The city of Chandler, located in the East Valley of the Greater Phoenix area of Arizona, has a largely agricultural history and was named for Dr. A. J. Chandler, a veterinarian and a significant landholder in the area. Having grown greatly as a city, Chandler offers plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, fun family events, world-class golf facilities, and a downtown with numerous antique and modern shops and diverse restaurants to explore. The area has unique attractions for both locals and visitors, including an ostrich festival, a world-renowned skate park, a monthly art walk, an environmental education center in a lovely park with fishing, hiking, and biking options, and more.
On the third Friday evening of every month, historic Downtown Chandler is the place to browse local creativity work during the Chandler Art Walk. Over 50 artists display their work for sale on the sidewalk; you'll see a range, such as blown glass, paintings, jewelry, pottery, sculptures, and more. Attendees can also enjoy live music by locals and explore the downtown businesses and restaurants which stay open for the Art Walk.
The free, family-friendly event takes place each month, except for in the hotter summer months, so confirm the schedule before you go.
Veterans Oasis Park in Southeast Chandler has 113 acres of wetlands and desert habitats, including a lake for fishing, hiking and biking trails, and the city's Environmental Education Center, which hosts nature exhibits, classes, and programs for all ages. Enjoy the park for a family picnic, birding, horseback riding, and more.
Both places are free to enter, though many programs have a fee. Since online mapping services often don't work well with this address, research some location tips before you go.
Cool off from the desert heat at Hamilton Aquatic Center, where the whole family can have fun. Enjoy a variety of amenities, including a zero-depth play pool, a current river, two water slides, and an eight-lane competition pool. Those who would rather relax will find umbrellas and furniture around the pool for some lounging.
The center has reasonable fees and even offers free swim hours and a dollar swim night; the schedule varies, so confirm dates and prices before you head out.
The Chandler Center for the Arts, located in the middle of the entertainment district in Downtown Chandler, is a world-class facility with three performance spaces. The center showcases local arts groups like C.A.L.L.E. de Arizona, an organization that hosts the Annual Mariachi and Folklorico Festival. Visitors will also find well-known talents such as country singer LeAnn Rimes and Grammy Award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Visual arts lovers can check out The Gallery at CCA, which features rotating exhibitions of local and regional artists all year.
The 35,000 square-foot Chandler Skatepark, which opened in the year 2000, was designed for skaters of all skill levels, but it brings some of the world's best skateboarders to the area. This unique attraction located at the Snedigar Sportsplex in south Chandler is not supervised; it's free for skateboarders and in-line skaters to use.
For the most affordable 36 Arizona holes created by the Nicklaus Design Group and architect Bill O'Leary, head to Bear Creek Golf Complex. The complex offers the Bear Course, an 18-hole, par-71 championship course that measures more than 6,800 yards from the back tees. Nicklaus Design took great care in the creation of the par-59 short Cub Course to give it the same feel as the longer course.
Enjoy the onsite golf shop as well as Bear's Den Bar and Grill, where you can dine on sandwiches, salads, bagels, and more, all with a view of the golf course.
Play at a Unique Ostrich Festival
The City of Chandler has a colorful and long-standing tradition of ostrich ranching, celebrated at the Ostrich Festival since 1989. This community family event features live ostrich races and ostrich-themed activities, national and regional entertainment, a morning parade, and a carnival with rides. You'll also find food, interactive children's activities like a petting zoo and pony rides, and much more.
The Ostrich Festival is held every March. In 2020, the festival will be in Tumbleweed Park (dates to be announced).
If you feel the need for speed, you'll get your fill at this auto race that takes place at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on the Gila River Indian Community in Chandler. It's been called of the fastest quarter-mile tracks in the U.S. The nationals are usually held in February, but make sure to check out the full NHRA schedule. Food and drinks are for sale at the event.
The Chandler Jazz Festival, a worthwhile and free event for the whole family, takes place in Downtown Chandler. This weekend-long festival takes place in April each year and offers residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy a fine selection of musicians, including genres like smooth jazz, blues, and fusion rhythm.
Historic Downtown Chandler is full of unique shops, restaurants, and galleries to meet all tastes. And while you're there, take some time to browse through the 250 antique shops at Merchant Square Antique Marketplace, where you'll find everything from vintage books to action figures to vinyl records.
Eateries downtown are diverse: Try some sushi, tacos, steak, or some French fries and local craft beer from a sports bar.
Rawhide Western Town & Event Center is the state's biggest 1880s themed Western town. An Arizona tradition for both tourists and locals, Rawhide is open for special events from concerts to the Fiesta Dog Show, which features a national show dog competition. The venue also holds holiday gatherings, such as Rawhide Snowy Christmas, in which thousands of lights, holiday decorations, and a Santa-led tree lighting ceremony bring plenty of festivity.
Whether you're a tourist or a local, almost everyone enjoys shopping and people watching at year-round farmers markets. The one in Chandler takes place every Saturday in Dr. A.J. Chandler Park West, with the schedule depending on the time of year. Numerous local vendors sell fresh produce, prepared food, beverages, and unique goods. Don't miss this fun family excursion.
Desert Breeze Park in the center of Chandler has many outdoor activities for an enjoyable family day, including picnic tables, a hummingbird garden, and the Desert Breeze Railroad, an open-air train ride. Hopping on the train (with a little red caboose, of course) is fun for the kids who get to see the park's lake and grassy play areas on their journey.
Children under 3.5 feet (about 1 meter) tall must be accompanied by a paid adult. You can typically catch the Desert Breeze Railroad on weekends from Labor Day through Memorial Day.