If you’re anything like us, summer makes you want to hibernate. Rather than venture out in the 110+ degree heat, we prefer to sit inside with the a/c cranked and not move a muscle.
Unfortunately, that plan might make your wearable fitness monitor cranky. After all, you need to complete your daily 10,000 steps or Bad Things will happen. Of course, if you venture outdoors in the heat to do your 10,000 steps, Bad Things can also happen, so be careful.
Sure you could join an air-conditioned gym and hit the treadmill. However, if you usually take a real walk, the
static view might not keep you coming back. Plus, who wants to watch excessively fit people get even more fit?
To help you out, we rounded up some of our favorite spots to stroll that won’t lead to heat stroke. Feel free to change these up to keep things interesting.
Walking not your thing? Check out some other creative fitness options available in the Valley.
1. Indoor malls
For obvious reasons, Phoenix boasts a number of indoor malls. Some are sizable enough that a few laps will put a nice dent in your daily goal. Plus, it costs you nothing — unless you tend to impulse buy.
The massive, three-story Scottsdale Fashion Square claims our top spot to walk. However, the two-story Chandler Fashion Center or Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale would also work. If you don’t mind braving salespeople, the single-story Arizona Mills and Christown Spectrum also work if you pop into the various stores.
If you want to hit an outdoor mall like Westgate Entertainment District, Desert Ridge Marketplace, Tempe Marketplace or Mesa Riverview, they do offer plenty of misters and even splash pads during summer. Just don’t get too near Tempe Marketplaces decorative outdoor fireplaces, which stay on during summer for some reason.
Typically you won’t get into a museum for free (unless you hit the Phoenix Art Museum on Wednesdays), but it makes a nice change every once in a while. Plus, you can exercise your mind as you exercise your body.
For walking purposes, the Phoenix Art Museum, Musical Instrument Museum and the Arizona Science Center are the best. These massive multi-floor facilities can keep you interested for hours. You won’t even notice how far you’ve walked.
3. Sporting events
During the summer, Phoenix hosts professional games of baseball, basketball, football, arena football and even hockey. All of these take place in nicely air-conditioned stadiums like Chase Field, University of Phoenix Stadium and Talking Stick Resort Arena.
As you enjoy the game, embark on periodic walks around the main concourse or take the stairs instead of the elevators. You’ll hit your goal in no time. Just note that if you plan to attend a lot of games, hockey and arena football offer the least expensive tickets by a wide margin.
4. Art Walks
How can you go wrong with an activity that features “walk” in the name? Many Valley cities host a monthly — or more frequent — walk around the city’s arts district. You can see great examples of art and enjoy other entertainment along the route.
During the summer these walks include misters and cool treats, and you can duck into cooler galleries and stores as needed. They also cost nothing to attend.
5. Near water
If you walk in the early morning or later at night, the temperature does come down somewhat. You can bring it down more if you stay close to water.
Tempe Beach Park and the pathway along Tempe Town Lake make a good option. In Scottsdale, the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt stretches 18 miles along water and through parks.
If you live in a quieter area, a walk near the canal could work too. You might even drop by the canal-adjacent and pet-friendly O.S.H.O. Brewery for a bite on your way.
Again, steer clear while the sun shines, but a park and its large stretches of grass will be cooler than a walk near roadways and parking lots. Plus, there’s sometimes nice scenery and wildlife to look at, or you might catch the sprinklers on.
Fortunately, the Valley boasts a ton of parks. There’s probably one near you already. Or go on an adventure and check out one of the larger ones like Margaret T. Hance park in downtown Phoenix.
For those who enjoy the company of a four-legged friend, be sure to check out the Valley’s top dog parks.
7. Leave the Valley
Head north to Flagstaff (2.5 hours), northeast to Payson (1.5 hour) or northwest to Prescott (1.75 hours) and the temperature often drops to a bearable level. That means you can comfortably walk around town and take in the local sites. You can also head out of town for a nice hike and see the chilly lava cave or the Tonto Natural Bridge.