Places Locals Love: Entertaining Out-of-Towners

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The weather in Arizona in perfect, and everyone in the country knows it. While the holidays may be over, it’s still icy elsewhere, and your east coast cousins will come calling straight through March for Spring training if you let them. Keep them occupied with these self-guided adventures and seasonal events that locals love.

Easy Hikes and Nature Walks:
Pack up a picnic and tell your relatives to take a hike. These easy options will have them making the most of the Arizona sunshine, and probably won’t end in an ambulance.
Hole in the Rock: Get a bird’s eye view of the Phoenix Zoo when you hike up to Governor Hunt’s Pyramid Tomb

Phoenix Mountain Preserve: Choose your own adventure with over 19 trails to choose from.
Be sure to educate your guests on desert hiking safety before they hit the trailhead.

Boyce-Thompson Arboretum: This venue is dog-friendly, and a pretty sweet place to purchase a new cactus friend (be warned, I hear they can be pricks).

Gilbert Riparian Preserve: This park features a 16-inch diameter Meade telescope, and is host to current astronomical presentations every 2nd Friday of the month. more details

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Museums to Remember :
The Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Science Center, and Children’s Museum of Phoenix are all local familiar favorites to take museum-minded visitors, with plenty of options for dining and shopping nearby.

Go beyond the Phoenix city bounds and find the world-class Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). Featuring more than 6500 musical instruments from over 200 countries and great audio capabilities, this museum is also home to instruments owned by icons including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Taylor Swift.

Downtown Mesa also offers museums for kids that you won’t want to miss. The Arizona Museum of Natural History boasts southwest life & art exhibits including life-size dinosaur displays & gold panning. The i.d.e.a. Museum is a place for kids to explore imagination through design in art, science, and technology. The Mesa Art Center also offers a full calendar of events, activities, and performances for a wide variety of interests and ages. Check out some of my favorite places to drink and dine nearby.

Outdoor Markets:
Arizona’s wonderful weather lends itself to some pretty great outdoor markets, most of which are located near or include food, booze, and dog-friendly patios. What more could you possibly ask for?  Click HERE for a round-up of my favorite farmers’ markets. Be sure not to miss The Camelback Market at Vincent’s in Arcadia, the Saturday Gilbert Farmer’s Market in the east Valley, and the up and coming Sunday 6th Street Market – Downtown Tempe (this one is new, offers free yoga and kids activities, and needs your local support to flourish).

A little outside of town:

Page Springs Cellar Vineyard and Winery
A short drive from the city and down a country road is breathtaking piece of Arizona that welcomes you with award-winning wine, gourmet food, creek side massages, and a glimpse of the local wildlife including herons, hawks, otters and bald eagles. Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, anytime is a good time to visit Page Springs. A full calendar of events includes live music, tasting rooms tours, the annual Harvest Festival, and Thirsty Thursday” Wine Dinners, an affordable price for a 4-course tapas style meal. 1500 N. Page Springs Rd., Cornville 928-639-3004 pagespringscellars.com