20 ways to not die in the Phoenix heat
Summer is coming. Phoenicians forebode the changing of seasons like they're characters in Game of Thrones. Don't let the gorgeous 75 degree days and flocks of sunbathing tourists fool you. Soon, the snowbirds will migrate north. The lush spring training fields will shrivel up and die. And the locals will be left to batten down the hatches while the temperature skyrockets to the 110s. But all is not lost if you happen to find yourself in Phoenix during the summer. There are several strategies locals have adopted to deal with mind sweltering heat and (gasp) actually enjoy summer.
1. Go Salt River Tubing
Don't let the fear of heat stroke stop you from going outdoors. Salt River Tubing is the perfect place to show mother nature who's boss by battling the elements. You'll float on a tube while enjoying the sweet feeling of cool water on your behind. Float trips range from two to five hours and include a free bus pickup with a tube rental. Grab your friends, cooler, and, most importantly, sunscreen for a day of fun on the water.
2. Eat at Baked Bear
Phoenicians have strange diets in the summertime. We survive almost exclusively on Jamba Juice, watermelon, and ice cream in an effort to keep our body temperature down. Head to Baked Bear if you're looking for a snack that's equally delicious and cool. They have wild ice cream sandwiches that are assembled with toppings like Fruity Pebbles and Oreo crumble. Just make sure to eat it indoors or you'll be slurping up a pool of sugar in seconds.
3. Kick back at Studio Movie Grill
People are drawn to movie theaters like moths to a flame on hot days. That's because you can take in the magic of cinema in a dark, heavily air-conditioned theater. If you're going to fight the crowds you might as well do it right. Go to Studio Movie Grill and you can take in a movie while feasting on tasty appetizers and cooling off with a tasty adult beverage.
4. Ice skate at the Ice Den
Sometimes your AC just doesn't get the job done. Rather than sweat it out head to the Ice Den for some ice skating. They have public skating sessions three times per day in a giant facility that also doubles as the Arizona Coyotes practice facility. Really, you don't have to even skate. Just cozy up next to the rink at the Ice Tavern bar and enjoy the sub 100-degree temperature.
5. Drink from a frosted mug at Twin Peaks
For those unfamiliar, Twin Peaks is like a classier version of Hooters. Sure, they have scantily clad women serving you drinks. But they also have a lodge theme...so there's that. The real draw is their 24 tap beers served in ice cold mugs. They even have a digital sign that gives live updates of the beer's temperature. It's kind of like those Coors Light commercials where they basically advertised that they have the coldest beer. In Phoenix, we call that smart advertising.
6. Find a lazy river
Lazy rivers are a great substitute if you find salt river tubing just a little too extreme. For one, you're in calm and chlorinated waters. Second, you can sip on a mudslide and down nachos from the confines of your inflatable tube. Go to Wet 'n' Wild for a peaceful ride at a water park. You'll have the lazy river to yourself as screaming kids go all Lord of the Flies on the rest of the park. If you're in full relaxation mode, head to the Arizona Grand's Oasis Water Park for the lazy river and the aforementioned mudslides.
7. Go curling
Yes, that curling. It does exist outside of the Winter Olympics. Phoenix is home to our very own training facility for the world's finest sport. Coyotes Curling Club is an official curling facility that offers learn to curl courses on weekends. You may not be a curling legend like the great John Morris or even a Thomas Løvold, but you can fine-tune your skills in a pleasantly cold arena.
8. Rage at a pool party
Phoenix pool parties are second to none. Fine Vegas, you win. Still, Phoenix isn't a bad alternative. Old Town Scottsdale has the likes of the WET Pool and Maya Day + Nightclub. Their dayclubs are filled with blaring music and enough flowing alcohol to make you forget about the temperature. If you're really feeling the Vegas itch you can head to Talking Stick's Release. You'll get the full Vegas experience by enjoying a pool party and then losing all your money at their casino.
9. Watch baseball from the Dbacks Pool
The Arizona Diamondbacks may have finished with one of the worst records in the league last year, but they've got something other teams don't: a pool. Chase Field's 8,500-gallon pool is located in right-center field and makes the Dbacks borderline unwatchable pitching easy to stomach. Speaking of stomachs, you can also eat your feelings at the Diamond Level all-you-can-eat seats or down an 18-inch corn dog at the concession stand.
10. Take a dip at Night Splash
Smart Phoenicians know that even water parks get too hot in the summer. One day at a water park in July and you're feet will be burned worse than Michael Scott after breakfast. Head to Night Splash instead of risking second degree burns. That's when Golfland-Sunsplash stays open late into the night for water park fun.
11. Get your learn on at the Arizona Science Center
Learning is fun isn't always a lie that you feed young children. The Arizona Science Center proves just that. You can sit on a bed of nails, feel simulated weather patterns, and even take a trip to space at the Dorrance Planetarium.
12. Go vertical with 360 Adventures
Knowing that heat rises it would seem counterintuitive to go vertical to escape the heat. Not so with 360 Adventures. You can take a helicopter tour of various parts of the Valley to get an idea of the local scenery. Flight times range from 15-40 minutes and give you unique points of view without having to break a sweat.
13. Hit the range at Topgolf
People come to Phoenix for the golf. But let's face it, playing a full 18 holes in the summer isn't feasible. Sure, you can play resort quality courses for pocket change. But you also face the risk of near certain death. Your best bet is to play at Topgolf. It's a three-story driving range great for target practice. They have a constant flow of mister water, beer, and bar food to keep you happy after you slice your fifth straight tee shot.
14. Take a night hike
Be careful with this one because, unlike most deserts, Phoenix doesn't rapidly cool off in the night. Still, at night the weather is bearable enough that you can emerge from indoor hibernation. Piestewa Peak's trails are open late and it has the second-highest peak in Phoenix. You'll see superb views of the Valley and maybe even some nocturnal animals. Just watch out for the coyotes. And scorpions. And snakes.
15. Walk the ocean floor at Odysea
I've talked about this before but it bears repeating. You can walk the ocean floor in the middle of the desert. Do it.
16. Go bowling
Here's your obligatory "go bowling when the weather sucks" entry. Lucky Strike is pretty cool because they also have food, drinks, and video games. So, yeah - bowling is cool.
17. Go on a Netflix binge
This is the strategy by most locals from May until well past August. I'm pretty sure kids don't even socialize in the summer anymore. They just go on three month long Netflix binges. But seriously, if you haven't seen Breaking Bad yet, get on it.
18. Win a better life at the casino
If you're in Phoenix in the summer, odds are you can't afford to be in Malibu. Get that beachfront property you always wanted by hitting it big at one of our local casinos. Wild Horse Pass has over 40 table games in an air-conditioned gambling hall. The odds aren't great but then again neither is Phoenix.
19. Fry an egg on the sidewalk
Just because you can do something, does it mean you should really do it? Absolutely. Bet they can't do this in California.
Seriously, Phoenix in the summer? Either you are a masochist or you have some seriously poor planning. Get out! Drive a few hours and you'll find significantly cooler climate in Sedona, Prescott, or San Diego. Hell, you can even hightail it to Mexico. What are you waiting for?
John Kuells is a Phoenix native and freelance writer. When not hatching summer survival plans, he can be found writing on his blog The Book of Kuells.