Best Places to Visit When Grandparents are in Town


Est. 1989From Kate: The only thing we don’t like about living in Arizona is that our family is all in Texas. We miss them so much and love when they come to visit. After eight years, we have taken our share of visitors around this beautiful state and definitely have our list of best places to take visitors in Phoenix!

The Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa

Both of my grandfathers were pilots, so my parents love being around planes. This is a wonderful place to take the entire family! The docents are kind, approachable, and knowledgeable. They love telling stories and giving informal tours. There are planes to crawl through and movies to watch. My twelve year old son and five year old son both loved it!Kate Eschbach Photography-9138Kate Eschbach Photography-9212

The Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale

We all love some good ice cream, but this wonderful historic gem will bring back sweet memories! It is located on Scottsdale Rd. in Old Town and has ice cream in every form – by the scoop or in a shake, split, sundae or float. This is the place that Bill Keane featured in his Family Circus comic. My mom loves to look at all of the framed comics on the wall. They also have a little arcade in the back that is perfect for the kids.

Cosanti in Scottsdale

The home of Paolo Soleri is open to the public. It is such an honor to be able to walk the grounds of an architect and artist that meant so much to our city. They still pour their famous bells every day, so you can call ahead and find out what time to stop by if you want to see it. The staff is wonderful. If people are gathered to watch the pour, they stop and explain the process. It is absolutely fascinating to watch them pour molten bronze! I’ve been there more than a dozen times and still love visiting.

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From Renée: After living away from family for many years, we have recently been totally blessed to have lots of grandparents living close by. Arizona has definitely become a hot spot for visitors and our retired parents! Even though we have family living close by now, we still end up serving as the Family B&B with all our out of state friends and family who want to get away from the Midwest winters (and see our adorable kids, of course!). Hosting visitors from newborns to over 90, these are some of our favorite low key spots to bring family on a laid-back schedule.

Heard Museum

The kid’s grandparents are huge art fans. My husband’s mom has taken up painting as a hobby and my mom was our school “art mom” bringing paintings to the classroom and teaching us about art history while we were growing up. Bringing them to the Heard was a no-brainer. Not only do they have great galleries to explore with ancient artifacts, but they have new art, too. My kids love making the free crafts with their grandma and telling stories with her in the children’s section. Don’t forget the Courtyard Cafe…the Dreamcatcher Salad is AMAZING. 😉IMG_6953

Dolly Steamboat

Need a little day trip? Head on over to Apache Junction and Tortilla Flats. The Dolly Steamboat is a great way to relax on the water while learning a little about the Arizona landscape. Boat rides last about an hour and half and have tour guides filling you in about the wildlife you pass along the way. There’s a bathroom on board, a little gift and snack shop for treats on the ride and you can get up and walk around the boat to catch the best views. It’s a relaxing trip down the water and it doesn’t get old. We’ve been at least four times now!IMG_6973

Scottsdale Airport

Great-grandpa was a pilot during WWII and is nearly as plane obsessed as the kids. With the house waking early, we are often ready to get out and enjoy the morning. The airport opens early and you can sit and watch the planes load, unload, take off and land to your heart’s content. The Zulu Cafe is a great little post to grab a bite and enjoy the morning. They have a great breakfast menu and a special kids menu, complete with a little glider airplane Grandpa sure liked putting together with the boys. Try the Banana Fosters French Toast. You won’t be disappointed!IMG_6853