Breakfast at Joe's Diner, 4433 N. 16th Street, Suite 100
This venerable Phoenix diner has the ambiance of a 50s breakfast joint, with red vinyl seating and black-and-white checkerboard floors. Families will enjoy picking and choosing from the extensive breakfast menu, which features omelets, breakfast sandwiches, burritos, pancakes, waffles and more. There's even a small general store, where you can pick up a souvenir t-shirt or a bag of the house coffee.
Nature Walk at the Desert Botanical Gardens, 1201 North Galvin Parkway
Families with children of all ages will enjoy exploring the Desert Botanical Gardens. This urban oasis features over 145 acres of themed gardens. The garden gives children the opportunity to learn about funky cacti like the jumping cholla, and of course, the iconic saguaro. There are four trails with informative and fun exhibits, and you never know when a jackrabbit or desert rat might flit across the trail. There is also a visitor center, gift shop, and cafe.
Lunch at Alice Cooperstown, 141 E Jackson St
Skip the chains and have lunch at this uniquely Phoenix restaurant instead. Phoenix native and long-time resident Alice Cooper is the inspiration for this rock 'n' roll-themed restaurant, where the food is served by face-painted waiters. The menu is an array of sandwiches, half-pound burgers, pasta, diner classics like meatloaf and tuna casserole, and Southwestern-inspired fare. If you want to impress the kids, order The Big Unit, a full pound of hot dog meat (22 inches long) on a baguette roll. Fun and kitschy, this is one theme restaurant your family will not soon forget. Despite the rock 'n' roll atmosphere, the restaurant is actually quite tame and family-friendly.
Exploring the Arizona Science Center, 600 E Washington St
Families will enjoy the more than 300 hands-on exhibits located across the five large galleries of the Arizona Science Center. The daily planetarium shows take guests on a fascinating voyage across the galaxies, and the IMAX theatre screens the latest science-themed movies. You won't see a bored kid--or adult--in sight here.
Dinner at La Pinata Mexican Food Restaurant, 3330 N 19th Ave
This local institution opened in 1970 and has been delighting local taste buds ever since with it's no-nonsense take on classic Sonoran-style Mexican food. La Pinata likes to tout itself as "the home of the chimichanga," but the truth is that almost anything on the large menu is a winner. Hot, tasty Mexican grub in a homey, casual setting makes this a great place for a quintessentially Phoenix meal with the whole family.
Sunset Hike at South Mountain Regional Park
Phoenix is fortunate to have one of the largest municipal city parks in the country. One of the best spots to watch the sun go down is South Mountain Regional Park, over 16,000 acres of preserved desert just south of downtown at the very end of Central Avenue. Drive the winding road up to Dobbin's Lookout Point for a dazzling display of the entire Valley of the Sun. You'll find families and teenagers gathered at the lookout point, along with vendors selling Native American crafts.