This article was created in partnership with Visit USA Parks.

Welcome to Chandler, Arizona!  Chandler is a thriving city in the tech industry located minutes away from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  While business may take you to Chandler, we recommend bringing the entire family!  There are many fun family activities just waiting for you.  Here are our family’s favorite things to do, see and eat in Chandler.

Veterans Oasis Park - lakeside

FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES:

Chandler puts a huge emphasis on public parks.  Their goal is to have a city park within 1 mile of every house, and they have come close to achieving that goal!  The city is 70 square miles, and they currently operate 63 parks.  Perhaps one of the most popular parks is Playtopia! at Tumbleweed Park.  Check out the gigantic covered playground, and don’t miss the kid’s zipline!  The inner child in you will love Playtopia! too!

For a different type of park experience, visit Veterans Oasis Park to see a glimpse of the desert without leaving the city.  When you follow the paved trail around the lake, you will be greeted by ducks and fishermen trying to bring in their daily catch.  But if you explore on the gravel paths, you will enjoy even more wildlife like jack rabbits, cottontails, lizards and lots of species of birds.

Chandler Museum

The newly-opened Chandler Museum is a fantastic piece of architecture!  It is located across from the second largest mall in Arizona in the Chandler Fashion Center area of town.  The entry courtyard is absolutely beautiful, covered in stunning shadows and light.  The awning and its cutouts create this pattern of light and dark which reminded me of a traditional tapestry.  Even if you only have a few minutes, play in the light created by this beautiful art!

Family Fun in Downtown Chandler

If you are looking for a relaxing morning, stroll the streets of downtown Chandler, popping into original, local stores and a cozy coffee shop along the way.  The water benches at City Hall were a big hit with Ephraim!  And of course there are delicious restaurants in the area when you get hungry for lunch.

RESTAURANTS AND BREWERIES:

Chandler is very diverse, and the Chandler foodie scene reflects that diversity.  We stayed true to our motto, “Eat our way through vacation.”  Our first stop at Chon Thai Food led us to delicious and authentic Thai food such as this panang curry beef, not exactly what you would expect in the desert.

Chon Thai, Beef Panang Curry

We were pleasantly surprised to find a colorful, family-friendly venue at one of Chandler’s breweries, The Perch.  Conveniently located in downtown Chandler, The Perch Brewery is home to more than 50 rescue birds, including parrots, macaws and cockatoos.  Relax on the outdoor patio in the shade of a large umbrella while surrounded by colorful, exotic rescue birds.  Sample a flight of their brews and pick from a tasty menu for lunch, brunch or dinner.  I loved the Irish Cast Iron Skillet, filled with corned beef, poblano hash, Oregon Street beer cheese and cabbage.  What a unique dining experience!

The Perch - Beer flight, parrot and food collage

Chandler is also the home of the well-know SanTan Brewing Company, so we stopped in for dinner one night.  They offer down home cooking, like the Southwest Fried Chicken with green chili gravy, poblano mashed potatoes and Mexi street corn.  The atmosphere is fun, but they were also prepared to cater to kids, loaning Ephraim a Magna Doodle (magnetic drawing board) which entertained him for the whole meal.

Before leaving Arizona, we were craving some Mexican food, and thankfully we visited El Sol Mexican Cafe & Bakery.  Their tacos were wonderful…try the carnitas and carne asada.  The green chili is superb, in a burrito or by itself by the bowl.  To top it off, the service was super friendly.  Ephraim ended up with a colorful cookie that he graciously shared with Mom and Dad!

El Sol - Tacos and Cookies

SWEET TREATS IN CHANDLER:

Great food and beer are not the only foodie options in Chandler…there is also dessert!  Depending on the time of your visit, Arizona may be a bit hot. But don’t worry, Chandler offers many fun and creative ways to stay cool.  While splash pads are common, we preferred the cold sweet treats option!

Snowtime features a modern take on traditional Korean shaved ice.  I could not understand what that meant until I tried their cold, fluffy, delicious take on shaved ice, covered with Oreo dust and chocolate drizzle!  For a second twist on a classic favorite, Dripps Craft Soft Serve infuses your favorite breakfast cereals into creamy vanilla soft serve.  Ephraim and I loved the perfectly-blended Reese’s Puff with Brownie Bites ice cream cone!  If you are looking for something a little more regional, try a handmade Mexican popsicle at Paletas Betty!  Giving Rebekah a break from the chocolate overload, the arroz con leche was a creamy and fresh way to cool down while exploring downtown Chandler.

Sweet Treats at Rewind Ice Cream + Tea

We loved our family-focused trip to Chandler!  Arizona fascinated me as a state.  After all, they were the 48th state of the Union, and they are proud of it!  I look forward to visiting again to explore more of Chandler and Arizona, with the state’s sunny skies, gorgeous ecosystem and charming residents!