Whether you’re visiting from out of state or looking to play tourist in your own backyard, Downtown Phoenix is chock full of all the makings of a perfect family-friendly weekend. From grabbing a ballgame to digging into some tacos to squeezing in a little learning, Downtown Phoenix (much of which is walkable) offers something special for the whole fam.
As parents and caregivers know, the hotel is more than just a place to rest your head after a long day during vacation. Kids like to be dazzled. For a family-friendly weekend in Downtown Phoenix, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown–Arizona’s largest hotel with more than 1,000 rooms–has something to see and experience at every turn, to the delight of children and their grownups. The rooms are modern and comfortable, with stunning views of majestic mountains in the distance and, come nighttime, dazzling city lights. The hotel is home to a rooftop pool (where Breeze Bar is also located); a fitness center; & More by Sheraton, a casual all-day eatery; and its stunning signature restaurant, Carcara (more on that later). Sheraton Phoenix Downtown’s amenities are nearly as impressive as its location; the 31-story hotel is within walking distance of the Phoenix Convention Center, Footprint Center, Arizona State University’s downtown campus, Chase Field and so much more.
During baseball season, Chase Field offers one of the biggest family-friendly attractions in Downtown Phoenix: the Arizona Diamondbacks. In addition to watching the game, of course, kids hightail it to The Sandlot at Chase Field for visits with Baxter; its duo of playgrounds (one specifically for toddlers); the big league-style batting cage (for those over 48 inches tall); and Futures Fields, which is a mini version of Chase Field where youngsters can practice at-bat with whiffle balls.
Especially on a fall day, The Japanese Friendship Garden offers 3.5 acres of beauty and exploration. (Though tempting to meander, guests of all ages are asked to stay on the walking path.) The garden, named RoHoEn, is a joint project of the City of Phoenix and its Sister City Himeji, Japan, with the intention to promote the education and appreciation of the Japanese culture and its history and traditions. Older kids and teens will enjoy following along on the virtual map, while even the tiniest tots will flip for the gorgeous koi that fill the glistening ponds.
Children’s Museum of Phoenix; Arizona Science Center, where Going Places – the Technology of Transport (an interactive science exhibition that explores the technology humans have developed for travel) just made its debut; and Margaret T. Hance Park, home to 32 acres of green space, are a few of the other attractions to round out the perfect family-friendly weekend in Phoenix.
An entire family-friendly weekend can be made of simply dining one’s way through Downtown Phoenix. Whatever the craving or occasion, there is a restaurant to meet it. One of the newer additions to the area is Sheraton Phoenix Downtown’s Carcara, with a menu that marries the agricultural history of Phoenix with flavors of the Southwest. Grownups will be impressed by delectable dishes such as the shrimp ceviche, striped bass, pan-seared scallops and fork-tender short ribs; kids (and kids at heart) will adore the complimentary pouf of cotton candy that arrives pre-dessert and the fact that a tree, decked with white lighting, is nestled in the center of the dining space. (If drinking, the pretty-in-pink Echo Trail and summery Cathedral Rock are tops.)
To start the day, an acai bowl and a honey-cinnamon latte should be in order at Fillmore Coffee Co., or dig into a decadent tower of blueberry pancakes or a big-as-your-arm breakfast burrito at the colorful Morning Squeeze. For lunch, The Churchill is as cool as it gets–and the little ones will think so too. The setting is a combination of several local businesses housed in shipping containers that dish up everything from tacos to burgers to smoothies (to cocktails, later on), as well as unique shops. (The shrimp tacos at Provecho are tops, and Gather and Cosas offer beautiful, one-of-a-kind gifts.) Each family member not only gets to order whatever they’re craving in one convenient area, but there are plenty of nooks and crannies to wander and stretch your legs. The colorful murals provide some primo photo opps, to boot.
For more ideas for a family-friendly weekend in Phoenix, visit www.visitphoenix.com.