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50 Things To Do In Phoenix

Set at the heart of the Valley of the Sun within the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix is blessed with year-round warm weather.

Spanning more than 500 square miles, with nearly 200 city parks and 200 miles of trails, Phoenix offers something for all kinds of outdoor recreationists and nature lovers.

Yes, the desert heat can be unforgiving (especially during the summer), and temps can reach up to 120 degrees easily, but that’s a fairly small price to pay for all of Phoenix’s great desert scenery!

But there’s a lot more to Phoenix than just miles and miles of desert and mountains.

Phoenix is home to a wide variety of art galleries, museums and theatres. Phoenix also has a unique albeit underrated music scene that features just about every type of music.

If you’re more of a foodie than an outdoorsy and/or artsy tourist, Phoenix is well-known for having some of the most authentic Mexican food north of Tijuana!

Thinking of going on that long-overdue Phoenix getaway? Check out this list of 50 things to do in Phoenix!

50 Things to do in Phoenix

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Visit Camelback Mountain

What’s special about this place?

Camelback Mountain is a popular natural landmark located between Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood and the town of Paradise Valley.

Named for its two summits resembling the hump and head of a kneeling camel, Camelback Mountain features two moderate to difficult hiking trails.

It has the highest peak in all of Phoenix at 2,704 feet, and is regarded as somewhat of a rite of passage for nature lovers living in or visiting Phoenix.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Camelback Mountain is Phoenix’s best-known natural landmark. That said, it’s ideal for nature lovers, experienced hikers, rock climbers, and avid outdoor enthusiasts.

First time climbers and hikers might find the trails in Camelback Mountain to be quite difficult, but with the right guide and with proper preparation, a trip here is one of the most fulfilling outdoor experiences in Phoenix!

What to do here?

It’s vital to bring enough water and sun protection, as well as the proper hiking/climbing gear. Take one of the two scenic trails in Camelback Mountain.

The Cholla trail (at 1.4 miles) is longer, while the Echo Canyon (at 1.14 miles) trail is steeper. Make sure to have your camera ready, as both trails feature breathtaking views and the mountain is home to a variety of wildlife!

Best time to visit

Phoenix summer temperatures regularly climb to 110 degrees and above, so it’s best to climb Camelback Mountain during the late fall, winter, and early spring months.

That said, regardless of the season, make sure to bring enough water and sun protection on your hike!

Explore the Phoenix Art Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1625 N Central Ave, the Phoenix Art Museum is a 285,000 square feet art museum.

Considered the largest art museum in the southwestern United States, the Phoenix Art Museum is home to a collection of more than 20,000 objects from all over the world!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Phoenix Art Museum is ideal for families, artists, art lovers, and tourists looking for an artistic and highly educational getaway at the heart of Phoenix’s bustling desert metropolis!

What to do here?

Explore the Phoenix Art Museum. Check out some of the museum’s special exhibitions as well as some of the pieces in the museum’s permanent collection. Stop by the museum’s famous Thorne Rooms, 1:12 scale replications of rooms found in America and Europe.

Don’t forget to check out the museum’s unique Fashion Design collection, and the Yayoi Kusama installation!

Best time to visit

The Phoenix Art Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. 10 AM to 7 PM on Wednesdays, and 10 AM to 5 PM the rest of the week. To avoid large crowds, it’s best to visit the museum on Thursdays and Fridays.

Learn more about the Phoenix Art Museum here!

Spend a day at Castles N’ Coasters

What’s special about this place?

Located at 9445 N Metro Pkwy E, Castles N’ Coasters is a 10-acre amusement park. The amusement park features 20 rides and attractions, 4-18-hole mini golf courses, over 150 arcade and pinball games, and a variety of concession stands.

While fairly small, Castles N’ Coasters is regarded as a Phoenix institution, and is loved by locals and tourists alike!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

While fairly small at 10 acres, Castles N’ Coasters is jam-packed with thrill seeking attractions. A trip to Castles N’ Coasters is ideal for families, thrill seekers of all ages, and tourists traveling with children.

What to do here?

Tour Castles N’ Coasters. Check out all of the park’s attractions. Go golfing at the amusement park’s famous outdoor miniature golf courses. Try some of the park’s thrill rides, such as the Magic Carpet and the Skydiver.

Join your kids at the go-kart track, and don’t forget to take pictures!

Best time to visit

Castles N’ Coasters is open daily, from 10 AM to 10 PM. If you want to avoid large crowds, it’s best to visit the amusement park on weekdays. That said, as it is one of Phoenix’s most popular attractions, expect it to be at least a little busy at all times.

Learn more about Castles N’ Coasters here!

Go on a Papago Park adventure

What’s special about this place?

Located at 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Papago Park is a municipal park of the cities of Phoenix and Tempe. Spanning 1,200 acres, the park is a hilly desert park with a number of notable attractions, some of which are mentioned separately on this list.

Papago Park features a variety of hiking trails, bicycle paths, baseball and softball fields, golf courses, and the famous Hunt’s Tomb!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Considered one of the best outdoor destinations in Arizona, a trip to Papago Park is ideal for families, nature lovers, avid hikers, and outdoor recreationists of all types and ages.

What to do here?

Have your outdoor gear and camera ready, and go on a Papago Park adventure.

Shoot a bow and arrow here! Explore some of its trails. The trails in Papago Park are typically smooth with little elevation gain, making them ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. Check out the famous Hunt’s Tomb, and go fishing at the Papago Ponds!

Best time to visit

Papago Park is open daily, from 5 AM to 11 PM. Typically busier in the morning, it’s best to visit the park late in the afternoon. This way, the desert park is nice and cool, and you get to catch one of the best sunsets in Phoenix!

Visit the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

What’s special about this place?

Located at 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd in Scottsdale, just 13 miles northeast of Phoenix, Taliesin West was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and desert laboratory from 1937 until his death in 1959.

An architectural treasure and a designated National Historic Landmark, Taliesin West serves to this day as the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the winter home for the School of Architecture at Taliesin.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A tour within the Taliesin West complex is ideal for architects, architecture enthusiasts, fans of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, and tourists who want to learn about Frank Lloyd Wright and his legacy.

What to do here?

Take a tour through the whole Taliesin West complex. Visit Wright’s private quarters and living room, as well as Taliesin West’s Garden Room and Drafting Studio. Check out the works of the school’s students, and take part in some of Taliesin West’s events, such as its Sunsets and Sips series.

Best time to visit

Taliesin West is open for tours Thursday through Monday, from 9 AM to 4 PM.

At the moment, the complex can only accommodate a limited number of guests due to COVID. It’s best to book a tour at least a month ahead of time to ensure you get a slot!

Learn more about Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West here!

Bond with the animals at Phoenix Zoo

What’s special about this place?

Located at 455 N Galvin Pkwy within Papago Park, the Phoenix Zoo is a 125-acre non-profit zoo.

The Phoenix Zoo has over 1,400 animals on display, and features four major trails for guests to explore: the Africa Trail, the Arizona Trail, the Tropics Trail, and the Children’s Trail.

A designated Phoenix Point of Pride, the Phoenix Zoo is dedicated to advancing the stewardship and conservation of animals and their habitats.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Phoenix Zoo is ideal for families, nature lovers, wildlife conservationists, and tourists looking to learn about Arizona’s diverse native wildlife.

As it contains 2.5 miles of walking trails, and is within Papago Park, a trip to the Phoenix Zoo is also ideal for avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

What to do here?

Get your camera ready and explore the Phoenix Zoo.

Check out the zoo’s four major trails. Observe hamadryas baboons, ostriches, and lions at the Africa Trail. Check out coyotes and golden eagles at the Arizona Trail. Check out orangutans, Asian elephants, and jaguars at the zoo’s Tropics Trail.

Lastly, interact with small animals from around the world at the zoo’s Children’s Trail!

Best time to visit

The Phoenix Zoo is open daily, from 9 AM to 5 PM. To avoid large crowds, it’s best to visit the zoo on weekdays. It is also ideal to visit the zoo late in the afternoon to avoid the desert heat!

Learn more about Phoenix Zoo here!

Learn about American Indian art and culture at the Heard Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2301 N Central Ave, the Heard Museum is private, non-profit museum. The museum is dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art while emphasizing its intersection with broader artistic and cultural themes.

The Heard Museum’s current collection consists of over 40,000 objects including a library and archives with over 34,000 volumes!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Heard Museum is ideal for families, artists, art enthusiasts, aspiring anthropologists, American history nerds, and tourists of all ages who are eager to learn about American Indian art.

What to do here?

Explore Heard Museum’s gallery. Check out the museum’s current exhibits, such as the Grand Procession exhibit that features an exceptional collection of dolls created by American Indian artists.

Check out some of the museum’s cultural collections, such as Navajo and Zuni jewelry, Southwestern ceramics from prehistory to the present, and Hopi katsina dolls!

Best time to visit

The Heard Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 AM to 4 PM. The museum is usually a little busy around noon, so it’s best to visit the museum around 10 AM or around 2 PM to avoid large crowds!

Learn more about the Heard Museum here!

Explore Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1201 N Galvin Pkwy within Papago Park, Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden is a 140-acre botanical garden.

The garden showcases over 50,000 plant displays that include 485 rare and endangered plant species! It is one of only 24 botanical gardens accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Desert Botanical Garden is ideal for families, nature lovers, horticulturists with a keen interest in desert plants, and tourists who want to learn about the diversity of desert plant life in the Sonoran Desert.

As the garden also hosts private events such as weddings, a trip here is ideal for those looking for a desert venue for private gatherings!

What to do here?

Explore the Desert Botanical Gardens. Check out the garden’s current exhibits. Take a closer look at Monarch butterflies (important desert pollinators!) at the garden’s Mighty Monarchs exhibit.

Walk among thousands of species of cacti, trees and flowers from all around the world, and don’t forget to take pictures!

Best time to visit

The Desert Botanical Garden is open daily, from 8 AM to 8 PM. It’s best to visit the garden late in the afternoon, around 3 PM onwards, to avoid the harsh desert heat. Moreover, the garden is one of the best places for watching sunsets in Phoenix!

Learn more about Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden here!

Learn about instruments from all over the world at the Musical Instrument Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 4725 E Mayo Blvd, the Musical Instrument Museum is a museum that focuses on musical instruments played by people all over the world.

Housing a collection of more than 8,000 instruments from more than 200 world countries, it is the largest museum of its kind.

On top of its unique collection of instruments, the museum also has a 299-seat theater for a wide variety of concerts!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Musical Instrument Museum is a sure treat for families, musicians, music lovers, aspiring anthropologists, and casual tourists looking to learn more about the music and culture of countries that aren’t their own!

What to do here?

Tour the 200,000 square feet museum. Stop by its unique galleries, such as the museum’s Geographic Galleries, which focus on major world regions: Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, Latin America, Europe, and North America.

Check out the museum’s Artist Gallery, which highlights historic instruments played by icons such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash! Lastly, try catching a concert at the museum’s music theater!

Best time to visit

The Musical Instrument Museum is open daily, from 9 AM to 5 PM. To avoid large crowds, it’s best to visit the museum on weekdays.

That said, if you plan on attending a concert, it’s best to purchase a ticket ahead of time to make sure you get a seat!

Learn more about the Musical Instrument Museum here!

Beat the Arizona heat at Big Surf

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1500 N McClintock Drive in Tempe, just over 11 miles east of Phoenix, Big Surf is an iconic waterpark in the Arizona area.

Having opened in 1969, Big Surf boasts the oldest wave pool in the United States, and features a variety of slides and kid-friendly zones.

More than just a waterpark, Big Surf occasionally hosts concerts, and has hosted concerts from the likes of Pink Floyd and the Beach Boys!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Big Surf waterpark is ideal for families, tourists traveling with children, and tourists looking for a “beach experience” as well as a reprieve from the harsh Sonoran Desert sun.

A trip here is a great way to pass the time on those hotter Arizona days!

What to do here?

Check out the water park’s most iconic attraction—the Waikiki Beach wave pool, and ride the waves at America’s first inland surfing facility.

For thrill seekers, plunge down the water park’s Hurricane Slides and Tornado Twisters. For a more kid-friendly experience, lounge around at the water park’s Bora Bora Bay!

Best time to visit

As of this writing, the Big Surf waterpark hours may vary due to COVID.

It’s best to check their website for their schedule. That said, on days when they’re open, they’re usually open from 10 AM to 6 PM.

There really isn’t a bad time to visit the waterpark, but it’s especially great during hot summer days! Expect the waterpark to be quite crowded, though.

Learn more about Big Surf here!

Visit the famous Wrigley Mansion

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2501 E Telawa Trail, Wrigley Mansion is a historic mansion built by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.

Originally built in 1932 as a 50th-anniversary gift to Wrigley’s wife, Ada, the mansion has since had extensive renovations, and functions today as a premier fine dining and special event venue!

Wrigley Mansion offers tours, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. The mansion also features a spectacular wine cellar!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Boasting some of the most breathtaking views in Phoenix, Wrigley Mansion is ideal for families, tourists looking for a nice place for a date or a private dinner/gathering, and tourists just looking for an elevated dining experience within Phoenix!

What to do here?

Book a tour through the historic Wrigley Mansion. Take a walk around the building and check out the desert mountain scenery. Have a nice lunch or dinner paired with some of the finest wines at the Wrigley Mansion’s award-winning restaurants.

Don’t forget to catch the sunset here, and take pictures!

Best time to visit

Wrigley Mansion is open Wednesday through Sunday. 3 PM to 9 PM on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 AM to 9 PM on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10 AM to 2 PM on Sundays.

While not necessarily required, it’s best to make a reservation way ahead of time, as tours may be affected by private events!

Learn more about the Wrigley Mansion here!

Get your authentic Mexican food fix at Phoenix’s Bacanora

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1301 NW Grand Ave Unit 1 within the Desert Sun Plaza, Bacanora is a contemporary Mexican restaurant that specializes in wood-fired Sonoran comfort food.

While the restaurant keeps a fairly modest menu, the food and cocktails are top notch. Since its inception, Bacanora has been in every local foodie’s list of the best restaurants in Phoenix!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Bacanora is ideal for families, foodies of all ages, and tourists craving for authentic North Mexican cuisine.

As Bacanora has a great selection of cocktails that heavily feature high quality Mezcal, Bacanora is also an ideal drinking place—an oasis in the middle of the desert city!

What to do here?

We don’t usually say this, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on Bacanora’s menu.

For appetizers, try their famous Elote. For your mains, try their Pollo Asado and Burrito. Don’t forget to order a side of tostadas or tortillas, and pair everything with some of Bacanora’s signature cocktails!

Best time to visit

Bacanora is open Wednesday through Sunday. 5 PM to 10 PM Wednesday through Saturday, and 11 AM to 3 PM on Sundays.

There’s really no bad time to have authentic Mexican food, but if you want to avoid a long wait, it’s best to stop by Bacanora at least half an hour before they open!

Learn more about Bacanora here!

Visit the Phoenix Bat Cave

What’s special about this place?

Located at 3698-3694 E Colter St, at the northernmost end of the Arizona Canal Trail within Phoenix’s Paradise Valley suburb, the Phoenix Bat Cave is a popular tourist attraction.

While not really a natural cave, the Phoenix Bat Cave is an abandoned concrete storm drain tunnel that is home to thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats.

Thousands of bats have made the tunnel their home during the summer months, when the bats migrate south to Mexico.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Phoenix Bat Cave is ideal for nature lovers, bat enthusiasts, and tourists who want to observe one of the most beautiful displays of adaptation in the modern age.

While it’s true that this would not be possible without the destruction of their natural homes, it’s comforting to know that animals can make use of abandoned man-made structures to survive.

What to do here?

Walk north west from 40th Street and Camelback on the northernmost end of the Arizona Canal Trail. The parking area can easily be found on Google Maps.

Once you’re there, it should be easy to find the tunnel. Get your binoculars and camera ready, and wait ‘til sunset to watch the bats fly out of the tunnel!

Best time to visit

As mentioned above, it’s best to visit the Phoenix Bat Cave late in the afternoon, around 5:30 PM to 6 PM. This way, you get to watch the sunset, and see the Mexican free-tailed bats as they fly out of the tunnel!

Go clubbing at Phoenix’s Monarch Theatre

What’s special about this place?

Located at 122 E Washington St, the Monarch Theatre is a popular night club that regularly hosts both local and international acts.

While known primarily as an electronic music venue, the Monarch Theatre occasionally hosts live acts, classic hip hop events, Latin Banda nights, and even fashion events!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Monarch Theatre is ideal for tourists looking for a nice place for dancing and drinking and mingling with Phoenicians.

While not necessarily as fancy as some of the clubs in nearby areas, the Monarch Theatre does have an excellent sound system, and is one of the best places to go to for some EDM and deep house.

What to do here?

Dance the night away at the Monarch Theatre’s dance floor. Check out some of Phoenix’s best local DJ’s, and try some of the club’s signature drinks. Try to strike up a conversation with some of the local patrons.

If you’re not really into the clubbing scene, check out some of the live acts at the Monarch Theatre!

Best time to visit

As of this writing, the Monarch Theatre is open Fridays and Saturdays. 9:30 PM to 3 AM on Fridays, and 9:30 PM to 2:30 AM on Saturdays. It’s best to get there at least an hour before the club opens to avoid long lines!

Learn more about the Monarch Theatre here!

Explore the Arizona Museum of Natural History

What’s special about this place?

Located at 53 N Macdonald in Mesa, 19 miles east of Phoenix, the Arizona Museum of Natural History is a 74,000 square feet natural history museum.

The museum features a variety of exhibits, such as a recreation of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine and a three-story indoor waterfall. The museum also has a Paleontology and Archaeology section.

The museum is the only natural history museum within the greater Phoenix area.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Arizona Museum of Natural History is ideal for families, natural history enthusiasts, aspiring anthropologists and archaeologists, and tourists looking to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Southwestern United States.

What to do here?

Explore the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Check out the museum’s half hourly flash flood exhibit. Check out the museum’s Hohokam Material Culture Collection that features Hohokam ceramics, jewelry and lithics.

Don’t forget to check out the museum’s Dinosaur Hall that features dinosaur fossils and life size dinosaur replicas!

Best time to visit

The Arizona Museum of Natural History is open Tuesday through Sunday. 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and 12 PM to 5 PM on Sundays. To avoid large crowds, it’s best to visit the museum on weekdays!

Learn more about the Arizona Museum of Natural History here!

Go hiking at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2701 E Squaw Peak Drive, the Phoenix Mountains Preserve is a series of parks located in the Phoenix Mountains.

The Phoenix Mountains Preserve include Lookout Mountain Preserve, Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain Park, Papago Park, North Mountain and Shaw Butte Preserves, and the Phoenix Sonoran Reserve.

The large preserve features extensive hiking trails and breathtaking desert mountain scenery!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Phoenix Mountains Preserve is ideal for families, outdoor enthusiasts, hikers of all levels, nature lovers, desert wildlife enthusiasts, birders, and tourists looking to get a comprehensive look at Phoenix’s natural wonders.

A trip to even just one of the parks within the Phoenix Mountains Preserve is already worth the whole trip to Phoenix!

What to do here?

Go hiking at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve’s hiking trails. Spend a day picnicking at the parks’ picnic areas. Enjoy the view of the Sonoran Desert from the peaks of the preserve.

Bring a camera and a pair of binoculars, and check out the area’s diverse plant and animal life!

Best time to visit

The Phoenix Mountains Preserve is open daily, from 5 AM to 7 PM. The best time to explore the preserve would be early in the morning, around 5 AM to 9 AM, and late in the afternoon, 4 PM onwards.

That said, dress for the desert heat and always bring enough water for your trip!

Take a tour through the Goldfield Ghost Town

What’s special about this place?

Located at 4650 N Mammoth Mine Road within Apache Junction, just a little over 40 miles east of Phoenix, the Goldfield Ghost Town is an old abandoned mining town that has been refurbished as a tourist attraction.

The Goldfield Ghost Town features a variety of attractions, such as a narrow-gauge railroad, an abandoned goldmine, a shooting gallery, and a reptile exhibit!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Goldfield Ghost Town is ideal for families, American history nerds (especially those interested in the history of the gold mines in the southwest), and tourists looking to step into an older, harsher and wilder Arizona.

What to do here?

Get your camera ready and explore the Goldfield Ghost Town. Take a guided tour through the Goldfield Mine and learn about the history of the old mining town.

If you’re into a bit of off-roading, take part in the Apache Trail Tours. Take a ride at the Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad. Check out the Superstition Reptile Exhibit. Stop by Lu Lu’s Bordello and learn about the lives of women in the 1800’s!

Best time to visit

The Goldfield Ghost Town is open daily, from 10 AM to 5 PM. It’s best to book a tour through the town during non-summer months, as temperatures can reach extreme highs.

That said, as with most outdoor attractions on this list, dress appropriately for the desert heat and don’t forget to hydrate!

Learn more about the Goldfield Ghost Town here!

Try authentic Native American food at Fry Bread House

What’s special about this place?

Located at 4545 N 7th Ave, Fry Bread House is an award-winning Native American restaurant.  Fry Bread House serves authentic, Tohono O’odham, Indian fry bread as well as traditional Tohono O’odham food.

A popular lunch spot, Fry Bread House is the first Native American restaurant to win a James Beard American Classics award.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Fry Bread House is a must-visit for foodies, Native American history nerds, families, and tourists looking for a unique lunch spot in Phoenix that’s not the typical Mexican/Sonoran fare that Phoenix is more known for.

What to do here?

Try Fry Bread House’s bestsellers. For newbies, try their Plain Frybread first. Then, try Fry Bread House’s famous Indian Taco and Chili Beef Taco. If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, their Vegetarian Tamale is particularly good!

Best time to visit

Fry Bread House is open Monday through Saturday, from 10:30 AM to 7 PM. It’s best to visit on weekdays to avoid large crowds. That said, there’s usually no wait and people typically spend less than an hour here, or get their food to go!

Visit Phoenix’s Mystery Castle

What’s special about this place?

Located at 800 E Mineral Road, Mystery Castle is a stone castle single-handedly built by Boyce Luther Gulley over a 15-year period.

Gulley started building the castle 3 years after he abandoned his family when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis—a death sentence at the time. After finishing the house, Gulley wrote his family, revealed his illness to them, and told them to come visit him.

Unfortunately, he passed before his family arrived in Phoenix.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A trip to Phoenix’s Mystery Castle is ideal for families and tourists looking for a quirky little adventure located mere minutes from Phoenix’s bustling metro.

Moreover, while not necessarily an architectural treasure, its story alone makes it an ideal trip for architects and architecture enthusiasts.

What to do here?

Take a guided tour through the Mystery Castle. Check out the variety of recycled materials used for its construction. Explore all of the castle’s 18 rooms. Don’t forget to bring your camera and take pictures!

Best time to visit

Mystery Castle is open from October through May. During those months, tours are offered Thursday through Sunday, from 11 AM to 3:30 PM. It’s best to book a tour ahead of time to make sure you get a slot!

Learn more about Mystery Castle here!

Unwind at the Crescent Ballroom

What’s special about this place?

Located at 308 N 2nd Ave, Crescent Ballroom is a mid-sized live music venue. It has a capacity of 550 people, and features live music daily.

While primarily a live music venue, Crescent Ballroom features a lounge with full bar service, and a kitchen that serves Arizona cooking from scratch with homemade recipes and vegetarian/vegan options!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Crescent Ballroom is ideal for tourists looking to relax, have a quick bite and a few drinks, and listen to some live music. The Crescent Ballroom is one of the many iconic oases within Phoenix.

What to do here?

Relax and enjoy some live music at the Crescent Ballroom. Stop by their lounge and unwind with some of their signature cocktails. Try the tacos and the vegan tostadas at the Crescent Ballroom’s Cocina 10 kitchen.

Best time to visit

The Crescent Ballroom is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 4 PM to 2 AM; although, the Crescent Ballroom lounge and Cocina 10 are open daily.

The best time to check out Crescent Ballroom largely depends on your itinerary, but if you’re planning to catch a live performance, it’s best to purchase your ticket ahead of time.

Learn more about the Crescent Ballroom here!

Explore South Mountain Park and Preserve

What’s special about this place?

Located at 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix’s South Mountain Park and Preserve is a 16,283-acre municipal park and nature preserve. It is among the largest urban parks in North America.

The preserve features over 58 miles of trails, as well as spectacular views of downtown Phoenix and Camelback Mountain!

Some attractions within South Mountain Park are mentioned separately on this list.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

South Mountain Park is a must-visit for families, avid hikers of all levels, outdoor enthusiasts, and adventurous tourists looking to get into that Phoenician outdoor spirit.

Along with Camelback Mountain and the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, South Mountain Park offers some of the best hikes in Phoenix!

What to do here?

Explore South Mountain Park. Go hiking, horseback riding, and/or mountain biking at the preserve’s trails.

Make sure to visit Dobbins Lookout, the highest accessible point in the park, and check out the stunning, panoramic views of downtown Phoenix!

Best time to visit

South Mountain Park is open daily, from 5 AM to 7 PM. That said, while the gated entrances close at 7 PM, trails do remain open until 11 PM.

It’s ideal to visit the preserve during non-summer months, ideally early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to avoid the scorching heat.

Watch an MLB game at Chase Field

What’s special about this place?

Located at 401 E Jefferson St in downtown Phoenix, Chase Field is a retractable roof baseball stadium. The stadium has a capacity of 48,633, and is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

While it primarily hosts professional baseball games, the stadium occasionally hosts concerts and international soccer games.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Chase Field is ideal for families, baseball fans (especially those who follow the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise), and tourists who casually enjoy watching sports events and want to take in Phoenix’s local sports culture.

As the stadium has a retractable roof that prevents the field from overheating, catching a game here is a great way to pass the time during those hot summer days.

What to do here?

Tour Chase Field. Grab some cold beer and popcorn and watch an MLB game or two. While you’re at it, check out some Arizona Diamondbacks merchandise at the Chase Field’s D-backs Team Shop!

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Chase Field largely depends on your itinerary, and the schedule of Arizona Diamondbacks’ baseball games. It’s best to check the team’s website for a full schedule so you can plan your trip accordingly!

Check out the Children’s Museum of Phoenix

What’s special about this place?

Located at 215 N 7th St, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a 48,000-square-foot children’s museum.

Offering more than 300 play experiences spread throughout three floors, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is rated as one of the top three children’s museums in the country!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Designed for children up to the age of 10, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is ideal for families and tourists traveling with toddlers.

The museum offers a great way for children to learn and engage their curiosity, while giving their accompanying adults a chance to relax and just let the kids loose!

What to do here?

Explore the museum’s three floors. Check out the museum’s rotating exhibits and experiences. Check out the museum’s Art Studio and join your children as they engage in a variety of hands-on art activities.

Join your kids as they navigate through the museum’s Noodle Forest, or enjoy just watching them explore the forest!

Best time to visit

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is open daily, from 9 AM to 4 PM. While the museum is usually a little busy at all times, it’s best to visit the museum on weekdays!

Do some intense kart racing at Octane Raceway

What’s special about this place?

Located at 9119 E Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale, Octane Raceway is an indoor/outdoor Kart Racing facility. It is the only full time indoor/outdoor track in the United States, and is open all year round for public and private events.

Octane has hosted a number of celebrity guests including Nascar racers Rusty, Mike and Kenny Wallace! While primarily a kart racing venue, Octane Racing also offers an immersive VR gaming experience powered by Zero Latency!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Octane Raceway is a must-visit for families, thrill seekers, gamers of all levels, and tourists who want to try their hand at kart racing and VR gaming.

Octane Raceway offers a great way for tourists to get active while not taking punishment from the Arizona heat! It is important to note that you have to be at least 16 years of age and at least 4’6” tall to race.

What to do here?

Go kart racing at Octane Raceway and get the ultimate adrenaline rush! If you’re more of a gamer than a racer, step into different worlds with Octane Raceway’s immersive Velocity VR! Shoot some zombies in Zombie Outbreak Origins, and fight pirates in Far Cry VR!

Best time to visit

Octane Raceway is open daily. 11 AM to 10 PM Monday through Thursday, 11 AM to 12 AM on Fridays, 10 AM to 12 AM on Saturdays, and 10 AM to 7 PM on Sundays. It’s best to visit Octane Raceway on weekdays to avoid a long wait!

Learn more about Octane Raceway here!

Explore the iconic Tovrea Castle

What’s special about this place?

Located at 5025 E Van Buren St, Tovrea Castle is a four-story, 5,0000-square-foot landmark.

Affectionately referred to by locals as “The Wedding Cake,” Tovrea Castle is a three-tiered building perched on top of a hill, with over 44 acres of cactus gardens and undisturbed Sonoran Desert flora cascading from it.

It is a designated Phoenix Point of Pride, and tours within the site often sell out months in advance!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A trip to Tovrea Castle is ideal for families, architects, architecture enthusiasts, nature lovers, cacti and desert flora enthusiasts, and tourists looking to tour a uniquely structured architectural treasure built in the 1920’s!

What to do here?

Take a Docent-led tour through Tovrea Castle. Take pictures of Tovrea Castle’s main floor and basement. Check out over 100 different varieties of cacti in the Cactus Gardens, and check out the diverse desert flora present in the site!

Best time to visit

As of this writing, Tovrea Castle is temporarily closed due to COVID. That said, as tours sell out extremely fast, it’s best to book a tour here at least a few months in advance to make sure you get a slot!

Learn more about Tovrea Castle here!

Visit Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 4619 E Washington St, Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is an archaeological site once inhabited by the Hohokam people.

The site features a museum with three galleries, a hands-on children’s gallery, and a fully accessible 2/3-mile trail that takes guests through a prehistoric Hohokam archaeological site with a platform mound, a ball court, and replicated houses.

It is the largest preserved archaeological site in Phoenix.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is ideal for families, Native American history nerds, aspiring anthropologists and archaeologists, and tourists looking to explore and learn about Phoenix’s rich pre-Columbian history.

What to do here?

Explore the Pueblo Grande ruins and learn about Phoenix’s pre-Columbian history.

Check out the museum within the site and explore the different galleries displaying various Hohokam artifacts. Walk through the site’s 2/3-mile trail and check out the ruins’ irrigation canals and replicated houses.

Best time to visit

The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 AM to 4:45 PM.

As of this writing, the museum is temporarily closed due to COVID, but the site itself is open. To avoid the scorching Phoenix heat, it’s best to visit the site early in the morning, around 9 AM, or late in the afternoon, around 3 PM or 4 PM!

Learn more about Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park here!

Have a classic diner experience at MacAlpine’s Diner & Soda Fountain

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2303 N 7th St, MacAlpine’s Diner & Soda Fountain is a historic restaurant/antique store that has been in operation since 1938.

One of the last remaining soda fountains in the country, MacAlpine’s serves diner classics like malts, milkshakes, sundaes, hot sandwiches, and of course, fountain drinks.

The retro diner also features all of the trappings of a 1930’s diner—wooden booths, a jukebox, and all sorts of vintage décor!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

MacAlpine’s Diner & Soda Fountain is a must-visit for foodies and all kinds of tourists looking for a classic American diner in the middle of a desert city.

With its assortment of fountain drinks, ice creams, and sundaes, MacAlpine’s is arguably the best place to eat in Phoenix during the hot summer months. That said, it’s also one of the best places for an old-timey, casual date!

What to do here?

Have some of MacAlpine’s classic menu items. Try their iconic MacAlpine’s Malt, their Spaghetti, and their famous Cheese Burger. For vegans, MacAlpine’s does have vegan options, such as their Sloppy Sue and their Black Bean Burger!

Best time to visit

It’s best to visit MacAlpine’s Diner & Soda Fountain during lunch hours, as there’s nothing better than enjoying a classic ice cream soda on a hot day.

That said, as of this writing, MacAlpine’s Diner & Soda Fountain is temporarily closed. They do plan on reopening soon, so make sure to constantly check their website!

Learn more about MacAlpine’s Diner & Soda Fountain here!

Visit the Lost Dutchman State Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 6109 N Apache Trail in Apache Junction, the Lost Dutchman State Park is a 320-acre state park.

Named after the fabled Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, the state park offers a number of hiking trails for all levels, diverse animal and plant life, 5 cabins, and 134 campsites—half of which provide electricity and water!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Lost Dutchman State Park is ideal for camping and outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, desert wildlife enthusiasts, hikers of all levels, and tourists just looking to explore the Sonoran Desert outside of Phoenix.

What to do here?

Get your camera and camping gear ready, and explore the Lost Dutchman State Park.

Check out the state park’s unique desert wildlife, and hike through some of the trails within the 320-acre park. Rent one of the park’s five cabins, or go camping at one of the park’s 134 campsites!

Best time to visit

The Lost Dutchman State Park is open daily, from 6 AM to 8 PM. Like most of the outdoor attractions on this list, it’s best to visit the park during non-summer months, preferably early in the morning or late in the afternoon!

Step into Phoenix’s Old West days at the Pioneer Living History Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 3901 W Pioneer Road, the Pioneer Living History Museum is a 90-acre property that features a combined 30 historic original and reconstructed buildings.

Also known as Pioneer Village, this accurate recreation of a village during Arizona’s territorial days comes complete with costumed craftspeople working within the village.

The site also occasionally hosts events like bluegrass festivals and Civil War reenactments.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Pioneer Living History Museum is ideal for families, American history nerds, and tourists keen on learning about the kind of life that people lived and the type of community that shaped and was in turn shaped by these lives during Arizona’s Old West days.

What to do here?

Take a walk through the Pioneer Living History Museum. Check out the site’s historic buildings. Stop by the Flying “V” Cabin, the center of the bloody Tewksbury-Graham Feud, and check out the cabin’s “shootout-ready” design, with gun ports instead of windows.

Check out the Opera House, and the faithfully reconstructed Miner’s Cabin and Sheriff’s Office. Don’t forget to take pictures!

Best time to visit

The Pioneer Living History Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 AM to 4 PM. People usually spend a good half day here, so it’s best to visit the site around 9 AM. This way, you’re done with your tour by noon!

Check out the various curiosities at Curious Nature

What’s special about this place?

Located at 5032 N Central Ave, Curious Nature is a fine science and natural history shop that features all kinds of oddities.

Curious Nature sells ethically sourced taxidermy, wet specimens, skulls and bones, exotic plants, tarot cards, and other quirky gifts and collectibles!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A trip to Curious Nature is ideal for nature lovers, naturalists of all ages and curious tourists looking for quirky and outside the box souvenirs.

The shop also offers taxidermy and entomology classes, so it’s ideal for aspiring taxidermists and entomologists as well.

What to do here?

Shop for souvenirs at this little hole in the wall shop. Check out the various oddities being offered in the shop. Browse through authentic human skulls, unique books that cover topics such as coffin-making and carnivorous plants, and quirky antiques such as vintage prosthetics!

Best time to visit

Curious Nature is open daily. 11 AM to 5 PM on weekends, and 11 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. It’s best to visit the shop on weekdays to avoid large crowds, and to allow yourself a few hours to explore everything the shop has to offer.

Learn more about Curious Nature here!

Explore Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at Nf-583A in Pine, over 104 miles north (approximately an hour and forty minutes by car) of Phoenix, the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is a 161-acre park that features the world’s largest natural travertine bridge, the eponymous Tonto Natural Bridge.

Other features of the park include moderate to difficult walking trails, picnic and recreation areas, and a gift shop.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is ideal for families, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, avid hikers, and tourists looking for a nice daytrip out of Phoenix with features other than the typical desert landscape.

What to do here?

Explore all of the park’s 161 acres. Wear proper hiking gear and explore the 2.3-kilometer Tonto Natural Bridge. Go hiking down the park’s Pine Creek Trail and if you’re up for it, go swimming downstream in Pine Creek (there are no lifeguards, though).

Check out the waterfall cave at the end of the park’s Waterfall Trail. Don’t forget to enjoy the views and take pictures!

Best time to visit

The Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is open daily, from 9 AM to 5 PM.

As with most outdoor destinations on this list, it’s best to visit the park on weekdays to avoid large crowds. Regardless of the time of your visit, always bring enough water for your trip!

Visit the Mesa Arts Center

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1 E Main St in Mesa, the Mesa Arts Center is a 210,000-square-foot performing and visual arts complex.

The Mesa Arts Center features 4 performance venues, the Mesa Contemporary Arts museum, and 14 visual and performing art classroom studios!

It is the largest arts complex within Arizona, and has hosted a variety of events, from Broadway shows to classical and ethnic music concerts.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Mesa Arts Center is ideal for families, visual artists, musicians, all kinds of art enthusiasts. It’s also a must-visit for tourists looking for a one-stop arts complex that features both visual and performing arts.

What to do here?

Walk around the Mesa Arts Center. Catch a show at one of the Mesa Arts Center’s four performance venues.

Explore the Mesa Contemporary Arts museum and check out contemporary art by emerging and internationally recognized artists. Check out the complex’s art studios.

Best time to visit

The Mesa Arts Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 12 PM to 5 PM. There’s really no bad time to visit the Mesa Arts Center, but if you plan on watching a show, it’s best to purchase your ticket at least a few months ahead of time!

Learn more about Mesa Arts Center here!

Have a nice bowl of ramen at Ramen Kagawa

What’s special about this place?

Located at 111 W Monroe St UNIT 130, Ramen Kagawa is a Japanese restaurant that is widely regarded as one of Phoenix’s best ramen shops.

While primarily a ramen shop, Ramen Kagawa offers Japanese curries, rice bowls, different types of bento, and a wide selection of Japanese beers, sake, and spirits!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Ramen Kagawa is ideal for foodies and tourists looking for authentic Japanese ramen and Japanese beers in the desert city of Phoenix. Ramen Kagawa offers a great alternative to the typical Phoenix-North Mexican staple.

What to do here?

Try some of Ramen Kagawa’s bestsellers. Try their Classic Tonkotsu Ramen and Tokyo Shoyu Ramen.

For spice lovers, try their Spicy Miso Tonkotsu Ramen and Spicy Habanero Miso Ramen. They also offer a Vegetarian Ramen for vegetarians. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a cold glass of Japanese beer!

Best time to visit

Ramen Kagawa is open Tuesday through Sunday. 11 AM to 3 PM, and 5 PM to 9 PM. It’s best to visit on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to avoid a long wait. That said, there’s really no bad time for ramen!

Learn more about Ramen Kagawa here!

Spend a day at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 37615 E Arboretum Way in Superior, over 64 miles west of Phoenix, Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a 392-acre botanical garden and living museum.

The botanical garden features greenhouses, a picnic area, a gift shop, a number of hiking trails, and a looping 1.5-mile primary trail that leads guests through exhibits that feature over 2,600 species of arid land plants from all over the world!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is ideal for families, nature lovers, hikers, desert plant enthusiasts, and tourists looking to explore and learn about some of nature’s most extreme survivalists—arid land plants.

What to do here?

Explore Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Check out the arboretum’s 13-acre Wallace Desert Garden and observe over 5,848 desert plants.

Go hiking at some of the garden’s side trails, and have a nice desert picnic at one of the garden’s picnic areas.

Get your binoculars and camera ready, and check out some of the Sonoran Desert wildlife and migrating birds that frequent the arboretum!

Best time to visit

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 6 AM to 3 PM. It’s best to visit Boyce Thompson Arboretum on weekdays to avoid large crowds.

Regardless of the season in which you visit, it is advisable to prepare yourself for the harsh desert environment, so make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!

Learn more about Boyce Thompson Arboretum here!

Explore Roosevelt Row Artists’ District

What’s special about this place?

Located along downtown Phoenix’s E Roosevelt St, Roosevelt Row is Phoenix’s iconic arts district. Known to locals as RoRo, this artsy district features a side of Phoenix that’s often overlooked.

RoRo is home to art galleries, restaurants, boutique shops, and Phoenix’s best craft breweries. The district also hosts special events, such as indie film festivals, music festivals, and the very special Phoestivus Night Market!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Roosevelt Row is ideal for all kinds of creatives, art enthusiasts, foodies, and tourists looking to see a different side of Phoenix. A vibrant, artsy Phoenix that rivals the art districts of other major cities.

What to do here?

Walk through Roosevelt Row. Check out the neighborhood’s colorful murals. Attend the neighborhood’s monthly First Fridays Art Walk.

Have some authentic Jamaican eats at The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, and stop by the elevated French and Mediterranean fare at The Farish House. Check out some local art The Monorchid and at the Eye Lounge!

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Roosevelt Row largely depends on your itinerary, as store hours can vary. That said, Roosevelt Row really comes alive at night, and is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Phoenix!

Learn more about Roosevelt Row Artists’ District here!

Catch an arthouse film at FilmBar

What’s special about this place?

Located at 815 N 2nd St, FilmBar is a warehouse turned movie theater that features indie, foreign, and cult classic movies. FilmBar also has a bar that offers a variety of snacks, beer and wine!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

FilmBar is a must-visit for serious cinephiles and casual moviegoers looking for a fun time. As FilmBar is a movie theater/bar, it’s a great place for dates, and presents a great opportunity for tourists to mingle with the locals!

What to do here?

Catch an indie film screening at FilmBar. Bring a date here and enjoy a cult classic. Hang out with the local cinephiles and prepare for some serious alcohol-addled film discourse!

Check out FilmBar’s popular snacks (try the Green Chile Corn Tamales) and try some of their beer and wine offerings.

Best time to visit

While the drinks and snacks at the bar are great, FilmBar is a movie theater at its core. That said, the best time to visit FilmBar largely depends on the schedule of the film you’re watching.

Learn more about FilmBar here!

Visit the Tonto National Forest

What’s special about this place?

Located at Chandler, just over 22 miles southeast of Phoenix, the Tonto National Forest is a 2.9 million-acre forest. It is the largest national forest in Arizona, and the seventh largest national forest among 154 USDA national forests.

The forest features six notable cold-water reservoirs, eight federally designated wilderness areas, and some of the most diverse scenery and wildlife in the country!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tonto National Forest is a must-visit for families, outdoor recreationists, avid hikers and campers, desert wildlife enthusiasts, and tourists looking for an outdoor adventure that’s a little off the beaten path.

What to do here?

Explore Tonto National Forest. Have a nice picnic, do some sport fishing, and go swimming at Bartlett Lake. Spend a night camping at one of the national forest’s campsites. Go hiking at some of the forest’s designated wilderness areas. Check out the forest’s diverse flora and fauna!

Best time to visit

The Tonto National Forest is open 24/7. The best time to visit the national forest largely depends on your itinerary. That said, as temperatures can reach extreme highs, it’s best to consult a ranger before going on a Tonto National Forest adventure!

Tour the Chandler Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 300 S Chandler Village Drive in Chandler, Chandler Museum is 10,000-square-foot museum with over 13,000 square feet of outdoor spaces.

The museum features both locally produced and nationally traveling exhibits exploring culture, history, and art!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Chandler Museum is ideal for all types of creatives, art enthusiasts, American history nerds, and tourists looking to explore the local culture and history of Chandler.

What to do here?

Take a Docent-led tour through the Chandler Museum. Check out the Chandler Museum’s current exhibits. Check out the Zora Folley exhibit and learn all about Chandler’s local boxing hero and his historic match against Muhammad Ali.

Attend one of the museum’s weekly lunchtime talks. Last but not least, check out the iconic Infinite Shade sculpture on the museum’s courtyard!

Best time to visit

Chandler Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 PM to 5 PM on Sundays. It’s best to book a tour ahead of time to make sure you get a slot!

Learn more about the Chandler Museum here!

Ride some horses at Ponderosa Stables Inc

What’s special about this place?

Located at 10215 S Central Ave within Phoenix’s South Mountain Park and Preserve, Ponderosa Stables Inc is a long-running horse rental concessionaire and stables.

Ponderosa Stables provides guided trail rides on South Mountain, as well as other specialty rides!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Ponderosa Stables Inc is a must-visit for families, horseback riders of all levels, nature lovers, and tourists looking to explore Phoenix’s great outdoors while riding a horse. There’s simply nothing like traversing the desert on horseback!

What to do here?

Book an appointment at Ponderosa Stables. Take a guided trail ride through some of the most scenic trails in South Mountain. Try Ponderosa Stables’ special evening ride and T-Bone steakhouse ride. Don’t forget to take pictures!

Best time to visit

Ponderosa Stables Inc is open daily, from 7 AM to 6 PM. Appointments are required. It’s best to book an appointment a few weeks ahead of time, and it’s ideal to start your session early to avoid the heat!

Explore the Arizona Science Center

What’s special about this place?

Located at 600 E Washington St, the Arizona Science Center is a 40,000 square feet science museum.

The museum features attractions such as the Dorrance Planetarium, the Irene P. Flinn Theater, the Astronaut Exhibition, and a variety of hands-on exhibits.

The Arizona Science Center is one of the most popular cultural attractions not just in Phoenix, but in the entire state of Arizona!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Arizona Science Center is ideal for families, aspiring scientists, science enthusiasts of all ages, and tourists traveling with children.

The Arizona Science Center provides a great way for guests of all ages to learn about key scientific concepts, while simultaneously providing them with a highly entertaining and immersive experience.

What to do here?

Explore the Arizona Science Center. Experience the museum’s state-of-the-art laser system at the Dorrance Planetarium.

Check out some of the museum’s permanent exhibits, such as their Forces of Nature exhibit and their Solarville exhibit. See amazing wildlife documentaries at the Irene P. Flinn Theater!

Best time to visit

The Arizona Science Center is open daily, from 10:30 AM to 4 PM. It’s best to stop by the museum on weekdays to avoid large crowds.

Learn more about the Arizona Science Center here!

Spend a day at the Steele Indian School Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 300 E Indian School Rd, the Steele Indian School Park is a city park in central Phoenix.

The park boasts 72 acres of green grass, picnic areas, a playground, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, and a number of historic buildings.

A premier venue for special events, the park regularly hosts a number of special events, including a Native American arts and crafts fair and exhibition.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Steele Indian School Park is ideal for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and tourists looking for a nice park in central Phoenix to escape from the metro’s hustle and bustle.

What to do here?

Spend a few hours at the Steele Indian School Park. Take and play with your kids at the park’s playground.

Have a nice picnic at one of the park’s ramadas and picnic areas. Check out the park’s historic buildings, such as the controversial Indian School.

Best time to visit

The Steele Indian School Park is open daily, from 6 AM to 10 PM. The best time to visit the park largely depends on your itinerary. That said, while the park is normally quite peaceful, it can get quite busy during special events.

Let your kids be kids at Phoenix’s Party Jungle

What’s special about this place?

Located at 12046 N 32nd St, Party Jungle is an award-winning indoor amusement park. Party Jungle features 5 carnival rides, a jungle gym, a mini golf course, and lazer tag!

It is one of the only indoor amusement parks in Phoenix to feature unlimited all-day use for one low price!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Party Jungle is meant for children 2 to 10 years of age. It’s ideal for families and tourists traveling with children, who want to have some good, clean fun inside a safe and cool environment.

Also, it’s great for parents who just want to tire out (in a good way) their insanely energetic kids!

What to do here?

Spend a day with your kids at Party Jungle. Ride the Monkey Mayhem with them. Engage in some family-friendly lazer tag.

Go on a few rounds at Party Jungle’s mini golf course, and check out some of Party Jungle’s arcade games!

Best time to visit

Party Jungle is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 AM to 6 PM. It’s best to visit Party Jungle on weekdays to avoid large crowds, indoor amusement parks are way more enjoyable when you have the whole facility to yourselves!

Learn more about Party Jungle here!

Go trekking at McDowell Mountain Regional Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 16300 Mcdowell Mountain Park Drive in Fort McDowell, just under 35 miles northeast of Phoenix, McDowell Mountain Regional Park is a sprawling regional park that offers more than 50 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails with varying levels of difficulty.

The park also features a variety of picnic areas, camping sites, and a bike course!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

McDowell Mountain Regional Park is ideal for families, avid hikers and horseback riders, and tourists interested in camping out in the middle of the desert!

What to do here?

Go on a McDowell Mountain Regional Park adventure. Book one of the park’s camp sites, and spend a night stargazing at the park. In the morning, watch the sun rise of the mountain range. Go hiking or horseback riding through some of the park’s more challenging trails!

Best time to visit

McDowell Mountain Regional Park is open from 7 AM to 2 PM, Monday through Saturday.

If you plan on doing some camping, though, reservations are required. That said, it’s best to visit the park during non-summer months to avoid the intense heat!

Walk among thousands of butterflies at Scottsdale’s Butterfly Wonderland

What’s special about this place?

Located at 9500 East Via de Ventura F100 in Scottsdale, Butterfly Wonderland is an indoor butterfly conservatory. It is the largest butterfly conservatory in the country.

It features a magnificent indoor tropical rainforest environment that houses thousands of butterflies from 70 different species, and a variety of tropical plants.

The conservatory also features attractions like interactive exhibits, a 3D Theater, a Butterfly Emergence Gallery, and an Edible Insects Station!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Butterfly Wonderland is ideal for families, nature lovers of all ages, insect enthusiasts, aspiring entomologists, and tourists looking for a highly educational, tropical rainforest experience in Arizona.

What to do here?

Explore Butterfly Wonderland. Check out the indoor tropical rainforest and walk among thousands of beautiful butterflies.

Check out the conservatory’s Butterfly Emergence Gallery and learn about the life cycle of butterflies, and how each stage contributes to its survival. Stop by the Honey Bee Extravaganza exhibit.

Try some of the insect treats at the Edible Insects Station!

Best time to visit

Butterfly Wonderland is open daily, from 9 AM to 5 PM. It’s best to visit the conservatory on weekdays to avoid large crowds.

That said, as Butterfly Wonderland is one of Scottsdale’s most popular attractions, expect it to be a little bit busy at all times.

Learn more about Butterfly Wonderland here!

Check out Janet Echelman’s Her Secret is Patience

What’s special about this?

Located at 424 N Central Ave, Her Secret is Patience is an award-winning 145-ft-tall public art sculpture designed by artist Janet Echelman.

It is a 3-dimensional, multi-layered aerial sculpture designed to look like Arizona’s cumulus clouds. It’s made with netting that dances gently in the air, flowing with the wind. It is considered both a work of art, and a feat of engineering!

Who’ll enjoy this?

Visiting Her Secret is Patience is ideal for artists, art enthusiasts (especially those who are fans of Janet Echelman’s work), and tourists looking for a truly groundbreaking piece of public art.

What to do here?

Stop by Her Secret is Patience at downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space Park. Take pictures of the aerial sculpture, check out its unique colors and watch how it flows with the wind.

Best time to visit

While the public artwork is accessible 24/7, it’s ideal to visit it at night, when one can see its colors more brightly. Also, visiting it at night allows you to stay for as long as you want since you don’t have to worry about the heat!

Take a trip to Gilbert and check out the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2757 E Guadalupe Road in the town of Gilbert, 22 miles southeast of Phoenix, Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is a 110-acre preserve.

It features 70 acres of 7 water recharge basins, and over 4.5 miles of trails that weave through various vegetative zones that range from marshlands to native riparian and upland vegetation areas.

It features a diverse wildlife, and so far, over 298 species of birds have been identified on the site.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A trip to Riparian Reserve at Water Ranch is ideal for families, nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, birders, hikers, and tourists looking for a wildlife sanctuary in Arizona that features an incredibly varied population of animals and insects!

What to do here?

Explore the Riparian Reserve at Water Ranch. Go hiking through the preserve’s winding trails. Go fishing (license is required, though) at one of the preserve’s seven ponds. Get your binoculars and camera ready, and try to spot some of the unique birds regularly found in the preserve.

Check out the preserve’s unique plant life. Go camping at one of the preserve’s three overnight campsites!

Best time to visit

Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is open daily, from 5:30 AM to 10 PM.

It’s best to visit the preserve on weekdays to avoid large crowds. That said, if you plan on doing some camping, the best time to do this largely depends on your itinerary.

Go camping at Usery Mountain Regional Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 3939 N Usery Pass Road in Mesa, Usery Mountain Regional Park is a 3,648-acre park.

The park features diverse plant and animal wildlife, an archery range, a campground with 73 individual sites, over 29 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A trip to Usery Mountain Regional Park is ideal for families, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, archers of all levels, wildlife enthusiasts, and tourists eager to explore Mesa’s great outdoors!

What to do here?

Go on a Usery Mountain Regional Park adventure.

Try your hand at archery at the park’s archery range. Go horseback riding through the park’s 29 miles of trails. Rent out an RV and go camping at one of the park’s camp sites. Take pictures of the park’s diverse wildlife.

Best time to visit

Usery Mountain Regional Park is open daily, from 6 AM to 8 PM. It’s best to spend a day at the park during non-summer months. That said, it’s important to bring enough water and dress for the desert heat, regardless of the time of your visit.

Have an upscale wood-fired dining experience at Pa’La

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2107 N 24th St, Pa’La is a seafood restaurant that focuses on wood-fired, vegetable-driven, Mediterranean and South American cuisine with a Japanese influence.

Since its inception, Pa’La has been consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in Phoenix.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Pa’La is ideal for families, foodies, vegetarians, and tourists looking for a seafood-heavy and vegetable-driven restaurant in Phoenix.

Pa’La is a must-visit for tourists looking for something healthier (but not necessarily less tasty) than the city’s legendary tacos.

What to do here?

As Pa’La’s menu is constantly changing depending on the freshest ingredients of the day, there really is nothing much to do but stop by the restaurant and ask for the staff’s recommendation.

That said, you really can’t go wrong with their seafood items!

Best time to visit

Pa’La is open Tuesday through Saturday. 11 AM to 3 PM and 5 PM to 8 PM Wednesday through Saturday, and 11 AM to 3 PM on Tuesdays. It’s best to visit Pa’La on Tuesdays and Saturdays to avoid large crowds!

Learn more about Pa’La here!

Visit Lake Pleasant Regional Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 41835 N Castle Hot Springs Road in Morristown, just over 54 miles north of Phoenix, Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a 23,000-acre outdoors recreation area.

It features the 10,000-acre Lake Pleasant, and beautiful desert landscape that features a variety of multi-use trails. It is considered one of the most scenic recreation areas in the Valley.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A trip to Lake Pleasant Regional Park is ideal for families, outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, scuba divers, hard-core and recreational campers, and tourists looking to do some fishing, boating and kayaking.

What to do here?

Explore Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Go camping at one of numerous campsites within the park. Rent out a kayak and spend a day kayaking at Lake Pleasant.

If you’re feeling adventurous, go scuba diving at Lake Pleasant and check out its wide variety of underwater terrain!

Best time to visit

While Lake Pleasant Regional Park is open all year round, it’s best to inquire ahead of time as to the availability of campsites and certain trails within the park. That said, it’s ideal to visit Lake Pleasant Regional Park during non-summer months.

Explore Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 16501 W Northern Ave in Litchfield Park, just under 23 miles west of Phoenix, Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is a 215-acre zoo and aquarium.

The zoo houses Arizona’s largest collection of exotic animals, and features a 0.6 miles safari train and a variety of other rides. It also has an aquarium that features salt- and fresh-water species!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is ideal for families, nature lovers, and tourists looking for a zoo that specializes in African and South American wildlife.

What to do here?

Explore Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park. Check out its themed areas. Stop by the zoo’s DragonWorld and observe Gila Monsters, reticulated pythons, and Arizona’s only saltwater crocodile.

Check out cute baby animals like lion cubs at the zoo’s Baby Animal Nursery. Check out Giant Amazon river turtles and Arapaima at the zoo’s aquarium. Don’t forget to take pictures!

Best time to visit

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari is open daily, from 9 AM to 6 PM. It’s best to visit the zoo on weekdays to avoid large crowds.

That said, the best time to visit the zoo really depends on the animals you plan to watch, as some animals are more active late in the afternoon, while some animals are the complete opposite.

Learn more about Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park here!

FAQ

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Phoenix:

What’s the best time to visit Phoenix, Arizona?

Phoenix is a sprawling city set in the Sonoran Desert, which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on who you ask. That said, if you want to avoid the heat, the best time to visit Phoenix is during late autumn to spring (November through April).

Is Phoenix worth visiting?

Absolutely. With its variety of natural attractions and desert scenery, Phoenix is especially great for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers

How many days do you need in Phoenix?

This depends on your itinerary. Phoenix is a huge city with many points of interest. If you plan on exploring all of its outdoor attractions, allot at least two days for your trip!

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