One of the best ways to enjoy our 300 plus days of sunshine per year is with a picnic at a park in Chandler, Arizona. While you can spread a blanket and dine al fresco at any one of the city’s more than 60 neighborhood and community parks, for a full day of family fun, pack a basket and head to one of these four best picnic spots in Chandler, Arizona. Or make life simple and pick up a quick meal and go from your favorite Chandler restaurant.
Chandler’s largest park is also one of the East Valley’s most popular, thanks in part to Playtopia, a 2.5-acres playground divided into three themed played areas: Farm Land, City Land, and Critter Land. After a picnic, kids can climb and slide on a play set that resembles a barn at Farm Land, ride tricycles and small bikes past the mini street signs and lampposts of City Land, or hop on the back of a massive Gila monster in Critter Land.
Older kids and adults can play horseshoes, sand volleyball, Frisbee, or tag. There are plenty of trails for strolling through Tumbleweed Park, too. If you decided to explore the park by foot, don’t miss Tumbleweed Ranch, a collection of three historic buildings and farm equipment located in the southeast section of the park.
Tumbleweed Park has plenty of open space to picnic on the ground plus 18 pavilions available for rent. Most of these can accommodate 15 to 30 people although a few larger ones have room for up to 80 and a corporate pavilion can hold up to 330. Each pavilion has BBQ grills and access to electricity. At this time, park reservations are available with a Park Permit which may be obtained through the City of Chandler. For more information and assistance with a reservation, please call (480) 782-2727.
Map: 745 E. Germann Rd., Chandler, AZ 85286 or (480) 782-2727
Desert Breeze Park
Desert Breeze Park is another great picnic destination for a family picnic. Kids can play on the playground equipment, fish in the lake, or ride the 1950s-era carousel with 30 painted ponies. From April through October, they can also cool off at the park’s splash pad, open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
But, the main draw is the Desert Breeze Railroad Express, an open-top, 1880s train complete with a caboose that takes passengers on a ¾-mile tour of the park. Although it operates most weekends (except in July and August), you’ll want to check online before you plan a picnic around it to confirm hours and for weekday and holiday schedules.
Great for dates or enjoying the moment, visit the Hummingbird Habitat, an intimate, shaded area of the park with a small waterfront bench providing a 360-degree opportunity to bird watch.
Desert Breeze Park has plenty of picnic spaces, including three lakeside pavilions and one barbecue pavilion with four grills. Each pavilion has 10 tables and is available for rent by contacting the City of Chandler Parks Department at (480) 782-2727.
Map: 660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd. E., Chandler, AZ 85226 or (480) 782-2727
Veterans Oasis Park
Nature takes center stage at Veterans Oasis Park where you can enjoy views of the 5-acre lake as you picnic. Plan to walk the 4.5 miles of trails that wind past a lake, several wetland areas, and hummingbird and butterfly habitats. Along the way, watch for coyotes, jackrabbits, and the 153 species of birds that have been spotted here. Download a self-guided desert scavenger hunt using this downloadable PDF. Community fishing is available and the lake is stocked evert two weeks from September through June. An Urban Fishing License is required for residents and non-residents 10 years of age and older. For information on obtaining a license and fishing rules and regulations, visit the Arizona Game and Fish website.
Or, stick to the paved trail around the lake, where you’ll find a 2,500-hundred-foot solar system walk. The signage representing the sun, eight planets, dwarf planets, and more, is spaced to scale with every foot traveled on the walk representing 1.5 million miles.
Veterans Oasis Park also boasts the Chandler Nature Center with displays on the Sonoran Desert and the animals that live there.
Map: 4050 E. Chandler Heights Rd., Chandler AZ 85249 or (480) 782-2890
Dr. A.J. Chandler Park
Located in Downtown Chandler, Dr. A.J. Chandler Park—named for the city’s founder—is the original town square. Unlike might parks, you won’t find playground equipment, grills, and nature trails. Instead, the park is surrounded by restaurants, galleries, boutiques, offices, and the historic Crowne Plaza Phoenix-Chandler Golf Resort, which means there is plenty to do before or after your picnic.
Although there are benches, shaded areas, and green spaces, Dr. A.J. Chandler Park doesn’t have picnic tables, so you’ll want to bring a blanket. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to pack a picnic—you can get take out from some of the local restaurants, like a cheese board from Mingle and Graze or a health-focused dish from the Original ChopShop Co. New this year, Chandler's Dine-in-the-Park program allows for the consumption of alcohol purchased from local Downtown Chandler restaurants, available at this park only.
The Chandler park area hosts unique events throughout the year, including the famed Tumbleweed Tree, as well as a weekly farmers market (every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; October through May and from 7 - 10:30 a.m. June - September).
We hope you enjoy this roundup of the best picnic spots in Chandler, AZ. Feel free to drop us suggestion in the comments below to help us build our list.