Trip Ideas and Itinerary Suggestions
Your idea of a day out on the town calls for an NFL-sanctioned jersey, comfy sneakers and the appropriate amount of war paint. Welcome to Glendale’s Sports & Entertainment District, a Mecca if you will, for the ESPN-crowd and the perfect playground for screaming “Go, team, go!” until your vocal chords are raw. Start your day off with some hearty grub at one of the sports-themed restaurants at Westgate Entertainment (be sure to plan early and give yourself enough time if you’re targeting fan favorites Dave & Buster's and the Yard House). Then, depending on the season, get your game on with a little NFL or NCAA football action at the University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals, Fiesta Bowl and College Football Playoff game. Visiting out-of-season? Take the stadium tour and get an up-close look at the very spot where the New York Giants made history against the New England Patriots at the 2008 Super Bowl, and the 2015 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Seatlle Seahawks. Get your chill on if you’re in town for hockey season thanks to slap-shot action howling from the NHL Coyotes at the nearby Gila River Arena. And, if you’re fortunate enough to come to Glendale in the spring, spoil yourself with our classic Spring Training offerings at the new Cactus League homes of the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
In Glendale, you and the girls can make a weekend of it. Pampering, shopping, late-night talking and a show all rolled into one—go ahead, you deserve it. Kick things off with a day at the spa. The Glendale Renaissance Hotel’s Spa Botanica serves up the best in full-service pampering from signature body treatments to relaxing health and wellness retreats. Keep the fun going with a light lunch at Westgate Entertainment District, at one of the many unique Historic Downtown Glendale eateries or any variety of offerings in Glendale’s northern Arrowhead region. All three areas boast a full menu of unique boutique, department store and niche shopping offerings as well as tasty restaurants, so an after-lunch power shopping session with the girls will make for the perfect desert. Cap the night off with a killer show at the award-winning entertainment venue Gila River Arena, which has plaid host to the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and U2, or keep it cool and casual with a little intimate entertainment at Westgate’s unique dining spot and piano palace The Shout House.
Vacation time is a dieter’s nemesis. If your travels connect directly to your taste buds, take yourself on a culinary tour de Glendale. Try our progressive meal ideas on for size with a breakfast beginning at downtown favorite Bit-zee Mama’s, a light morning starter at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa’s Soliel restaurant or a good morning brew from one of our many local coffee shops. For lunch, try a sampling of a world-full of flavors thanks to Glendale’s downtown dining district, which boasts an array of ethnic eateries covering everything from Polish fare, traditional Mexican feasts and unique Asian cuisine to German food and brews, salads piled high, and the classic American burger, done to perfection. Cap off your calorie mission with a real sit-down feast from Westgate’s many eateries, grills and steakhouses or find your new favorite brew at one of the many West Valley micro breweries. And, if you’ve still got room, find time in your day for one of the city’s many dessert stops, such as Papa Ed’s Ice Cream.
The scene of two burly hockey players smashing one another into the glass might not scream romance to you, but during a 2007 regular season game, it was the perfect setting for one couple who got engaged for all to see thanks to the scoreboard mega screen hanging over the center of the ice. Hockey proposal not quite what you’re looking for? No worries, Glendale has a variety of intimate settings and romantic retreats for you to swoon about. Book a couple’s package and spa treatment from the Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa to help jumpstart the flames, then, enjoy our mild winter temps via mountaintop and take your sweetheart’s breath away with a view from above in the Thunderbird Conservation Park or nearby White Tank or Estrella mountains. Wind down the evening with a little dining al fresco on one of Glendale’s many restaurant patios (see listings for ideas) or get to know one another over drinks and a show at the city’s Sports and Entertainment District.
Have the need for speed? We can get your adrenaline roaring. Glendale and the West Valley are the destination when it comes to racing season fun. With Phoenix International Raceway serving up serious G-force power just a few miles away, track fans will love coming to Glendale. Perhaps you’re looking for something a little less thrilling? Well, slow, easy and fun pedaling is the way to go with at Auntie Em’s Miniatures & Smilin’ Jack’s Pedal Cars in Historic Downtown Glendale. Toy lovers will travel back to the yesteryear of go carts with these classic wheeled wonders.
Art and History Buff
Glendale is a city founded on a rich ranching history and vibrant cultural heritage, and these characteristics are proudly displayed through many of the city’s museum and public art offerings. Here are a few places you may want to explore. Glendale is home to several one-of-a-kind museums that pay tribute to art, the police profession and, yes, of course, football helmets. Visit the Glendale Police exhibit located in the main lobby of the downtown Police complex which explores the early days of the territorial sheriff to the present day. And you can’t visit this football city without paying homage to one of the most impressive collections of sports memorabilia this side of the Mississippi. Named one of the top-five sports bars in the country by USA Today, Max's Sports Bar Museum proudly boasts the largest collection of football helmets in the nation. The city also offers an array of historical architecture, from early ranch buildings to blocks of bungalows that will beg you to walk our historic neighborhoods for hours. You’ll also want to be sure to take in the city’s dozens of public art displays that are sprinkled throughout town. Canvas, sculptures and other works come to life to tell a story of Glendale through artists’ eyes. To make things simple, start at the Glendale Visitor Center and get your guides for each tour before you hit the streets.
The Family Guy
The Griswolds would love Glendale. Whether you’ve loaded up the wagon with the fam, flew in from across the country or just took a weekend drive from the other side of town, Glendale does family fun like nobody else. Kick start your outing with a hike or park picnic at one of Glendale’s nearby mountain retreats or many city parks. For lots of space and plenty to do, you might want to consider Sahuaro Ranch Park’s Historical Area. Set amid well-preserved turn-of-the-century ranch houses and rose gardens, the park also boasts plenty of walking trails, peacocks roaming the grounds and the usual park findings of fields, play structures and ramadas. Next, take in a show at Gila River Arena or Westgate’s movie complex. Or, if the times don’t stack up just right, cool off during the summer months at the popular Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center (or go for bigger water fun at the nearby Wet N Wild water park). Get into the swing of things at the US Tennis Association award-winning Paseo Racquet Center, which offers court rentals and youth and adult programs. You can cap off your family day with a little talking to the animals at the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium & Safari Park, 165th and Northern avenues. The zoo is home to Arizona's largest collection of exotic animals and Arizona’s first and only public aquarium featuring 180,000 gallons of fresh and salt water exhibits.
They say the hills are alive with the sound of music, but Glendale is where the notes and rhythms truly come alive. The hometown of country music legend Marty Robbins, Glendale does music right. The natural first stop is the Sports and Entertainment District for a look at what’s coming up on the Gila River Arena event calendar. Voted a top concert venue by Pollstar magazine, Gila River Arena is a natural must-stop for major entertainers, such as U2, Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West, Coldplay and Carrie Underwood. Groovers and shakers will also dig the tunes coming from many Glendale eateries that boast live music along with great menus. Try Dillon’s or The Shout House just to name a few spots.
Resources and Info:
- Arrowhead Towne Center – 75th Avenue and Bell Road, www.arrowheadtownecenter.com, 623-979-7777
- Cactus League Spring Training – visit www.cactusleague.com for team schedules.
- Downtown Dining – www.downtowndiningdistrict.com
- Gila River Arena – visit www.gilariverarena.com for schedule and event info, 623-772-3200
- Glendale Parks and Recreation’s trail guide - www.glendaleaz.com/ParksandRecreation/trails
- Glendale Public Art and cultural information – www.glendaleaz.com (click on Art under the departments listing)
- Glendale Visitor Center – 58th and Glendale avenues, www.visitglendale.com
- Historic Downtown Glendale – 58th and Glendale avenues, www.visitglendale.com
- Maricopa County Parks and Trails System - www.maricopa.gov/parks
- Phoenix International Raceway – 125 S. Avondale Blvd., Suite 200, 1-866-408-RACE (7223), www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com
- Glendale Renaissance Hotel and Spa – 9495 W. Coyotes Blvd, www.renaissanceglendale.com, 623-937-3700
- University of Phoenix Stadium – visit www.universityofphoenixstadium.com for schedule and event info, 623-433-7100
- Westgate Entertainment District – Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue, www.westgateaz.com, 623-772-4000
- Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium & Safari Park– 165th and Northern avenues, www.wildlifeworld.com, 623-935-WILD (9453)