Phoenix’s dry, warm climate is a draw for sun-lovers and winter travelers who want to escape the cold and snow. There are many cultural and historical attractions in the city, as well as shopping and dining options.
People come to Phoenix simply to enjoy the great outdoors. You can play golf in Phoenix, but there are many other activities you can do, such as hiking, biking, camping and climbing.
You might consider taking day trips to Phoenix nearby cities and tourist attractions if you plan to spend more than a few days. You can reach communities such as Sedona and Prescott easily. You can also take a trip to Grand Canyon if you are up for it.
The Phoenix Metropolitan Area includes Scottsdale, Mesa and Phoenix. It is sprawled across a vast area. Our list of top things to do in Phoenix will help you save time and plan your sightseeing ahead.
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Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden, located in Papago Park is a stunning complex that blends art and nature. The gardens are dotted with art installations, giving this space an additional dimension.
This 140-acre site is home to thousands of plants and includes examples of desert vegetation from around the globe. You can also spot butterflies and hummingbirds in the designated gardens.
There are many trails that wind around the property. You should expect to spend a lot of time walking. Spring is a great time to visit because the plants are in full bloom and come alive.
Address: 1201 North Galvin Parkway Phoenix, Arizona
Official site: www.dbg.org
Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instruments Museum is the largest museum of its type in the world. It houses a collection of over 6,800 instruments, from nearly 200 countries and territories.
Five permanent galleries are housed in a stunning building, including the Geographic Gallery, the Artists Gallery, the Mechanical Music Gallery, the STEM Gallery and the Experience Gallery. You can also play some instruments here. In the Conservation Lab, you can see master craftsmen restoring instruments.
Special traveling exhibits are featured at the museum. Signature Events showcase instruments and live music from around the globe. The facility has a 300-seat theatre that hosts concerts.
Address: 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix, Arizona
Official Site: mim.org
Taliesin West, located in Scottsdale was the winter home of the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is located in this location, which is at the foothills of McDowell Mountains.
Even if your interest in architecture is minimal, you will find this worthwhile addition to your Phoenix itinerary. These tours provide detailed information about Wright’s life, school, and architecture.
These buildings were built from native materials like redwood and rubblestone by Wright and his apprentices between 1937 and 1959. Taliesin still has a school of architecture and you can see students in the main drafting room.
Address: 12345 North Taliesin Drive Scottsdale, Arizona
Hiking trails around Phoenix
Are you looking for outdoor activities? Walking through the desert can be a great way to spend an afternoon or a whole day. Phoenix has a wide range of trails that are suitable for all levels of hikers.
There are trails that are for the more adventurous hikers, such as the hike up Camelback Mountains. At the other end are shorter, easier trails that are perfect for nature lovers and birders. These trails can be found at Papago Park and the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead.
Mormon Trail, Pinnacle peak are somewhere in the middle. These offer beautiful views and a little challenge.
The Heard Museum, Phoenix, dates back to 1929 and is dedicated to the culture and art of the Southwest Indian peoples. The Heard is known for its extraordinary displays of basketwork and pottery, as well as jewelry, textiles, and a large selection of kachina dolls.
The museum’s outdoor courtyards and exhibit galleries feature contemporary and traditional Native American art. Families will find this a wonderful place to learn about Native history and view traditional arts.
You can also take a tour of the museum’s garden from outside. A very nice outdoor cafe is also available with seating in the courtyard and special menus to match the featured exhibit.
Address: 2301 North Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona
Official site: http://heard.org/
Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale is a great place to go for fun and unique. Shops with unique trinkets and other products are located in buildings that have covered walkways in Western style. They are primarily targeted at tourists.
You’ll find some of the best galleries in the city, featuring stunning work by well-known artists just a few blocks away from the quirky shops. Downtown Scottsdale is fun to visit and enjoy.
Old Town is home to many restaurants. Some have lovely patio seating that’s perfect for people watching. It is easy to walk around the area, located at the intersection East Main Street and North Scottsdale Road.
Two-hour Scottsdale Segway Tour is a fun way to see the sights and take in the surrounding area. You will be taken along the waterfront past historic sites and through Old Town.
South Mountain Park
South Mountain Park/Preserve is a Phoenix city park that covers over 16,000 acres. You can enjoy hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking on the miles of trails that run through the park. The Mormon Trail is one of the most well-known trails.
The views from the rooftops of the desert and the city beyond are breathtaking. For a spectacular view of the city lights at night, visit Phoenix after dark if you’re looking for activities in Phoenix.
Mount Suppoa is the highest point of the park at 2,690ft. Dobbins Lookout is 2,330ft.
Address: 10919 South Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona
Official site: www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south-mountain
Papago Park is located in the southeast corner of the city. This park is great for anyone looking for fun activities in Phoenix. You can enjoy hiking the extensive trails and scrambling up red rocks to reach the top of the park.
It is a popular spot to take a stroll, especially in the morning before it gets too hot. You’ll also see Phoenix residents taking full advantage this urban oasis.
There are many trails in the park, but the most popular are the Elliot Ramada trail and the Double Butte Loop Trail . These trails lead you to strange rock outcroppings, which are a major feature of the park. Sometimes you might see wildlife, mostly rabbits, but sometimes bighorn sheep.
The Phoenix Zoo, and the Desert Botanical Garden are also located in Papago Park.
Official website: https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/papago-park
Address: 625 North Galvin Parkway Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum houses a permanent collection that includes art from the European Renaissance, Baroque period and Far East. It also features contemporary and modern works, fashion design, live performance, and films.
Its 203,000 square-foot building, which has a classically modern look, is an art piece in itself. It was designed by New York architects Tod Williams/Billie Tsien & Associates and expanded by them by 2006. It combines art and architecture with the southwestern environment.
The museum was founded in 1959. It has grown to be one of the most prominent art museums in the American Southwest. This is a reflection of the community’s commitment.
Address: 1625 North Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona
Official site: www.phxart.org
The Phoenix Zoo has more than 1,400 animals including many endangered species. It is most well-known for its Sumatran Tigers and Orangutans.
There are four trails that lead through the facility: the Africa Trail (Tropics Trail), Arizona Trail (Children’s Trail), and the Tropics Trail (Arizona Trail). You can also find children’s events and splash pads at the zoo. So bring your towels and bathing suits.
The best part about any visit to the Phoenix Zoo is animal encounters. As your children walk through the Monkey Village, you will be taking pictures of monkeys swinging in front of you.
Red Barn is another place that will make you squeal with delight. The Red Barn is a petting zoo that has goats, sheep, horses and other animals who are happy to interact with children. You can also enjoy the Stingray Bay encounter and gentle giraffe encounters, as well as the popular camel rides.
You can also experience the film in 4D with water, smells and wind effects. This indoor experience is great for when it is too hot outside. You can take a ride on an Endangered Animals carousel if you are tired of all the animals. Each animal is unique.
Address: 455 North Galvin Parkway Phoenix, Arizona
Official site: https://www.phoenixzoo.org/
It may seem strange to have a huge aquarium in the middle a deserted landscape, but it is actually incredibly educational and enjoyable. At 200,000 square feet, the OdySea aquarium is Arizona’s largest and most popular. It allows you to escape the desert environment and enter a water-based world.
Follow the path through the facility and around every corner to find new exhibits and three different touch pool. It is a metaphor that you are a raindrop, falling from the sky into freshwater. Then you travel through rivers and streams to reach the ocean. From start to finish, there are more than 70 exhibits, many interactive.
There are over 6,000 aquatic animals here, including penguins, sharks, stingrays and octopuses. Along with tropical birds, the Odysea also has a sloth.
There are many educational shows that take place in the facility. One of the most memorable is a presentation that makes you feel like you’re in a submarine. You can also experience helmet diving, where you dive into a pool of fish wearing a special diving suit. Or you can interact with penguins.
Address: 9500 E Via De Ventura, Scottsdale, Arizona
Official site: https://www.odyseaaquarium.com/
Arizona Science Center
Arizona Science Center features hundreds of interactive exhibits, all in seven galleries. Each gallery has a different theme. A IMAX theatre and a 200-seat planetarium are also available on site. This is a great thing to do with your family in Phoenix, especially on days when the weather isn’t cooperating.
Six signature events are held by the Science Center throughout the year: Weird Science Halloween, Science with a Twist, and Snow Week. This is where Science Park Hill becomes a mountain covered in white with 75 tons real snow.
Address: 600 East Washington Street in Phoenix, Arizona
Official site: www.azscience.org
Arizona State Capitol Museum
The old State Capitol is set amongst beautiful gardens. It was built in 1900 and served as the seat of government from 1904 to 1974. This impressive state building now serves as a museum that focuses on Arizona’s history.
There are four floors of exhibits. One of the most popular displays is the Arizona flag made from 113,998 Lego bricks. Each Lego brick is one mile.
The Arizona Takes Shape exhibit and the USS Arizona exhibit are other notable highlights.
You can find a lot of thought-provoking experiences at the Capitol Mall or Wesley Bolin Plaza memorial monuments.
Address: 1700 West Washington Street in Phoenix, Arizona
Official site: https://azlibrary.gov/azcm
North Mountain & Shaw Butte
North Mountain Preserve has many hiking trails. It is a popular recreation area. North Mountain is 2,104 feet high, while Shaw Butte, which is 2,149 feet tall, is the highest mountain in the preserve. These mountains together are a distinctive feature of Phoenix.
There are more difficult trails that lead to the summit of the preserve, but there are easier ones for all abilities. It is a wonderful way to see the local fauna and flora, as well as many species of plants, such as the saguaro Cactus.
Stop by the North Mountain Visitors Center for the most recent updates, information on local history, and to refill your water bottles.
Address: 12950 North 7th Street Phoenix, Arizona
Enjoy the Rides at Castles & Coasters
Coasters N Castles is a great family outing. This 10-acre park features mini golf, roller coasters and water rides. You’re sure to find something for everyone, no matter what age.
The double-looped Desert Storm rollercoaster is the most intense. Skydiver is a less terrifying but still thrilling ride that allows you to free fall from 120 feet above the ground. Stranger Stuff Fun House offers something completely different. You can take the Splashdown log flume waterride if the Phoenix heat is getting you down.
You can still find energy by going to the Indy Carts and racing against your friends or playing a crazy game of mini-golf. You can always go back to the bumper cars, the Sea Dragon ride or the XD Dark Ride if you want to keep going.
Address: 9445 North Metro Parkway East, Phoenix, Arizona
Official site: https://www.castlesncoasters.com/