Visit this hot spot for family activities, excellent shopping and dining, and charming downtown strolls.

In 1912, the same year that Arizona became a state, veterinary surgeon Dr. Alexander J. Chandler founded a community he envisioned would include resorts, restaurants and recreational opportunities to attract visitors year-round. Today, the city of Chandler indeed offers everything the good doctor had hoped for—bigger and better than he ever could have imagined.

Hit the parks

Many of Chandler's 60-plus city parks include large aquatic centers with features like water slides, play pools and lazy rivers. Veterans Oasis Park lives up to its name with 113 acres of wetlands, a lake and a trail system, making it a prime spot for bird-watching and horseback riding. Kids will have a blast here, enjoying the Chandler Solar System Walk, a half-mile path around the lake that identifies the sun, planets and celestial objects to the scale of the solar system.

At Desert Breeze Park, take a short ride on a 1:3 scale train that passes by the park's playground, tennis courts, splash pad and urban lake that's stocked with trout, bass and sunfish. Near Tumbleweed Park, the Arizona Railway Museum lets visitors board and walk through a dozen different types of vintage Santa Fe and Southern Pacific rail cars, including a steam locomotive and a caboose that's available to rent for parties.

Discover the heart of the city

Downtown Chandler welcomes visitors to stroll under trellis-shaded walkways as they browse the shops and galleries of the historic district. Along with modern cafes and eateries that now occupy many of the vintage buildings, visitors will find the Center for the Arts and iconic shops such as Saba's Western Wear. The historic district also hosts events throughout the year, from farmers' markets to yoga in the park.

Get in the swing of things

Chandler has seven golf courses open to the public, including the notable San Marcos Golf Course. When it opened in 1913, San Marcos was the first course in Arizona to feature green grass; it recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation with expanded lakes, reconstructed bunkers and green enlargements.

Saddle up for a five-star experience

In addition to its own golf course, Wild Horse Pass in south Chandler also offers horseback trail rides via the KOLI Equestrian Center and Arizona's only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant experience at Kai (within Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass Resort), where the cuisine is inspired by the Native American communities that originally called this area home. It's been named one of the best restaurants in the world … something that would make Dr. Chandler very proud indeed.

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