Phoenix With Kids


Our FAQ to living in Phoenix

If you’re coming from the midwest or the east coast, you’ll be surprised that nearly all of the buildings are new and modern. We don’t have many 100+ year old buildings as the state was founded only about 100 years ago. Now, we do have older buildings or run-down areas, but on the whole it’s a fairly new metropolitan area. If you’re arriving from Los Angeles, you’ll love how quickly you can drive across town.

There are many family attractions in Arizona, some of the most popular ones are:

1. The Phoenix Zoo
2. Great Wolf Lodge
3. Organ Stop Pizza
4. McCormick Stillman Railroad Park
5. LEGOLAND Discovery Center
6. Musical Instrument Museum
7. Goldfield Ghost Town
8. Phoenix Botanical Garden
9. Camelback Mountain
10. The Grand Canyon (this list wouldn’t be complete without it!)

Which is the best place to take kids in Phoenix?

On any given Saturday, if we take our kids (ranging in age from 3 to 11) to LEGOLAND Discovery Center they are always happy. So there you go. Stop at Chick Fil-a on the way home. Done.

If it’s wintertime, we like to go to the train park in Scottsdale, followed by lunch at Wildflower Bread Company, and a stop at Mythical Coffee at Scottsdale Rd. and Shea Blvd.

Let’s be realistic, summertime in Phoenix is mostly spent indoors at home, in your car, or at work or a store. You’ll shuffle from your home, to your car, and to your destination. By late summer,  it’s far too hot, even at night, to enjoy a park, or spend much time outside.

While that’s mostly true, there are a lot of exceptions! For example, every July 4th, hundreds of thousands of people get outdoors for Independence Day fireworks.

During the summer, we have a Monsoon season in Phoenix (and across the state), which produces some great thunderstorms. Unlike much of the country, we have fairly low humidity levels. You can expect this monsoon season to begin around July 4th, but sometimes much later. Check out our ultimate guide to summer in Phoenix.

Snakes, scorpions, and our surprisingly dramatic monsoon weather. But seriously, you’ll probably be most surprised by how much you appreciate the low humidity we have for much of the year. Because of the dry weather, you’ll find you don’t sweat as much even when it’s hot. We’ve seen temperatures of 121 degrees at times. Those are the days to stay indoors!

Most people are surprised that Arizona isn’t all desert. Yes, we have a very diverse landscape (over 12,500 feet of elevation change across the state. You can wake up in Phoenix, go swimming in the morning, and then drive to Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff for an afternoon of skiing. While you’re there, explore the Coconino National Forest, home to a diverse forest of Ponderosa Pine, ancient volcanic peaks, and high desert. The forest is actually the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the metro-Phoenix area is home to an amazing restaurant and coffee culture. This can be surprising to people who haven’t lived in a city of this size. We have a lot of unique restaurants that serve amazing food. Beyond that, the state has a thriving coffee culture, with nearly 100 independent coffee houses across the valley.

Because Phoenix is a relatively new city and is mostly flat, we have an easy-to-navigate road system. Roads are usually straight and point North-South and East-West. The city is also divided into both a “west valley” and an “east valley” with plenty of freeways to get around quickly.

If you ask people where they’re from most people will tell you they’re from somewhere else in the United States. The population of Phoenix exploded in the past 60 years, and as such most people are from somewhere else. That makes it both friendly and diverse, and a great conversation starter. Where are you from is always interesting.

The population of Arizona is 7.15 million people.

There are a lot of new homes in Phoenix. People are moving to Phoenix because of the job opportunities, the great winter weather, and to get away from other states with higher taxes. People from all over the world and the United States move to Arizona in fairly large numbers. In 2019, it was announced that Maricopa County is the fastest-growing county in the United States, according to census data. This trend has continued and the valley continues to grow in population.

Some quick stats:

  • From July 1, 2017, to July 2018 there were 96,268 people that moved to Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale.
  • As of July 1, 2018, metro Phoenix has a population of 4,857,962.
  • Compared to a metro-area, Phoenix is only 2nd behind the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area of Texas.

Driving around Phoenix is easy. You’ll find that in most cases you can get where you need in the city within about 30 minutes, unless you choose to live in a distant suburb like Apache Junction, Laveen, or Avondale.

Residents of Phoenix are well-positioned to explore the greater southwestern United States. Here are some typical drive-times:

  • The Grand Canyon is 4 hours away by car
  • Los Angeles is 8 hours away by car
  • San Diego is 6 hours away by car
  • Zion National Park is 6 hours away by car
  • Rocky Point, Mexico, is 4 hours away by car
  • Tucson is 2 hours away by car
  • Skiing is only 3 hours north in Flagstaff, Arizona

If you are interested in museums:

  • For a three-day trip to Phoenix, we suggest you set a trip itinerary and visit all of the major attractions in the valley. The Musical Instrument Museum maybe one of the most unique museums in the state, and can easily take half a day to tour in its entirety.
  • The Heard Museum is a great place to learn about American Indian art.
  • Take the kids to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Easily one of our favorite places in all of Phoenix. We take our kids at least monthly. Check out our review.
  • The i.d.e.a. Museum in Mesa, AZ is a great place to take the kids. Heavy emphasis on art and crafts.
  • Are you interested in fire trucks? Go and see the Hall of Flame Fire Museum where you can see dozens of cool fire trucks.

In the summertime, you’ll want to wear shorts and a t-shirt if you’ll be outdoors and hiking. Check the weather! If you are hiking in the summer, bring water, a phone, an air conditioner, a large collection of marbles, and a rescue squad in case you run out of energy.

Children under 5 years of age must be properly secured in a child restraint device that meets federal standards. Check local laws.

Yes! There are a lot. A few of our favorites are Bartlett LakeTempe Town LakeLake Pleasant, Saguaro Lake, Chaparral Lake, the lake at Fountain Hills, and Lake Marguerite. We’ve covered local fishing spots extensively in a couple of posts, and this fishing guide.

The best place to go boating in the Phoenix, AZ area is at Bartlett Lake. Boating at bartlett lake is so much fun and you can do everything from swimming, fishing, and even tubing which is fun for the entire party.

Close contenders include Apache Lake (2.5 hour drive), Canyon Lake, and Lake Pleasant.

Phoenix With Kids helps people find things to do in Phoenix, Arizona, that are geared towards kids and families. Follow us on Instagram for the latest things to do.

We started the site in 2013 when we put a list of things to do with kids together for a friend. Then we put it on a website, and shared it. We love visiting places with our children. The biggest challenge is finding time to share them. We have 3 children, ages 8, 5, and 1.

At this moment, our kids are obsessed with LEGO, Minecraft, jiu-jitsu, and nature hikes.

We’re obsessed with visiting local lakes in the summers, and hikes during the winter or settling down for a weekend at a cozy cabin in Show Low, or Munds Park.

Phoenix With Kids

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