Written in spring 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this family-friendly roundup of fun things to do in Downtown Phoenix was originally published in the DTPHX Directory, 2020-2021 edition. While some of these activities are no longer available, some places and spaces are open or modified to accommodate social distancing. Updated hours and availability are *asterisked.
One of our favorite family activities to do on Saturdays is bike to the Farmers Market. It’s full of locally-grown produce and products, hand-crafted art, and amazing food and coffee options – a great free event for the entire family.
*Shop the outdoor farmers market Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Order online before 8 a.m. Thursday for curbside pickup.
We love going to family-friendly festivals at Hance Park like Roosevelt Row Pie Social, Downtown Donut Festival, Arizona Fall Fest, Chinese Culture + Cuisine Festival, and many more throughout the year; all with lots of activities for kids and great food. It’s also surrounded by a number of new restaurants, the Japanese Friendship Garden and Burton Barr Central Library. We always take time to walk to the library next door for books, activities, and free seeds for our urban garden.
*While the playground at Margaret T. Hance Park remains closed, and a brand new one is under construction, the park itself is open. Mass gatherings, like festivals, are canceled through the end of 2020, but the Japanese Friendship Garden is open, and Burton Barr Central Library is open for curbside pickup.
This is a nice little stretch of park where we can enjoy letting our boys run around a bit. It’s a great stop to relax at before moving on to other activities, like the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library around the corner. The park is also adjacent to downtown’s rainbow crosswalk, the Roosevelt/Central Avenue Light Rail Station, LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants like Match Restaurant + Lounge, and our favorite staycation hotel, Found:re Phoenix.
*Portland Parkway is open sunrise to sunset. Valley Metro light rail is running on a slightly adjusted schedule. The Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library remains closed to the public, and Found:re Phoenix is scheduled to re-open in October.
We have been members of the Children’s Museum for a year now, and our kids absolutely love how much there is to do. There are three floors, each with different activities for kids of all ages. The showstopper is a massive, maze-like play structure that’s two stories tall, and our boys love to explore it.
*The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is currently closed.
The Science Center is truly amazing, and the activities it provides kids are endless – tons of hands-on learning for children of all ages, including the adults. There are always great rotating exhibits to experience too.
*Arizona Science Center is currently closed.
This is a great area to wander with the family, located between the Children’s Museum and Science Center. You can tour the historic Rosson House Museum, parents can recharge at Royal Coffee Bar, or you can enjoy great food at a few of the restaurants located in the square like Pizzeria Bianco. The square also hosts events and festivals throughout the year like Phoenix Flea, which is a modern market full of local hand-crafted art, vintage items, fashion and food.
*All museum buildings at Heritage Square, including the Rosson House Museum, are currently closed. Royal Coffee Bar is also closed. Pizzeria Bianco and Bar Bianco are open for takeout and delivery.
About the author: Photographer, video blogger, nature-lover, dad of two-year-old twin boys, and husband to Andy – Tyler Fontes is always leading the “Fontes Four Pack” on new adventures. Follow the fun at @fontes_four_pack.