Located within the picturesque landscape of the Salt River Valley, Peoria, Arizona, proudly stands as a major suburb of Phoenix. With a population of approximately 154,000 as of 2010, this vibrant town seamlessly blends the beauty of the sloping desert terrain with the majesty of the surrounding mountain foothills.
Peoria’s journey has been one of resilience and revival, marked by significant events that shaped its history. In 1917, disaster struck when a fire engulfed the local pool hall, causing extensive damage that nearly decimated the town’s business district. It seemed as if Peoria’s future hung in the balance.
Yet, from the ashes of destruction emerged a renewed spirit of determination. The town embraced the opportunity for growth, embarking on a journey of rebuilding. Sturdy and attractive constructions replaced the charred remnants, breathing new life into the community. With the combined efforts of eager entrepreneurs and the emergence of new enterprises during World War I, Peoria experienced a renaissance that propelled it back onto the path of prosperity.
Now, to help you with your visit, let’s delve into the wonders and delights that await within the vibrant streets of Peoria. Here is my list of the best things to do in Peoria.
1. Family Fun at Rio Vista Recreation Center
When it comes to a bustling hub of activities and entertainment, look no further than the Rio Vista Community Park. This lively destination offers something for everyone, ensuring that nobody is left without excitement or amusement. As I stepped onto its grounds, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the array of facilities and attractions that awaited me.
For those seeking active pursuits, the park boasts indoor racquetball courts that are perfect for an invigorating game. As a fitness enthusiast, I was thrilled to discover a well-equipped gym, complete with an impressive assortment of weight machines of varying loads. It was a haven for those looking to break a sweat and stay in shape.
However, it wasn’t just the sporting amenities that caught my attention. The park’s dedication to family-friendly experiences was evident in the inclusion of water sprinkler swings and monkey bars, sure to delight the younger members of any group. Watching the little ones swing and play, their laughter filling the air, brought a smile to my face.
One aspect that stood out to me was the impeccable cleanliness and maintenance of the center. It was evident that the staff took great pride in their work, ensuring that every corner was pristine and welcoming. Their attentiveness and willingness to assist with any inquiries or concerns further enhanced the overall experience.
Whether you’re seeking a thrilling game of racquetball, a rewarding workout session, or simply a place for your little monkeys to enjoy themselves, the Rio Vista Community Park offers it all. Its diverse offerings and diligent staff create an environment that leaves visitors with lasting memories and a desire to return time and time again.
2. Let’s (watch them) play ball at Peoria Sports Complex!
As a sports fanatic, one of the highlights of my time in Peoria was visiting the renowned Peoria Sports Complex during the thrilling spring training season. This exceptional stadium serves as the home turf for two esteemed teams: the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres, both partaking in the highly anticipated Cactus League.
I couldn’t help but admire the well-designed layout of the complex. Comprised of the main baseball stadium, known as Peoria Stadium, along with an impressive collection of 12 practice fields, this facility caters to the needs of both players and fans alike. What struck me most was the stadium’s relatively intimate size, allowing spectators to be in close proximity to the exhilarating play action on the field.
Finding a cozy spot on the grass seating, I marveled at the perfect setting for families to relax and immerse themselves in the joyous atmosphere. Parents comfortably sat, basking in the sun, while their children ran and played around them. Witnessing the pure happiness and energy radiating from the young ones filled me with a sense of warmth and delight.
In addition to the captivating on-field action, the Peoria Sports Complex goes above and beyond to ensure that every moment is filled with excitement. Between innings, the complex hosts entertaining activities that engage fans of all ages. Whether it’s a captivating mascot performance, a lively sing-along, or an engaging contest, there was never a dull moment throughout the entire game.
3. Arizona Broadway Theatre
My visit to the Arizona Broadway Theatre proved to be an absolute delight. Nestled in Peoria, this vibrant establishment serves as an excellent outlet for all theater lovers seeking a taste of Broadway magic, all at affordable Arizona prices.
Stepping into the theater, I was immediately captivated by its elegant and inviting atmosphere. The venue offers a diverse and impressive selection of plays, ensuring that there is something for every theatrical palate. From classic productions to contemporary favorites, the Arizona Broadway Theatre showcases top-notch performances that truly transport you into a world of captivating storytelling.
One aspect that sets this theater apart is its dinner theater experience. Combining the joy of live performances with outstanding cuisine, it creates a truly immersive evening of entertainment. The option to indulge in a delectable dinner before the show is a treat in itself. However, for those who prefer to savor their meal during intermission, the theater staff graciously serves drinks and desserts to enhance the overall experience. It’s an extraordinary way to elevate your outing and make it truly memorable.
The Arizona Broadway Theatre offers a refreshing and unique excursion, perfect for those seeking an extraordinary experience during their visit to Peoria.
4. New River Trail
The New River Trail is an absolute gem for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers like myself. This scenic trail provides the perfect opportunity for a family hike while immersing ourselves in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. What makes it even more remarkable is that it’s a vehicle-free zone, designed to cater to a variety of activities including jogging, walking, strolling, rollerblading, biking, and even horseback riding.
Spanning an impressive 18 miles, the trail runs parallel to some of Peoria’s most vibrant shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations. It’s incredibly convenient to have these amenities nearby, allowing us to combine our outdoor adventure with a well-deserved treat or meal afterwards. The trail itself is paved throughout, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey for all. Its excellent maintenance speaks to the dedication of those who oversee its upkeep.
As we traverse the trail, we’ll encounter some gradual inclines that lead us from the river bottom to the top of the banks. This change in elevation not only adds a touch of adventure but also rewards us with breathtaking views of the surrounding nature. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way; the trail offers a glimpse into the diverse ecosystem that thrives in this area.
While embarking on our outdoor exploration, it’s crucial to remember that we’re in a desert environment. It’s essential for the whole family to hydrate well before setting off, and it’s highly recommended to bring an ample supply of water to stay hydrated throughout the journey. Safety and well-being should always be a priority, ensuring that we can fully enjoy the trail without any concerns.
5. Quintero Golf Club, Lake Pleasant
If you’re a golf enthusiast like me, then the Quintero Golf Club is an absolute must-visit, even if it means venturing a little outside of Peoria. Situated less than an hour northwest of Phoenix, this hidden gem is well worth the trip for the whole family!
As soon as you arrive, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking surroundings. Nestled in the Sonoran Desert near Lake Pleasant and surrounded by the majestic Hieroglyphic Mountains, the Quintero Golf Club offers a truly picturesque setting. The scenic beauty of the location alone is worth the visit.
Now, let’s talk about the golf course itself. Renowned in the golfing world, it has been consistently recognized by Golfweek Magazine as one of America’s Top 100 Golf Courses since 2002. With 18 meticulously designed holes, each offering its own unique challenge, Quintero is a golfer’s paradise.
As you navigate the course, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the desert landscape, with rugged mountains serving as a stunning backdrop. One of the highlights is the remarkable collection of native cacti that dot the landscape, adding a touch of natural beauty and uniqueness to your golfing experience.
What sets Quintero Golf Club apart is its elevation. Spanning between 1,986 and 2,670 feet, the course provides a dynamic and varied playing experience. The changes in elevation not only make for interesting shots but also offer unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding desert terrain.
6. Ape Index
When it comes to rock climbing adventures, Ape Index Rock Climbing is the place to be. As soon as you step foot in this exciting facility, you’ll be greeted by a team of enthusiastic instructors affectionately known as “apes”. Their mission? To guide climbers of all fitness levels in conquering walls that reach heights of approximately 32 feet.
Prepare yourself for an incredible climbing experience. The gym at Ape Index is equipped with an impressive array of features, including over 75 top ropes, a bouldering tunnel, and a unique 3-D globe with a rounded façade and active volcanoes. This diverse set-up ensures that climbers of all ages and skill levels can find the perfect challenge.
Whether you’re an adult looking to push your limits or a kid seeking an exciting adventure, Ape Index has something for everyone. You’ll have a blast navigating the differently shaped climbing walls, testing your strength and agility. It’s an amazing opportunity for the whole family to bond and create lasting memories together.
The atmosphere at Ape Index is filled with energy and excitement. The supportive staff, or “apes”, are always on hand to offer guidance and ensure your safety throughout your climbing journey. Their passion for the sport is contagious, making your experience even more enjoyable.
7. Wigwam Stables at Cowtown
Are you ready to live out your cowboy dreams? Look no further than Wigwam Stables at Cowtown, just a short distance from Peoria. This incredible experience will transport you and your family back to the enchanting days of the Wild West.
Saddle up and ride through the dusty streets of an authentic old western town, led by trail bosses dressed in genuine 1880s attire. The atmosphere is electric as you immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and thrills of the Wild West. For an even more exhilarating adventure, you can even book a simulated Arizona shoot-out!
But the excitement doesn’t stop there. At Wigwam Stables, you’ll have the opportunity to witness skilled blacksmiths practicing their trade, giving you a glimpse into the craftsmanship of the past. Hop on a hay ride and enjoy the scenic views, or try your luck at gold panning, just like the prospectors of yesteryear. With so many activities to choose from, there’s never a dull moment.
Wigwam Stables guarantees a fun-filled day for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned cowboy or a curious newcomer, this experience will leave you with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for the Wild West era.
8. Harkins Theaters
Let me share with you a local gem for movie enthusiasts: Harkins Theaters. This family-owned business has been a staple in Arizona since its establishment in 1933 and has now expanded to 30 locations across five states.
In the heart of Peoria, near the Peoria Sports Complex, you’ll find a Harkins Theater with comfortable stadium seating. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a clean and inviting atmosphere, and the aroma of freshly popped popcorn will surely whet your appetite for a movie night treat. Grab a refreshing soda to complete the perfect cinematic experience.
What sets Harkins Theaters apart is the exceptional service provided by their attentive and courteous staff. They strive to ensure your visit is enjoyable from start to finish. Convenient parking options are available, allowing you to easily access the theater. If you’re in the mood for a pre-movie stroll, there are also restaurants within walking distance, giving you plenty of dining options.
With its relaxed and family-friendly ambiance, Harkins Theaters offers a delightful evening out for everyone. Whether you’re looking to catch the latest blockbuster or enjoy a heartwarming family film, you can count on Harkins to provide a memorable and enjoyable experience.
9. Wind Therapy Rides
Are you ready for an exhilarating adventure? Get ready to be a backseat driver and embark on an unforgettable journey with Wind Therapy Rides! This unique experience allows you to enjoy the thrill of sightseeing without any of the driving responsibilities.
As a passenger, you can sit back, relax, and soak in the breathtaking desert landscapes that unfold before your eyes. Wind Therapy Rides takes pride in offering interesting and scenic motorcycle rides that showcase the stunning beauty of the Southwestern American region.
With a variety of rides to choose from, you can select the one that suits your preferences and desired level of excitement. The company ensures your safety by providing experienced and skilled drivers who will guide you through the most picturesque routes and highlight the hidden gems along the way.
Not sure what to wear for the ride? Don’t worry! Shana and Pat, the passionate owners of Wind Therapy Rides, will be more than happy to provide you with all the necessary information and guidance to make your experience comfortable and enjoyable.
10. AZ Ice Peoria
The larger rink is Olympic-sized, offering plenty of space for skating enthusiasts to show off their moves, while the slightly smaller rink provides a more intimate setting for beginners or those who prefer a cozier atmosphere.
You might be surprised to find a facility like this in the desert, but AZ Ice has become a beloved destination in Arizona. As parents, you’ll appreciate the comfortable and clean environment that AZ Ice provides. With bleacher-style seating, you can relax and enjoy excellent views of your kids gliding across the ice.
For those looking to take a break from the action, AZ Ice offers a pleasant bar area where you can unwind and socialize. Need to grab a bite to eat? Look no further than the on-site restaurant. And if you’re craving something sweet, there’s even an ice cream vending machine for a cool treat.
11. Theater Works
As a theater enthusiast in Peoria, I’m thrilled to have Theater Works right in our town at the Center for the Performing Arts. This incredible acting company has been dedicated to bringing exceptional theater experiences to our local community.
One of the things I love about Theater Works is the intimate setting of the theater. It creates a unique and immersive atmosphere that truly enhances the enjoyment of each production. It’s no surprise that in 2008, they received the prestigious Best New Playhouse award from the Phoenix New Times.
When attending a performance at Theater Works, I appreciate the convenience of having a small concession stand right within the theater. They offer a variety of refreshments at very reasonable prices, allowing me to indulge in some treats while enjoying the show. Additionally, Theater Works ensures that everyone can have access to their performances by providing ample handicapped seating options.
Parking is always a concern when going to events, but Theater Works has made it easy. There is plenty of free parking available nearby, so I never have to worry about finding a spot.
12. Jumping high at Sky Zone!
I absolutely love visiting Sky Zone, the first indoor trampoline park in the world! It’s a fantastic chain of trampoline parks that offer an array of exciting activities, from freestyle bouncing to fitness programs and dodgeball.
As soon as I stepped inside Sky Zone, I was greeted by the sight of trampolines as far as the eye can see. It’s an incredible experience to be surrounded by wall-to-wall trampolines, creating a truly unique and exhilarating environment.
Since its completion in 2011, Sky Zone has expanded its offerings to include various activities that cater to different interests and fitness levels. I personally enjoy participating in their SkyRobics fitness classes, which provide a high-energy workout while bouncing and jumping on the trampolines. It’s an innovative and enjoyable way to stay fit and active.
Another highlight of Sky Zone is the Ultimate Dodgeball court. It’s an absolute blast to engage in friendly dodgeball competitions with friends and family, leaping and dodging on the trampolines. The thrill of the game combined with the bouncy surface takes the excitement to a whole new level.
And let’s not forget the SkySlam court! It’s an incredible experience to leap into the air and slam dunk a basketball on a trampoline. Whether you’re a basketball enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and memorable activity, the SkySlam court delivers pure enjoyment.
One of the best things about Sky Zone is that it’s suitable for everyone, regardless of age, fitness level, or size. It’s a perfect family attraction where everyone can have a fantastic time while getting a great workout. It’s a win-win situation, combining fun and fitness in one exhilarating package.
13. Sky Cafe
Sky Café offers a delightful variety of refreshments that will satisfy the entire family. You’ll have a hard time choosing from their impressive menu, which includes delicious options like hot dogs, pizza, pretzels, nachos, and more. They also have a range of thirst-quenching cold drinks, smoothies, ices, and plenty of other tasty treats to indulge in.
The café provides ample seating, ensuring that everyone in the family can find a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy their snacks. Plus, they have five TVs strategically placed throughout the area, so even those who aren’t actively jumping can stay entertained. It’s a great place to catch up on the latest sports events, shows, or simply enjoy some family-friendly programming.
Whether you’re taking a break from all the jumping or simply looking for a place to relax and enjoy some delicious food, Sky Café is the perfect spot. The friendly staff and cozy atmosphere make it an excellent place to recharge and spend quality time with your loved ones.
So, next time you visit Sky Zone, make sure to check out Sky Café. It’s the ideal spot to refuel, refresh, and continue making unforgettable memories with your family.