10 of Phoenix’s best indoor playgrounds and game rooms to beat the heat | Phoenix New Times


10 of Phoenix’s best indoor playgrounds and game rooms to beat the heat

Hide from the sun while you enjoy games, food, and more at these Phoenix hotspots.
There's games for days at Mavrix in Scottsdale.
There's games for days at Mavrix in Scottsdale. Jennifer Goldberg
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The irony is not lost on us that the time of year we most want to cut loose and have a little fun is the same time of year we feel like we'll spontaneously combust if we step outside during the day. But the life of the city has adapted to this paradox, and the local landscape is dotted with indoor fun centers — you know, those aggressively air-conditioned big-box places where you can get some chicken wings and bowl a game or two, roll some Skee-Ball, or play a game of laser tag.

Here are 10 places around town to enjoy yourself while you hide from the sun.


Multiple Locations
Before you pick a metro Phoenix Bowlero location to head to, you should decide what you want to do when you get there; for example, north Scottsdale has beer pong, Christown has foosball and shuffleboard, and Gilbert has laser tag. But the many local outposts have a few things in common: slick, upscale decor; dozens of bowling lanes; and a full sports bar with food and drinks.

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Castles N' Coasters is all stocked up on pinball machines.
Benjamin Leatherman

Castles N' Coasters

9445 N. Metro Parkway East
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Castles N' Coasters may lack the modern decor and full slate of amenities of other local indoor fun centers, but don't discount the nostalgia factor; it's fun to spend an evening playing games at the same place where you used to go to your school friends' birthday parties. Castles N' Coasters has a full arcade and laser tag, and if you feel like venturing outside once the sun sets, you've got options like rides, mini golf and bumper boats.

Dave & Buster's

Multiple Locations
You know Dave & Buster's. The famous national chain of indoor fun centers has plenty going on inside, including massive arcade areas, lots of TVs for watching sports, and pool tables to brush up on your billiards skills. The Desert Ridge and Queen Creek locations have bowling, too (but not Westgate or Tempe Marketplace, so factor that in). When all that fun makes you hungry, there's a full food and drinks menu. We recommend you show up during happy hour to save yourself a couple of bucks on your summer cocktails.


Multiple Locations
The four locations of FatCats in Gilbert, Mesa, Surprise and Queen Creek boast one amenity other indoor fun centers around town don't: movies. All FatCats show a small selection of first-run movies for kids and grownups in addition to everything they have to offer, like bowling, arcade games, indoor glow golf and at select locations, virtual reality gaming.

Jake's Unlimited

1830 E. Baseline Road, Mesa
Indoor fun centers often serve a particular demographic. The ones for children are stocked with mini rides and trampolines, while others targeting adults tout their cocktails and lounge space. Jake's Unlimited is that rare space that does a good job entertaining everyone; kiddos have amenities like a teacup ride and mini bowling, and adults have bumper cars, billiards, a carnival midway, bowling, laser tag, and two full bars.

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Main Event has all the classic games, including Skee-Ball.
Jennifer Goldberg

Main Event

Multiple Locations
You want choices? Main Event has choices. The three metro Phoenix locations have all the hallmarks of a well-appointed funporium, like bowling, arcade games and a full food and drinks menu. But they've also got VR gaming, a ropes course and even karaoke if you feel like belting out a tune or two. If you're bored here, you're not trying very hard to have fun.


9139 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
One of the newer indoor fun spaces in town, the locally owned Mavrix holds its own against its established competitors. Laser tag is always a good choice, or if that's not your style, there are dozens of bowling lanes and a full arcade space. Grownups can hang out in the bar, and everyone can enjoy the food options. And if that's not enough entertainment for you, Mavrix's sister business, Octane Raceway, is located right next door for some go-kart shenanigans.


15059 N. Scottsdale Road, #100, Scottsdale
High-tech mini golf chain Puttshack is the latest addition to the local fun scene. You won't have to bother keeping score on any of their courses; a device in the ball tracks whose ball is whose and how many strokes it takes to get to the hole. When you need a break from the action, Puttshack has a wide menu of globally inspired food and inventive cocktails. Kids are welcome at Puttshack until 8 p.m.
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Tilt Studio in Tempe offers two levels of entertainment.
Benjamin Leatherman

Tilt Studio

5000 Arizona Mills Circle, #669, Tempe
Tilt Studio is mostly an arcade; the two-story space has pretty much anything you'd want to play, from first-person shooters and racing games to Skee-Ball and basketball. But it's also got a full bar and plenty of food options. We like Tilt because of the upstairs area where you can take a break from the shiny new games and chill out with a decent selection of pinball machines and vintage arcade cabinets.

Uptown Alley

13525 N. Litchfield Road, Surprise
It's always a good thing when west Valley citizens don't have to travel far to enjoy what the city has to offer. In the northwest corner of town, Uptown Alley serves up fun seven days a week. The only Arizona location of the chain offers plenty to do, like 40 bowling lanes, more than 80 arcade games, VR gaming, pool tables, laser tag, a sports lounge, a bar and a full food menu.

This article originally appeared in 2021 and has been updated.
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