Memorial Day is celebrated annually on the last Monday in May to honor U.S. military members who’ve died in service. Because it’s a federal holiday, the three-day weekend is also considered the unofficial start of summer with many gathering for picnics and outdoor activities. Here are some ideas to help you plan a fun and memorable Memorial Day weekend in Chandler, AZ.
Visit a Chandler, AZ park
Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy one of Chandler’s many family-friendly city parks before the mercury rises. The parks are located throughout the city and offer diverse activities for all ages.
At Tumbleweed Park, Chandler’s largest park, the main draw is Playtopia, a 2.5-acre playground with three themed sections. You also can play volleyball, horseshoes, explore trails and visit Tumbleweed Ranch, a collection of historic houses. Desert Breeze Park is another diverse park that offers visitors the chance to play on equipment, fish in the lake, ride the ’50s-style horse carousel and take a three-quarter-mile ride on the Desert Breeze Railroad Express, an open-top 1880s train.
And while Veterans Oasis Park is a nature lover’s heaven with a 5-acre lake, 4.5 miles of trails, wetland areas, and hummingbird and butterfly habitats, don’t forget to stop and reflect at the Field of Honor, a two-level memorial that pays tribute to past, present and future military veterans of the Southwest Valley.
Of course, the parks have plenty of space to host a picnic with pavilion/ramada rentals, grills and, in some cases, electric outlets. Or if you want to keep the menu simple, grab a patty to-go from one of Chandler’s best burger joints and enjoy the natural surroundings with no clean up.
Cool off with a sweet treat
Summer is synonymous with indulging in ice cream, gelato and other frosty, cool treats that help beat the heat. It’s a summer rite of passage to stop at The Paleta Bar in South Chandler for a traditional Mexican fruit and cream pop on a stick, made from scratch with fresh ingredients and flavors that include mango, hazelnut crunch, and sandia (watermelon) with chile.
For something creamier, check out The Screamery, a family-owned ice cream shop that spins a hip take on summer’s favorite treat, which is made onsite with all-natural ingredients. The Downtown Chandler shop serves an indulgent list of flavors and specialty creations such as ice cream nachos featuring waffle chips drizzled with hot fudge and topped with a scoop of ice cream.
At Snowtime located on Dobson Road in Uptown Chandler, ice cream goes where no other summertime treat dares to venture. The Korean dessert cafe specializes in shaved ice (snow), milk teas and golden fish buns. Order a soft-service ice cream served in a fish-shaped mochi waffle cone, or try a classic or specialty snow such as the Golden Dust, with red bean, rice cake and almond flakes.
If your idea of kicking off summer is relaxing poolside, then consider pulling up a lounge chair at a Chandler hotel pool. Guests of the Hilton Phoenix Chandler hotel can chill on a plush lounge chair at this outdoor pool oasis.
You also can experience upscale pool vibes right in the heart of Downtown Chandler at the historic Crowne Plaza Phoenix Chandler Golf Resort, which features an outdoor pool with cabanas and jacuzzi. It’s also minutes to many restaurants and bars to explore after you’ve lazed in the sun all day.
And don’t rule out business in the front, party in the back at the modern Cambria Hotel Phoenix Chandler, a meeting and event space located across the street from Chandler Fashion Center, which has a large cabana-lined, outdoor heated pool with sun deck for serious lounge lizards who may have to stay wired while on an urban holiday.
Make a big splash
To really make a splash, check out some of Chandler’s award-winning aquatic centers and pools that provide all levels of water fun. The Hamilton Aquatic Center includes an eight-lane competition pool, a zero-depth play pool, a 115-foot interactive play structure, water vortex, current river and two slides for playful water adventures.
Arrowhead Pool, just west of Downtown Chandler, has an L-shaped, 50-meter pool, turf areas and shaded ramadas and fun-brellas, as well as a family play pool with a water slide, toddler slide and current river.
Another option is the Desert Oasis Aquatic Center, an 8-lane pool with a zero-depth area and kiddie slide, deep-water drop slide, shade ramadas and many fun-brellas. Plus, the facility includes a sand volleyball court.