If you’ve ever wished you could take the best attributes of Greater Phoenix and condense them down into a place that’s as charming as it is cutting edge, the answer is Peoria. Located in the northwest corner of Greater Phoenix, this city is best known for Cactus League Spring Training and Lake Pleasant. And for good reason.
Each year the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres draw droves of fans to the Peoria Sports Complex, a venue that host a variety of festivals and evens throughout the rest of the year, too. And the spectrum of outdoor recreation at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, which includes Arizona’s second-largest lake (also the body of water nearest downtown), is unparalleled.
But there’s a whole lot more to the "Rose Capital of the World" (a nickname that was coined in 1956) — you just have to know where to look. In fact, the arts and culture scene may be Peoria’s best-kept secret, with Arizona Broadway Theatre, the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, the West Valley Art Museum, a bevy of public art and a growing list of galleries.
Revolu Modern Taqueria + Bar serves up Arizona-style Mexican cuisine and Haymaker is the place to be burgers, ribs, meatloaf and more. You’ll find a variety of taprooms and breweries dotting the landscape here, too. But for your espresso fix, Driftwood Coffee Co. in Old Town and Union Coffee Company top our list.
Pro tip: Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Phoenix is less than 5 miles west of the Peoria city limits.