Blake Walsh

24 Best Things to Do in Chandler, AZ

  • Published 2023/04/11

The story behind the development of Chandler is as fascinating as the city itself.

It began back in the year 1891, when Dr. Alexander John Chandler bought 80 acres of land from the federal government with the sole objective of understanding the new science of irrigation engineering.

In his attempt to learn more about it, he ended up building an entire canal system.

The city of Chandler is hence named after him as a result of his efforts.

A visit to this city will surely be an exciting one and will unfold a lot of secrets about its development.

Home to fascinating museums, parks filled with lush greens, and countless places to visit the whole family, Chandler is studded with attractions that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

These are the best things to do in Chandler, Arizona:

Go Horseback Riding at Koli Equestrian Center

Housed in the Gila River Indian Reservation, Koli Equestrian Center is a perfect place for enjoying horseback riding.

The center is spread over 2,400 acres of land and has beautiful scenery all around.

It is accommodated with expert facilities, allowing people of all ages can enjoy horseback riding here.

The horses are gentle and well-trained.

Moreover, the staff at the center is well-qualified and helps everyone with their experience and knowledge about riding horses.

Instead of providing single-line guidelines, Koli Equestrian Center allows you to spread out in the entire area and enjoy riding on your own.

The place is just perfect for light outdoor adventures and meeting new people.

Peek into Railway History at the Arizona Railway Museum

A train at Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler

Marine 69-71 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler was opened in 1983 and offers a great deal of information about the history and development of railway travel.

It is a perfect place to visit if you are traveling with kids, as it presents a lot of learning opportunities.

The museum is filled with artifacts that date back to old times.

Lounge room in santa fe plaza taos car at Arizona Railway Museum

Marine 69-71 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These artifacts include old rail cars, passenger cars, a vintage horse car, and a dining rail car.

The museum also has a steam engine with a bell installed in it.

If you get confused, you can also take help and suggestions from the museum staff and make the most out of your visit.

Exterior of a business car at Arizona Railway Museum

Marine 69-71 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shop till You Drop at Chandler Fashion Center

Chandler Fashion Center is a very strategically located mall in the city.

It is considered to be the second-largest mall in the Phoenix area, and the mall certainly does justice to that.

Lined with pretty salons, shops, and well-decorated restaurants, the mall is a perfect place for everyone to go and enjoy some local tastes.

The mall has more than 180 shops and department stores.

Home to big-name brands to local boutiques, Chandler Fashion Center is a perfect place for shopping.

The mall is also a hub where a lot of exciting and entertaining events are organized all around the year.

Some of these events include fashion shows, yoga shows, youth camps, promotional events, and many more.

Spend a Lovely Day at Desert Breeze Park

Sunset over Desert Breeze Park

Kevin Dooley from Chander, AZ, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Desert Breeze Park is the ideal attraction for people who want to relax and enjoy at the same time.

It is the perfect place for a day out with family and friends.

While in the park, kids can enjoy train rides.

In addition, adults can enjoy fishing in the lake that is full of fish.

Even if that is not your type of thing, you can feed the many ducks that call this park home.

Desert Breeze Park also has a splash pad for kids.

It also has a lot of shaded areas for those who just want to lie down and enjoy their own company.

Complete with a baseball field, bike trails, and some tennis courts, Desert Breeze Park is a great place for all those interested in planning a casual picnic day.

Catch a Live Performance at Chandler Center for the Arts

Interior of Chandler Center for the Arts

Kayliekochanski, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chandler Center for the Arts is a beautiful performing arts theater that hosts plays, shows, comedies, and other entertaining and artistic activities under one roof.

The center is located downtown and is well-loved for its courteous and amicable staff.

It is also known for its vintage and acoustic decor, with comfortable and spacious seating arrangements for more than 1,500 people.

The shows at the center are very well-organized.

Some shows are specifically prepared to suit children, while others are for all age groups.

It also has exhibitions that mainly showcase items, such as decorative pieces, paintings, sculptures, textiles, and glassware items.

Chandler Center for the Arts is quite famous among locals, and you should definitely give it a try.

Get Pampered at Aji Spa at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

If you are looking for a relaxing activity in the city, the five-star Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is your true savior.

Located right in the center of the city, the resort offers a luxurious spa and rejuvenating treatments.

The spa uses mostly native and local herbs and other raw materials for carrying out its services.

Not only are the spa’s services excellent, but its decor is also beyond imagination.

Covered with ancient architectural structures and designs, the spa is also a hub of artworks.

Along with the usual spa treatments, you can also book yourself other services such as facials, manicures, pedicures, and other self-care activities.

The spa offers a wide range of combos and packages that are definitely worth fitting into your budget.

Get Sporty at The Tumbleweed Recreation Center

The Tumbleweed Recreation Center is a facility that offers recreational and refreshing activities for families.

The center is quite famous for providing games and sports activities for people of all age groups.

It has both indoor and outdoor facilities, including an indoor track for running, a gymnasium, two racquetball courts, dance studios, and more.

The recreation center also offers changing room facilities and modern locker rooms for keeping your belongings secure.

It also organizes a large number of fitness events and programs on a regular basis.

The summer camps organized by the center are exclusively famous for being very enhancing and informative.

Even if you are not participating in the activities, you can sit and enjoy watching other members of your family indulging in some refreshing exercises.

Visit the Famous Wild Horse Pass

Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass

Rosemarie Mosteller /

Wild Horse Pass is a world-famous attraction in the city.

What makes this place different from every other place is that it is designed just like the cowboy cities seen in movies and shows.

The entire place is designed in an antique and vintage manner, using inspiration from the 1880s.

The place has a lot of old buildings, salons, retail stores, and one of the best steakhouses in Arizona.

If that is not enough to attract you to this attraction, you can try watching a show at Six Gun Theater or enjoy the antiques of rough riders in the Wild West.

With so much to do in just one part of the city, this is definitely a must-visit place in Chandler.

The place also has a rooftop restaurant where you can enjoy a satisfying meal.

Wild Horse Pass also has a lot of gift and candy shops where you can purchase anything that you want at very affordable prices.

With a hint of the Wild West in every bit of the area, it is undoubtedly worth visiting.

Unleash Your Creativity at Burst of Butterflies Create & Paint Studio

An art studio set up with a unique concept that allows you to paint your own pottery and make your own art pieces, Burst of Butterflies Create & Paint Studio is in the city’s downtown area.

The studio is known for having a wide variety of ceramics, canvas, and other art classes for guests of all ages.

It was set up with the objective to promote creativity and local art and culture among the city’s citizens and visitors.

Burst of Butterflies Create & Paint Studio has a very lively environment around it and has various educational classes to teach the basics of arts like canvas painting, glass fusion, candle making, and pottery.

The studio’s art classes for couples, families, children, and singles make this place suitable for everyone to visit.

Satisfy Your Taste Buds at Tryst Cafe Chandler

A vacation is never complete without getting to try delicious food representing the city’s best local flavors.

In line with this, Tryst Cafe Chandler is famous as one of the best places in the entire state of Arizona where you can grab some tasty yet healthy meals.

The cafe is famous for its gluten-free and vegan options, which are perfect for people who are particular about their health.

This cafe was opened in 2010 and has been able to grow its franchise in other parts of Arizona.

On visiting the cafe, you can enjoy a healthy egg breakfast served with healthy sides such as falafels or a normal breakfast including nachos, toast, pancakes, and even custard.

The restaurant’s lunch and dinner menu is quite extensive and offers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Tryst Cafe Chandler serves organic coffees, locally produced sodas and kombucha, and other refreshing drinks.

Promoting its healthy culture, the cafe also serves special smoothies that are perfect for all those who want to take care of their diets while they’re on vacation.

Have a Delicious Meal at Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill

Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill offers the perfect amalgamation of Asian and American food.

The restaurant’s entire menu is filled with fusion dishes from Asia and America made with love and special ingredients.

Apart from its food, the restaurant is also famous for its crafted cocktails and other refreshing drinks.

The bar is also very famous for offering an extensive menu of beers and wines procured from the best sources.

With the food and drinks being reasonably priced, Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill is definitely worth checking out.

Glimpse into the City’s History at the Chandler Museum

The history of the beginning of the city of Chandler is quite interesting and worth some attention.

The Chandler Museum is the place that will provide you with the exact details of how the city was founded and how it evolved throughout the ages.

It was previously known as the Chandler Vintage Museum of Transportation and Wildlife.

Along with presenting Chandler’s history, the museum also houses an extensive collection of photos and souvenirs that depict the historical city and its people.

The museum is designed in a Pueblo Revival style and is quite beautiful.

While in the museum, you will easily find yourself getting more comfortable with the city’s culture, tradition, history, and people.

Spot Beautiful Birds at Veterans Oasis Park

Jackrabbit at Veterans Oasis Park

AZ Outdoor Photography /

Veterans Oasis Park is recognized as one of the best places to enjoy birdwatching in Arizona.

Known to be a perfect spot for birdwatching, the park has more than 150 species of birds that live in the area of the park.

Gambels quail at Veterans Oasis Park

AZ Outdoor Photography /

You can also get your hands on the list available on the city’s official website to get an idea of all the species that you have a chance of spotting.

The park is a perfect spot for new and professional birdwatchers.

Greater roadrunner bird at Veterans Oasis Park

AZ Outdoor Photography /

Taste the Famous Craft Beers at SanTan Brewing Company

Exterior of SanTan Brewing Company

Rosemarie Mosteller /

Operating since 2007, SanTan Brewing Company is a very famous craft brewery in Chandler.

It is widely known across the entire state of Arizona for its special brews.

The brewery is known for manufacturing and distributing southwestern-style drinks, along with craft beer made with locally produced ingredients.

The brewing company also has a brewpub that serves almost all the drinks on its menu.

The pub also serves great food along with creative beers and ales.

It is also famous for its sandwiches and sliders, which are the perfect matches for its special beers.

The pub also has a bar that serves international and local wines and beers during happy hour.

SanTan Brewing Company is also famous for hosting a lot of events, such as movie nights and beer festivals.

Splash around at the Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center

The Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center is a facility that became one of the city’s most famous attractions in a short span of time.

It is a water park situated in the heart of the city and offers a large number of water rides and pool facilities.

The place is suitable for a family adventure day.

It features a lap pool, an artificial river, water slides, and a blue bucket water vortex that has a holding capacity of 752 gallons of water.

Along with the water slides, the park also has artificial grass areas where families can enjoy time after being soaked in water.

The center also provides swimming lessons for beginners throughout the year.

Hit the Wheels at Radford Racing School

Learn to drive high-performance automobiles through courses and lessons at the Radford Racing School, previously Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving.

Students may choose from various classes, including racing, off-road driving, and karting.

Car fans who want to learn more about horsepower, torque, and other advanced topics might enroll in a technical education program.

There are various vehicles, classrooms for theoretical lectures, and an on-site repair facility to keep the cars in tip-top shape.

Instructors with a wealth of racing expertise are also on hand, along with a unique classroom and crew situated right in the pits.

Radford Racing School also provides team-building activities, themed parties, and group events.

Tee Off at Ocotillo Golf Club

The Ted Robinson-designed Ocotillo Golf Club, which opened in 1986, is a multi-awarded golf course.

In stark contrast to the surrounding desert, the course’s fairways are surrounded by cascading waterfalls and an array of vibrant flowers.

Each of the three nine-hole courses at Ocotillo Golf Resort is designed to provide players with a variety of birdie possibilities on each hole.

The full-service clubhouse includes an award-winning golf store and contemporary locker rooms for men and women.

There is also an on-site restaurant called Bernard’s Restaurant & Bar, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

Players are sure to improve their game with a driving range, practice greens, and chipping/putting greens.

The golf club also offers individual and group classes with PGA-certified golf instructors.

Go Ice Skating at Ice Den Chandler

Skating on ice in the desert?

At Ice Den Chandler, a state-of-the-art ice skating facility, this is totally possible.

In fact, this is a fantastic way for everyone to cool down in Chandler.

Lessons for children are restricted since only a few qualified instructors are available.

Its 80,000-square-foot complex has a video game arcade, a pro shop, and a cafe, so it’s ideal for a fun family adventure.

The rink has two regulation-sized ice surfaces open for public skating and hockey.

Nando’s Mexican Cafe

As a casual, family-friendly restaurant, Nando’s Mexican Cafe provides traditional Mexican food and beverages made with tequila.

Sonoran-inspired items on the menu include tacos, flautas, enchiladas, and chipotle-roast pork ribs, which are all served in a warm and inviting ambiance.

Mexican-inspired sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, platters, seafood, and barbecued meat meals are also available at the restaurant.

Combo platters and side dishes like cilantro slaw, jalapeño cheese toast, and pico de gallo are excellent for sharing with family and friends.

Nando’s Mexican Cafe’s desserts include chocolate nachos, deep-fried ice cream, and nutty banana flan.

Try Your Luck at Gila River Resorts and Casinos

Gila River Resorts and Casinos is one of the best places to stay in Chandler, attracting thousands of tourists weekly.

While it’s certainly a great place to stay in Chandler, you can also experience Gil River Resorts and Casinos as a visitor because of its famous casino.

They have plenty of slot machines here and other classic casino games that’ll keep you occupied for hours.

If you’re staying at the resort, however, you’ll have all sorts of access to their other amenities like their gorgeous swimming pool and various dining establishments.

Not to mention, the rooms at Gila River Resorts and Casinos are top-notch as well.

You can find the casino along Wild Horse Pass Boulevard.

Do Recreational Activities at Paseo Vista Recreation Area

With so many things to do in Chandler, finding a spot for recreational activities or relaxation is a nice change of pace during your travel—Paseo Vista Recreation Area is a great first or second option.

There are a ton of activities to do here, spearheaded by its awesome dog park and various sports amenities.

There’s a place dedicated to archery, and it’s also one of the most famous places in Chandler to play disc golf.

Besides these, Paseo Vista Recreation Center is a beautiful spot to enjoy the sunsets in Chandler, especially as you walk through its sprawling canal pathways.

Scenic and fun, you can find this recreational park along South McQueen Road.

See the Artworks at The Eddie Basha Collection

The Eddie Basha Collection is a hidden gem in Chandler that’s a perfect addition to your itinerary if you’re a lover of art.

Housing a good number of western artworks, this place is a perfect way to enjoy various pieces that show the rich history of art in the U.S.

The Eddie Basha Collection got its name from the Basha family who owns the place, but as of 2023, admissions are free (although donations are highly recommended).

It’s not a huge place that’ll take you hours, so you can insert this in any kind of itinerary in Chandler.

Its location is also convenient, as you can find it in the heart of the city, along Basha Road.

Take the Kids to Mukutu’s Island

Mukutu’s Island is a great place to take children, as it’s a renowned indoor amusement facility where field trips are commonly held.

Sprawling with slides, obstacles, and all sorts of games, Mukutu’s Island has all sorts of fun for children, toddlers, and young teens.

One of the best aspects about this are the artificial jungle sections where kids can do climbing and lots of jumping.

Adults will also enjoy their time here as they wait for their children, as the place has a cafe that even serves beer.

Mukutu’s Island is located along West Ray Road.

Have a Scenic Lunch at Valle Luna

While Valle Luna is not specific to Chandler, it’s famous throughout Arizona and is one of the most visited restaurants in the state.

It’s a Mexican restaurant that specializes in authentic but trendy Mexican food, which is a testament to Valle Luna’s creativity and innovation despite dating back to the 1980s.

Some of their must-try dishes here are mini taco baskets and shredded beef fundido.

The atmosphere at Valle Luna is further accentuated by its location in Chandler, as it’s located right by a small lake.

With happy hours and a beautiful patio, this is one of the best places in Chandler to chow down in style. Make a Stop at Highland Square Shopping Center

You can find Valle Luna along West Ray Road.

Final Thoughts

Make Chandler your go-to spot for vacations and business trips alike.

Visitors will appreciate the city’s wide variety of restaurants, shopping, art, and culture, along with its year-round calendar of events.

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