Phoenix ranks 28th out of 60 cities in the United States for its parks, according to a recent study by the nonprofit ParkScore. And park amenities extend beyond Arizona’s capital. Parks in the Phoenix metro area offer a wide range of activities, from disc golf to fishing to sand volleyball. Here are some of the more popular Phoenix parks.
This Phoenix park, which opened in 2009, breaks up the city’s downtown with grassy areas for relaxing, while tree canopies interrupt rays from the Valley’s ever-present sun. When the park’s vegetation matures, it will shade 70 percent of Civic Space, according to the park’s website. The park’s signature LED lights help illuminate concerts and other events after dark.
Get a change of scenery without leaving the desert by visiting the 222-acre Encanto Park at 15th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard. Activities include exploring a palm tree-lined lagoon in a pedal boat or fishing the trout-stocked waters. The park also features a nature trail and two fee-based golf courses.
Escape the city bustle by visiting this 75-acre park in central Phoenix, where large shade trees punctuate rolling, grassy hills surrounded by a water cistern. In a nod to Arizona’s history, a circular walkway featuring Native American poems carved into the concrete winds through the 15-acre Entry Garden.
This 5-acre park’s signature attraction is the water-spewing spray pad — perfect for cooling off during hot summer days. Other amenities at this Scottsdale park include grassy fields, tennis courts, and a playground.
Looking to sneak in a quick hike before the sun sets? Loop the mile-long trail at Scottsdale’s Cavalliere Park, a 34-acre retreat complete with a wildflower viewing area, two basketball courts and a shaded playground. The artificial-grass field provides year-round greenery. The park is off Alma School Road, just north of East Pinnacle Vista Drive.
Smack in the middle of an ever-increasing number of apartment complexes near Santan Freeway sits Gilbert’s Discovery District Park, where residents gather to play sand volleyball, jog on trails winding around two lakes or shoot hoops on one of two basketball courts. Grassy fields await the desert dweller, providing space for the occasional soccer or football game.
Catch a ride on the miniature train that meanders through Gilbert’s 65-acre Freestone Park, located at Guadalupe and Lindsay roads. Sand volleyball courts and waterways abound, with walkways curving throughout. Acres of rolling hills beckon runners or Frisbee throwers who prefer soft turf. Skateboarders will find concrete to shred at the on-site skate park.
Pining for water views in Tempe? Visit the 40-acre Evelyn Hallman Park at McKellips Road and College Avenue. Amenities include a large lake with urban fishing (license needed), a walking path and grills. The park also connects to Papago Park, a desert preserve, through Tempe’s Crosscut Canal.
Between Paseo Vista’s 18-hole course for disc golf — which uses Frisbees instead of balls — a dog park and an archery range, this community park offers something for everyone. Located at the northwest corner of McQueen and Ocotillo roads in Chandler, Paseo Vista sits atop a remediated landfill. A 40-foot-high lookout point, accessed by a walking trail, affords stellar views of the Valley below.
Let your child’s imagination run wild at Chandler’s Playtopia, a 2.5-acre playground featuring a massive, climbable Gila monster and large replicas of farm equipment offering similar scrambling opportunities. The whole family can join in the fun with horseshoe pits and sand volleyball. Playtopia is located inside Tumbleweed Park at Germann and McQueen roads. Other features include multiple sports fields and walking paths.