Disclosure: These experiences were part of the #AZFamilyFun trip. All opinions are my own.
When we look for a winter family vacation destination, we usually seek out fun experiences, lots of things to do with kids, and most importantly – warm weather! By mid-February, I’m usually desperate for a break from the snowy cold weather in Massachusetts. This year, we were especially lucky, because our February vacation destination, Tempe and Chandler, Arizona, was experiencing unseasonably warm temps. In addition to the family-friendly activities, we got to enjoy a small taste of summer. Here’s part one of our experience, including some fun things to do in Tempe with kids.
Things to Do in Tempe With Kids
Tempe, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, is located about 10 minutes from the Sky Harbor International Airport. This 40-square mile city is best known as the home of Arizona State University, and offers 44 hotels along with numerous kid-friendly indoor and outdoor activities. While visiting the Tempe/Chandler area, we stayed at the Tempe Mission Palms hotel, a Destination Hotels property located in the popular Mill District (review to follow soon). The Mill District offers more than 100 shops, restaurants, and bars in a hip, bustling atmosphere. There’s lots to do with kids during the day, but at night, it’s more of a college/adult atmosphere.
My kids’ favorite stop in Tempe was the Arizona Mills mall, an outlet mall that offers 175 retailers, including a Last Call from Neiman Marcus and an Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue. But the real highlight is the kids’ entertainment, which includes a GameWorks Arcade, a Rainforest Cafe, and a SEA LIFE Aquarium. The SEA LIFE, one of a handful of locations in the US, is a great place to visit with young children, and even includes two rescue sea turtles. It’s a fun spot for kids, and can be seen in just an hour or two. Another great place with kids is the Main Event, a Texas entertainment chain that recently expanded into Arizona with it’s first location in Tempe. The Main Event offers an arcade, laser tag, bowling, two restaurants, and a gravity ropes course all under one roof.
We also enjoyed some activities along the Tempe Town Lake. Located along the shore of the Tempe Town Lake is the Tempe Center for the Arts. During our visit, we enjoyed a performance of “The Cat in the Hat” from Childsplay, a professional theater company that offers kid-friendly productions at the TCA. The play was just about an hour – the perfect length for children – and was entertaining for the whole family. Everyone has a great seat in the small theater, and after the performance, the actors came out and took questions about the production from the audience.
Although we enjoyed the play, we were eager to get outside again, since the weather was so beautiful. We stopped at the Tempe Town Lake to rent some paddle boats – a fun thing to do in the gorgeous weather. Other boat types are available and if you don’t want to take a boat out, you can just sit and enjoy the view, or rent a bike and travel on the adjacent paths.
I’d definitely recommend staying in Tempe when visiting the Greater Phoenix area. We loved being in the middle of the action without being too close to the big city. To learn more about Tempe, visit the Tempe Tourism website.