While frigid weather takes hold of most of the country this winter, Arizona enviably basks in the warm rays of the desert sun with daily highs in the 60s and 70s —making a bevy of things to do in Chandler even more enjoyable. If you’re looking for a few fun things to do these winter months, here are top 9 ways to spend winter in Chandler!
1. Discover Downtown Chandler
Hip, historic, charming, contemporary—these are just a few words to describe Downtown Chandler, nestled in the heart of the city. The bustling retail district is lined with vintage lanterns and trellis-covered walkways that lead you to a plethora of shops, restaurants, bars, and breweries, not to mention entertainment venues and public art installations.
There’s no better way to spend a sun-soaked winter day in Chandler than with a leisurely stroll through the downtown district, where you can browse locally-owned specialty stores, savor diverse food at more than 40 dining spots, and experience arts/culture on a grand scale in a small, picture-perfect footprint.
2. Shop ’Til You Drop
While winter days in Chandler are best spent outdoors, one can’t resist the pull a little retail therapy can muster. With the shopping mall very much back in style, make your way to Chandler Fashion Center, the second largest shopping mall in metro Phoenix with roughly 180 retail stores, a variety of full-service dining choices, and entertainment including a multi-plex movie theater.
If local goods and unique finds are more your style, spend a day in West Chandler at The Shoppes at Casa Paloma for upscale boutique items or the Merchant Square Antique Marketplace for a taste of nostalgia. And don’t forget locally-made artisan pieces found only at the Museum Store at the Chandler Museum.
3. Al Fresco Meals is the Norm
Winter in Chandler takes on new meaning when patio dining becomes the most desirable spot in Chandler restaurants. Whether you are looking to enjoy a boozy brunch, a casual lunch with the family, happy hour with colleagues or a romantic meal for two - you’ll find amazing patio dining options in Chandler.
4. Play a Round of Desert Golf
No matter what time of the year, Chandler is a true golfer’s paradise. With seven courses set amid stunning desert backdrops, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to hit the links.
Choose from the historic San Marcos Golf Course (Arizona’s first grass course) or the Ocotillo Golf Club designed by course architect Ted Robinson. Other standouts include Bear Creek Golf Complex, the Springfield Golf Resort, Sunbird Golf Club, Lone Tree Golf Club and Ironwood Golf Club.
5. Experience a Western Adventure
Saddle up for a tranquil trail ride through the Gila River Indian Community surrounded by pristine mountain vistas and serene open desert. KOLI Equestrian Center offers several riding options, including 90-minute group rides, morning and sunset rides, a cattle drive with a cattlemen’s dinner and cowboy games, and a hay wagon ride where the horse roam.
6. Take in a Birdseye View of the Desert
For a new perspective on the Sonoran Desert, book a hot air balloon ride. At lower altitudes, you may see a rabbit, coyote, deer, or javelina. At higher altitudes, you’ll gain an appreciation for how vast—and ruggedly beautiful—the desert is. The experience begins with the inflating of the balloon and ends with a thrilling landing that will take your breath away. While most balloon companies launch north of Phoenix, Aerogelic Ballooning lifts off south of the Valley and often flies over Chandler.
7. Enjoy a Visit to the Desert Botanical Garden
The Southwest’s answer to NYC’s Central Park, the Desert Botanical Garden is just the place to spend a crisp winter’s day in the desert. The urban “jungle” in the heart of Phoenix boasts 50,000 thriving desert plants covering five themed trails in a one-of-kind ecological outing.
Visitors can observe the beauty of the desert plants including towering cacti, intriguing succulent, and colorful wildflowers on five thematic trails at this urban Sonoran Desert oasis. The garden also hosts festive events and unique exhibits and offers various adult and children’s classes on desert landscaping and nature.
8. Hike in a Desert Park
What better way to make your Midwest and East Coast friends and relatives green with envy than with a desert hike on a sunny day? The 113-acre Veterans Oasis Park is the perfect place to hike, thanks to its 4.5 miles of trails, including a paved solar system walk showing the relative distances between the sun, planets, and other celestial objects. Watch for birds as you explore—more than 150 species of birds have been spotted in the park.
Or head further south to Paseo Vista Recreation Area. The park’s curved walking path offers 360-degree views of the East Valley as well as access to the 6.5-mile Paseo Trail, a multi-use pathway for walking, jogging, and bicycling.
9. Pro Sports
While March signifies the start of spring, most of the country is still trying to dig out from under piles of snow. In 2023, Cactus League Spring Training baseball starts at the end of February and promises to bring with it all the things we love about America’s favorite pastime. Professional baseball teams—and their die-hard fans—will flock to Arizona to get in some swing time before the official season kicks off. The games are affordable and give you a chance to soak up the desert sunshine while watching your favorite athletes play ball.