Glendale, Arizona, is located in Maricopa County, about nine miles northwest of Downtown Phoenix. One of the largest suburbs of Phoenix, it’s growing in popularity, especially for media and entertainment. The region is dry and can get extremely hot in the summer months. July is typically the warmest, with an average daily temperature of 95 degrees, but May is the sunniest month in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Regardless of which month you visit, bring a hat, always wear sunblock, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. 

What Can We Do in Glendale and Areas Nearby?

Whether you enjoy hiking, shopping, exercising, listening to live music outdoors, watching a movie, having a relaxing picnic, visiting new places with your pet, taking the kids to the park, or exploring and going on adventures, there’s something for everyone to do in Glendale.

Here are 10 ways you can enjoy your time on your own or with your family in Glendale and areas nearby:

1. Explore Historic Downtown Glendale

Historic Downtown Glendale is home to a bevy of historic buildings and offers visitors a unique blend of art, culture, and history. The downtown area’s entertainment district is comprised of two neighborhoods – Old Towne and Catlin Court. Old Towne features “brick-trimmed sidewalks and glowing gaslights” with famous eateries, antique shops, and specialty stores. Catlin Court is famous for its mid-century bungalows and picket fences plus their one-of-a-kind eateries and unique boutiques.

Historic Downtown Glendale is located in the area of Glendale Avenue and N. 58th Ave., just east of Grand Avenue. The area is very pedestrian-friendly, so wear comfortable walking shoes and bring sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself. Remember to keep your phone fully charged, as there are plenty of opportunities to capture downtown’s nostalgic charm and cultural heritage on camera.

2. Get Some Exercise at Glendale Heroes Regional Park

Travel can be exhausting, especially with young children, so if your trip to Glendale includes a long flight or drive, a day at Glendale Heroes Regional Park can help everyone stretch their legs. The park features a playground, volleyball courts, splash pad, skate park, walking trails, and even an archery range. One of the most popular features is Heroes Regional Park Lake, which offers year-round fishing and a fountain with color-changing and night-glow lights. 

Glendale Heroes Regional Park is located on 83rd Avenue north of Cardinals Way. The park is open from 6 am–10 pm daily, with separate hours for the skate park and archery range. Remember to bring water and proper sun protection.

3. Discover the Desert at Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

A must-see for those curious about Arizona’s native plants and the water-wise gardening techniques employed in the desert is the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, which surrounds the Glendale Main Library and is “a living example of the diversity and abundant amount of low-water-use plants” that dot the landscape of Glendale and beyond. The Habitat Garden near the south entrance of the library features many native Sonoran Desert plants; the Cactus Garden near the library’s parking lot contains more than 250 different species of cacti and succulents; the Rain Garden near the front entrance demonstrates how to harvest rainwater for plant nourishment; the 3,000-square-foot Desert Food Forest features desert-edible trees, shrubs, perennials, and succulents; and the 10,000-square-foot Tree Trail showcases the latest in irrigation technologies.

The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is located at 5959 W. Brown St. in Glendale. The garden is open from dawn until dusk and is free to the public. Pets are allowed, but must be leashed, and owners are responsible for cleanup. Further, visitors are advised not to feed the animals that live in the garden.

4. Get a History Lesson at Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve

The State of Arizona is rich with Native American history, and much of it can be explored at the 47-acre Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve, a site that features more than 1,500 petroglyphs (rock carvings) created by ancient societies, as well as a variety of native desert plants and animals. The preserve has several walking trails, as well as interactive exhibits that showcase the history, culture, and significance of the petroglyphs. The preserve is managed by the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance in partnership with Arizona State University, making it a premier destination for research and education.

Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve is located at 3711 W. Deer Valley Road in the northeast area of Glendale and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 am–2 pm. Any hiking excursion requires the necessary amount of protection from the sun, including sunscreen, an appropriate amount of water, comfortable shoes, and a hat. Additionally, visitors are not allowed to touch or climb on the petroglyphs. No pets — only services animals are permitted.

5. Hike Thunderbird Conservation Park

A scenic desert park with playgrounds, picnic areas, and miles of hiking trails, the 1,185-acre Thunderbird Conservation Park is the perfect place to explore nature and enjoy some outdoor family time while you’re in town. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and the trails are used for much more than hiking. Don’t be surprised to see bicyclists and even horseback riders out enjoying the sunshine. 

The park’s main entrance is on 59th Avenue between Deer Valley Road and Pinnacle Peak Road. If you’re hiking through the park, wear the right footwear and bring water. You’ll also need sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. More than anything, you need to be mindful of the wildlife – mammals, reptiles, and birds — in the area. Hiking trails are rated by difficulty, so you can see how much time and effort you’ll need to finish the route. Trail tips and FAQ can be found on the park’s website.

6. Tour the Historic Glendale Memorial Park Cemetery

Glendale Memorial Park Cemetery was established in 1900 and has been in service for generations. Veterans of the Civil War and the city’s founders are among those buried at the site, which spans 21 acres and has about 17,000 burial spaces. While the cemetery does not offer tours, you can take a self-guided walk through the grounds and discover more about the city’s rich history while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

Glendale Memorial Park Cemetery is bordered by W. Northern Avenue to the north, N. 63rd Ave. to the west and N. 59th Lane to the east. The cemetery grounds open at sunrise and close at sunset. If you want to make a day of your visit to this area of town, you can also take the family to nearby Northern Horizon Park or Lions Park. 

7. Go Shopping at Westgate Entertainment District

Westgate Entertainment District is a thriving entertainment hub that serves as a destination beyond just shopping and restaurants. The district is home to numerous festivals, sporting events, live music performances, and holiday celebrations. Family activities include Fountain Park splash pad, a movie theater, and a playground. The district’s WaterDance Plaza is a popular spot for families — especially kids — who come to see its dancing water fountains, which were inspired by the iconic Fountains of Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip.

Westgate Entertainment District is located at 6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., bordered by Glendale Avenue to the north, the 101 freeway to the west, and N. 91st Ave. to the east. There are plenty of spots where you can relax, and the district allows leashed dogs within the plaza. If you’re in the mood for music, check the live entertainment calendar in advance. 

8. Take a Trip To the Grand Canyon

If you’ve got the time, and if you’re worried you might never make it back to Arizona, you should consider a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the state’s most famous natural attraction: Grand Canyon National Park. It’s about a 3.5–4-hour drive from Glendale, but once you’re there, you can bask in the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon state. The park is the perfect place to stage a photo, explore the rich history of the 11 tribes that have connections to the land, or spend the night.

You can’t miss the Grand Canyon! It’s a 277-mile canyon stretching from the western end of Grand Canyon National Park all the way to the city of Page. Be sure to stop for gas and bring plenty of water and snacks for your Grand Canyon excursion. If it’s a sunny day, bring sunscreen and dress for the forecast. Also, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee to get into the park.

9. Have a Picnic at Sahuaro Ranch Park

Considered the “crown jewel” of Glendale parks, Sahuaro (pronounced suh-waa-row) Ranch Park boasts a number of historic ranch buildings you can explore before settling in for a picnic near the playgrounds, volleyball court, or under one of nine covered ramadas – each with picnic tables and grills. There are also soccer fields, a softball complex, and dog park. The main attraction is the Historic Sahuaro Ranch, a 17-acre park that offers free tours of its historic buildings and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Sahuaro Ranch Park is located at 9802 N. 59th Ave. and is bordered by Peoria Avenue to the north and Glendale Community College to the south. The park is open from 6 am–10 pm daily and the historic areas are open sunrise to sunset. Tours of the Main House at the Historic Sahuaro Ranch are held Saturday from 10 am–2 pm and Sunday from 1–4 pm.

10. Visit Phoenix

There’s plenty to do in the state’s capital city, but you can’t cram too much into one day. Glendale is just nine miles from downtown Phoenix, and you can still see and do a lot in the city even if you only have a few hours. Take a hike and grab dinner, explore street murals and catch the sunset, have lunch and visit the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, play a game of golf and go to a museum, or choose from so much more!

Take a hot air balloon ride over Phoenix, visit the Music Instrument Museum or Phoenix Art Museum, hike Camelback Mountain or South Mountain Park, visit the Phoenix Zoo, or go to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Downtown, you can view the internationally renowned Heard Museum’s collection of American Indian art.

There’s no shortage of fun to be had with family and friends when you’re visiting Glendale, Arizona. Whether you go to Historic Downtown Glendale, Glendale Heroes Regional Park, Westgate Entertainment District, or outside of Glendale, you have plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and explore. 


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