Rawhide Western Town and Event Center
Photo by Mark Cameron/Flickr Commons

Experience the new Old West at Rawhide Western Town and Event Center in the Southeast Valley.

This fun, family-friendly outing is a great opportunity to step back in time and experience everything from panning for gold to a live action stunt show.

Located on the Gila River Indian Community, just southwest of Chandler, Rawhide Western Town is the state’s largest 1880s Western-themed family entertainment venue and steakhouse.

Here are some of the fun things to expect when you visit.

Rawhide’s Steakhouse

The town’s signature restaurant, Rawhide’s Steakhouse was featured on Food Network’s “Craziest Restaurants in America.” The welcoming restaurant features daily live music, hometown hospitality and authentic western fare including Rawhide’s famous fried rattlesnake and Rocky Mountain oysters, prepared by Executive Chef Jonathan Scott, who was also featured on the show.  There are a variety of delicious hand-cut steaks alongside an endless salad bar, gluten-free menu items and new family-friendly pricing.

Insider tip: If a steakhouse isn’t your speed, Rawhide also features a honky tonk for the 21-and-over crowd and a pizza tavern.

Six Gun Theater

With several shows a day—each one a little different—the Rough Riders reenact tales of the Old West at Six Gun Theater. With mock gunfights, daring falls and great audience interaction, visitors should see one or more of these great shows. A fun side note for the kids: the actors sign a wanted poster at the end of each performance. It makes a great souvenir.

Town Attractions

For visitors with little ones in tow, this is where the fun takes place. With something for everyone, there is a kid-friendly mechanical bull, rock climbing wall, stagecoach rides, hay wagon rides, burro rides, a petting zoo, gold panning, two different trains, a post office, and more. Gold panning seems to be especially a hit with the younger crowd. And, for the grown ups, there’s also a mechanical bull called the Widow Maker, located at the honky tonk.

Shopping

Parking and admission at Rawhide are free, making it a great place to browse unique Western shops. There’s something for every budget – from the Rawhide Mercantile, an upscale boutique featuring local artists, to the General Store, which features Western-themed souvenirs. There’s also a candy store, toy store, photo emporium (where you can have “authentic” Western-themed photos taken), and a town blacksmith. For fun, there’s a town jail where you can “arrest a guest” or have a “shot gun wedding.”

What You Need to Know: The Rawhide Western Town and Event Center website has the most up-to-date information; visit it at www.rawhide.com. Except for special-event days, parking and admission is free; individual attraction tickets or all-day wristbands are available for sale on site. Rawhide is open weekends with private events and tours available during the week.

Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse, 5700 W N Loop Rd., Chandler, AZ 85226 | (480) 502-5600

– Michelle Talsma Everson, Phoenix.org