There is plenty of shade across metropolitan Phoenix, you just have to know where to look. You’ll find a bit of an oasis at these 10 serene spots.
Encanto Park, the Phoenix Zoo and several streets around metropolitan Phoenix offer shade to help deal with the summer heat.
You’re dashing from your air-conditioned home to your air-conditioned car to head to an air-conditioned office, school or store. And still, the sun sears your soul.
Want respite from the heat but can’t afford to head toward cooler climates? There is plenty of shade across metropolitan Phoenix, you just have to know where to look. You’ll find a bit of an oasis at these 10 serene spots.
Encanto Park, 2605 N. 15th Ave., Phoenix
The 220-acre park dates back to 1935 and was developed from a cotton field, a large expanse that early Phoenix leaders knew could take on new life.
Storms over the past couple of decades have upended several large trees in the park. One in 2008 took out about 150 trees, including many towering Aleppo pines and eucalyptus. But plenty of those tree types remain, along with others including ash and mulberry.
Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
One of the shadiest spots at the zoo is the Tropics Trail, which houses dozens of birds from around the world. Across from the orangutan exhibit, this walk-through aviary offers a retreat from some of the busier walking paths at the zoo.
More shade can be found in the elephant viewing area, not far from the Tropics Trail. You’ll even find a large misting fan to help cool you down.
The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, 2757 E. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert
The preserve features marshlands and native riparian and upland vegetation areas. Of the preserve’s 110 acres, about 70 are designated for ponds and a fishing lake. Paths meander around the ponds, and an overgrowth of trees and lush vegetation offer shade, says Rob Giles, Gilbert’s park and recreation manager.
Chaparral Park, 5401 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale
You’ll find shade among the trees that dot this 100-acre park. Stand near the edge of the park’s lake and if you are lucky, you may get a bit of coolness when a breeze comes your way. The park offers a xeriscape garden, part of a 12-mile greenbelt through Scottsdale. The garden features palo verde, cottonwood and mesquite trees.
Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
You’ll find shade in many places tucked into the garden. Among them, the terrace area in the Ottosen Entry Garden. Other shady spots include the Archer House patio, the Center for Desert Living Trail and the Pratt Ramada, which is at the top of the Sonoran Desert Nature Trail, offering a view of the Valley below.
Japanese Friendship Garden,1125 N. Third Ave., Phoenix
The good news: Just looking at the garden’s waterfall and surrounding lush landscape may give you a sense of tranquility. The bad news: During the summer, the garden is only open Fridays through Sundays from 7 to 11 a.m., and 5 to 8 p.m. in June. The garden resumes traditional hours in October. But here’s the thing, it’s not going to be magically cool in metro Phoenix in October. Come fall, you’ll still be tracking down shady refuge.
Murphy Bridle Path, east side of Central Avenue at Bethany Home Road, Phoenix
Although you can find shade at destinations like Encanto Park and the Phoenix Zoo, be on the lookout for swaths of shadow along Valley streets. One of the more popular ones is Murphy Bridle Path, where rows of olive and ash trees shelter a 6-foot-wide path that stretches for 2½ miles. It runs north from Bethany Home Road to the Arizona Canal, just south of Dunlap Avenue. It is a favorite destination year-round for walkers, bicyclists and horse riders. Many of the olive trees date back to the 1920s and ’30s.
Tuckey Lane east of 15th Avenue, two blocks north of Maryland Avenue, Phoenix
Rows of ash trees dot both sides of the lane. One resident who moved onto the street in 2003 said he was attracted by the lush vegetation. Richard Adkins, the city’s forestry supervisor, said the area of north-central Phoenix represents the love affair with tree-planting many Phoenix residents had in the 1940s and ’50s.
“The trees were valuable for more than just shade,” he says. “They were valuable for food and shelter and holding soil and water for wind breaks.”
Maple Avenue, south of University Drive and north of 13th Street, Tempe
Abby Marquez likes to bring her son, Benjamin, out to her front yard for a little swim time under the deep shade of their mulberry tree. She loves how tall trees line Maple Avenue, making it an alluring neighborhood where people don’t see the summer as reason for holing up in the house. For a party in her front yard, she strung white lights and hung red paper flowers from her tree. “It was nice being out here, it wasn’t that hot, with all the shade,” she said.
Pinchot Avenue between 26th and 28th streets, Phoenix
If this two-block area of Pinchot can’t cool you down, then probably no other shady spot around can. It’s truly a canopy of darkness, with boughs of the giant Aleppo pine trees intertwining above the road. The cluster of Aleppos date to the mid-’30s.
Residents today say that non-residents will drive down the street and even park in front of someone’s house, just to admire the vegetation. And residents say they will get knocks on their door to see if their home is for sale.
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