Arizona’s capital city is an unending labyrinth of cacti and mesquite trees. There’s something magical about Phoenix that inspires creativity and wonder in all who visit. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to explore the hidden gems this city has to offer. When you’re ready to break away from the monotony of everyday life, check out these 15 things to do in Phoenix!
If you love exploring cities and uncovering their hidden secrets, then you’ll find plenty of exciting adventures awaiting you in Arizona’s capital city. From unique museums to quirky shops, here are 25 things to do in Phoenix that you won’t want to miss!
- 1. Desert Botanical Garden
- 2. Camelback Mountain
- 3. Musical Instrument Museum
- 4. Phoenix Zoo
- 5. Phoenix Art Museum
- 6. Heard Museum
- 7. Taliesin West
- 8. Phoenix Golf Courses
- 9. Chase Field
- 10. Spas
- 11. Arizona Science Center
- 12. Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park
- 13. Children’s Museum of Phoenix
- 14. Hiking Trails around Phoenix
- 15. Old Town Scottsdale
1. Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Botanical Garden is one of the best things to do in Phoenix. The rich and diverse flora, containing trees, cacti, and colorful flowers, is in stark contrast to the yellow-red colors of the desert sands. There are many hiking trails around the gardens for hiking enthusiasts, and the garden itself regularly hosts events such as culinary demonstrations and live concerts. You will surely be impressed by the view whether you go during the day or when the sun goes down.
How big is the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix?
What is the admission fee to the Desert Botanical Garden?
$12.95 – $24.95
How much time does it take to see the Desert Botanical Garden?
The Garden pathways take around an hour and a half to two hours to stroll. The overall length of the trails is around a mile and a half. The trails are divided into quarter-mile circles that connect to a larger main route.
When is the Desert Botanical Garden open for free?
Every second Tuesday of the month
How should I dress for a visit to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens?
Bring with you:
- SUNSCREEN – The state of Arizona has weather that is almost always sunny. Please remember to put on and continue to reapply sunscreen throughout your visit.
- WATER – Bring a water bottle that can be refilled because there are two open hydration stations in the Garden.
- Hat & Sunglasses – You should shield your eyes so you can take in the breathtaking scenery without squinting.
- Camera – Take pictures of all of the stunning plants and animals that you will come across.
- Comfortable Shoes – The trails are simple to navigate, but you should wear shoes that are comfortable for the best experience.
Can I bring food into the Desert Botanical Garden?
Yes. There is a full-service restaurant with tables and wait staff, as well as a separate area with picnic tables and numerous benches.
Located in: Papago Park
Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States
2. Camelback Mountain
The mountain rises to 2,700 feet, and from the top of Camelback Mountain offers landscape views of Phoenix and Scottsdale. The mountain slope offers more difficult routes such as Echo Canyon Trail or easier routes such as Bobby’s Rock Trail and Cholla Trail. Be sure to bring your camera with you because the views are definitely worth it.
How long of a hike is Camelback Mountain?
The entire hike should take between two and three hours. The first 3/8 mile of the hike is on a steep, clearly marked trail.
Which side of Camelback is easier?
If you’re not in above-average cardio shape, the East ascent (Cholla) is longer and easier but is still challenging. Near the top, there is some scrambling up and over rocks.
Can you drive up Camelback Mountain?
No. It is not possible to drive all the way to the peak of the mountain. On the other hand, you can park very close to the beginning of the Cholla Trail and immediately begin your ascent.
3. Musical Instrument Museum
The Museum is located near the city of Phoenix and has over 6,000 exhibits, covering musical instruments from all cultures, clothes of famous musicians, and many more music-related items. On the first floor of the building, you will find something very specific – a hall where you can test your musical skills by playing one of the instruments (called Experience Gallery).
On the second floor, there are separate halls, which differentiate the exhibits according to their geographical affiliation. An audio layout is provided for each instrument so that you can get a deep insight into the respective culture. Every year about 200 concerts with live music are organized here. The museum is open 7 days a week.
Address: 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050, United States
4. Phoenix Zoo
One of the favorite places for young visitors to Phoenix is the zoo. Its area is spread over 125 acres, and you will have the opportunity to see monkeys, tigers, komodo dragons, turtles, giraffes, and many other species.
You can also choose a safari train tour to take you around the most popular places here.
How much does the Phoenix Zoo cost?
$24.95 for adults
Youngsters aged 3-13 pay $14.95, while those under 2 get in free.
How long does it take to go through Phoenix Zoo?
Depending on the number of people in your group, their ages, and how quickly you move through the area, you should plan 3 hours to see the entire Zoo. Some animals can be hard to see and visitors may need to spend more time in observation, but there are exhibits that replicate the animals’ natural habitats.
Located in: Papago Park
Address: 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States
5. Phoenix Art Museum
The museum has over 20,000 works of art dating from the Renaissance to the present day. Here you will find names like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, as well as many temporary exhibitions. Children’s activities are provided for the little ones. The architecture of the museum is modern, but the exhibits manage to impress art lovers who prefer both modern and ancient works.
Address: 455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States
How much is admission to Phoenix Art Museum?
What is the Phoenix Art Museum known for?
The collection, which has more than 20,000 items and spans nine collecting areas, including American and Western American art, Latin American art, Asian art, European art, modern and contemporary art, fashion design, and photography, enriches our community by providing unmatched access to fine art and programs that are related to it.
Can you take pictures in Phoenix Art Museum?
It is strictly forbidden to use a flash, tripod, monopod, selfie stick, home video recorder, or other movie/video filming equipment. The artist or their representatives hold the copyright for many works of art. Phoenix Art Museum disclaims responsibility for any copyright violations committed by visitors or guests.
6. Heard Museum
Do not hesitate what to do in Phoenix. History and culture meet at the Heard Museum, offering artifacts that tell the story of Arizona’s first settlers, as well as works of art from the time of Columbus to the present day. The museum is one of the most popular in South America and is certainly one of the best things to do in Phoenix. Take at least half a day to enjoy it.
Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States
7. Taliesin West
Taliesin West is one of the places where many future architects and artists are trained. Built on 600 acres by Frank Lloyd Wright and his students, the site was used as the writer’s home and school. Subsequently, he built many studios, apartments, halls, and theaters.
Today the place is among the main attractions of Phoenix because it is like an architectural oasis in the middle of the desert.
Address: 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, United States
8. Phoenix Golf Courses
One of the fun things to do in Phoenix is golf courses. You can choose from hundreds of courses of varying difficulty. Among the most famous courses is the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club, which is visited by many celebrities.
Here is an 18-hole course for the Championship which has one of the best reputations in the area. In addition to an amazing course, the complex has a wonderful restaurant and golf shop.
9. Chase Field
Even if you are not an avid baseball fan, Chase Field is one of the must-see stops in Phoenix. The place also welcomes visitors with children and has an occupancy pool, hot tub, and beer garden where you can eat delicious food. If you prefer to tour all amenities with a guide – tours are possible 3 times a day.
Address: 401 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States
Phoenix is not only known for its golf courses and beautiful views. If you are a fan of luxury spa treatments, this is the right place for your vacation. If you wonder what to do in Phoenix go for mud baths, seaweed treatments, or a relaxing hot stone massage. Many of the resorts here base their activities on ancient traditions typical of the region. All this in the company of the surrounding desert will make your experience truly amazing.
One of the most famous places for such experiences is the Boulders Resort complex located on 33,000 square feet. It offers a huge selection of spa treatments, the opportunity for hiking in the desert, and mud baths. Although the prices are high (on the order of $ 150 for a separate procedure), the experience is definitely worth it.
11. Arizona Science Center
The center offers a variety of interactive displays from which you and your children can learn more about gravity, weather, space, electricity, and sound. The place is extremely suitable if you travel with children. There is also an opportunity for IMAX theater which will attract the attention of the youngest to the interesting scientific topics.
Try to buy your tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in long queues, especially if you are on a family vacation.
Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States
12. Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park
This historical and archeological landmark actually represents the remains of the former village of Hohokam, which mysteriously disappears around A.D. 1450. Today you can walk around the ruins of buildings, facilities, and playgrounds as the park is among the oldest functioning ones in Phoenix. Here you can spend an hour or even half a day depending on how passionate you are about history and archeology.
Address: 4619 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034, United States
13. Children’s Museum of Phoenix
At the forefront of the fun things to do in Phoenix if you travel with a child is the Children’s Museum. Over 300 different games for children from the earliest age to 10 years will surprise you with their creativity. The museum covers 48,000 square feet and provides everything you need for all-day fun for your child.
Address: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034, United States
14. Hiking Trails around Phoenix
Phoenix offers many hiking trails in the desert for nature lovers. You can choose from routes of varying difficulty. One of the most challenging for true professionals is Camelback Mountain. Among the lighter ones are Papago Park and the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead.
Best Places to Hike in Phoenix
Hike around Papago Park’s red butte formations, including the famous Hole-in-the-Rock Trail; fish in seven acres of stocked fishing lagoons; play a round of golf at Papago Golf Course; or visit the nearby Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden. Papago Park has served as a reservation for indigenous tribes, a fish hatchery during the Great Depression, a POW camp during World War II, and a Veterans Administration hospital. The Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden, golf courses, various museums, baseball fields, lakes, and Sonoran Desert plants and animals can all be found in the park today.
Deem Hills Circumference Trail is a moderately trafficked 9.0 kilometer loop trail located near Glendale, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is best used from February to November and offers a variety of activities. This trail is also suitable for dogs and horses..
South Mountain Preserve
South Mountain Park and Preserve is one of the country’s largest municipal parks, with over 16,000 acres. Begin your visit at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center, then hike, bike, or ride more than 58 miles of trails, or drive to the summit for spectacular views.
Camelback Mountain, just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix, is one of Phoenix’s best hikes and most popular attractions, attracting thousands of hikers each year. Two difficult trails climb 1,420 feet to a summit that resembles the hump of a camel’s back and provides 360-degree views of the city.
Camelback, which is part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, is named after two rock formations that resemble the head and back of a kneeling camel. In 1968, it was designated as a city park, and it is located next to Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood — a popular dining destination — and the town of Paradise Valley.
Phoenix Sonoran Preserve
The newest area in Phoenix’s famed Sonoran Desert preserve system, located north of the city, features 36 miles of trails in the wild, mostly undeveloped desert. The preserve’s southern trails range from the easy Bobcat Trail to the difficult Dixie Mountain summit. The first two summits of Phoenix’s famed Seven Summit Challenge, Apache Vista and Ridgeback Overlook, offer overlooks and miles of connecting trails to explore in the northern area.
Phoenix Mountains Preserve
If you’re looking for Phoenix hikes, you can’t go wrong with Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Piestewa Peak is well-known. If you’re from Phoenix and haven’t hiked it, you can’t really call yourself a hiker. There are plenty of other hikes in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, but Piestewa is the one that gets the most attention. It’s a great challenge with fantastic views, but it comes at the cost of a lot of people.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Although technically located in Phoenix, McDowell Mountain Regional Park is close enough to be considered a part of the city. When it comes to trails, this is yet another place where you can choose your own level of difficulty. Tom’s Thumb is the most well-known hike in the McDowell Mountains, and it’s a rewarding and challenging hike.
15. Old Town Scottsdale
One of the fun things to do in Phoenix is to visit the Old Town Scottsdale, filled with a huge selection of shops, colorful alleys, and restaurants. The place is great if you want to spend a quiet day, dine in a first-class restaurant or see some of the works of famous artists.
Whether you are traveling alone, with friends or family, Phoenix has a lot to offer. From luxury resorts to scientific exhibitions, from first-class restaurants to places for your children’s entertainment, and from golf courses and hiking trails to boutiques and shops – there are plenty of activities for every taste here.