Best Mini Golf 2023 | Puttshack | Fun & Games | Phoenix

As it turns out, you can teach an old-school game some new tricks. At Puttshack, miniature golf gets a high-tech and high-energy twist with imaginative and illuminated courses tricked out with ball-tracking sensors and computerized scoring. The entertainment and nightlife chain, which debuted at the upscale Scottsdale Quarter retail center over the summer, features two floors with four separate nine-hole courses, each named after gems. There aren't any windmills to tilt at, just inventive and interactive obstacles resembling a skateboard half-pipe, a giant game of beer pong, a pinball playing field writ large and other fun inspirations. (Our favorite is the one where your ball bounces down a descending series of drums.) The place also puts the "tee" in "party" with bars on each floor, DJ sessions on weekend nights and a full food and drink menu. You can even drink while you golf, presuming you can wield both a club and cocktail without pulling a party foul. Put simply, Puttshack puts other local mini-golf spots to shame.

Golf can be a game of inches, for sure, but it can also be super pretentious and not a lot of fun for people who like to enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. The scene at Bellair Golf Park is just what the doctor ordered for those who like to knock the crap out of a little dimpled ball while laughing with friends and knocking back a few cold ones. Think Top Golf without a triple-digit tab at the end of the night. The best part is that the range, which features some nifty video features, is open until 10 p.m. every night, so you can get out of the sun and into the fun. There's nothing else like it on the west side, and the opportunity to see your progress using TopTracer technology is well worth the price of a range bay. You might not cure your slice, but you will enjoy the price. Just tell 'em a little birdie told you so.

Technically, anything is a skate park if you're determined enough. But there are a limited number of true skate parks around metro Phoenix, and for our money, the best one is all the way down in Queen Creek. The Mansel Carter Oasis Skate Park (inside the park of the same name), an in-ground skate park, is a relatively new facility. It was only built in 2018, giving it a fresh, well-kept appearance. Features of the 11,000-square-foot park include a mini ramp and contest-style street course with colored concrete. Though it's a trek from many parts of the Valley, it's worth it to practice your moves at the best skate park in town.

Many residents of metro Phoenix are fortunate enough to have private pools. Still others may have access to one at an apartment complex or condo community. But the pool-less don't have to go undunked, because there are plenty of public options around town. The best, in our opinion, is the McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic & Fitness Center in north Scottsdale. The facility has a 13-lane lap pool that's heated in the winter, plus four diving boards (two 1-meter and two 3-meter). In the summer, the number of amenities grows to include a waterslide, lazy river and zero-depth-entry play pool. The entire center is well-kept and visually appealing, and if you want to take swimming lessons or water exercise classes, those are options, too. There's a small fee for everything, and nonresidents of Scottsdale will have to pay a couple of bucks on top of that, but overall, the price is right for a fun day at the pool.

There are six courts always up for the taking at Roadrunner Park in north Phoenix. No fee is required to use the courts, but it's first come, first serve. The courts were recently resurfaced, so you don't have to worry about a giant crack getting in the way of the backhand winner down the line. On any given day or evening, you'll see hardcore competitive tennis players practicing serves as well as recreational players enjoying a fun game of doubles. There's no need to cut the evening short, because the courts are lighted, and for those who want to practice their strokes, there's a hitting wall available, too. When it's time to cool down or shake off a bad game or two, you can stroll around the park, watching kids play on the playground or dogs walking with their owners.

Scottsdale is known among a certain set (read: people with real money) as one of the epicenters for Arabian horses, not least because its annual horse show is the largest in the world. From its humble start at the Arizona Biltmore in 1955 with 50 horses, it's grown to nearly 2,400 horses and top owners, breeders and trainers at WestWorld each February. This is the premier event for witnessing these magnificent creatures, known for their shimmering coats, distinctive facial features, long necks, high tail carriage and athletic yet graceful trot. Hundreds of thousands of people — including big names like Shania Twain — come from around the world for the 11-day event to show and view Arabians, the best of which fetch into the six figures and can be worth it for their stud fees. Not only is it fun for anyone who ever dreamed of a pony, but it's a fundraiser for the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, which has donated millions to local charities.

If you love cars — particularly classic, rare, flashy, historic and even quirky ones — you can't miss this over-the-top show that happens every January at WestWorld. This year, more than 1,900 cars were auctioned, including a $2.75 million Ferrari F40. Even if you're not in the market to buy a limited-edition Jaguar or a badass muscle car — or the blue AMC Pacer with flames on the side used in "Wayne's World," which sold for $71,500 in 2022 — it's a great place to gawk. But it's also interactive: You can sign up for the hot laps and thrill rides that let you ride shotgun with a professional driver in a fast machine on a fun track or off-road in a four-wheel drive. And you don't have to know your straight-eight from your hemi to enjoy the massive party, which draws about 300,000 people, including more than a few celebrities, over nine days. Get your motor runnin' with live music, a hall of vendors hawking everything from hot tubs to neon signs, a ton of food from pizza to lobster mac and cheese, and bars, baby, bars for your day-drinking pleasure.

The car has always been king in Phoenix — and not just because it's often the only way to actually get around. So while that reliance often means road rage and gnarly traffic, it also means a robust culture surrounding cars and driving in general. If you're ever looking to connect with said culture, Official Arizona Car Meets is an important resource for every gearhead. The unofficial network shares events and car-centric happenings taking place across the Valley, from free car washes and "rides and coffee" to car meets and other showcases. It's about connecting to folks young and old, lovers of American muscle and international speedsters, in a way that fosters community and connection about what matters most: the cars. And as with most things free (or free-adjacent), there are no limits to just who can come and enjoy the simple pleasures of riding around or showing off your own mean machine to like-minded folks. So spend your hot nights (and perhaps even your hotter days) enjoying the power and promise of car culture — just make sure you've filled up the tank on your way out.

The free-of-charge lowrider car show's appeal lies in its blend of elements that cater to a wide range of interests. The April event has been Guadalupe's hometown staple for 20 years now — and keeps growing. From the stunning display of lowrider cars to the car hop contest for starters, this competition draws the top car builders from all over metro Phoenix and beyond. The vehicles that compete are of all eras and sport lots of chrome, candy paint jobs, tuck-and-roll interiors, hydraulic pumps and loud bass music. Then, the live music, local food and family-friendly activities create camaraderie and fam bam reunions for metro Phoenicians and out-of-town cruisers. Its unique setting is located in and around the hacienda-style El Mercado de Guadalupe and the closed-down Guadalupe streets for blocks. The above mentioned elements focus on community engagement, making this a standout car show. After a day of festivities, hundreds of vehicles pull out and cruise Priest Drive, while spectators post up on the adjoined sidewalks and parking lots to watch the art-in-motion lowriders drive into the sunset. The Guadalupe Car Show promoters, Miguel Alvarado and his Intimidations Guadalupe AZ car club, have their next date on lock for April 28, 2024.

For cyclists, Phoenix is a hostile place. It's frequently ranked one of the most dangerous cities in the nation for bicycles, with its giant boulevards, poor bike infrastructure and urban sprawl. But every so often, a group called Critical Mass Phoenix takes to the streets. With Critical Mass, dozens, sometimes hundreds, of Phoenix cyclists ride together, often down Central Avenue, taking over the streets themselves. These rides usually happen at night, starting at sunset. Cyclists wear fluorescent orange and yellow; some attach colorful lights to their bikes. Critical Mass is a nationwide movement dating back decades, but its nighttime Phoenix rides are a sight to behold — a reminder of the power of collective action, even in a car-centric desert city like Phoenix.

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