Sun City West, Arizona: 5 Things To Do In The Painted Desert - Updated 2022

things to do in sun city west arizona

Located in the Painted Desert of Arizona, Sun City West is a beautiful, charming place to visit. The area is primarily known as a retirement community, so expect to see palm trees towering over the sidewalks and beautifully manicured lawns and buildings. If you’re looking for a place to kick back, relax and enjoy some fine food and wine, you’ve come to the right place.

1. Explore the city on horseback at Corral West Horse Adventures

Posted by Corral West Horse Adventures on Monday, 13 March 2017

To access the beautiful, remote landscape surrounding Corral West Horse Adventures, you’ll need to take a thirty minute drive outside of Sun City West. One of the area’s best attractions is the simple beauty of its surroundings, and one of the best ways to enjoy the landscape is on horseback.

A trail ride at Corral West will take you through the Estrella Mountain Regional Park, where cacti and grasslands stretch as far as the eye can see. The desert is so expansive that it’s sure to inspire awe.

The Corral West Horse Adventures staff will give you a quick “crash course” in riding if you’ve never ridden a horse before, but experienced riders are welcome, too! If you’re just looking for a new experience, you might consider booking a basic trail ride. Book a sunset ride if you’d like the most breathtaking view of the scenery.

Corral West Horse Adventures also offers more adventurous experiences along with basic trail rides. You might go on a cowboy cookout, where you’ll ride out to the cookout location and enjoy a campfire, cookout, and Wild West entertainment by the staff. If you’d like to enjoy the cookout but don’t fancy the idea of riding a horse, there’s also a wagon ride available that will take you to the cowboy cookout.

Corral Horseback Adventures

Address: Corral Horseback Adventures, 14401 W Arena Dr., Goodyear, Arizona

Price: from 53 USD

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: around 3 hours required.

Access: Accessible by 40-minute drive down AZ-303 Loop S.

Contact: +1 623 8823803

Near by Food: Angry Crab Shack

Website: Corral West Horse Adventures

2. Have a cone at Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream

ice cream
Source: Pexels

At Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream, the motto is “no dinner until you eat all your dessert!” If you need an ice cold treat to cool off from a hot Arizona day, look no further than Chaparral’s. The store is best known for its ice cream, shakes, malts and ice cream sodas.

If you’re an adventurous eater, you’ll love Chaparral’s famous flavors such as Prickly Pear and Hot Apple Crisp. If you’re more of a traditional flavor fan, though, don’t worry: Chaparral has plenty classic flavors, too.

Chaparral has earned several awards, including a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence, but the desserts speak for themselves. You can order a double cone, but most fans of Chaparral’s will tell you that a single cone is a double portion size in itself! If you’d like more than just dessert, fill up on sandwiches, hot dogs, or even breakfast items, served all day!

Chaparral is especially interested in creating an incredible experience for guests—depending on the day you visit, you might be treated to live music or a performance while you munch a waffle cone.

Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream

Address: 472 E. Wickenburg Way, Wickenburg, AZ 85390

Price: from 5 USD

Opening Hours: 8am - 5pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: around 1 hour required.

Access: Accessible by a 30-minute drive down US-60 W to Wickenburg from Sun City West.

Contact: +1 928 6843252

Website: Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream

3. Make new friends at the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium

Be sure to stop by our baby animal nursery... Where we have this cutie Rocco, a baby wallaby. (📷credit: Lorenzo Fuentes)

Posted by Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park on Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Spanning 215 acres (87 hectares), the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium offers a huge variety of exhibits. In fact, the zoo boasts the largest collection of exotic animals in Arizona with over 600 species of animals. Start your visit by exploring the zoo, where you’ll be able to see monkeys, rodents, bats, reptiles, kangaroos, lions, tigers, jaguars and even a white rhinoceros.

One of the best attractions of the zoo is the baby animal nursery. The variety of baby animals in the nursery is constantly changing, but if you’re lucky, you might get to glimpse a playful African lion cub or a tiny striped hyena. At the aquarium, watch a sea lion show or view jelly fish, snapper turtles, alligators and a huge variety of fish.

The zoo also features a petting zoo with deer, baby goats, and chickens. If you’re interested in a more hands-on approach to the animals, don’t miss the giraffe feeding station, where you’ll get on the giraffe’s level by ascending a 12 foot (4 meter) platform.

Open from 9am - 6pm every day, the admission fee is well worth the variety of experiences awaiting you in the zoo.

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium

Address: Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium, 16501 W. Northern Avenue, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340

Price: from 17 USD

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: around 3 hours required.

Access: Accessible by a 20-minute drive to Litchfield Park.

Contact: +1 623 9359453

Near by Food: Old Pueblo Cafe

Website: Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium

4. Sip your favorite drinks at Winery 101 Peoria

tourist attractions painted desert
Source: Winery101

Winery 101 has a large selection of fine wines for you to taste. In cooperation with other local businesses, they host a number of events each month, including a canvas paint-and-sip experience where you can “uncork creativity” and enjoy drinks. They also feature live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm to 7pm.

Visit the tasting room and learn about your favorite wines, or just relax with a bottle and some good company.

Winery 101 Peoria

Address: 9299 W Olive Ave STE 101, Peoria, AZ 85345, United States

Website: Winery 101 Peoria

Opening hours: Sun - Tue: 12pm - 7pm; Thu - Sat: 12pm - 9pm (closed on Wed)

5. Enjoy the view from Anacapa Restaurant

Lemon Curd Tarts & Chocolate Dipped Strawberries!

Posted by Janice Berg Laskowicz on Friday, 6 March 2015

No vacation is complete without fine cuisine, and Anacapa Restaurant offers some wonderful dishes.

For lunch, try the roasted beet and citrus salad if you like lighter dishes, or try the popular fish tacos. If neither of those interest you, there are a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches to choose from. For dinner, don’t miss the Thai chicken skewers or the grilled shark.

The restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday to Saturday from 11am - 8 pm. If you’re a breakfast person, drop by on Sunday morning from 8.30am - 12.30pm to enjoy a breakfast buffet, or enjoy half-price drinks and appetizers from 2.30 - 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

You can walk in to the restaurant, but if you’re visiting the restaurant during the dinner rush or on the weekends, be prepared to wait (or just call ahead and make a reservation!)

Anacapa Restaurant

Address: 22135 N Mission Dr, Sun City West, Arizona

Price: from 20 USD

Opening Hours: 11am - 8pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: around 1 hour required.

Access: Located at the Corte Bella Country Club in Sun City West.

Contact: +1 623 4559045

Website: Anacapa Restaurant

Kick back in Sun City West

Sun City West entrance sign 20061227
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mark Wagner used under CC BY 2.5

Golfers, retirees and fans of relaxation come together to enjoy Sun City West. Kick back and listen to some music, create art and sip wine, or partake in a breakfast buffet before a game of golf. Sun City West is sure to welcome you with these peaceful activities.

Golfers, retirees, and fans of relaxation come together to enjoy Sun City West. Kick back and listen to some music, create art and sip wine, or partake in a breakfast buffet before a game of golf. Sun City West is sure to welcome you with these peaceful activities.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A storyteller first and foremost, Hannah has a bachelor's degree in English Creative Writing and a fascination with the written word. Over the past several years, she's gained experience as a...Read more

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