Sports & Recreation

  • BEST PUBLIC TENNIS COURTS

    Phoenix Tennis Center

    Though we hardly could be called card-carrying members of the country-club set, we do occasionally enjoy pretending that we can smack a tennis ball with the best of 'em. And that's a backhanded way of informing our fellow lob-sters that our favorite place to run ourselves in circles is this wonderful city-run facility, tucked away in a west Phoenix residential… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE A SPRING TRAINING GAME

    Surprise Stadium

    Head west, young sports fan! West Valley leaders know what their constituents want: good sports in good facilities and lots of 'em. Take a typical spring afternoon out at Surprise Stadium, the gorgeous baseball mecca that opened in 2002 for the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. The stadium is packed with everything from Sun City retirees keeping their own… More >>
  • BEST SKATE PARK

    Paradise Valley Skate Park

    While many skateboarders are willing to dish out $10 to skate in indoor parks with smaller ramps and a load of regulations (or illegally skate in commercial strip malls), adrenaline junkies in the know ride their boards under the sun at the Paradise Valley Skate Park. The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has three skate parks (including the Desert West… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CLIMB THE WALLS

    AZ on the Rocks

    For those about to rock, we direct you . . . to AZ on the Rocks, where beginner, intermediate and women-only classes convene every couple of days. Learn the ropes -- and the lingo -- on 14,000 square feet of textured climbing terrain, with 50 top ropes, a lead-only cave, rappelling platform, chimney, separate bouldering area and --… More >>
  • BEST RESORT POOL

    The Oasis at Pointe South Mountain Resort

    Sure, there are other resort pools in town. But only at the Oasis can 25 adults party in a hot tub secluded from the lifeguard-patrolled toddler pool by faux red rock boulders and pretend they've found a private hot spring in Sedona. The 17-year-old resort opened the $12.3 million water park just two years ago as one intentionally designed for… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO RUN WITH THE DEVIL

    Arizona Canal at 40th Street just north of Camelback Road

    We don't care what Jack Hanna says. Bats are just plain creepy and, dare we say, evil little critters. Still, we can't help but be drawn to the southern border of Paradise Valley along the Arizona Canal where, from late spring through November, Satan's Little Helpers gather at sunset and hover along the warm flood-control waters in search of mosquitoes… More >>
  • BEST OUTDOOR HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE

    Desert Botanical Garden

    One of our earliest childhood memories of Christmas in Phoenix involves a very big saguaro cactus that used to reside near the intersection of Invergordon and McDonald in Paradise Valley. We called it "the cactus with the two crossed fingers," and every holiday season, someone decorated it with a red ribbon. Or maybe it was a Santa hat. Anyway,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL

    The Japanese Friendship Garden (Ro Ho En)

    Finding solace in this bustling metropolis isn't easy, but there are a few nooks where peace and quiet prevail. With more than 50 types of plants, 1,500 tons of handpicked rock, a 12-foot waterfall, a koi pond and meandering streams, the Japanese Friendship Garden, officially named Ro Ho En, is our choice for a getaway when we can't really get… More >>
  • BEST ESCAPE FROM THE HEAT

    Pontoons at the Lakes at Precision Marine

    Precision Marine operates a fleet of pontoon boats at both Saguaro and Canyon lakes less than an hour outside of town. With 50 miles of shoreline at the two picturesque lakes, it's easy enough for you and your crew to lose yourselves amidst the stunning vistas. At $280 for five hours, you will probably want to divvy up the expense… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT

    Tempe Town Lake Crew Class

    If you can float, you can boat -- or row your boat, to be exact. You don't have to be an Olympic athlete (though some have trained here) to participate in crew classes on Tempe Town Lake. But be ready to show the instructors that you can float. Classes start at $100, with all your gear included. You'll be rowing… More >>
  • BEST HIKE

    Superstition Wilderness

    With more than 180 miles of trails, hiking the Superstitions is more a lifetime goal than a day trip. But it's worth the commitment. Nothing within hundreds of miles of the Valley compares to the Superstitions' rugged beauty, variety of challenges and sense of isolation and mystery. And you may just find the legendary Lost Dutchman Mine, if you don't… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC GOLF COURSE

    Bear Creek Golf Course

    While many of the Valley's city courses are brown in attempts to save the region's depleted water supply, Bear Creek's fairways are as green as an Irish countryside. Give thanks to effluent, reclaimed sewage water known as "poop water" in these parts. It allows a city to feel okay about keeping decadence lush in a drought-riddled desert. Crafted by Nicklaus… More >>
  • BEST MINIATURE GOLF

    Castles N' Coasters

    Thanks to the sweetly surrealistic tiny town structures that make up Castles N' Coasters, our favorite local mini golf course, you can take a cheap date around the world in 72 holes. From the spooky Old West mine shaft to the jaunty New Orleans riverfront hotel, past the African jungle huts, the hillbilly outhouse, Islamic temple, Franciscan mission, Hopi tepees… More >>
  • BEST PAINTBALL PARK

    Game-On Paintball Park

    Serious paintballers rank their favorite splatter spots according to their own peculiar rating systems. Some consider the atmosphere between players and referees the key. Others look for fields with a variety of bunkers, barrels, ditches and cool places to commandeer. For many, it's which place is cheapest: A full day of play can run between $60 and $100, depending on… More >>
  • BEST BIKE SHOP

    Tempe Bicycle

    Tempe Bicycle is the best bike shop in town for a few simple reasons -- selection, prices, service, and above-the-call extras like its free weekly bicycle clinics. Just blocks from ASU's campus, its location doesn't hurt, either. Inside the cavernous warehouse, there's an unkempt grease-monkey feel to the place, which is crammed with every sort of accessory possible alongside rows… More >>
  • BEST CAST PARTIES

    Don's Sport Shop - CLOSED

    Tie one on at Don's Sport Shop, where free Saturday-morning casting classes let fly with fly-fishing basics. Lacking the proper equipment? No worries: Don's crew will hook you up with a loaner -- and even let you try out the shop's demo rods at the pond that sits next to the shop. Also on the agenda: an annual fly-fishing fair;… More >>
  • BEST SKATEBOARD SHOP

    Cowtown Skateboards

    Cowtown takes this one for riding the delicate line between keeping it real and keeping it friendly enough for the Skateboard Moms (the hottest new voting demographic) whose pocketbooks fuel the industry. Diehard skate rats give Cowtown props across the board for keeping the latest decks, hardware and videos on hand, while sponsoring a hard-core team of local riders. And… More >>
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