Summer 2024 in Arizona: 100 fun ways to survive the 100-degree heat in Phoenix (2024)

It's been hot in metro Phoenix since May thanks to a "heat dome," but now that the official first day of summer 2024 has come and gone, you may be needing ideas on how to survive the Phoenix heat.

Those of us who live in the desert have two options for coping with triple-digit temps: finding ways to have fun indoors or outdoors, or getting out of town.

Whichever way you roll, we've got you covered.

Here are 100 things to do when it's hot in Phoenix.

  1. Let's start with the obvious: Pools, waterparks, and splash pads are the first things we think about when it comes to summer. Thankfully, we have a guide for that.
  2. And while we're on the subject of bodies of water, Arizona actually has a surprising number of sandy beaches where you can swim. I'm totally for real — you can check them all out here.
  3. Salt River Tubing has been a summer tradition here since the 1980s. Here's everything you need to know before you head out for a day on the water.
  4. For those uninterested in being out during daylight hours (like me), summer provides the perfect opportunity to catch up on all the shows. Lucky for you, Season 3 of "Bridgerton" is out on Netflix.
  5. Also in TV news, Season 6 of "Love Island USA" is airing weekly on Peaco*ck.
  6. And you won't want to miss the new season of "The Bachelorette" coming in July because an Arizona man will be competing for new Bachelorette Jenn Tran's heart.
  7. If you do want to leave the house for entertainment, take advantage of summer movie deals at AMC Theatres, Harkins Theatres and Cinemark, plus indie movie places like Pollack Tempe Cinemas and West Wind Drive-In.
  8. Want to learn something this summer? Arizona's most unusual new museum is devoted to coprolites, or fossilized poop, Here's what to know about the Poozeum in Williams.
  9. Speaking of museums, Tucson's Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum just recently won the 2024 National Medal for Museum and Library Service due to their excellence in service to the community. So, it might be worth checking out.
  10. Plus, the Phoenix Art Museum offers "Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesdays" from 3-9 p.m. for general admission, with special exhibition tickets being $10 for adults and $5 for anyone under the age of 18. The spectacular "Barbie: A Cultural Icon" exhibit is closing on July 7, so it's the perfect time to see it before it leaves.
  11. Want to save some money while soaking up all this knowledge? The Act One Culture Pass gives free admission to museums around Arizona. All you need is a library card.
  12. If live music is your thing, this summer is your season. Blink-182 is at Desert Diamond Arena in July, Twenty One Pilots is at Footprint Center in August, and Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins are at Chase Field in September. Stay current with our listing of all the concerts coming to metro Phoenix.
  13. Too hot to golf outdoors? Hone your skills at TeeBox Indoor Golf Club in Cave Creek. It has 11 simulator bays with the latest training technology, plus a restaurant and bar.
  14. If you're going shopping, pick one of the many retail emporiums with misters lining the walking areas. My favorite is Tempe Marketplace, which also has a splash pad for the kiddos and boba tea, ice cream and frozen yogurt shops to keep you cool. It's a win/win/win.
  15. For the perfect family-friendly day outing the Arizona Boardwalk near Scottsdale has a ton of fun activities, including a brand-new attraction: the Boardwalk Carousel.
  16. Another way to stay cool is to go bar hopping and let me tell you: Arizona has so many cool bars and I bet you haven't been to them all. Check out our essential Phoenix bars list and see how many new ones you can make it to by the end of summer.
  17. Don't go day drinking and bar hopping without the proper fuel. Luckily, we also have a list for that. Take a look at our list of 100 essential Phoenix restaurants and enjoy a summer of trying new foods.
  18. And what's summer without a cool sweet treat? Whether you head to Novel Ice Cream in Phoenix for their famous dough melt (warm glazed doughnut stuffed with ice cream? Say less.) or you want to throw it back to the adorably pink and retro Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale, our guide to the best ice cream in metro Phoenix can help you out.
  19. You can also go on a food crawl at the farmers' market which will give you an opportunity to taste the best Arizona fruits, veggies and other foods. Several farmers' markets are open during the summer, and we have a handy dandy list of them.
  20. No list of iconic summer foods would be complete without the classic hot dog. Go on a spree and try all the amazing hot dog places in metro Phoenix and see if your rankings match ours.
  21. For those not into the all-American classic hot dog, try its just-as-delicious counterpart the burger by seeing if you agree with our Burger Bracket winners this year.
  22. Stay with me on this one: Arizona has some pretty cool bug life, and you could spend the summer learning all about it. For example, did you know that summer is peak tick season in Arizona? Here's how to keep these biters off you and your dog.
  23. Consider the scorpion, that symbol of the desert. Here's what to know if you find a scorpion in your pool or toilet, including how long the little buggers can live in water. Plus, find out where and when scorpions are most active and what to do if you get stung.
  24. It's also good to read up on black widow spiders since they're plentiful in Phoenix.
  25. You could spot a rattlesnake anytime in warm weather. They're rarely aggressive if you're careful. Here's how to handle it if you do happen to get bitten.
  26. Everyone's most annoying summer bug is back: the loud and obnoxious cicada, so it's the perfect time to read up on everything there is to know about the cicada.
  27. Consider an in-town getaway to the Phoenician resort, Hotel Valley Ho, the Sanctuary or other luxe property that mere mortals can't afford in the high season. Here are the best summer staycation deals at a variety of Phoenix and Scottsdale hotels.
  28. If you're determined to spend the summer outside of Phoenix, there are lots of in-state getaways perfect for a weekend or much longer.
  29. For time travel without all the butterfly effect nonsense, take a drive to Bisbee. In its mining heyday, it was Arizona's largest city for a time. Today it's a laid-back artsy and historical community.
  30. If you're traveling north this summer, you can explore myriad interesting museums along the way, from the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, which covers Arizona's territorial history, to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, which presents a comprehensive look at the people and natural history of the Colorado Plateau.
  31. Kids can get some summer learning with a side of fun at the Children's Museum of Phoenix. It has three floors of interactive exhibits for kids up to age 10. There are weekly summer camps to get them even more involved.
  32. Another fun, hands-on option is the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Ranked nationally as a top destination for families, it's easy to see why with kids able to play, hear and experience music in new ways.
  33. The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is beautiful in the bright sunshine, but you should check it out under the beam of a flashlight for a cooler experience. During the garden's Flashlight Nights, you can see its beauty while strolling under the night sky with cool drinks and treats.
  34. If you want to explore Arizona's wildlife from the safety of your own vehicle, check out Bearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife Park in Williams to see bison, bighorn sheep, goats, wolves and bears.
  35. If you're more into classic animal excursions, the Phoenix Zoo opens at 7 a.m. for nonmembers and 6 a.m. for members and closes at 1 p.m. to avoid the hottest times of day, making it the perfect early outing.
  36. If you love birdwatching or want to pick up the hobby, explore the Base and Meridian Wildlife Area at the confluence of the Salt and Gila rivers in Avondale. You could see hawks, doves, Western yellow-billed cuckoos and many more species. Bats, bobcats, Sonoran Desert tortoises and other wildlife also live here.
  37. For a one-stop wildlife experience, you can visit Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park in Litchfield Park to see over 600 species and over 6,000 animals.
  38. For rock climbers, summer temps can be deadly. Thankfully, there are plenty of indoor climbing gyms in metro Phoenix. Try out ClimbMax Climbing Gym or Phoenix Rock Gym in Tempe, Ape Index in Peoria or AZ on the Rocks in Scottsdale.
  39. Gamers have a ton of exciting video game releases coming this summer, from exploring the world of Paper Mario on Nintendo Switch, to finally getting Final Fantasy 14 on PC and console, plus many, many more.
  40. Speaking of video games, Fortnite just announced Season 4 of Fortnite Festival and Metallica is the headliner. This new season will end in August, which means you have all summer long to rock out with the band.
  41. Want to expand your dining horizons? Arizona is home to many James Beard award-winning chefs. Check out the full list of winners over the years.
  42. For some great concerts that won't break the bank, Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix is bringing back the Escape to Crescent Ballroom Summer Matinee Concert Series. Top price is $15; most shows are under $10.
  43. Do you have a need for speed? Metro Phoenix has a plethora of indoor and outdoor go-karting venues, including the new Andretti Indoor Karting. Many have arcade games and other attractions too.
  44. Many people have opinions on the ultimate summer drink. In Arizona, the michelada is the one to beat. Here's a list of the Phoenix Mexican restaurants that make the best ones.
  45. If you're truly trying to avoid the sun, go underground. Outside Benson, in southern Arizona, is Kartchner Caverns State Park, where you can explore amazing living caves.
  46. And don't discount how fun a night bike ride or hike can be. Maricopa County Parks offer after-dark mountain bike rides, scorpion hunts and other family-friendly outings.
  47. Looking to learn a new skill? Tempe Town Lake offers classes for kids and adults to learn rowing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Plus, they occasionally throw a nighttime glow paddle party.
  48. Take a relaxing sit at WaterWorks at Arizona Falls in Phoenix. Sitting in the "water room" will give you the feeling of being behind a real waterfall. Arizona Falls is a natural 20-foot drop along the Arizona Canal.
  49. For a Vegas-style party, hit up Maya Day Club in Scottsdale. Dance in the shallow pool, enjoy a refreshing drink at the bar, lounge on a day bed or treat yourself to a cabana.
  50. If you haven't checked out Changing Hands Bookstore and First Draft Book Bar in Phoenix or Changing Hands in Tempe (which just celebrated 50 years), go peruse the stacks, get yourself a little gift and if you go to the Phoenix location, grab a drink or snack at the bar to enjoy with your new summer read.
  51. Test your daring spirit at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course at Fort Tuthill County Park. This elaborate above-ground obstacle course has aerial challenges like cable bridges, zip lines, swings and more.
  52. The new Slick City Action Park in Peoria has 10 indoor slides, an acrobat alley with a trapeze and swing, and a few sports courts to keep kids and adults entertained for hours.
  53. The Scottsdale Arts District is home to dozens of unique art galleries and Thursday ArtWalks are the perfect way to explore the area. You can find a new treasure for your home while strolling the streets and trying some of Scottsdale's best restaurants and bars.
  54. You also shouldn't miss out on the First Friday art walks on Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix.
  55. The Great Arizona Puppet Theater has been introducing children to the magic of puppetry and live theater since 1983 and they have several fun shows to take the kids to.
  56. Ice skating in the summer? Heck yeah. Three AZ Ice arenas around the Valley have multiple public skating times, allow you to rent skates and they'll even teach you how to lace them properly.
  57. See 70 species of butterflies, learn about how they live and even watch them hatch out of their cocoons at the Butterfly Wonderland on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Scottsdale.
  58. Want to learn the science behind bubbles? What about being immersed in a 360-degree planetarium? The Arizona Science Center has that and more and is open seven days a week.
  59. Waste the hot daylight hours away scouring an independent record store, or 10.
  60. Take a tour of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home Taliesin West in Scottsdale, with the gorgeous McDowell Mountains as a backdrop.
  61. While it's no longer known as Bedrock City after the Flintstones, Raptor Ranch is the perfect day getaway to learn more about raptors and learn more about the wildlife conservation they're doing with the Northern Arizona Raptor Foundation.
  62. Fishing is a classic summer activity and there are 27 city-park lakes around the Valley that allow you to fish from their shores. If you're 10 years of age and older, you'll need a fishing license.
  63. Take golfing to a new level by going to TopGolf and make it a party with friends, drinks and snacks while listening to some tunes, all from the comfort of a mister-cooled golfing bay.
  64. Or, if you're more into classic golfing, Golfweek put out the 30 best Arizona golf courses and the best part? All the ones on that list don't require players to have a membership.
  65. If you have a kiddo obsessed with music, Alice Cooper's Solid Rock Teen Centers offer a place for ages 12-20 to get free music, vocal and dance training.
  66. Stay cool indoors and throw it back to the good old days by roller skating at USA Skateland. Go to to see all the family events and themed skate sessions happening all summer long.
  67. Why not cool off in the air-conditioned Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix? Their current lineup includes classics for kids like "Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka" and "Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
  68. Don't "throw away your shot" at seeing the Broadway smash hit "Hamilton" on its limited run at ASU Gammage in Tempe in July.
  69. Plan a day of fun at Castles N Coasters where you can experience 20 rides and attractions, spend hours winning tickets in the arcade and play 18-hole mini golf.
  70. What has bowling, arcade games, movies and glow golf all under one roof? Fat Cats, of course. Spend the day knocking down pins and testing your mini-golf skill, then end the day with a movie. There are locations in Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek and Surprise.
  71. Travel back to the days of gold mining at Goldfield Ghost Town at the base of the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction. There's a pottery shop, a museum, a church, livery stables and a reptile exhibit; plus, you can pan for gold, go to a shooting gallery and ride on a zipline, train or a horse.
  72. Flex your artistic skills and paint your own pre-made pottery at As You Wish.
  73. Take a trip to the Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff and ride the chairlift to the top of an extinct volcano about 11,500 feet above sea level. Just don't forget a jacket!
  74. Catch an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game at Chase Field.
  75. Or maybe basketball is more your sport? If that's the case, you can catch the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury play at Footprint Center.
  76. Explore Arizona's newest state park Rockin' River Ranch State Park. The Verde River runs right through it making it the perfect place for swimming, fishing, or lounging. Plus, there are 6 miles of flat trails.
  77. Spend the summer in a cool cabin in the woods. You can't go wrong with these 10 amazing cabins from Sedona and Flagstaff to the Mogollon Rim and beyond.
  78. Get your game on at Japanese arcade Round 1. Video games, billiards, an indoor sports complex with trampolines — there's truly something for everyone.
  79. If chlorine pools and water parks aren't your jive, there are plenty of swimming holes around Arizona that are begging to be explored.
  80. Explore the new $66.4 million, 85-acre Frontier Family Park in Queen Creek.
  81. Located in the Talking Stick Entertainment District on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Scottsdale, Medieval Times transports you back in time with jousting knights, horsemanship, falconry and a four-course dinner.
  82. If you're looking to save a little money, keep an eye out for Great Wolf Lodge's annual flash sale with rooms starting at $84 a night.
  83. You know what has great air conditioning, a fun atmosphere, a variety of food and beverage options and is a kid-free zone? Casinos. The newest one in the Valley is the Santan Mountain Casino on the Gila River Indian Community near Chandler.
  84. Who doesn't love a good DIY project? You can give your patio or balcony a refresh for the summer with these budget-friendly DIY projects.
  85. If you are determined to escape Arizona for the summer or are planning a trip later this year, see if your passport needs to be renewed. If so, here's how to do it all online.
  86. Puerto Peñasco, Mexico - also known as Rocky Point - is a beloved beach destination for Arizonans. Here's how to plan the perfect beach getaway including passport and Mexican car insurance info.
  87. Las Vegas is another easy getaway from Phoenix, and the Eagles recently announced a residency at the trippy new Las Vegas Sphere at The Venetian Resort.
  88. For those wanting to say closer to home, Jerome is an easy Arizona day trip. Go for galleries, restaurants and ghosts.
  89. The best way to avoid the scorching sun? Become a night owl and go stargazing, of course! Arizona has numerous dark-sky cities and parks where you can see the stars, planets and Milky Way.
  90. For celestial wonders of another sort, check out our complete guide to Fourth of July fireworks displays in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, Peoria, Gilbert and more cities.
  91. Plan your best Arizona summer vacation, cooling off in pine forests and mountain meadows with these 10 summer getaways.
  92. Keeping your family entertained on a budget sometimes feels nearly impossible. Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is free and you can fish, feed ducks and peer at the night sky through a telescope.
  93. Kids of all ages will love the ideas in our roundup of super fun indoor play places in Phoenix.
  94. Did you know Phoenix has an official co*cktail? Well, now you do and it tastes like the Sonoran Desert. Find out how Mayor Kate Gallego, Visit Phoenix and the Arizona Restaurant Association created the city's signature co*cktail and where try it.
  95. Sit back and relax with a refreshing drink and good food with a view at these five waterfront restaurants in metro Phoenix.
  96. Feel the wind in your face and embrace the cooler temperatures when riding Arizona's first mountain coaster at Canyon Coaster Adventure Park in Williams.
  97. And a new mountain coaster is coming soon to Sunrise Park Resort in the White Mountains that sports 3,287 feet of track, thrilling drops, heart-pounding turns and breathtaking mountain views.
  98. Did you know that Arizona has a professional soccer team that plays in the summertime? Me neither! Catch a Phoenix Rising game this summer as they defend their 2023 USL Championship Title.
  99. We also have the Arizona Rattlers, an arena football league, to hold you over until college and pro football return in the fall.
  100. And if you're looking to learn even more weird, wonderful things about Arizona, check out our podcast, Valley 101.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

Meredith G. White covers entertainment and culture for The Arizona Republic She has the latest news about video games, television and things to do in metro Phoenix. Follow her on X and Instagram @meredithgwhite and onFacebookas Meredith G. White. Email her

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Summer 2024 in Arizona: 100 fun ways to survive the 100-degree heat in Phoenix (2024)
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