Summer dust storms are a part of living in Arizona, and they make for some spectacular photographs. But it's no fun to be caught in the pool or in traffic when a monsoon rolls through. At best, you end up with a face full of dust. At worst, you could get struck by lightning.
Considering that we're in for about two or three more months of scattered evening storms, it's a good idea to explore some of the Valley's indoor options to stay active. Here are 10 of our favorites.
4840 East Jasmine Street, #102, Mesa
If you happen to be tooling around east Mesa near the Falcon Field Airport when a monsoon hits, seek shelter in Starfighters Arcade. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time for quick minute, as the 4,000-square-foot establishment is overrun with more than 100 old-favorite arcade games (including Super Mario Bros., Galaga, and Space Invaders), classic rock, and enthusiastic gamers – all overseen by the Starfighters Arcade Social Club. More of an arcade museum, Starfighters Arcade is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 3 to 7 p.m. Playtime will run you $10 for a daily membership, and $35 for a month’s membership – allowing for two free guests.
It's All in the Game Sports Center
7797 West Paradise Lane, Peoria
While the indoor baseball and softball facility isn't the first of its kind in the Valley, It's All in the Game's Paradise Lane location (right next to the Peoria Sports Complex) is certainly the most impressive we've seen. With several hitting tunnels, pitching mounds, weight-training areas, and a physical therapy facility, this ballplayers' indoor haven can provide a great place to get some exercise in while staying in the air conditioning. Top-notch baseball and softball instructors are available to host private lessons and group instruction for tee-ball teams to elite collegiate and professional athletes. Reservations are recommended.
AZ on the Rocks
16447 North 91st Street, #105, Scottsdale
With about 14,000 square feet of rock walls and climbing area, AZ on the Rocks is a city block of a climber's dream. Whether it's your first time climbing or you're a regular Spider-Man, Arizona's biggest indoor rock climbing facility will have a wall to offer you the right level of difficulty – including the ROCKFIT program, or rock climbing combined with functional, dynamic exercises. If you're just not in the mood for climbing, the facility also offers a small weight-training area, and daily Yoga on the Rocks classes. AZR is open to the public 3 to 10 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 3 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
13525 North Litchfield Road, Surprise
Think of a bowling alley: its outdated music, uncomfortable seating, and a vaguely disconcerting smell that might be coming from the shoes. Uptown Alley in Surprise is exactly the opposite of all of that. Aside from being a significantly upscale bowling alley with spacious couches and plasma televisions, Uptown Alley also sports a full-size arcade, a two-story laser tag maze, a Sports Theater full of giant screens to watch your favorite sporting events, a stage for live music, and billiards tables. The food and drink are far classier than expected from a bowling alley, with a full bar and restaurant on-site, and there's a club-like area called The Approach for the 21-plus crowd to bowl and socialize on weekend evenings.
Topgolf Scottsdale at Riverwalk
9500 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
For those who haven’t been to a birthday party or corporate event there yet, Topgolf puts a new spin on the classic driving range. While the actual high-tech golfing area is outdoors, it's completely covered and cooled by fans and misters, so unless a haboob rolls through while you're taking aim at the colorful targets, you're mostly protected from the elements. In the event that the weather takes a terrible turn while you're practicing your swing, Topgolf offers a full bar loaded with gourmet food and drink as well as a wide screens and overstuffed couches. Pool, foosball, shuffleboard, and other table games are also available to kill time while a storm passes.