Best Bowling 2020 | Bowlero | Fun & Games | Phoenix

Open the doors at Bowlero, and you're hit with all kinds of stimuli: bright lights, the bleats and blurts of electronic games, the familiar sound of balls knocking over pins. That's because Bowlero is much more than a bowling alley. It's also an arcade and a lounge that serves bar food (wings, burgers) and craft beers from local breweries. Bowlero is a safe space, in other words, for those with low attention spans and for those with low bowling scores. If you're rolling gutterballs, there's always something else to do here.

With triple-digit temps lasting all the way through October, we're constantly seeking refuge from the burning Phoenix sun. Ice Den is always there for us. We especially like that this Scottsdale spot is more than just a rink. Ice Den has its own on-site bar, 18 Degrees, where Mom and Dad can grab a drink or a bite to eat while watching the kids whiz by out on the ice. Want to join them, but afraid you'll crash and freeze? Ice Den offers lessons for adults as well as children. Or maybe you can pick up a few pointers by catching a glimpse of the Arizona Coyotes, who practice here. Even if the hockey pros are hogging the rink, at least you've beaten the heat for a frosty few hours.

Phoenix Suns fans suspected shooting guard Devin Booker might have some serious game when the team nabbed him with the 13th pick in the 2015 draft. But the 23-year-old from the University of Kentucky has become a megastar, leading one of the most exciting young franchises in the NBA. A lethal scorer who can drive or drain jumpers from anywhere on the court, Booker lately has been sinking dimes from the logo and netting buzzer-beating, game-winning daggers; he's arguably the MVP of the NBA bubble. Yes, Booker has a supermodel girlfriend in Kendall Jenner. But we're more impressed with what he's doing on the court.

Kobe Bryant (may he rest) nicknamed Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi "The White Mamba." Deandre Ayton called her the Michael Jordan of the WNBA, where she's the all-time leading scorer. Taurasi has four Olympic gold medals as a member of Team USA. She's a nine-time WNBA All-Star who led the Phoenix Mercury to three WNBA Championships (2007, 2009, and 2014) and took home the MVP Award in 2009. But all of the records, medals, and titles are just part of what makes Taurasi the G.O.A.T. — it's also her spirit, her grit, and her determination that encourages her teammates and makes everyone around her better. Look for her to possibly coach in Phoenix after spending her entire pro career here.

The merchandise for the Valley's United Soccer League team isn't fancy or expensive. The designs are all simple but effective variations and amalgamations of the Phoenix Rising logo, soccer balls, and the shape of the state of Arizona. Unlike a Phoenix Suns player jersey that will set you back about $110, Phoenix Rising jerseys have sponsor logos on the front that are larger than the team logos (this season, that sponsor is Carvana), but they cost less ($65 to $95) and are super comfortable — like all Phoenix Rising apparel. That's what makes this gear so great. Shirts are made from high-quality cotton, polyester, and rayon blends, and some of the T-shirts can be colorful and edgy compared to the rest (we love the sugar skull with soccer balls for eyes). But perhaps the best merch offerings are the Phoenix Rising socks — five kinds to choose from (designed by Rock 'Em Socks and For Bare Feet), all engineered to keep feet healthy while looking awesome.

There are plenty of reasons to love Practical Art, from its monthly exhibits featuring works by local artists to its charity pie nights benefiting various causes. Also: several of the artists who show or sell their work at Practical Art also offer classes in the creative space, giving people a chance to level up your skills while getting to know some of the best artists in our midst. Where else can you learn the techniques Denise Yaghmourian uses to paint her mischievous ceramic plates or the ways Ann Morton recycles objects to create whimsical bouquets of flowers? Small class sizes mean people get plenty of individual attention, and the casual setting keeps classes from feeling intimidating. It's also one of the most affordable places to take art classes, so you can make more stuff and drop less dough.

When we were kids, whose house did we want to play at? The kid who had all the games. A night at Snakes & Lattes in Tempe is a little like going over to that kid's house, except there are thousands of games and a full bar and you're a grown-up now. Next time you're in a nostalgic mood (or bored, or looking to switch things up), grab a friend or five and head down to Mill Avenue. Order a drink (alcoholic or non) and maybe something to nosh on (we love the elote bites), and then you're ready for the hard part: choosing a game. There are modern hits like Secret Hitler, Codenames, and Apples to Apples; classics like Sorry!, Connect Four, and Mall Madness (yes, really); strategy games like Risk, Sushi Go, and Ticket to Ride; and oh-so-many more. Most of them are just as much fun as you remember.

Now that science has debunked the myth that drinking alcohol kills brain cells, why not merge learning with libations? The ASU Biodesign Institute does just that with its "A Sip of Science" series, in which professors from the school give fascinating, informal presentations on scientific topics in various bars and restaurants, in combination with themed cocktails. Toast to topics like "How Will Polar Ice Melt Affect the Migration of Infectious Disease?," "Zombies Are Real: Are Microbes Controlling My Mind?," and "Mo' Plastics, Mo' Problems: The Life of Microplastic and Your Seafood" with specialty drinks at places like The Henry, Match Market + Bar, and Blanco Tacos & Tequila. The cost is $15 per event and includes light appetizers. Proceeds help fund community science events. Cheers.

We like yoga. We do yoga sometimes. But we don't drive down to the far, far southeast corner of the Valley to do yoga — we do that for the baby goats in costumes. Goat yoga has become quite the trend in the past few years, and for good reason: Who wouldn't enjoy a light workout while surrounded by cute animals? The two ladies behind Arizona Goat Yoga were in the vanguard of the craze, which means they've had plenty of time to refine the experience they offer. Depending on the week, you might get adult and baby goats dressed up as sharks, superhero cow-cuddling and goat yoga, or '80s-themed goat and alpaca yoga. The goats are friendly and not smelly, but be prepared: You will probably get jumped on during your table pose.

A few years back, we found an injured bird in the New Times atrium. We knew exactly what to do: We scooped him up into a box and drove him to Liberty Wildlife. This nonprofit organization cares for and rehabilitates orphaned and injured wild animals, teaches people of all ages about wildlife, and instills in the community a respect for the value and beauty of nature. In pre-pandemic times, this translated into camps for kids, nature walks, educational programs, tours, "Coffee With a Ranger" events, and more. Since the spring, we've had to get our cute animal fix by following Liberty on Instagram, but we're looking forward to the day we can again visit the south Phoenix facility and learn more about the precious desert wildlife that surrounds us.

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