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7 excuses to visit Phoenix this summer

7 excuses to visit Phoenix this summer

Yes, we know, summertime is not the time to point your car in the direction of Phoenix.

But it’s close, it’s a big city and there’s a lot going on that we just can’t find in Tucson.

Still not convinced?

Here are seven things you can only do in Phoenix this summer.

  • Wet ’N’ Wild: Yep we have Breakers off Interstate 10 and Thornydale in Marana, which has four slides and a wave pool. Wet ’N’ Wild in Glendale, 4243 W. Pinnacle Peak Road, has a dozen, including a section for little kids; the Maximum Velocity Dueling H2O Coaster that twists and curls over 830 feet; and the breath-stealing Constrictor that shoots brave riders through an enclosed flume slide into a dark tunnel of tight corkscrew turns that deliver you dizzy and disoriented into a pool of icy water.
  • Queen + Adam Lambert: American singer Adam Lambert takes the lead with one of England’s — if not the world’s — most enduring rock bands, Queen. The tour opens at Glendale’s Gila River Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., on June 23; gilariverarena.com for tickets and details.
  • Family drumming on daddy’s day: Spend Father’s Day at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd. in Phoenix, which is hosting family drumming workshops starting at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 18. Frank Thompson is leading the session, teaching families how to bang out African, Latin and pop rhythms. The cost is $12 a person and that also lets you check out the MIM’s super cool, world-class instrument collection. Call 1-480-478-6000 for details. The MIM is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • History and a 20-ounce Delmonico: Durant’s restaurant on Central Avenue is one of the state’s oldest and most storied steakhouses. Known for its throwback to the ’50s house martinis and 20-ounce Delmonico steaks, the restaurant has been a Phoenix hot spot since Durant, who once worked as a Vegas pit boss for gangster Bugsy Siegel, opened it in 1950. Hint: If you want to look like a regular, go through the back door, not the door facing Central, 2611 N. Central Ave. Details: 1-602-264-5967; durantsaz.com
  • 10 days of D-backs: The Diamondbacks have one of their longest homestands of the season beginning June 23 and continuing 10 straight days/games to July 2. The matchups: D-backs vs. Phillies June 23 to 26; vs. St. Louis Cardinals June 27-29; and finishing against the Colorado Rockies June 30 to July 2. The D-backs play at Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson St., downtown. For details, tickets and all things Diamondbacks, visit mlb.com/dbacks
  • WNBA in the desert: The NBA season is soon to be history, but the women are just getting started. Arizona’s WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, plays at Talking Stick Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., next door to Chase Field, now through early September. Our pick for not-to-miss-game: Mercury vs. San Antonio Stars July 30. Not only because you get to see the one-and-only WNBA superstar Brittney Griner in action — the 6-foot-9 Mercury center is arguably the biggest star in women’s professional basketball — but we get to see the young Washington alum and WNBA rookie Kelsey Plum navigate her first professional season. For tickets and the full Mercury schedule, visit talkingstickresortarena.com
  • Tubing down the river: Grab an inner tube, slather on the sunscreen and bring along a cooler with lots of water and beverages for what is an Arizona summertime tradition: tubing on the Salt River. You can go with a formal tour — saltrivertubing.com lists a bunch of themed events and group trip opportunities — or go it with your own group. For safety tips, parking locations and all the information you’d ever want to know about tubing the Salt, visit saltrivertubing.com

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642.

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.

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