Maricopa County city, Surprise is popular for its affordability and its family friendly atmosphere. With median home values of $172,600, it is more affordable than the neighboring communities, and nearly a quarter of households are families with children. This city is perfect for families who enjoy baseball: Both the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers come here for spring training. Fall’s Fiesta Grande celebration of Hispanic heritage has quickly became one of the city’s biggest and most popular events.
1. It's Headquarters For Major League Fun
The Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals roll into town each spring for training camp, and locals and visitors revel in the baseball frenzy. The 10,500-seat Surprise Stadium provides fans with views of the White Tank Mountains, and families also gather for free movie nights and Fourth of July fireworks.
2. Celebrate At The Surprise Party!
While this annual event isn't much of a surprise to anyone who lives here, it is a super-sized festival that everyone looks forward to. Held the first weekend in December, the party celebrates the city's birthday with a carnival, classic car show, hot air balloon glow, live music, games, camel rides and lots of yummy food.
3. See Tennis Champs In Action
Each fall the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex hosts the Surprise Tennis Championships featuring stars like Pete Sampras and Anna Kournikova. If you're hoping to make it big yourself, classes and activities for all ages and skill levels are offered throughout the year.
4. There Are Plenty Of Places To Cool Off
To combat the hot Arizona climate, the Surprise Aquatic Center offers fun for all ages with its pools featuring waterfalls, slides and a vortex whirlpool. Hollyhock Community Pool features another slide and a spray pad, so you're never out of options for relief on especially hot days.
5. Saddle Up For A Romantic Dude Ranch Getaway
About 40 minutes from Surprise awaits a unique vacation experience: Rancho de los Caballeros, an authentic dude ranch. Go horseback riding, take an ATV tour, go skeet shooting, enjoy a cookout by the campfire and even relax at the spa.
6. It's Easy To Become A Golf Nut
There are no less than eight golf courses in Surprise-literally every which way you turn. Fees are pretty reasonable and courses open early to beat the heat. Most courses offer lessons and have an on-site pro shop.
7. You'll Find Your Home On The Range
Whether you are seeking a townhome, starter home or a brand new residence in a master-planned neighborhood, there's a house to suit every taste and budget in Surprise. Plus property taxes here are among the lowest in the state.
8. We Fulfill All Your Family Fun Needs
Uptown Alley is all you could ever want: A bowling alley, arcade, restaurant and concert venue all rolled into one. Whether you're planning a children's birthday party or a night out for adults, there's plenty of fun entertainment all under one roof.
9. A Place Where You Can Feel Safe
In 2013 Infoplease ranked Surprise the eighth safest city of its size in the United States. The Surprise Police Department works hard to keep that ranking, with programs including Neighborhood Watch, Citizens Patrol and youth Explorer program to keep the community involved in crime prevention.
10. Get Ready To Go Green
Surprise is in desert country, and the community is very eco-conscious when it comes to conserving water, recycling and growing plants that don't need a lot of moisture. The city's Sustainable Surprise program offers free landscaping classes to help educate the community about saving the environment.
11. A City On The Rise
Founded in 1938 by real estate developer Homer Ludden, Surprise is now one of the 10 largest cities in Arizona. More than 30 of the state's top 50 homebuilders have built homes here, and the affordable housing prices are a big draw for families. The median age in the city is just 36!
12. You Can Take A Walk On The Wild Side
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium and Safari Park is located in nearby Litchfield Park, and offers a chance to get up close to the largest collection of exotic animals in the state. The 80-acre park is open every day year-round with plenty of animal, bird and aquatic exhibits to fascinate kids (and adults) of all ages.
13. Fun For Everyone
Dreamcatcher Park, the first facility of its kind in the state of Arizona, provides athletes with special needs a safe place to participate in sports and recreation programs. The park is barrier-free, with widened gates and a urethane-based surface offering easier accessibility for wheelchairs and walkers. The city's Adaptive Recreation program schedules sports leagues including baseball, soccer and track, as well as other events around the city like fishing, bowling and camping.
14. Watch Awesome Aircraft In Action
With its close proximity to Luke Air Force Base, residents have plenty of opportunities to observe military aircraft in practice flights. Fans attending baseball games and community events at Surprise Stadium are frequently entertained with flyovers by fighter jets.
15. The Fastest Growing School System in Arizona
The Dysart Unified School District has more than tripled in size since 2000, and offers both before and after school programs and community education services. Take your pick from the 19 elementary schools, four high schools and three special needs schools.
16. But It's Not Just For Kids
Surprise is an ideal place for seniors and retirees, with multiple active communities available like Sun City Grand, where residents enjoy lush grounds, pools, golf courses, tennis courts, on-site fitness centers, spas, restaurants and more!
17. Practically Limitless Outdoor Adventures
White Tanks Mountain Regional Park is the largest recreational park in the county, just a few minutes from Surprise and encompassing 30,000 acres with mountains over 4,000 feet. Outdoorsy types have a wide range of trails, ridges and canyons to explore on foot or mountain bike, and can even break for a picnic afterward. Or if you're feeling a bit more daring, stop by Ride Now PowerSports to pick up a pre-owned ATV and head north to traverse Castle Hot Springs Rd. near Wickenburg.
18. Load Up On Fruit As Big As Your Head
Truman Ranch II Citrus U-Pick offers more than 85 different fresh citrus varieties plus olives, blackberries, grapes, peaches and other seasonal fruits to enjoy. Don't miss out-the farm is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30am-3pm between December and early March.
19. "Dog Days" Has A Different Meaning Here
Uncle Bear's Grill and Bar takes the canine theme to a whole new level, complete with pawprint plates and fire hydrant-shaped beer taps. Leashed dogs are always welcome on the patio and the menu features "big dog bites," "doggie treats" and "hot dawgs."
20. It's Retail Heaven
Prasada is a master-planned development off Loop 303 that will be the largest regional mall in Arizona when completed, which probably won't be for a few more years. But in the meantime, get your retail fix at the Surprise Marketplace, the Surprise Towne Center or the the Sun City Grand Annual Community Garage Sale, which is always a treasure trove of unique finds.
21. You Can Kick Back At A Concert
The West Valley Symphony's Backyard Concert Series presents outdoor concerts on the lawn at the Heritage Club from October through May. Concerts include a variety of music genres from jazz and blues to Latin and swing, so there's bound to be something to get your toes tapping. Plus, it's only five bucks for admission.
22. Get Your Booty To Booty's
Booty's Wings, Burgers and Beer is a Surprise must. All of the finger-licking food is made fresh and local, and their wings are so good they've won prizes. The restaurant has live country music every Wednesday nights, and even hosts karaoke Saturdays!
23. You Can Get Cooking (And Creative) With The Kids
Surprise has multiple options for getting your kids to think creatively and have some family time too. They'll love the cookie decorating classes at Bite Me Breads & Cookies (as well as the savory breads and desserts baked fresh daily) and the Mad Platter lets everyone express their artsy side with painting pottery.
24. A Book With A View
The Maricopa County Northwest Regional Library provides the perfect setting for getting inspired or delving into a great book. The building boasts reading rooms overlooking Surprise Lake, as well as the latest in library technology, book discussions and teen writing groups.