Once the Valley hits over 100 degrees, it’s hard to find a reason to leave the air conditioned house. Here are 100 ways to enjoy the heat this summer.
1. Musical Instrument Museum
The museum is ranked nationally as a top destination for families, and it’s easy to hear why. The museum offers interactive exhibits that allow kids to play, hear and experience music in new ways. Kids will love Wearing headphones, walking through exhibits, and hearing world music. They’ll also like the Experience Gallery, where they can try instruments and make their own music.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. First Fridays of each month. Admission is $18 for adults, $14 for teens ages 13-19, $10 for ages 4-12, and free for age 3 or younger. 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. 480-478-6000, mim.org.
2. Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park
Water attractions include a wave pool, slides, rapids experiences and extreme rides like the Tornado, Maximum Velocity and the Constrictor. Or, float and relax on the Cactus Cooler. Wet ‘n’ Wild Jr. offers fun for little visitors.
4243 W. Pinnacle Peak Road, Glendale. 623-201-2000, wetnwildphoenix.com. Open weekends only 11 a.m.-5 p.m. until May 22, when it opens daily daily through Aug. 9, then weekends only again through Sept. 28.
3. Try a new Sweet Republic ice-cream flavor
Central Phoenix finally has its own Sweet Republic branch, on 16th Street just north of Bethany Home Road. The hardest part is choosing from 20-plus delicious flavors, from coconut sorbet to salted butter caramel.
The new store is 6054 N. 16th St., Phoenix. 602-535-5990. The original is at 9160 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale. 480-248-6979. There’s also an outlet at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, in Terminal 4, past security. sweetrepublic.com.
4. Tubing on the Salt River
Tubes, coolers, friends and weird sun burns. It never gets old. You and your pals can take two cars, park one where you want to get out of the river and drive the other to the entry point south of Stewart Mountain Dam, then retrieve the car by the dam. Or you can ride the Salt River Tubing & Recreation shuttle and skip the car hopping. Caveat: Styrofoam coolers are discouraged and glass containers are verboten.
Salt River Tubing & Recreation, 9200 N. Bush Highway, Mesa. $17 with tube rental, $14 without. 480-984-3305, saltrivertubing.com.
Just outside Benson is Kartchner Caverns State Park, where you can step into the cool of a big, beautiful cave. You’ll see burly stalactites, delicate soda-straw formations and tiny corners of multicolored rock. The tours cover a half-mile and last about 90 minutes.
About 9 miles south of Benson off Arizona 90. 520-586-4100, azstateparks.com/parks/kaca.
6. Eat hot, stay cool
Although it might sound illogical, the best way to stay cool is by adding chiles to your diet. There’s evidence that hot foods work as culinary air-conditioning. That’s why many of the world’s best spicy dishes come from India and Mexico and Thailand.
Here’s how hot cools: Blood vessels close to the surface of your skin, especially on your face and neck, expand so the blood can throw off heat. This causes your internal temperature to decrease and your skin temperature to rise. Next, you sweat, and as the sweat evaporates it cools you off.
7. Golfland Sunsplash
If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, try rides like the Sidewinder, Cauldron or Stormrider. A wave pool, lazy river, pools, slides and zero-depth water play area offer families and littler ones wet fun.
155 W. Hampton Ave., Mesa. 480-834-8319, golfland.com. Sunsplash opens May 10 weekends only 11 a.m.-5 p.m. until regular hours start on May 24 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Events vary, see hours and events on website.
8. Take a night hike
Maricopa County Parks around the Valley and state offer hikes by moonlight all the time. It’s something different, you’re getting exercise and it’s cooler. And at just $6 a car load, it’s affordable.
At maricopa.gov/parks, click the Events link along the left. Once you’ve got a screen full of events, the hikes are easy to find by pressing Ctrl+F and typing the word “moon.”
9. Kayak at Tempe Town Lake
Spend two hours on a Friday evening tucked into a kayak gliding across Tempe Town Lake. Online descriptions for Moonlight Kayak and Glow Paddle events 7:30-9:30 p.m. June 6-Aug. 8 mention the words “don’t mind getting wet” — perfect.
Tempe Town Lake Marina, 550 E. Tempe Town Lake. $30. 480-350-8069. tempe.gov/events.
Sitting in the “water room” is a bit like being behind a waterfall at this attraction that’s part public art and part working hydroelectric plant. The site, at a natural 20-foot drop along the Arizona Canal, has been a gathering place since the late 1800s.
G.R. Herberger Park, 56th Street and Indian School Road, Phoenix. srpnet.com/water/canals/azfalls.aspx.
11. Sip and splash at Maya
Scottsdale’s Vegas-style pool club is the place to be over the summer, with top notch DJs visiting regularly, pumping their mixes into the state of the art sound system. Cool off after some dancing in the pool with a Spiked Lemonade ($12), made with strawberry vodka, basil, strawberry puree and soda water, or the shareable Deep Blue ($14), a mix of gin, citrus liqueur, Blue Curaçao, lime juice and simple syrup.
Day club is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Night club is open from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Sundays. Maya Day + Night Club, 7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale. Admission varies depending on the acts. 480-625-0528, mayaclubaz.com.
12. Enjoy an art film
Many people don’t know it, but metro Phoenix eventually gets nearly every independent film that New York and LA do, and most are shown at Harkins Camelview in Scottsdale. Enjoy the retro vibe — and yes, the air-conditioning — while you can, however; a new version is scheduled to open across the street next year.
7001 E. Highland Ave., Scottsdale. 480-947-8778, harkinstheatres.com.
13. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Is there a better way to beat the heat than frozen custard? Maybe one or two. But it’s a good one. We recommend the Great American S’Mores Concert at Freddy’s — creamy frozen custard flavored with toasted marshmallow and blended with graham crackers and a scoop of fudge then topped with whipped cream and a graham cracker.
There are several Valley locations. For a list, go to: freddysusa.com/locations.
14. BigSurf Water Park
Master your wave-riding skills at Waikiki Beach wave pool, or for thrills, try such rides as the Black Hole, Tornado Twisters or the White Serpentine slide. Captain Cook’s landing and Otter Slides at Bora Bora Bay are great for families with little ones.
1500 N. McClintock Drive, Tempe. 480-994-2297, bigsurffun.com. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays until May 24, when the park opens daily.
There’s a reason mint tea is popular in desert countries like Morocco and Egypt. The herb creates a cooling sensation. It also helps eliminate toxins from the body, calm the stomach and boost energy. Muddle mint with ice, then add water or iced tea for a refreshing summer drink.
16. Show Time @ The Bar
If you think you’re feeling hot, just imagine the plight of the poor drag queen under the lights in wig and pancake makeup. Thursdays are cabaret nights at the Bar on Central (formerly Amsterdam) with host Ian Christiansen — named the Valley’s best actor in 2013 by azcentral.com — and resident performer Barbra Seville, former Miss Gay Arizona, along with weekly guests.
10 p.m. Thursdays. 718 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. No cover. 602-258-6122, thebaroncentral.com.
17. Kazimierz World Wine Bar
A dark, cool, comfortable spot, Kazimierz is the go-to place for a chilled (or warmer, depending on the variety) glass or bottle of wine. Known as Kazbar, it bills itself as the Disneyland of wine, and it’s hard to argue. The bar’s wine list features more than 3,200 bottles.
7137 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale. 480-946-3004, kazbar.net.
18. A mobile brain freeze
You know what we’re talking about: the big, frozen slurps of cherry and cola ICEEs that go straight to your brain and send shivers down your spine. If you’re within spitting distance of an am/pm, Circle K, AMC movie theater, Burger King, Mobil on the Run, Sam’s Club, Subway or Target, you’re almost there. No? Then guess what we have for you: an ICEE locator app, which will direct you to the closest machine from anywhere.
19. Binge-watch a television series
Never seen “Breaking Bad?” Always wondered what the fuss over “Mad Men” was over? Summer is a great time to catch up on streaming series on online services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. There is a subscription cost, of course (it varies by service and other options), but you can’t beat the convenience.
netflix.com, hulu.com, amazon.com.
You can cool off on a log flume ride with a three-story splashdown, train and boat rides, a carousel and skyride to keep you cool as you make your way through this park that includes a zoo, 15-acre Safari Park and 75 indoor exhibits with several aquariums. A great option is aquarium-only admission from 5 to 9 p.m. when you can get in for about half the price.
9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily; aquarium until 9 p.m. 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park. $32, $15.25 for ages 3-12 for admission; $16.99, $8.99 for ages 3-12 for aquarium-only admission after 5 p.m.; free for age 2 or younger. Free parking. 623-935-9453, wildlifeworld.com.
21. Catch a ball game
Summer sports are more than just baseball in Phoenix. There are basketball and football games, too. The Arizona Rattlers play fast-paced arena football at US Airways Center through July. The Phoenix Mercury, one of the original WNBA franchises, play at the same arena through September. Down the street at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks’ free fireworks shows are held after games on Friday nights through the season.
phoenixmercury.com, azrattlers.com, arizonadiamondbacks.com.
22. Eat cool foods
Eating fruits and vegetables with high water contents will help keep you naturally cool. So, when it’s hot, fill up on carrots, lettuce, kiwi, cucumber, watermelon, peaches, pineapple, celery, peppers, eggplant, radish, cantaloupe and summer squash. Frozen grapes are another quick cool-down.
23. Browse Changing Hands
You’re reading this, so you like to read. So why not spend some time browsing the stacks at this venerable independent bookstore, which opened a midtown Phoenix location in late May. The stores also provide a steady slate of author talks and signings for both adults and teens.
Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, 480-730-0205. 300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602-274-0067. Most talks are free; signings usually require book purchase. changinghands.com.
24. Show your library some love
Yes, there are options for kids and teens besides online gaming and swimming that don’t cost a cent. Head to your local library. Check out the hottest books, events and more.
Here are just a few Websites you’ll want to bookmark and visit often: www.glendaleaz.com/teenlibrary, events.mesalibrary.org (use checkboxes to narrow location, event type and age group), mcldconnect.org/teen, phoenixpubliclibrary.org/teens, scottsdalelibrary.org/teens.
Vovomeena uses a Japanese cold-brew coffee machine to create a type of high-powered coffee that it calls Mornin’ Moonshine. Served over ice, it’s available as straight black coffee or as an infusion. Choose among five infused flavors, including orange peel/ginger. Open 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.
Vovomeena, 1515 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix. 602-252-2541, vovomeena.com.
26. Go rock climbing (indoors)
Test your strength, balance and dexterity at an indoor rock climbing gyms, where admission and equipment rental is usually less than $20.
Try ClimbMax Climbing Gym, Phoenix Rock Gym, Ape Index or AZ on the Rocks.
27. Scottsdale ArtWalk
Visit dozens of galleries in the Scottsdale Arts District, where member galleries of the Scottsdale Gallery Association have been hosting art walks for more than 30 years. Art ranges from the expected Western traditional to up-to-the-moment contemporary, and the scene is mellow: typically older patrons with a glass of wine in hand.
7-9 p.m. Thursdays. Along Main Street and Marshall Way, Scottsdale. scottsdalecan.com/SGA.
28. Stand in the freezer section at the convenience store
Crack open the freezer door, it’s better than your car’s AC and you don’t have to pay for it. Better yet, find a Circle K with a walk-in beer freezer and spend 20 minutes “comparing prices.”
29. Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course
Climb into the pines to test your ability at this elaborate above-ground obstacle course. Aerial challenges include cable bridges, zip lines, swings, ladders and Tarzan-style ropes designed for visitors of a variety of ages and abilities. The highest point is about 60 feet. Bridges wobble, cables sag, swings carry you to a rope net or platform. Visitors must complete the training course, which is about 4 feet off the ground. Once the training course is mastered, there are separate courses for adults and kids.
Fort Tuthill County Park, 3 miles south of Flagstaff off Interstate 17. $25-$50. 888-259-0125, flagstaffextreme.com.
The theory is that when you eat really hot food — like, make you sweat hot — the outside air won’t feel so bad. OK, so it’s just a theory, but the food is really tasty whatever the case. But don’t be fooled, even the salsa is blazing.
Two Phoenix locations: 1044 E. Camelback and 8646 S. Central Ave. 602-528-3535; 602-243-9113. losdosmolinosphoenix.com
31. Enjoy shave ice
In Hawaii, the finely grated frozen desserts are known as shave ice, rather than snow cones, which are prepared with grated ice. Shave ice in Hawaii also features Asian-influenced toppings. Snoh in central Phoenix prepares its shave ice in this style, with toppings from Oreos, mango and caramel, to lychee fruit, boba pearls and black-sesame condensed milk. You’ll feel like you’re on the islands in no time.
Snoh Ice Shavery, 914 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 888-488-1693, snoh-ice.com.
32. Ride the waves at Kiwanis Wave Pool
Not only can you go on the twisty water slide, you can surf the waves generated at the indoor pool — and never worry about sunburn.
6111 S. All-America Way, Tempe. $7 for age 13 or older, $5 for ages 2-12. 480-350-5201, tempe.gov.
33. Pretend you’re Gallagher
Have a watermelon toss or smash. Invite friends and family over for a watermelon party. Spead a large clean piece of plastic on the grass, then throw watermelons onto it to split them open. Everyone gets to participate and enjoy the treat.
Throw a summer party with old-fashioned games, including three-legged races, horseshoes and sack races. And don’t forget the watermelons.
35. Pump It Up
The indoor bounce-house playground offers parties and open jump. Attractions include inflatable bounce houses with slides and obstacle courses that will keep them busy for hours.
Hours vary based on availability, but open jump usually runs 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Glow jump is 11 a.m.-noon daily. $8.67 per child. 14131 N. Rio Vista Blvd., Suite 5, Peoria. 623-572-0090, pumpitupparty.com.
36. Don’t stay in — at night
Nightlife lovers know that things get better after the sun goes down, especially in warmer months, which are perfect for club dresses, tank tops, shorts and sandles. Call an Uber or Lyft and make the rounds on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Old Town Scottsdale or Westgate Entertainment District and make a night of it.
37. Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center
Swimmers in the East Valley can try two water slides, diving boards and a vortex whirlpool at this state-of-the-art facility. Sand volleyball, a beach-entry pool, swimming and diving lessons and water aerobics also are available. Check the website for details on annual events, such as the Itty Bitty Beach Party and Teen Night Beach Bash.
Open swim is noon-6 p.m. daily through Sunday, Aug. 3. $1 for age 17 or younger; $2 for age 18 or older. Season passes $45-$95. 1091 W. Southern Ave. 480-474-5210, ajcity.net/aquatics.
38. Hang at Crescent Ballroom
If you have yet to experience this downtown Phoenix music venue, you should check it out. And you don’t even have to venture in to see the show (although most nights, you really should). The main bar doesn’t have a cover charge, and as it cools off in the evening, you can hang out on the patio like it’s a proper major city.
308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
39. Visit Paletas Betty
Paletas are Mexican ice pops, and Betty’s are made from-scratch using fruit, herbs and cream in Chandler. Flavors, which change seasonally, include platano (bananas foster with homemade caramel and añejo rum), mango with chile, coconut, strawberry and cream, and pepino (cucumber and mint).
96 W. Boston St., Chandler, and 425 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. 480-779-8080, paletasbetty.com.
Ice-skating rinks in the desert always seem a little silly until it gets to be 100 degrees outside, and then they seem very, very smart. The Arcadia Ice Arena has midday public-skating times every day. You can rent skates there, and they’ll even teach you to tie them properly.
3853 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix. $5.50; $4.50 for ages 3-12; $3.50 for age 55 or older; free for age 2 or younger with a paying adult. 602-957-9966, arcadiaice.com.
41. Get out of town
Seriously, get out of metro Phoenix. We’ll help you do it, too. It isn’t 100 degrees everywhere in Arizona. Eat. Play. Stay. Plan a trip for the day or stay somewhere the whole weekend.
We have ideas galore at exploreaz.azcentral.com.
There are many times when we’ve looked longingly at the kids playing in the outdoor water fountains in the center of Tempe Marketplace, soaked from head to toe, not caring if it were 91, 101 or 111 degrees. Usually, the grown-ups all stand off to the side, holding shopping bags or the kids’ shoes. So let this be your strategy: Don’t wear good clothes. Don’t dress for the movie theater or the bookstore or the restaurants; dress for the water fountain: shorts, T-shirt, flip-flops. Then enjoy. Just don’t leave your cellphone in your back pocket.
Tempe Marketplace, Loop 202 and McClintock Drive.
43. Butterfly Wonderland
An indoor butterfly exhibit allows visitors to talk with dozens of types of butterflies, learn about how they live, and watch them hatch out of their cocoons. Kids will love when a butterfly lands on them. The indoor atrium that houses the live butterflies is magical, if sometimes a little intimidating, because of the sheer number of butterflies flitting about the space.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. $18.95; $9.95 for ages 3-11; $16.95 for students, military and seniors 62 or older; free for age 2 or younger. 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Salt River Reservation. 480-800-3000, butterflywonderland.com.
44. Enjoy a classic movie
Cinemark Mesa 16 has made a regular habit out of presenting a weekly series of classic movies on the big screen. Screenings are at 2 p.m. Sundays and 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays.
1051 N. Dobson Road, Mesa. $5.75-$7. 480-733-2843, cinemark.com.
The museum offers permanent and rotating exhibits that allow kids to explore the science that’s all around them. Demonstrations, which are held throughout the center each day and run up to 20 minutes. Check the daily schedule in the lobby. The center includes an IMAX theater and a planetarium.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. $16.95; $11.95 for ages 3-17; $14.96 for age 62 or older. Admission to featured exhibits, the planetarium and for IMAX showings is additional. 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix. 602-716-2000, azscience.org.
46. Spend two hours at an independent record store
There are few better places to while away the hours while soaking up the AC than an independent record store. Just start at A and work your way toward Z and you’ll shocked at the number of records you forgot you meant to buy. And while you’re doing that, the store is playing music, which means you could stumble across a whole new favorite band just by soaking it in.
In Phoenix, try Stinkweeds at 12 W. Camelback Road; Zia Record Exchange at 1850 W. Camelback Road; and/or Revolver Records at 918 N. Second St.
47. Amazing Jake’s Food & Fun
This indoor Mesa fun spot offers go-karts, laser tag, a rock wall, bowling, miniature golf, rides and arcade games — and it’s all indoors. Plan to eat; buffet purchase is required. Coupons and specials can be found online. Height and weight restrictions apply for some rides.
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. 1830 E. Baseline Road, Mesa. Admission and buffet $6.99 to $9.99, free for age 3 or younger; $1.50-$4 each for attractions; $7.99-$14.99 fun passes are a good deal. 480-926-7499, amazingjakes.com and facebook.com/amazingjakesmesa.
48. Go fish!
There are 25 city park lakes around the Valley where you can fish from the shore. An annual urban-fishing license is just $18.50 (free for age 14 or younger) and you can get one online, at Arizona Game and Fish offices, or at such dealers as Cabela’s, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The online “how to” covers what’s biting and where, the kind of bait that fish like and catch-and-release tips and rules.
602-942-3000, takemefishing.org, azgfd.gov/urbanfishing.
49. Downtown Chandler Art Walk
Dozens of artists show a wide variety of works, including upcycled jewelry and painting on metal panels. Visit some of the nearby bars and restaurants to cool off and make a night of it, such as SanTan Brewing Co., Paletas Betty and Original ChopShop Co.
6-10 p.m. the third Friday of the month. In June, TechShop, 249 E. Chicago St. In July, Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort, 1 San Marcos Place. No art walk in August. downtownchandlerartwalk.com.
Join a naturalist at Red Rock State Park just southwest of Sedona for a hike led by a naturalist. You’ll learn about Oak Creek, animal and plant life, geology and the history archaeology of the area. The hikes take one and half to two hours.
4050 Red Rock Loop Road, off Arizona 89A. $5 per car. 928-282-6907, azstateparks.com/Parks/RERO.
For a Western experience, visit Rawhide, where you can ride a burro, watch a gunfight, pan for gold and ride Widowmaker, the mechanical bull. For some added fun, have your companion arrested for $10 or get hitched at a classic shotgun wedding. Check the website for upcoming July 4 event details, including fireworks, live music and kids activities.
5-10 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays through June 30; 5-10 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays July 1-31. 5700 W. North Loop Road, Gila River Reservation. Free admission; $5 parking; $10 for shotgun wedding and arrest-a-guest. 480-502-5600, rawhide.com.
52. Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center
The recreation center offers two giant slides, a zero-depth leisure pool with spray features, an aquatic playground and a lazy river. A diving well and two diving boards are also on site. Water aerobics, lap swimming, pool rentals, private and group swim lessons and special events can be found online.
Details: 1-5 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 1-7 p.m. Fridays; noon-5 p.m. Saturdays and 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sundays. $2.50-$3.50 for ages 3-17; $5-$6 for ages 18-54; $3-$5 for age 55 or older; free for age 2 or younger. 5600 W. Union Hills Drive. 623-930-4600, www.glendaleaz.com/foothillscenter.
There are three indoor skating rinks around the Valley where kids, teens and families can keep cool and have fun. Roll around on regular or in-line skates to music, play arcade games and get snacks like pizza and soda. There are family events, teen skates and themed sessions throughout the summer.
Hours and admission varies depending on event. $3.50-$4.50 skate rental or bring your own. USA’s Skateland Mesa, 7 E. Southern Ave., 480-833-7775. USA’s the Great Skate, 10054 N. 43rd Ave., Glendale; 623-842-1181. USA Skateland Chandler, 1101 W. Ray Road; 480-917-9444. unitedskates.com.
54. Imagination Avenue
This child-size town encourages imaginary play. Children can play doctors, hardware-store employees and firefighters as they imagine what it’s like to be a grown-up.
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. $9 for ages 1-10; $5 for children younger than 1. Free for adults and for children younger than 1 or older than 10 with a paid admission for a sibling. Socks are required for play. 10614 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. 602-765-3192, imaginationavenue.us.
People hype New Year’s Day as the time to start exercising, but that was mid-winter — who cared? Now’s the time to find your fit self. It’s something of a trend for gym memberships to be $10 a month — check out the many branches of Planet Fitness, Youfit or Gold’s Gym.
56. The Rock Teen Center
The Rock runs in partnership with Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock and Genesis Church. The center offers a place for kids interested in music, collaboration, dance and training. The Rock offers music lessons for such instruments as bass, guitar and drums, as well as vocal and dance classes.
2-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Free. 13625 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. 480-266-9379, alicecoopersolidrock.com/the-rock.
57. Drink the coldest beer in town
The powerful and the less so have mingled at the Coach House for generations. The longtime Scottsdale watering hole is informal, fun and a great antidote to the usual Scottsdale scene. And yes, the beer is icy cold.
7011 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale. 480-990-3433, coachhousescottsdale.com.
58. Hang out with the cool kids
An air-conditioned movie theater is a go-to choice for the summer, and so is a cold beer. So why not combine the two at the FilmBar, a hip hangout in downtown Phoenix. Offerings range from contemporary art films to campy nostalgic fare, such as “Superman II” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Mondays through Wednesdays, you can get a movie ticket, small popcorn and a 16-ounce draft for 12 bucks.
815 N. Second St., Phoenix. 602-595-9187, thefilmbarphx.com.
59. Gourmet in the shade
With enough shade trees to make you forget you’re in the desert, House of Tricks has long been one of the Valley’s best spots for patio dining. The contemporary American menu, with items such as sumac-crusted Lava Lake lamb chops ($32) and duck-confit sweet-corn tamales ($18), it can be a bit on the spendy side, so consider stopping by just for desserts ($7, $8), such as Fossil Creek goat-cheese panna cotta with strawberry-lemon gelee, strawberries and pink and black pepper shortbreads. (Hey, everyone knows more words equals more flavor!)
114 E. Seventh St., Tempe. 480-968-1114, houseoftricks.com.
Inside Arizona Mills is an aquarium with 30 displays and more than 5,000 ocean creatures, including clown fish, sea turtles, sharks, jellyfish, rays, octopus and seahorses. The biggest attraction is the awe-inspiring 360-degree ocean tunnel. All that water and the fact that it’s indoors make this a great place to hide out when temps soar beyond 100. Get tickets online ahead of time for best price and shorter wait times.
10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays; hours vary on holidays. Interstate 10 and Baseline Road, Tempe. $13-$18; $10.40-$14.40 online in advance; $15-$20 for flexi-ticket that’s good any day; 877-526-3960, visitsealife.com/arizona.
61. Hang out at Connections Cafe
This also means hanging out at the Tempe Library. Depending on the day, the cafe has a surprisingly rich offering of sandwiches (the pulled pork is a favorite) and always has a wide variety of coffee-type drinks. And it’s not like you’ll have a lack of reading material.
Noon-4 p.m. Sundays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 3500 S. Rural Road, Tempe. 480-350-5500, tempefriends.org/cafe.
62. Nightlights Tours at Taliesin West
Structures at this National Historic Landmark are constructed of piers and beams extending beyond glass, wood and stone, will be aglow and reflected in the waters of Kiva Pool. Cabaret Theater, Music Pavilion, Wright’s private office and the Garden Room where famous guests were once entertained are among the stops.
6:30 and 7 p.m. Fridays, June-August. $40, $35 online in advance. 12345 N. Taliesin Drive (Cactus Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard), Scottsdale. 888-516-0811, franklloydwright.org/about/taliesinwesttours.html.
63. Rock n Roll McDonald’s car shows
The car-show scene cools down when the weather heats up, but this is the exception to that rule. This show goes on every Saturday evening, triple digits not withstanding. About the only thing that knocks it out is a monsoon storm. It bills itself as “the largest consistently run car show in the United States,” and even in the dead of summer routinely draws 100 hot rods, classic cars and muscle cars, as well as a passel of motorcycles.
4:30 until about 10 p.m. Saturdays. Free. Pavilions at Talking Stick, Indian Bend Road and Loop 101, Salt River Reservation.
64. Cool down your screen saver
Most computers, tablets and smartphones have multiple photos to choose from for your primary “wallpaper” or “screen saver.” Forget that photo of yellow tulips, ignore the sunset shot or the cute-as-kittens kittens. You want snowflakes, sun sparkling on cool water, a frosty margarita, or city lights at midnight. Find one that invites you up on the porch for iced tea.
The museum is a day’s worth of fun, and that’s no understatement. It offers engaging play for a range of development, providing cool exploration opportunities for itty bitties up to tweens. Don’t miss the big sneakers. They’re right in front of the Noodle Forest, and they make for a fun photo when kids try them on.
9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. Free for members; $11 for non-members; $10 for age 62 or older; free for children younger than 1. 215 N. Seventh St. 602-253-0501, childrensmuseumofphoenix.org.
66. Keep your cocktails cooler
Regular ice cubes melt too quickly, diluting the best cocktails into a watery mess. Buy a tray that creates 2-inch ice cubes (about $8), which melt slower and keep your drink cooler for longer. Better yet, get an ice-ball maker (about $15). A giant sphere of ice just looks so much classier.
67. Catch a second-run movie
The modern equivalent of an old-school dollar theater, Pollack Tempe Cinemas boasts films for $3 ($2 on Tuesdays). Granted, the films are second run; some features play at Pollack the same time they hit home video. On the plus side, it’s probably your last chance to catch some of these movies on the big screen. Check out the lobby, which features movie-star photos, vintage lunchboxes and other fun touches.
1825 E. Elliot Road, Tempe. 480-345-6461, pollacktempecinemas.com.
68. Play golf
Yet, you read that right: Play golf. Metro Phoenix is home to some of the best courses in the country, if not the world. Trouble is, for half the year they’re outside the price range of anyone who isn’t a pro (or incredibly rich). But if you’re willing to put up with the heat (and drink a lot of water), there are great discounts available during summer. Because, you know, no one wants to play in the heat. But with hydration, it’s really not that bad. Your slice, on the other hand …
69. Grill. A lot
No one wants to fire up the oven when it feels like an oven outside. So fire up the grill instead. The food tastes better, it’s less mess in the house and you don’t have to stand outside the entire time it’s cooking. Go inside, have a cool drink while the chicken, ribs and veggies char to perfection.
There are some good sites for pointers, such as amazingribs.com and bbq.about.com.
Bowling is out of the sun and in the air-conditioning. It’s fun and lets you exercise without breaking a sweat. We recommend Let it Roll Bowl because it has a good vibe, it’s independently owned and it includes Pizza RE, which sells specialty pies and desserts.
9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays; noon-10 p.m. Mondays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays; 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Fridays; 9:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays. 8925 N. 12th St., Phoenix. 602-944-4401, letitrollbowl.com.
71. Halle Heart Children’s Museum
The museum, which is open to all ages, encourages children to make choices that increase their cardiovascular health. The interactive experience inspires kids to stay active. Interactive exhibits show them how the heart works and reminds them that it’s a muscle, an organ and a pump. Kids will come home with facts about the human heart, as well as the hearts of other mammals, including giraffes and elephants.
Guided tours are available at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and by appointment. Call for availability. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. 2929 S. 48th St., Tempe. 602-414-2800, halleheartchildrensmuseum.org.
72. Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch
This 110-acre oasis in Gilbert is a great place to watch wildlife — especially birds — catch (and release) fish, learn a few things and just kick back. The lake and seven ponds are for groundwater recharge and recreation. Horses are allowed on some trails, bikes are allowed on trails and sidewalks, and leashed dogs can accompany walkers in all pedestrian areas. Although the preserve is handicapped accessible, the gravel hiking trails can be uneven. There’s a playground and library in the preserve, which also is home to the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory.
Dawn to dusk daily; the fishing lake is open dawn to 10 p.m. 2757 E. Guadalupe Road. 480-503-6200, riparianinstitute.org.
73. Enjoy a rooftop poolside view
Lustre, the poolside bar at the Hotel Palomar in downtown Phoenix, launched its 100 Days of Summer series on Memorial Day weekend. Both hotel and non-hotel guests can relax by the pool, sip on cold cocktails, nosh on appetizers and play backyard games. On Fridays, Saturdays and holiday weekends, guest DJs will perform. Lustre will also bring back its popular weekly summer yoga series Sweat Your Asana Off, where fitness buffs welcome the heat to help with tight and sore muscles, and cool off in the pool afterward.
Yoga is 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sept. 2; $10. Pool parties start at 11 a.m. on Mondays, Fridays and Saturday through Labor Day weekend, with DJs on Fridays and Saturdays. Special events take place on holiday weekends for an extra cost. Lustre Rooftop Garden, 2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. 480-478-1765, lustrerooftopgarden.com.
74. Have a water-balloon fight
Give yourself a strategic advantage by purchasing a water-balloon pump, which fills the balloons quickly. They’re $10 to $15 at mass retailers and party-supply stores. Most come with balloons.
You’re already sweating, so might as well make the most of it. Most students are gone for the summer, so the clubs will be less packed. Walk down Saddlebag Trail in downtown Scottsdale and drop into any of the popular clubs and bars, such as Whiskey Row or INTL. If you’re in downtown Phoenix, head to Monarch Theatre, which is hosting its second anniversary in June. DJs from across the world come to perform at the large nightclub, which has ample room to dance. The club’s long-running sister property next door, Bar Smith, features entertainment downstairs and on its rooftop bar.
Monarch Theatre, 122 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602-456-1991, monarchtheatre.com. Bar Smith, 130 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602-456-1991, barsmithphoenix.com.
76. Pretend you’re on a faraway island
The best way to do that is to indulge in island food and cocktails. Hula’s Modern Tiki takes a contemporary twist on the 1950s and ’60s tiki bars, with hip decor, such tropical cocktails as the Dr. Funk and Pink Bikini Martini, and island-inspired cuisine. At the Breadfruit, the dark and moody Rum Bar boasts more than 100 types of rum, with such tasty cocktails as Hemingway’s Daiquiri and Pineapple Royale, and Caribbean food. You’ll forget where you are at any of these three bars — until you step outside again.
Hula’s Modern Tiki, 4700 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-265-8454; Hula’s Scottsdale, 7213 E. First Ave., 480-970-4852. hulasmoderntiki.com.
Rum Bar at the Breadfruit, 108 E. Pierce St., Phoenix. 602-267-1266, thebreadfruit.com.
77. Go underground
There’s a handful of underground bars and restaurants in Phoenix, and our favorite is the Rokerij. Esquire magazine included it in the “Very Dark Bar” category as part of its 2010 “Best Bars in America” series. The main restaurant is upstairs, but walk downstairs and you’ll be greeted with a cellarlike, windowless bar and a cozy atmosphere. It’s so cool in this bar that you probably won’t even notice the fireplace, which is lit year round.
6335 N. 16th St., Phoenix. 602-287-8900, burningembersphoenix.com.
78. Sky Zone
An indoor trampoline park that offers connected and angled trampolines so kids can actually bounce off the walls. Sky Zone also offers skyrobics, an aerobic trampoline class, and dodge-ball leagues.
10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays. $10 for 30 minutes, $15 for an hour, $20 for 90 minutes and $25 for two hours. The toddler court is $8 for 60 minutes. 9040 W. Larkspur Drive, Peoria. 623-979-4000, skyzone.com.
79. Hide out at a spa
Yup, there’s an app for that and it’s ours. Check out our top 10 picks for places to get pampered from Scottsdale to Phoenix to Tucson to Sedona. Tap Experiences at exploreaz.azcentral.com.
Have a beer, grill your own grub, listen to live music and play life-size checkers, sand volleyball and horseshoes at the Monastery in east Mesa. The comfy duds you’re wearing to keep cool is just fine here. It’s like having a party in your back yard, their website says.
4810 E. McKellips Road. 480-474-4477, realfunbar.com.
81. Sweet Taste of Summer
Sign up for a Sweet Basil class that teaches how to turn summer’s bounty into dessert, from peach smoothies to fruit kebabs to caramelized strawberries with basil and balsamic vinegar over vanilla ice cream.
9:30-12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 7. Sweet Basil Gourmetware and Cooking School, 10749 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-596-5628; sweetbasilgourmet.com. $50.
82. Head to the lake
Whether it’s fishing at Lake Pleasant near Morristown or skiing on Canyon Lake near Apache Junction, there are plenty of recreational water activities at the state’s many lakes and reservoirs. And they’re a lot closer than driving to the beach.
Lake Pleasant, 928-501-1710, maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant. Canyon Lake, 480-288-9233, canyonlakemarina.com.
83.Invest in a car sun shade
The flimsy fold-up windshield shades don’t cut it — we need heavy-duty heat shields here. The best ones are fairly thick, accordion-style and highly reflective on one side. Such brands as Covercraft, Dash Designs and Intro-Tech start at $35 to $60. While you’re at it, get a cover for the steering wheel and you’re ready to go.
84. Make Meaning
This creative workshop allows kids to explore such hobbies and crafts as soapmaking, jewelrymaking, cake decorating and ceramics. Girls can make bracelets while their brothers work with custom glass or make a candle. Kids will also love that ceramics can be taken home the same day.
10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays. 15257 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. Prices vary based on the project. 480-845-0000, makemeaning.com.
You can get mimosas, wine and beer here, but a sweltering summer afternoon is the perfect time to sample a Luci’s Quencher, frozen hot chocolate or freshly brewed iced tea. Smoothies are half-price after 5 p.m. The menu includes sandwiches, wraps, salads and breakfast items, and you can kill an hour browsing the specialty cheeses, foodstuffs and kitschy products on the shelves. Don’t miss the display of cheeky refrigerator magnets at the colorfully tiled counter.
6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays. 1590 E. Bethany Home Road, Phoenix. 602-773-1339, lucishealthymarketplace.com.
86. Harkins Theatres Summer Movie Fun
Create a new family tradition by making one morning each week “movie day” at a Harkins Theatre location this summer. Summer Movie Fun is designed for kids 12 or younger and features 9:45 a.m. screenings of animated movies rated G or PG. It’s $2 per flick or $7 in advance for all 10 movies through Aug. 1. Find the schedule and more details at harkinstheatres.com/smf.
87. Phoenix Zoo
Through Aug. 31, the Phoenix Zoo will open at 7 a.m. (6 a.m. for members) and close at 2 p.m. But don’t sweat it, there are water-play areas like Leapin’ Lagoon, Yakulla Caverns splash pad and you can escape the rays in the Enchanted Forest, too. Head out on a Tuesday and everybody gets in for $10 (free for age 2 or younger). 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. 602-273-1341, phoenixzoo.org/10-tuesdays.
88. Surfing on Central
Surf in the middle of downtown Phoenix? Cityscape has made it happen with Surfing on Central, a summer series featuring a 400-square-foot FlowRider surfing simulation machine. Visitors can ride the “waves” on a boogie board or a flowboard, which is similar to a skateboard deck. Look out for special parties with DJs, movie nights and wave school.
10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, through Monday, Sept. 1. Cityscape, First and Washington streets, Phoenix. $25 for 30 minutes, $5 for five attempts. cityscapephoenix.com/flowrider.
Is it a wine bar? Is it a store? It’s both. Brix Wines combines retail and bar, keeping prices by the bottle down and creating an atmosphere for casual conversation. The market also offers gourmet snacks and chocolates. In addition, Brix offers temperature-controlled private lockers so wine enthusiasts can keep their stash comfortable.
37636 N. Tom Darlington Road, Carefree. 480-595-2749, brixwinesaz.com.
This former mining hub at the base of the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction was founded in 1892. Keep cool on a 25-minute tour of mine shaft as the guide talks about the good ol’ days before the gold played out. The town includes a museum, LuLu’s Bordello, a church, livery stables, a reptile exhibit and a mystery shack where objects seemingly defy gravity. Panning for gold, a shooting gallery and rides on a zip line, train or horseback are among the activities, and gunfights are held on Saturdays and Sundays. A steak house and saloon offers chow, cold drinks and options for kids.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Prices for attractions vary. 4650 N. Mammoth Mine Road, Apache Junction. 480-983-0333, goldfieldghosttown.com.
91. Play a chilly board game
If you haven’t played a board game since Monopoly, know that they’re a lot more sophisticated and fun these days. Plus, pick one with a chilly theme and you can at least think about cooler climes. We love Hey! That’s My Fish, in which a player tries to keep penguins alive on ice floes; it’s more cutthroat than it sounds. If you’re playing with kids, there’s always the (c)old favorite, Don’t Break the Ice.
92. Vampire Hours
Enjoy the galleries, stories and restaurants along Roosevelt Row this summer after dark. Many of the businesses will be open until 9 p.m. or later, allowing visitors to walk around and soak up the ambiance after the sun goes down. Look out for special promotions from many of the participants.
4 p.m. to 9 p.m. or later, depending on the business. Through Monday, Sept. 1. Roosevelt Row, Seventh Avenue to 16th Street, Culver to Fillmore streets. 602-772-0083, rooseveltrow.org.
93. Check out cultural attractions
And we do mean check out. Head to your local public library to borrow a Culture Pass, which is good for two free admissions to one of 14 area museums and attractions, including the (air-conditioned) Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Science Center and Arcosanti, the utopian community in Cordes Junction created by the late architect Paolo Soleri. If you want to brave the heat, the pass is also good for the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.
94. Sun Devil Wine Cellar & Pub
Sun Devil Liquors in downtown Mesa has a cool cellar hidden downstairs with cozy seating and an inviting vibe. Owned by the Eccles family, the cellar is open 5-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 3-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Sundays. Drop in for wine tastings and live music Thursdays, and beer tastings on Fridays. Upstairs, open daily, is where thousands of bottles of wine can be found.
235 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa. 480-834-5050, topsliquors.com or look for Sun Devil Liquors on Facebook.
95. Sea Life Arizona
Inside Arizona Mills is an aquarium with 30 displays and more than 5,000 ocean creatures, including clown fish, sea turtles, sharks, jellyfish, rays and seahorses. The biggest attraction is the 360-degree ocean tunnel. Dive Discovery Theater, touch pools, talks and feeding times are included with admission. Toddler Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., are also a good deal.
10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays; hours vary on holidays. Interstate 10 and Baseline Road, Tempe. $13-$18; $10.40-$14.40 online in advance; $15-$20 for flexi-ticket that’s good any day; Toddler Tuesdays are $10 for an adult and child 5 or younger; $4-$5 additional for behind-the-scenes tour. 877-526-3960, visitsealife.com/arizona.
You can look at it as paying to paint pre-made pottery or as having something to do in a mellow, air-conditioned room for hours on end, but either way, pottery painting is a popular summer activity. As You Wish supplies the ceramics and you get to park at a table and create a masterpiece. Here’s the secret: the less you try to make it look perfect, the better it probably will look.
Locations in Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe and Mesa. asyouwishpottery.com.
97. The coolest food
No cuisine is more light and refreshing than Japanese sashimi (thinly sliced raw fish) and sushi (bite-size delicacies made with vinegared rice, but not always with raw fish). And thanks to the modern wonders of airplanes and refrigeration, you can enjoy both of them safely even in the middle of a desert summer.
For a top-quality, fairly traditional fish feast, try Hana Japanese Eatery (602-973-1238, hanajapaneseeatery.com) or Hiro Sushi (480-314-4215, hirosushiaz.com). For more of a fancy factor, three of the Valley’s finest Japanese joints are Yasu Sushi Bistro, specializing in wood-fire-grilled tapas (602-787-9181); Nobuo at Teeter House, billed as “refined Asian-style teahouse by day, funky izakaya by night” (602-254-0600, nobuofukuda.com); and ShinBay, where the chef’s tasting menu might break the bank but will be worth every Andy Jackson (480-664-0180, shinbay.com).
98. Summer Scenic Skyride
“On top of the world, Ma!” Ride to the top of an extinct volcano about 11,500 feet above sea level, where you’ll probably need a jacket. While you take in the breathtaking views of northern Arizona and beyond, a Forest Service ranger can tell you about the flora and fauna below.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays-Sundays through mid-October. Open Mondays on holiday weekends. From Flagstaff, drive 7 miles northwest on U.S. 180 to Snowbowl Road. Turn right and go 7 miles to the lodge. $15, $10 for 8-12 and 65-69, free for age 7 or younger and for age 70 or older. 928-779-1951, arizonasnowbowl.com.
99. Base & Meridian Wildlife Area
At the confluence of the Salt and Gila rivers, this is a super place to watch birds — great blue herons, screech owls, belted kingfishers, to name just a few — spot javelinas, beavers, Sonoran mud turtles and other mammals and reptiles, and drop a fishing line (you’ll need a fishing license). The state-managed wildlife area is adjacent to Monument Hill, where the U.S. Boundary Commission in 1851 laid out Arizona Territory’s Base Line and Principal Meridian. You can climb the hill to see “Arizona’s point of origin.”
Sunrise-sunset daily. Avondale Boulevard at Indian Springs Road, just north of Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale.
100. Organize your digital photos.
Seriously. If it’s hot enough to do nothing but sit and binge watch every season of “The Good Wife,” surely you can spare a few hours cleaning up the mess you have doubtless created with all the pitcures you’ve uploaded from your digital camera. What’s the best? Depends on what computer you use and how big your library is, but Picasa, Flickr and Carousel are good places to start.