Family-Friendly Things to Do in Phoenix and Scottsdale
Family travel itinerary in Phoenix-Scottsdale By WhereTraveler
Unique jungle gym at the Children's Museum of Phoenix. (©Yeung Photography)
It’s only fair that every member of your traveling posse gets a say in what you see, do and eat along the way. When it’s your children’s turn to choose, suggest some of the following bright, right-sized options for things to do with children while you're in and around Phoenix and Scottsdale. Each family-friendly travel idea is a winner.
Morning: Breakfast Restaurants for the Entire Family
We have three options, because it’s good to have options when you have young family members weighing in on the decision.
Over Easy's waffle dog (©King Lawrence)
Option 1: Wolf down Over Easy's waffle dog—a breakfast sausage inside fried waffle batter—because anything on a stick is more fun than using a spoon or fork. The north-Scottsdale location of Over Easy shares a parking lot with the Ice Den, which is used for children’s hockey lessons and NHL Arizona Coyotes practice; if an open-skating session is available when you’re there, take it.
Option 2: Go hand-to-mouth on a sausage and hash brown breakfast “pizza” at Scramble. From the Scottsdale location of this sunrise stop, you’re within a block of McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, which opens at 10 am daily. The free-to-wander wonderland just charges two bucks for railroad and carousel rides, and you can take funny family photos with a statue of the comic-page kids of “Family Circus” in one of the pavilions.
Option 3: Start the day super-casually: chocolate-chip mini pancakes at Wildflower Bread Company on Indian School Road, followed by a romp on playground equipment in a public park on Indian School & 56th Street. Also on Indian School Road: visit a bunch of secret waterfalls, right in the middle of the city!
Afternoon: A Children's Museum or an Outdoor Adventure
Assess energy levels and age levels.
Mirror Maze at Butterfly Wonderland (©Odysea)
Let wild, young things loose at one of the Phoenix area’s many indoor trampoline parks (like AZ Air Time in Scottsdale or Jumpstreet in Chandler and Glendale), or on a jungle gym made of steel, wood, a boat and a bathtub inside Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Or (again, options are good) apply more patient, strategic wits to get out of the Odysea Mirror Maze at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale. And if you need more to do (maybe for tomorrow), then rent a pedal boat and churn around on Tempe Town Lake or at Enchanted Island Amusement Park inside Phoenix’s Encanto Park.
Evening: Family-friendly Dinner Restaurants and Shopping
Option 1: Feed precocious appetites at north-Phoenix sushi place Nori, whose kids menu features soba noodles and steak, teriyaki chicken and deep-fried potato balls.
Option 2: See a real, live bull as you approach the door to Rustler’s Rooste, a cowboy steakhouse on the side of South Mountain, and then use a steel slide or wooden staircase to reach the dining room.
Cabela's gear store (©Cabela’s)
Option 3: Have a family meeting about your next vacation—maybe a camping trip?—at Bass Pro Shops in Mesa or Cabela’s in Glendale; each gear store is replete with tents and boats you can sit in, mounted wildlife exhibits and live-fish aquariums to look at, and a sit-down restaurant, cafeteria-like at Cabela’s and seafood-focused (go figure) at Bass. You’ll find more ideas in our guide to the West Valley.
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