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How to Spend a Day in Surprise, Arizona

How to Spend a Day in Surprise, Arizona

A day spent in Surprise, Arizona can be surprisingly fun!

Good food, good drinks, beautiful scenery, and exciting attractions will make this unassuming destination a day-trip to remember.

Never heard of Surprise? Keep reading to learn more.

About Surprise Arizona

The city of Surprise, AZ is located about 45 minutes northwest of Downtown Phoenix. It spans 108 square miles and boasts a population of over 141,000. But don’t write this town off as just another mid-sized suburb. Given Surprise’s history, its size and population are surprisingly impressive! 

When the town got its start back in 1938, it was only one square mile. The founder, Flora Mae Statler, remarked that she “would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much,” which is how Surprise got its name.

And we’re certain she really would be surprised if she could see the town today. By the year 2000, Surprise had grown to about 30,000 people. And just twenty years later, that number has more than quadrupled. 

What has drawn so many people to call Surprise home? As the city’s official website states, Surprise offers a “small-town feel with big-city amenities.” Shopping, dining, festivals, art galleries, Major League Baseball events, and so much more are available to residents and visitors alike. Plus, it’s just a short day-trip away from destinations like the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. 

People also come to Surprise to take advantage of the weather. While summers can be hot, as you’d expect in Arizona, winters are fairly moderate. Rarely, do the temperatures drop below 35F in winter. This means people can enjoy all Surprise has to offer all year long.

Whether you’ve come for the weather, the attractions, or both, here’s the best way to spend a day in Surprise, Arizona.

Morning in Surprise, Arizona

Breakfast at Biscuits Cafe

Address: 13752 W Bell Rd, Surprise, AZ 85374

Menu options: No matter your breakfast cravings, you’re sure to find something you’ll love on Biscuits’ menu. In the mood for eggs? Try their Black Oak Kielbasa Scramble, Veggie Head Omelette, B.E.A.S.T. Benedict, or good old fashioned eggs and toast. Prefer something sweet for breakfast?

Biscuits has White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pancakes, Cinnamon Roll French Toast, and, of course, Belgian Waffles. Looking to step outside of the breakfast box? You can also order Greek Avocado Toast or Breakfast Tacos to round out your morning.

Reasons to love it: If you’re looking for traditional breakfast foods with a dash of flair, you have to try Biscuits Cafe! This cafe is a local favorite for breakfast-lovers.

According to Biscuits, “our success comes from our commitment to excellence and how we treat our customers and employees.” That sounds like our kind of restaurant!

Tour the Wildlife World Zoo Litchfield Park

This 215-acre zoo is home to Arizona’s largest collection of exotic animals, totaling 600 species. A morning at Wildlife World can include a close encounter with a kangaroo at the Kangaroo Walkabout.

Or, you can take an air-conditioned walk through the Small Mammals of the World building. There you’ll see everything from monkeys to bats. Additionally, the park has white rhinos, tropical reptiles, cheetahs, lions, and more.

And if you prefer cute and cuddly creatures, the Baby Animal Nursery is a must-visit! Wildlife World opens at 9 am and the price of admission is $41.50 for adults, $23.00 for children ages 3 to 12, and kids under 2 are free. 

How to Spend an Afternoon in Surprise, Arizona

Eat lunch at Angry Crab Shack

Address: 11340 W Bell Rd, Surprise, AZ 85378

Menu Options: The lunch menu (with lunch prices!) is served from 11 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday. It includes a traditional soup and salad option with your choice of gumbo or clam chowder for your soup.

They also have an Angry Lunch Bowl, which is shrimp, chicken, or sausage served over veggies and rice with your choice of sauce. If you’re in the mood for their namesake, crab, the full menu is also available all day every day at full price.  

Reasons to love it: Cajun flavors meet seafood favorites at this casual and fun eatery. And we do mean casual! At the Angry Crab Shack, don’t expect plates or utensils.

You’ll be eating your crab right off the table with your hands. Their goal: to “make sure you leave with a full belly and a big smile.”

Hike the Vietnam Memorial Trail

After eating a filling lunch at Angry Crab Shack, you’ll probably want to walk it off. Vietnam Memorial Trail is the perfect hike for those looking for a moderate challenge.

Light on crowds but large on scenic views! This 1.3-mile rocky trail just outside of Surprise, AZ on West Jomax Rd is worth the effort.

There are benches along the trail if you need to rest and plaques about the Vietnam War for history buffs. 

Get Smarter at the Digiplex Surprise IMAX

After your hike, take a load off at the Digiplex IMAX located in the AMC Surprise Pointe 14 theater. Everyone loves a good movie, especially on a giant screen! Here, you can watch the latest blockbuster come to life in an immersive IMAX experience.

We encourage you to save some time by reserving recliner seating and ordering your concessions in advance via the theater’s website.

Evening in Surprise, Arizona

Dinner at Irish Wolfhound Restaurant & Pub

Address: 16811 N Litchfield Rd #102, Surprise, AZ 85374

Menu Options: The menu at Irish Wolfhound features Irish favorites, like Guinness batter fish and chips and corned beef and cabbage. Not to mention, it has a wide selection of burgers, sandwiches, soups, and salads.

If you’re looking for some appetizers to share, may we suggest the cocktail sausages or curry chips for an authentic Irish experience?

Other reasons to love it: Relish in classic Irish fare alongside a pint of Guinness or shot of Jameson at this Irish-themed sports bar.

Some folks come here to eat and watch sports, while others prefer the live music and the opportunity to banter with friends. Whatever your reason, you’re sure to have an authentic pub-like experience you won’t soon forget. 

Drinks at Bonfire Craft Kitchen and Tap House

Address: 15332 W Bell Rd, Surprise, AZ 85374

Drink Options: Drinks, drinks, and more drinks! This tap house has it all! Chill out with a glass of wine from their selection of whites, reds, and rosés. Or jazz things up with their Bonfire family recipe sangria. Of course, it wouldn’t be a tap house without beer!

You can expect traditional beers, like Budweiser and Miller, as well as craft favorites, like Lagunitas and Bell’s. If you’re more of a cocktail person, Bonfire Craft Kitchen has you covered too. Order the smokey old fashioned made with small-batch bourbon, or try a “loaded beer” for a hoppy take on a classic cocktail.

Reasons to love it: Bonfire Craft Kitchen and Tap House is a local gem in Surprise, AZ. It has a laid back sports bar feel with the bonus of attentive service.

Locals love the drink selection, and from the looks of the menu, you will too! And because they are open till 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s the perfect place to catch up with friends on the road. 

Have Fun at the Uptown Alley

Your day in Surprise may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over. When you’ve had your fill of food and drinks, head over to Uptown Alley for one last hurrah! Here, you can “strike up the entertainment” with a round (or two!) of bowling.

They also have a sports theatre, 80+ video games, a virtual reality experience, and a social lounge for adults 21 and over. You and your family will be so entertained, you won’t want to leave!

Where to Stay in Surprise, AZ

Sunflower Resort

Address: 16501 N El Mirage Rd, Surprise, AZ 85378

About the Park: Sunflower RV Resort is the perfect place to park for RVers 55+. Their daily rate, which includes utilities, is $70.

And while this may seem steep, you have to take into account the vast selection of amenities at this resort. For your entertainment, they offer woodcarving, billiards, quilting and sewing, horseshoe pits, bocce ball courts, tennis courts, and shuffleboards.

And to make your stay truly feel luxurious, they have a pet-park, fitness center, onsite massage therapists, a pool, and a tiki bar. And that’s not all! There are literally so many other amenities and activities, we couldn’t possibly list them all here.  

Why you’ll love staying here: Known as “the friendly resort,” Sunflower won’t disappoint with its hospitality. In addition to all of the resort’s activities, you’ll also be close to the action and attractions in the rest of Surprise, AZ. Visiting for a weekend?

You can spend a day at the resort and a day in the city and never run out of things to do! Plus, you’ll be glad to know Sunflower has over 1,000 sites, many of which are pull-thru, with full hookups. 

A Day in Surprise AZ

Surprise, Arizona is not just a city. It’s a destination! After a day out on the town, we’re certain you won’t want to leave.

And with all there is to see and do, we wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to extend your stay!

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