blast exploring the various offerings and immersing themselves in the Wild West spirit. And the best part? Dessert not only promises to be delicious but also comes with a special treat—it’s absolutely free!

9. I have too many bikes. Said no cyclist, ever.

Cyclist in ChandlerSource: Sean Leonard / shutterstock
Cyclist in Chandler

As a someone who have enjoyed cycling, Chandler has truly become a haven for me. With an impressive network of 327 miles of well-paved bike paths and dedicated bike lanes, this city offers endless opportunities for enjoyable rides. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or prefer a more relaxed pace, Chandler has something for everyone, including numerous multi-use paths suitable for casual riders.

Among the many options available, two destinations stand out as particularly popular. The first is the Paseo Trail, stretching for six and a half miles. This scenic route features a magnificent 10-foot wide concrete multi-use pathway that runs alongside the picturesque Consolidated Canal. The trail not only offers a smooth and enjoyable ride but also provides breathtaking views along the way.

For those seeking an even more captivating cycling experience, I highly recommend a visit to the San Tan Mountain Regional Park. This park offers a stunning backdrop of natural beauty, making it a perfect choice for cyclists in search of scenic routes. The park’s trails wind through the captivating landscape, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the San Tan Mountains while enjoying an invigorating ride.

Whether you prefer the urban charm of the Paseo Trail or the scenic splendor of the San Tan Mountain Regional Park, Chandler has it all. As a cyclist, I have found great joy exploring these pathways and immersing myself in the beauty of the surroundings.

10. Urban Fishing

Fishing in ChandlerSource: Charles T. Peden / shutterstock
Fishing in Chandler

Are you up for a peaceful day spent with your family? How about indulging in the serene activity of fishing in Chandler’s urban fishing program? It’s an experience that I highly recommend. Every year, during the spring, fall, and winter seasons, the Arizona Game and Fish Department generously stocks a diverse range of fish in the lakes across the Valley of the Sun. Notably, two of Chandler’s parks, Veterans Oasis Park and Desert Breeze Park, are included in this program.

If you have a passion for fishing, you’ll be thrilled to know that these lakes are teeming with trout, sunfish, and catfish. It’s a haven for anglers of all ages and skill levels. So gather your fishing gear and get ready to cast your line into the waters, where an abundance of fish awaits, eagerly swimming beneath the surface.

11. San Tan Mountain Regional Park

San Tan Mountain Regional ParkSource: Shannon Smock / shutterstock
San Tan Mountain Regional Park

Visiting this regional park provides an excellent chance for my family and me to stay active and enjoy ourselves. The park offers a plethora of hiking options, catering to various skill levels and preferences. Whether we’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a more challenging adventure, there’s something for everyone.

The park boasts a range of trails, varying in length from one and a half miles to over five miles. This diversity ensures that we can choose a hike that suits our desired distance and difficulty level. For those looking for an easy and short hike, the picturesque Moonlight Trail is a perfect choice. It offers a pleasant and manageable route, allowing us to immerse ourselves in nature without exerting too much effort.

On the other hand, if we’re up for a more challenging hiking experience, the San Tan Trail is an excellent option. This trail winds its way through the captivating Central Valley and Broken Lands sections of the park, ultimately leading to the summit of the Goldmine Mountains. The rugged terrain and rewarding vistas make it an exciting and invigorating adventure.

12. Ice Skating in the Desert?

Ice HockeySource: Alexandr Grant / shutterstock
Ice Hockey

Can you imagine ice skating in the desert? Well, believe it or not, it’s possible at Ice Den Chandler, a state-of-the-art ice skating facility. I find it to be a brilliant idea for the whole family to beat the heat and enjoy a unique experience together. The best part? There are even skilled trainers available to provide skating lessons for the younger members of the family.

Ice Den Chandler offers two regulation-sized ice surfaces that are open to the public for skating and hockey. It’s truly impressive to see such well-maintained ice in the middle of the desert. The facility itself spans a vast 80,000 square feet, housing not only the ice rinks but also a video game arcade, a pro shop, and an eatery. This means there’s something for everyone to enjoy, making it the perfect destination for a truly cool family outing.

13. Birding in Veterans Oasis Park

Great Blue Heron, Veterans Oasis ParkSource: Dennis E Thompson / shutterstock
Great Blue Heron, Veterans Oasis Park

A visit to Veterans Oasis Park for a delightful bird-watching experience is a perfect day out for everyone in the family, whether we are seasoned bird watchers or simply enthusiastic beginners. Despite its urban setting, this park has gained recognition as one of Arizona’s premier birding sites, and for good reason. It boasts an impressive collection of over 150 bird species along its extensive four and a half miles of scenic trails.

Before setting off on our birding adventure, it’s a good idea to obtain an updated bird list provided by the city. This will give us an idea of the diverse array of bird species we might encounter during our visit. From majestic owls to graceful American Kestrels, as well as elegant egrets and herons, the park offers a multitude of avian wonders to observe and appreciate.

To make the most of our bird-watching excursion, it’s advisable to start early in the day. As the saying goes, “The early bird catches the worm,” and in this case, it rings true. The early morning hours often provide the best opportunities for spotting various bird species as they actively engage in their daily routines.

14. Burst Of Butterflies Pottery Painting & Art Studio

Painting PotterySource: SpeedKingz / shutterstock
Painting Pottery

Whether we have budding potters or artists in our family or not, this presents a fantastic opportunity for all of us to embrace a day filled with creativity. The place I’m referring to is a pottery painting studio, where you can choose between painting or pottery making. The owners of the studio are more than happy to assist in selecting colors and techniques, and they are readily available to address any questions we may have.

Once you step into the studio, you’ll be delighted to find a vast selection of ceramic bisque pieces just waiting to be painted and personalized according to our unique tastes and preferences. With hundreds of options available, each can choose the perfect piece that resonates with them. It’s an exciting prospect to transform a blank ceramic canvas into a work of art that reflects our creativity.

After completing the masterpieces, the finished pieces are fired in a kiln, ensuring their durability and longevity. In just a few days, you can return to the studio and collect our beautifully glazed and fully finished creations. It’s a rewarding experience to see such artistic endeavors come to life.

15. Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center

PoolSource: MAD.vertise / shutterstock

I’m excited to share with you about this stunning new facility that provides an abundance of water-related enjoyment, perfect for a fantastic family day out. There are so many attractions to explore, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

There’s the competition lap pool, ideal for those who want to swim and practice their strokes. If you’re up for some exhilarating fun, you can take a ride down the two thrilling water slides. For a more relaxing experience, there’s the lazy river, where you can leisurely float along and soak up the sun.

One of the highlights of the facility is the impressive 752-gallon “Big Blue Bucket.” It’s bound to create excitement as it tips over, drenching those below with a refreshing cascade of water. Additionally, there’s a water vortex that adds a touch of whirlpool-like adventure to your day.

The little ones in the family will have a blast on the toddler slides, specially designed for their enjoyment and safety. There’s also a family play pool with a zero-depth entry, making it easily accessible for all ages. Plus, there’s a family dressing room available for convenience.

After all the water-filled excitement, you can unwind and relax on the spacious artificial grass areas surrounding the pools. It’s the perfect spot to dry off, have a picnic, or simply soak up the peaceful atmosphere.

16. Huhugam Heritage Center

Huhugam Heritage CenterSource: Huhugam Heritage Center / Facebook
Huhugam Heritage Center

Make sure you don’t overlook this hidden gem, both in its size and significance, during your visit to Chandler. I highly recommend visiting this small yet remarkable center that serves as a tribal facility dedicated to preserving cultural artifacts and art. What makes it even more impressive is that the center is equipped with climate control systems, ensuring the preservation of intriguing prehistoric and historic artifacts, as well as vital records, all of which are on display for the public to appreciate.

One of the highlights of your visit should be watching the informative film available at the center. It delves deep into the history and rich heritage of the American Indians, providing valuable insights into their fascinating culture. It’s an opportunity not to be missed for anyone interested in learning more about these remarkable indigenous peoples.

To make the most of your visit, I recommend calling ahead of time, as the center does not have regular daily operating hours. By checking in advance, you can ensure that your visit aligns with the center’s availability, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the experience and take in all the valuable information and artifacts on display.

17. A real sweet treat at Sweeties of Arizona

Jelly BeansSource: Dewitt / shutterstock
Jelly Beans

Take a nostalgic trip down candy lane to Sweeties of Arizona, where you and the kids can enjoy nostalgic candies like Jelly Belly jellybeans, Pez, and so many more! This family owned company has been in operation for over 60 years, and its 5,000 square feet outlet is filled to the brim with every sort of candy, from old time classics to the up to date goodies of today.

And if you think your favorite sweet has been out of production for all these years, try asking and you might be in for a pleasant surprise!

18. ImprovMANIA

MicrophoneSource: Andrey Armyagov / shutterstock

You can take your pick with these comedy shows; there are two shows every Friday and Saturday night. The first one at 7pm is family friendly or take in the 9pm show when the children are safely tucked up in bed for the night! Either way you are in for an evening of fun and fast paced comedy.

The comedians are very quick witted and act upon the audience participation and their suggestions, very much akin to the show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Each show lasts about an hour and you are guaranteed a good value fun night out, whatever your age!

19. Bear Creek Golf Complex

GolfSource: Mikael Damkier / shutterstock

Arizona, with its balmy weather, is truly a golfer’s paradise. And if you’re in Chandler you’ll have 7 reminders of that fact! With a total of 7 golf clubs at your disposal, Chandler golf is popular with both locals and visitors, not only for its pristine courses and great weather, but for its stunning backdrop of glorious desert, too!

Bear Creek Golf Complex, for example, is a 36 hole inland links golf area providing both an executive course as well as a championship course. Both the courses and practice area were actually created by the Nicklaus Design Group and architect Bill O’Leary.

20. Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and American Indian Art

American Indian ArtSource: EWY Media / shutterstock
American Indian Art

I highly recommend visiting this captivating gallery that houses an extraordinary collection of contemporary art. It’s divided into two distinct areas, each showcasing a unique theme: Contemporary American Indian Art and Contemporary Western American Art.

As I stepped into the gallery, I was immediately immersed in a world of artistic expression. The collection boasts an impressive assemblage of over 3,000 pieces, encompassing a wide range of mediums. From vibrant watercolors and acrylics to intricate oil paintings, delicate pastels, and captivating charcoal drawings, there’s an abundance of visual delights to explore. Additionally, the collection features captivating natural stone and wood sculptures, adding a three-dimensional dimension to the artistic experience.

One of the highlights of the gallery is the opportunity to admire the magnificent drawings and bronze sculptures created by renowned artists such as David Halbach and Jim Reynolds, among many other talented individuals. The talent and creativity on display are truly awe-inspiring, offering a unique perspective on contemporary art.

Visiting this gallery is not only a chance to appreciate art but also a wonderful family experience. I suggest bringing the kids along to witness the beauty and diversity of the artworks. It’s a chance to ignite their imagination, spark conversations about artistic expression, and create lasting memories together.

21. Merchant Square

Merchant SquareSource: Merchant Square / Facebook
Merchant Square

If you’re up for a great deal or simply enjoy leisurely browsing, a visit to Merchant Square is a must when you find yourself in Chandler. With over 13 years of successful operation, this unique marketplace offers a delightful blend of treasures, making it a haven for antique enthusiasts and collectors alike.

As I stepped into Merchant Square, I was immediately greeted by a well-organized space teeming with hidden gems. From fascinating back issues of magazines to vintage cameras and radios, the array of curiosities is truly captivating. The antique furniture section holds its own charm, showcasing beautifully crafted pieces that whisper stories of bygone eras. It’s an antique lover’s paradise, brimming with the potential to uncover rare finds and one-of-a-kind collectibles.

What sets this marketplace apart is the genuine sense of fun and adventure it brings to the whole family. As I explore the diverse offerings, I can’t help but imagine the excitement of stumbling upon a hidden gem or striking a great deal. It’s a place where generations can come together, sharing in the joy of discovery and creating lasting memories.

So, if you’re in the mood for a bargain or simply love the thrill of exploring eclectic treasures, make sure to carve out time to visit Merchant Square in Chandler.

22. Hawaiian Experience Spa

MassageSource: Microgen / shutterstock

Why not take a break from the kids and give yourself a well-deserved morning of relaxation at the Hawaiian Experience Spa? From the moment you step inside, you’ll instantly feel transported to the tranquil shores of Honolulu, even though you’re right here in amazing Arizona.

The spa attendants are truly exceptional, exuding professionalism, friendliness, and a genuine commitment to your well-being. They skillfully cater to your every need, working their magic to alleviate the typical aches, pains, and stresses of daily life. With a wide range of indulgent treatments available, including invigorating deep tissue massages, rejuvenating organic facials, and pampering body treatments, you’ll be immersed in a world of pure bliss.

Each visit to the spa is a transformative experience, leaving you feeling like a whole new person. The skilled hands of the attendants work their wonders, melting away tension, and reviving your body and mind. As the stress melts away, you’ll emerge from the spa feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to take on the world.

23. Makutu’s Island

Makutu’s IslandSource: Makutu's Island Chandler / Facebook
Makutu’s Island

Welcome to one of America’s most exciting indoor play places, where the little ones reign supreme! As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the centerpiece of this island-themed wonderland—the magnificent indoor tree. It’s an adventure waiting to unfold, with tunnels, mole-holes, tubes, a thrilling “snake” slide, and other exciting climbs to keep the kids entertained for hours.

But that’s not all! There are other captivating play structures to discover, like the Blue Fantasy Tree, the exhilarating Palm Slide, and the swashbuckling Pirates Cove. Every corner of this expansive play area is designed to ignite the imagination and keep those little feet busy with endless fun and excitement.

Even the youngest visitors are catered to with a special toddler area called Oscar’s Lagoon. Here, they can explore and play with soft foam blocks, while enjoying the thrills of three small slides perfectly suited to their size.

While the kids immerse themselves in the world of adventure and play, they’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Polynesian music and experience the joy of island dancing. It’s a chance for them to appreciate different cultures while enjoying the ‘local’ delights offered at the venue. From the tempting Hawaiian pizza and the mouthwatering Makutu meaty pizza to lighter options like cheese and yogurt, there’s something to satisfy every little appetite.

25 Best Things To Do In Chandler (AZ):

  • Saddle up at the Koli Equestrian Center
  • Arizona Railway Museum
  • You can shop (and eat!) till you drop at Chandler Fashion Center
  • Life’s a breeze at Desert Breeze Park
  • Chandler Center for the Arts
  • Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
  • How it all started in Chandler
  • Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse
  • I have too many bikes. Said no cyclist, ever.
  • Urban Fishing
  • San Tan Mountain Regional Park
  • Ice Skating in the Desert?
  • Birding in Veterans Oasis Park
  • Burst Of Butterflies Pottery Painting & Art Studio
  • Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center
  • Huhugam Heritage Center
  • A real sweet treat at Sweeties of Arizona
  • ImprovMANIA
  • Bear Creek Golf Complex
  • Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and American Indian Art
  • Merchant Square
  • Hawaiian Experience Spa
  • Makutu’s Island