12 Attractions in Peoria, Arizona

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Peoria, Arizona is located in the northwestern part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. With a population of over 168,000, it is one of the largest suburbs of Phoenix. Peoria has experienced rapid growth over the last few decades as people migrate to the warm and sunny climate of Arizona.

The city offers residents and visitors a variety of attractions and activities to enjoy. From outdoor recreation to cultural sites, sports to shopping, Peoria has something for everyone. The climate is arid and hot in the summertime with very mild and pleasant winters, allowing for many outdoor events and pursuits year-round.

In this article, we will highlight 12 of the top attractions and activities in Peoria that residents recommend to visitors who want to experience the best this vibrant and diverse city has to offer.

1. Peoria Sports Complex

The Peoria Sports Complex is one of the premier attractions in the city. This state-of-the-art facility hosts Spring Training for both the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners MLB baseball teams. Fans flock here every March to see the teams warm up for the regular season.

With 12 baseball fields total, baseball lovers could spend days watching games and practices. The complex also offers food, entertainment, meeting spaces, and more. Baseball might be the main event, but families will find so much more to enjoy at this venue that serves as a hub for the community.

2. Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park

For those that love animals and nature, Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park is a must-visit destination. This highly interactive zoo has over 600 species and 6,000 individual animals. Guests can feed a giraffe, touch stingrays, see big cats up close, and hand-feed rainbow lorikeets. This zoo makes wild animal encounters possible for visitors in unique ways.

In addition to being an up-close zoo, Wildlife World is also a drive-thru safari park. Visitors can slowly drive their vehicles along a three-mile route to see exotic animals like zebras, antelope, rhinos and more in expansive natural habitats. This signature safari experience is unique for Arizona and allows you to get extraordinarily close-up views.

With animal shows, a petting farm, an aquarium, amusement rides, a dinosaur park, and many dining options, guests could easily spend an entire day immersed in this highly interactive animal adventure park.

3. Lake Pleasant Regional Park

For outdoor enthusiasts visiting Peoria, Lake Pleasant Regional Park is the perfect place to get out on the water. This expansive lake and park offers boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking, camping, swimming, and more. Rentals for boats, jet skis, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and other watercraft are available.

The lake is 10,000 acres and is a dream destination for watersports under sunny Arizona skies. There are coves and islands to explore, dive spots and cliffs to jump from, and ample shoreline facilities. The park also features miles of desert hiking and biking trails, secluded coves with beaches for sunbathing and swimming, primitive camping areas, and full RV hook-up sites. Spending a day or two enjoying all the recreational opportunities at Lake Pleasant is easily one of the most popular things to do during a visit to Peoria.

4. Peoria Center for the Performing Arts

Residents and visitors looking for arts, culture, live entertainment, and community events visit the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. This multi-use theatre complex hosts national music and comedy touring acts, professional dance performances, children’s theater shows, high school graduations, and other city events.

The Center features three unique theater venues:

Theater Works Main Stage – a 600-seat proscenium theater
Black Box Theater – an intimate 200-seat black box theater
Outdoor Amphitheater – a 1,500 person capacity outdoor concert venue

With year-round programming showcasing musicians across genres from country to rock to pop, funny stand-up comics, talented dance troupes, family-friendly shows, and community presentations, there is always something of interest happening at this state-of-the-art performing arts hub. The complex aims to add culture, inspiration and world-class entertainment to the Peoria community.

5. Glendale Desert Foothills Park

Nestled up alongside the mountains north of Peoria lies Glendale Desert Foothills Park, encompassing over 1,000 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert. The park’s hiking and riding trails meander through typical desert scenery with flowering cacti, bushy vegetation dotted with bright red rocks and boulders.

The park has trails for every skill level, from easy nature paths to rocky inclines up to the higher elevations of the foothills, where you are rewarded with spectacular valley views. Mountain bikers can enjoy miles of dedicated single-track loop trails that wind through canyons and washes. Dog owners frequently visit to exercise their pups.

Come watch a colorful Arizona sunset behind the mountains and appreciate the wildflowers blooming in spring for a perfect evening spent immersed in the natural beauty of this desert park. With its proximity to Peoria, it’s an ideal spot to experience the stark and lovely desert scenery that surrounds the city.

6. Vortex Sports Center

An exciting sports and entertainment venue called Vortex just opened its doors a few years ago and has fast become a prime destination for Peoria visitors. This venue features pickleball courts and volleyball courts, batting cages, a large arcade and laser tag facility, trampoline jumping, warrior/ninja courses, kids playgrounds, a cafe, a full bar and restaurant, and multipurpose rooms for kids birthday parties and events.

With many activities like bowling, mini-golf, roller skating and basketball also coming soon, this venue truly aims to be an all-encompassing indoor sports and entertainment center for all ages. Families or groups looking for some exciting indoor adventure and competition will enjoy playing a round of laser tag or trampoline dodge ball before refueling at the on-site restaurant. The broad range of attractions makes Vortex a premiere option for some active fun during your Peoria visit.

7. Peoria Historical Society Museum

To learn more about the history and heritage of Peoria, spend an afternoon at the Peoria Historical Society Museum. Located in the historic Trine home built in 1897, the museum houses artifacts, photos and memorabilia documenting the city’s founding and development over the past century.

Exhibits showcase Native American history, the pioneer founding of the town, agricultural evolution, businesses and architecture through the decades. Rotating exhibits highlight different eras in Peoria’s past. Knowledgeable guides provide tours on request to share captivating facts and stories about the people, events, and landmarks that helped shape the area.

In addition to visiting the museum, visitors can also take a short walk to explore Old Town Peoria on nearby Washington Street to appreciate preserved homes, buildings, and landmarks from Peoria’s founding era. Understanding Peoria’s heritage by visiting the museum and Old Town provides insight into the growth from small farming village to thriving suburb.

8. Local Craft Breweries & Wineries

The greater Phoenix area has experienced an explosion of microbreweries and craft beer culture in recent years. Peoria has some fantastic local brew houses for visitors to belly up to the bar and taste regional beer flavors. State 48 Brewery, one of the most popular, offers signature brews like Hazy IPA and Van Buren Brown as well as a full restaurant menu perfect for pairings. Ground Control has a space theme with galaxy-themed brews using eclectic ingredients alongside street tacos and empanadas.

In addition to microbreweries, Peoria has local wineries sprinkled among the community. Southward bound along route 303 you’ll find destinations like Terravant Wine Company and Vineyard at South Mountain. Stop by any of these places tasting the craft beverages that utilize ingredients grown around Arizona. It’s a wonderful way to get a flavor for the city and state.

9. P83 Entertainment District

The P83 Entertainment District is the go-to spot for Peoria nightlife. Located along Bell Road just west of the 101 highway, this newly established district is filled with hot spots like gastropubs, cocktail lounges, sports bars, bowling, comedy club, and movie theater. On weekends, locals flock here to kick back and let loose.

Some popular picks are Clubhouse Sports Grill for wings and games on big screen TVs, The Breakfast Joynt serving cocktails alongside brunch fare, Social Tap gastropub for sharing plates, and Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers for exactly what its name promises. Catch a funny show next door at the Tempe Improv comedy club or check movie times playing at Harkins Theater.

With plenty to eat, drink and enjoy, adults can easily bar or club hop through P83 well into the night after dinner or a movie. This entertainment zone has quickly become thee go-to evening playground in Peoria.

10. Peoria Farmers Market

A delightful way to support local business and sample some regional flavors is visiting the Peoria Farmers Market held annually October through May. Taking place Saturday mornings in Old Town near the historic district, dozens of vendor booths and tents offer just-picked produce, artisan baked goods, honey, salsa, jams, crafted food items and other heavenly edible treats.

Beyond tasty take-home eats, the market also focuses on holistic health, wellness and green living education through monthly workshops, guest speaker sessions and informational booths. Kids can enjoy creating nature-inspired arts & crafts projects using recycled materials at the R Kids Club Tent. Leashed pups are also welcome to take part in the festivities.

The Peoria Farmers Market makes buying fresh, buying local, buying small-batch and learning about nutrition decidedly delicious. It’s the perfect place to grab goodies for breakfast or brunch, mingle with community members and support Peoria food entrepreneurs.

11. Desert Diamond Casino

An ideal spot for adult visitors to try their luck gaming is Desert Diamond Casino just across the 101 freeway at northern edge of the city boundaries. This massive Vegas-style casino is owned by the Tohono O’odham Nation and features over 1,000 slot machines, poker tournaments, blackjack dealers, keno drawings, off-track betting on horses and live entertainment.

The casino floor regularly has live music acts that get visitors dancing. Or grab a cocktail at the Sidewinders Bar to unwind in a casual lounge. Dining options range from fast bites to upscale with the award-winning bbq at Fat Ox and signature dishes at Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill. With dynamic entertainment and excitement, Desert Diamond delivers guests vibrant big-city gaming vibes against beautiful desert mountain backdrop.

12. Back on Track Trail System

An under the radar spot loved by outdoor enthusiasts is Peoria’s Back on Track Trail System comprised of natural surface paths for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and horseback riding. The trails meander through washes, around small mountains near the Lake Pleasant area and connect circles, loops and adjoining neighborhoods.

With over 15 miles of dedicated paths, there is plenty of room spread out without frequently crossing other users. And you may spot some desert wildlife like jackrabbits, roadrunners and quail along the way. Whether a visitor is looking for an easy nature stroll, heart-pounding run or technical single-track ride, Peoria’s Back on Track trail network has a little something for every skill level and pace.

Conclusion

From world-class attractions like the Peoria Sports Complex and Wildlife World Zoo to small-town charm along the historic district downtown, Peoria truly offers visitors and residents diverse options when seeking entertainment. Nature lovers have parks and lakes beckoning them outdoors. Night owls can eat, drink and play into the evening along Bell Road’s bustling P83 District. Family fun is around every corner – bouncing from arcade games to batting cages and petting zoos.

Peoria’s blossoming arts and culture scene educates guests through theatre and museum exhibitions on the area’s rich history. The ample local breweries and wineries provide tasty libations to complement the dynamic culinary experiences. Whether traveling solo, coupled, with friends or packing the whole family, this northwest suburb of Phoenix has activities and pursuits guaranteed to delight and inspire. When visiting the greater Phoenix area, set aside at least a day or two exploring all the phenomenal attractions Peoria, Arizona offers.

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