15 Best Things to Do in Fountain Hills, AZ

Fountain Hills, AZ
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Expect an uplifting experience in the town of Fountain Hills in Maricopa County, Arizona.

This central Arizona town at once elevates visitors’ spirits with its trademark fountain, touted as the world’s fourth-tallest.

Fountain Hills spreads over 13,006 acres on the eastern foothills of the 3,500-foot tall McDowell Mountains.

The town boasts a scenic location and an elevation about 500 feet higher than Arizona’s capital, Phoenix, some 30 miles southwest of Fountain Hills.

Incorporated in 1989, this town was developed by the president of McCulloch Oil, C. V. Wood.

The designer of Disneyland, Charles Wood Jr., also designed Fountain Hills, which was a planned, family-oriented development in 1970.

Here are the best things to do in Fountain Hills, AZ:

Explore Fountain Park

Aerial view of Fountain Park
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Starting from its trademark fountain, there are many amenities to enjoy at this park, accessible via North Saguaro Boulevard.

The park’s world-famous fountain spews water up in the air up to 560 feet high for 15 minutes every hour from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The fountain, amid a 29-acre lake, is a sight to behold in the evening, as it is equipped with a sophisticated lighting system.

Circular sculpture at Fountain Park
Marilyn D. Lambertz / Shutterstock.com

Fountain Park spreads over 64 acres and provides many amenities, including 34 acres of turfgrass, an amphitheater, and an excellent lawn for events.

It also offers an 18-hole disc golf course, a splash pad, a walking trail, and a 36-piece public art display.

Host to Fountain Hills Veterans Memorial, the park likewise features five reservable ramadas with two tables and a barbeque grill for picnics.

Thanks to venues like the Emerson Art Gallery, Fountain Hills has become an Arizona melting pot for local and national artists.

You can find the works of more than 30 artists, including painters, photographers, and sculptors, featured in this gallery.

Emerson Art Gallery hosts Artist Receptions every second Friday of the month from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This event is open to the public, with food, wine, and music enlivening each occasion.

Watch out for similar monthly gatherings at the Fountain Hills Artists Gallery on East Avenue of the Fountains.

This gallery is near the town’s famous fountain and is a fitting destination after visiting the local water attraction.

See a Show at Fountain Hills Theater

Located on North Saguaro Boulevard, this haven for thespians in Fountain Hills boasts two stages featuring endless artistry in three genres.

Its two theaters present three productions regularly each season which are billed as Youth, Mainstage, and Mainstage Too.

The Fountain Hills Theater has staged productions and special events for more than 30 years.

It is a non-profit that thrives through the support of residents of Fountain Hills and patrons in Tonto Verde, Rio Verde, North Scottsdale, and the Fort McDowell Indian community.

Funded by donations and ticket sales, the theater’s programs also include educational projects for youth performers.

Visit the Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden

Daytime view of Desert Botanical Garden
Lynda Lehmann / Shutterstock.com

This garden, established in 1975, is on Fountain Hills Boulevard.

It flaunts 29 different kinds of desert plants that you can appreciate via a leisurely walk along a half-mile loop trail.

Closeup of a cacti at Desert Botanical Garden
Lynda Lehmann / Shutterstock.com

This trail meanders along elevated desert slopes where you can enjoy the scenery at vantage points rising between 1,696 and 1,800 feet.

Signs help you identify the Sonoran Desert plants along the trail, where you can also view unique rock formations and local wildlife.

The exciting scenery around the garden also includes an abandoned ranch campsite adjacent to a dam constructed in 1941.

Shop Fresh Produce at the Farmers Market

You can shop at the Fountain Hills Farmers Market every Tuesday.

Across the Chase Bank Building, farmers and producers from the vicinity sell their goods on the East Avenue of the Fountains.

The farmers and vendors not only have the opportunity to sell fresh produce and craft items.

Over the years, they have also sought to build close relationships with consumers, answering their questions and providing tips about their offerings.

The farmers, for example, can suggest preparation tips or even recipes for the products they sell.

Besides fruits and vegetables, the Fountain Hills Farmers Market items include herbal supplements, bread, cookies, cheese, honey, sauces, and healthcare products.

Enjoy Shopping at the Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts

Around mid-November, Fountain Hills holds its Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts, featuring over 500 artists and artisans from the U.S. and from overseas.

The town started this annual art fair in 1974, and it has grown into one of the largest in the southwest.

The festival’s center of activities during the three-day weekend event gravitates around the Avenue of the Fountains and North Saguaro Boulevard.

For each edition, this fair features numerous booths selling not only artworks like paintings and sculptures.

You will also find delightful picks on crafts, ornaments, clothing, jewelry, and local food fair during the event.

Live music entertainment further enlivens the Fountain Hills Arts & Craft Festival, which draws more than 200,000 annually.

Golf at Eagle Mountain or FireRock

Fountain Hills is home to two superb golf courses, one of which is the par 71, 18-hole links of the Eagle Mountain Golf Club.

This course, which opened in 1996, is accessible via Eagle Mountain Parkway, with its layout offering play over 6,800 yards from its longest tees.

Golfers love this course for its spectacular greens and fairways carved amid rolling hills, desert valleys, and natural box canyons.

Only the FireRock Country Club rivals this scenery, which is within easy reach from East Shea Boulevard.

It also offers an 18-hole play over 1,104 yards from the longest tee placements for its par 72 regulation round.

FireRock has a 73.0 course and a slope rating of 138 over mountainous terrain and dramatic elevation.

Hike the Fountain Hills McDowell Mountain Preserve

Welcome sign of McDowell Mountain Preserve
Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sonoran Conservancy of Fountain Hills sets guided hiking and biking tours of the Fountain Hills McDowell Mountain Preserve north of the town.

One of the starting points of these tours is at the Adero Canyon Trailhead on North Eagle Ridge.

An 824-acre slice of the Fountain Hills McDowell Mountain Preserve is under the management of the Sonoran Conservancy.

Trail signs at McDowell Mountain Preserve
Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The conservancy’s hiking and biking tours cover more than five miles, enabling access to the preserve’s north and south ends.

You can enjoy a more extensive hiking and biking adventure at the larger McDowell Mountain Regional Park nearby.

It covers more than 20,000 acres, offering over 50 miles of trails for hiking and biking and horse riding.

Stoneman wash trail at McDowell Mountain Preserve
Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the River of Time Museum

This museum focuses on preserving the rich history of the Lower Verde River Valley.

It tells of the ancient peoples who hunted along the river, their established communities, and why they vanished.

You will also see displays about mining prospectors who searched for gold but found amethyst.

Likewise, the museum offers materials about Fort McDowell and its endeavors to establish peace in the valley.

Another highlight of the museum tour comes is its displays about the region’s “river tamers” who built canals and dams.

Check out too the museum’s River Bank Gift Store for more impressive displays in its changing exhibit gallery.

Sample Italian Cuisine at the Arrivederci Cucina Italiana

Eclectic dining choices can further spice up a visit to Fountain Hills, where many of the top picks flank the town’s trademark water fountain.

The family-owned Arrivederci Cucina Italiana counts among the leading picks in this area.

The selections from its menu include the Polpette alla Franco, Italian spaghetti with marinara sauce, and traditional homemade meatballs.

Try equally tempting dishes at Alexander’s Greek Kitchen, where lamb chops are among the specialties.

For authentic Asian flavors, try the La Mai Thai Cuisine, another Fountain Hills attraction showcasing the diversity of the town’s offerings to the gourmets’ palate.

Admire the View at Lake Overlook Trail

The view from Lake Overlook Trail
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This trail offers an easy-to-moderate hike of 1.5 miles, a stretch that affords breathtaking views of Fountain Hills and its mountains.

Besides hiking, this trail is also popular among birdwatchers who enjoy its convenient access from the downtown Fountain Hills.

You can access the south trailhead of the Lake Overlook Trail at Panorama Boulevard between Diamante Drive and Vista Del Lago.

The Panorama Boulevard trailhead is located just east of Saguaro Boulevard from the north.

Reserve 45 minutes to complete this trail, allowing off-leash dogs in some sections.

Have a Picnic at Golden Eagle Park

Spanning over 15 acres, this East Golden Eagle Boulevard park features four ramadas with tables and picnic facilities.

Golden Eagle Park provides various sports facilities and hosts many league competitions throughout the year.

The tournaments in the park include Little League, softball for adults and seniors, and high school athletics.

Drop-in games also happen on the park’s courts for basketball, tennis, and volleyball.

Children visiting this park will have two choices of playgrounds, one for toddlers 2 to 5 years old and the other for bigger kids aged 5 to 12.

The Golden Eagle Park has received the Outstanding Facility Award from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association.

Browse Precious Stones at Sami Fine Jewelry

Experience a new level of luxury with a visit to this jewelry store on East Avenue of the Fountains.

Named as one of the top 5 fantastic gem stores in the U.S., Sami Fine Jewelry takes pride as the home of the American Gem Collection and Arizona Amethyst.

Voted One of America’s Top 5 Cool Jewelry Stores, it is a destination for unique finds and a fun experience.

Its founder, Sami Jack, has run this family business for more than 20 years.

Besides its Arizona Amethyst, this store also draws customers for its collection of garnet and peridot jewelry.

You can pick custom-designed pieces of men’s bracelets, rings, pendants, earrings, and other jewelry items in this store.

Go Bar-hopping along Saguaro Boulevard

You can enjoy an evening in Fountain Hills barhopping on the Saguaro Boulevard; the watering holes include the Alamo Saloon.

You can listen to live music scheduled here on Friday and Saturday nights as you enjoy an ice-cold beer in this laid-back saloon.

The mic is yours on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for some karaoke singing.

The Alamo Saloon has other fun options at its two pool tables, shuffleboard, and video trivia games.

Additionally, it has ten flat-screen TVs for avid sports fans who closely follow significant leagues and tournaments.

Saddle Bronc Grill, along Saguaro Boulevard, provides similar attractions to bar-goers.

Its famous cheeseburgers, dubbed the John Wayne Angus, and its servings of slow-roasted prime ribs draw crowds.

For wines, go to the tasting room of the Grapeables nearby, where there are over 150 retail wines and live music to enjoy.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit Saguaro Lake

Sunset reflecting on Saguaro Lake
Brent Coulter / Shutterstock.com

This lake is in the Tonto National Forest, some 20 minutes east of Fountain Hills.

You can get there via State Route 87, about halfway between Sunflower, a ghost town, and Phoenix.

The waters of Saguaro Lake
davidpinter, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can enjoy a trip to this lake through the Desert Belle Paddlewheel Riverboat.

Join narrated tours which also open the opportunity to spot desert mountain sheep and bald eagles in the lake’s secluded areas.

You can also arrange fishing charters during a visit to Saguaro Lake.

Trail sign near Saguaro Lake
davidpinter, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Fountain Hills is a charming desert town that offers a cross-section of attractions that make Arizona an exciting travel destination.

This town provides a rich mix of outdoor delights and country lifestyles with plenty of exciting things to do and places to visit.

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