Best Rage Room 2023 | Breakthrough Smash Room | Fun & Games | Phoenix

From the pandemic to historic heat waves, the last three years have been a doozy. Add in trying to date in a digital world, and it's safe to say that we're all a little on edge. If you're one of those well-adjusted individuals who rely on counseling to get through, good for you. But, if you're like the rest of us and feel like smashing bottles and old appliances with a bat would help you deal with the tension, then Breakthrough Smash Room is the place to go. Your entrance fee gets you a bunch of stuff to break, safety gear and a bottle of water in case you work up a sweat while you're working through your issues. And because wreaking havoc on an old washing machine is better with friends, Breakthrough offers group packages that include food and drink for under $300. This rage room is, well, all the rage.

Not since Hollywood's 1993 release of "So I Married an Axe Murderer," has ax throwing been so mainstream. But here we are 30 years later, living out our own weapon-tossing fantasies in plain sight with a beer in our hand. For just $35 per person, you can take your Tinder date to throw axes at Hotshots, a locally owned business on the border of Scottsdale and Tempe. As an added benefit, you can also discover just how much danger you'd be in should the date go south by paying attention to their accuracy at hurling a deadly weapon. All jokes aside, Hotshots Axe Throwing does a great job of catering to city-dwelling Phoenicians who might not have a lot of ax-wielding experience. So, even if you aren't harboring secret wood-chopping skills, you'll still have a kickass time.

Bowlero knows how to entertain you, whether you're a kid who loves bowling and laser tag or an adult who enjoys revisiting your youth with a few arcade games. Fair warning — Bowlero is noisy, but in a good way, so be prepared. As soon as you walk in, you'll notice the bright light of the arcades, several lanes for bowling, a bar and lots of open space to accommodate couples, families and larger parties. With different specials each night, there are plenty of discounts to get your bowl on. And when it's time to step away from the lanes and take a break, there are several options at the bar — everything from burgers and wings to locally made brews. If you really love the scene, you can even join a bowling league and be a part of the laughter and camaraderie of seniors, co-ed and youth leagues up and down the lanes.

Have you ever had fried chicken and Champagne together? It sounds like an odd combination, but at Châm Pang Lanes off Roosevelt Row, it works. Now, pair the chicken and bubbly with bowling and an upscale, vintage ambiance and you've got yourself an evening to remember. The downtown hotspot has a small number of lanes, plus fun vibes, Instagram-worthy decor, DJs, a circular bar, pool tables, a satisfying drink list and snacks like sushi and nachos. If you're looking for a way to incorporate a few frames into your fancy night out in downtown Phoenix, Châm Pang Lanes is the place to go.

We predict, after Ken and Barbie's neon-clad jaunt by the beach this summer, that rollerblading may be making a comeback. But whether your wheels are all in a row or two by two, you'll definitely want to head to Great Skate Glendale next time you want to strap on some skates. There's something on the schedule virtually every night including public skating sessions, lessons for kids and adults, and themed skate events like "Hocus Pocus" and All You Can Eat Pizza Night. The grownups can enjoy the occasional adults-only skate night, too. The decor is classic skate rink craziness, the food and drinks are decent, and the vibes are fun and nostalgic. What more can you ask for?

Formerly Arcadia Ice, AZ Ice Arcadia has been given a modest facelift and maintains the smoothest ice rink in the desert. A variety of action keeps the Zamboni drivers busy, from figure skating and figure skating lessons to hockey (adult and youth) and public skating. The latter is a big draw for its affordability ($5 to $10; free for kids 3 and younger). Socks and gloves are required and available for sale should you forget them. Adults' favorite thing about this rink has long been the Ice House Tavern, which overlooks the ice and serves drinks and food from a full kitchen.

Bull Shooters

You don't have to be a billiards pro to recognize that BullShooters is the best spot in the Valley for stick 'n' sip action. The sizable North Phoenix pool hall and sports bar boasts the largest lineup of tables locally — 44 to be exact — each wobble-free and topped by blue felt with nary a snag or stain. The cues are also straight as an arrow (so chalk up any shooting snafus to your lack of skills). There's often a wait for a table on weekend nights, but with 13 electronic dart machines, off-track betting, a full food and drink menu with 30 beers on tap, frequent drink specials, and nightly karaoke sessions in the lounge, there's always something to do until a spot opens up. Better yet, stop by during the weekday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. happy hour for $6 games, or wait until 10 p.m. when they're a buck cheaper. Just don't scratch when it's your turn to break.

Win some, lose some. That's a given with a trip to any casino, so if you're going to toss some cash around to pull slot machine levers or throw some dice in hopes of monetary victories, why not go to a spot with some glam? Talking Stick Resort & Casino works hard to be a sexy destination for the betting crowds. Once your eyes settle after absorbing all the flashing lights, the sleek decor is noticeable — it's not subtle in reminding you that it's a Scottsdale hotspot. The concert stage at the Main Pool maintains a zesty roster of fun. A crowd might be smacking around inflatable guitars one night while Cheap Trick plays a blistering rock set. Another time might find boozy, bottle-serviced partygoers dancing their asses off to DJ sets. In addition to gambling and sports betting, other ways to drop some dough include an indoor performance venue, stylish hotel rooms, a soothing spa and a bunch of tasty eateries, including a seafood restaurant, a tapas place and a fine dining option.

For a city that's hundreds of miles removed from the closest ocean, Phoenix has some amazing spots to watch sea creatures frolic. And that's no fish tale. Our favorite is Sea Life Arizona, the 26,000-square-foot aquarium inside Arizona Mills Mall where local landlubbers can experience the life aquatic without having to wade through massive crowds. Its collection of water-dwelling creatures is also quite deep. Stroll through a 360-degree ocean tunnel (touted as the only attraction of its kind in Arizona) and take in panoramic views of more than 5,000 kinds of marine life — such as stingrays, eels, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, and a multitude of multicolored fish — swimming through the 161,000-gallon water world. For even closer encounters of the fishy kind, there's also the Bay of Rays and Temple of the Seahorse habitats, a jellyfish room and even an interactive tide pool where patrons can touch harmless baby sharks (doo doo doo doo doo doo) and seven other species. For an additional fee, Sea Life offers a behind-the-scenes tour featuring the chance to meet and feed its resident rescued sea turtles. Trust us, it's a shell of a good time and worth the extra cash.

Ever have the desire to dip your hands into a shallow pool and pet the smooth surface of a stingray? If that's on your become-one-with-nature bucket list, you can make it happen at Phoenix Zoo. Other close-up and hands-on adventures include strolling through Monkey Village, where primates swing freely around and above the pathways, and hopping onto the back of a camel for a ride. This massive facility is home to more than 3,000 intriguing animals and over 400 species. Barns, a petting zoo and splash pads are just a few ways kids can learn and work off some of their excitement. Plenty of educational opportunities fill the annual calendar, helping visitors understand animal behaviors and needs. And Phoenix Zoo often finds ways to offer fun after closing time, like the yearly ZooLights holiday event, during which time the park becomes illuminated by festive displays that celebrate the season.

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