This park isn't strictly for dogs, but it does have a large, fenced area just for canines, where your pups can play off their leashes. And since there's an area for small dogs separate from the larger dog park, owners of little Chihuahuas and terriers needn't worry about having their little pets trampled or humped on by big huskies and shepherds. There are also water fountains to keep the dogs hydrated, and waste stations for considerate pet owners to dump off their dogs' droppings. The dog park is often undergoing maintenance, but it's set up in a way that allows park staff to always keep at least half of the huge space open.
Dog runs were created so owners and pets could play together, but this Chandler park has really gone to the dogs. Once your pooch gets a load of the agility course, you might as well just perch on a bench and get comfortable, because all you'll be doing is watching. There's a seesaw, play tunnels, hurdles and several A-frames with stairs for climbing. It looks like a training facility for athletes, and, in a way, that's exactly what it is. Some of the equipment was purchased with a government grant, so police dogs are sent here to exercise and increase their physical abilities. Since humans aren't even allowed on the obstacles, Spot will mostly be socializing with other dogs. We suggest bringing a handful of treats to reward him after the hard workout. It'll encourage continued exercise and it ensures that Spot won't totally forget about you.
In the early '90s, Tempe's Mitchell Park was a notorious hot spot for pet owners disobeying leash laws. After confrontations between owners and regular park patrons, a separate dog run was created. Now dogs are allowed to roam free inside the fenced area, which includes benches and tables for owners and an adapted water fountain with a doggie dish for pets. Plastic bags and waste containers are provided, and the park is lighted after dark so owners can swing by after work in the evening. It's a popular place. It isn't unusual to find 20 or more dogs in the run, but somehow, aggression is kept to a minimum. Our guess? Dogs are so fascinated by the idea of actual freedom to play with other pets that they ignore their own territorial natures.
Chaparral Park
Scottsdale, with its high-end boutiques and resort hotels, isn't exactly known for accommodating pets at least, not if your pet's too big to fit in your purse. But there's one place in town where dogs can get a sweet taste of freedom. The 71-acre Chaparral Park, which is currently being expanded, has the largest off-leash run in the city. There are separate areas for active and passive dogs, the latter being grassier and more open so dogs can run or play Frisbee with their owners. The passive run is more of a socialization area, with dogs sniffing other dogs and lounging lazily in the sun while humans perch in plastic lawn chairs chatting about Fluffy's diet or weighing the pros and cons of shock collars. We're looking forward to the expansion, which will increase the size of the fenced bark park to four acres plenty of room for our four-legged pals to really break out and burn off some of those table-scrap calories.
Everyone knows the best times of day in elementary school were recess and nap time. As we slough through our 9-to-5(ish) grown-up gigs, we've often bemoaned the fact that neither is available in the corporate world. Well, come to think of it, we're too hopped up on Red Bull to squeeze in a nap, but recess would be nice. Good thing the World Adult Kickball Association is around to help us get out our after-work energy. (Hey, sitting at a computer all day is hard!) The Valley hosts four divisions AZ Cactus, AZ Scorch, AZ Valley and AZ Fire but as the oldest division in the Valley, AZ Fire gets our "best" vote for pioneering the magical combo of a ton of beer, a bunch of bored twentysomethings, and the easiest sport ever. So strap on your sneakers and get ready to play. And if you get picked last, think of it this way that's just more time to chug your brew.
Native New Yorker
Work hard, play hard right? At this Native New Yorker, no one will think twice about your tennis shoes and sweaty clothes in the lounge. It is the perfect spot to replenish all the carbs and calories you just burned with its extensive menu that includes wings, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, nachos and just about anything fried. Quench your hard-earned thirst with a few beers, and top off the meal with something from the dessert menu almost half of the items have "jumbo" in the title. If you really want to be naughty, you can smoke a cigarette inside! Go ahead and indulge. You've earned it.
Move over, Calgon. We'd rather let Willow Stream take us away. At this upscale spa devoted to beauty and pampering, tucked amid the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess' sprawling, Spanish-style courtyards, there are so many ways to relax that it's easy to stretch an hourlong treatment into a whole afternoon of aimless leisure. Check in early, check out the schedule of free fitness classes, and work off some stress in the exercise room. Get a pedicure and then snooze by the rooftop pool, where there's a postcard-worthy view of the McDowell Mountains, or head downstairs to soak under the warm waterfall, letting it softly pummel the tension out of your shoulders. And before your massage appointment, settle down in the inhalation room, a cozy capsule of silence and soothing smells. Forgive us. We could probably chat all day about this gorgeous respite, but we're still coming back to earth from our otherworldly "Body Quench," where they slathered us in avocado oil, wrapped us up in a snug cocoon, and then worked the knots out of our weary limbs. Blissful doesn't even begin to describe it.
The Boulders Resort & Waldorf Astoria Spa
The Turquoise Wrap at the Golden Door Spa at The Boulders in Carefree is 50 minutes of pure bliss. Allow us to explain. It might sound weird, but really, stop a moment. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Wait, that won't work. You need to read. Anyhow, the wrap begins with a full body exfoliation with a blue cornmeal paste. A clay masque specifically created for The Boulders with three types of clay, ground turquoise and a blend of aromatic oils is then applied, and your body is wrapped in plastic and layers of blankets. While you are resting, a "smudging" ceremony is performed using a blend of sage, cedar and citrus oils followed by a rain-stick ritual around the table. (Try not to laugh.) After several minutes, you are unwrapped and cleansed with the stimulating "carwash for people," a Vichy shower with multiple shower heads raining down all over your body. The session ends with a full body honey masque, a visit to the steam room and a rose hips body cream which you apply after rinsing off in the shower. It's less than an hour, but you'll feel like two have passed in a good way, we promise. We recommend this treatment in the summer, when rates are so low (with an added discount for Phoenix residents) that you can crawl to your room afterward to continue the relaxation.
Dolce Salon & Spa
Looking for an alternative to the standard movie-and-dinner date night? Dolce Salon & Spa in Chandler offers a couples' massage class one Wednesday night a month. It is a gift that can keep on giving. After registering at the front desk, couples are escorted into a mirrored room filled with mattress pads and pillows. Keeping shorts and loose shirts on, the couples are instructed in five basic massage strokes. First the women work over the men starting with a gentle massage of the temples, down the side of the neck and to the shoulders. Arms, legs and feet are next. The men turn over while the women knead their backs and back of the legs. It isn't as easy as it looks, and we quickly worked up a sweat trying to loosen our partner's muscle knots. After a break and refreshments, the men massage the ladies. We nearly fell asleep as our partner pushed on the pressure points of our feet. The class runs nearly three hours and costs $50 per couple. Each couple leaves with a gift bag filled with a votive candle and holder, chocolates, custom-blended massage oil, and a $25 gift certificate to use for future spa services or products.
Landscaped rocks and cascading waterfalls are the hallmarks of any good resort pool, but The Buttes sets itself apart with the best poolside bar in the area. The aptly named Thirsty Cactus dishes quick bites, burgers, and ice-cold cocktails, so you won't have to leave the comfort of the warm water to grab another margarita. The pool itself is a snaking river with craggy rock formations and native plants lining the shore. The small pocket of air behind the crystal-clear waterfall is a perfect spot to steal a kiss, while the slide is popular with kids on summer break. There are also four secluded hot tubs hidden on the mountainside. You could almost picture yourself in the midst of a tropical island getaway, if it weren't for the bright streetlights and sounds of the nearby I-10 freeway and Tempe Diablo Stadium. Our suggestion? Down a couple of those frosty poolside margs, and the twinkling city lights will look like stars in no time.

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