Visiting Phoenix, AZ? 9 Things To Do

Phoenix is more than just a desert city. It’s a cultural hub, an adventure lover’s playground, and a culinary paradise. You could spend months exploring Phoenix and all its attractions, but if you’ll only be here for a few days, you might have a hard time narrowing your options.

If you’re struggling to put together your Phoenix bucket list, fret no more. Here’s a list of nine of the top places to visit around the city.

3 Outdoor Adventures

If you love hiking, biking, and exploring, you’ll love Phoenix. Here are three outdoor adventures to keep in mind as you plan your trip.

1. Hike Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is the highest and most iconic peak in the Phoenix metro area. Standing at 2,704 feet, it offers stunning views of the valley and desert below.

If you’re looking for a challenge, take the 1.2-mile Summit Trail to the top of Cambelback Mountain. The trail is steep and great for intermediate and advanced athletes. If you want to hike at a more leisurely pace, take the 1.5-mile Cholla Trail. The trail ascends much more gradually, although it does become steep near the peak.

2. Bike Through South Mountain Park and Preserve

With more than 16,000 acres of land, South Mountain Park/Preserve is one of the largest municipal parks in the country. (For reference purposes, New York City’s Central Park has 843 acres.) The park features more than 50 miles of well-groomed trails perfect for mountain biking. You can also horseback ride and hike on the trails.

When you’re in the park, be sure to hike South Mountain. Not only does South Mountain offer gorgeous horizon views, but it’s also home to 150 animal species.

3. Explore the Desert Botanical Garden

Nothing says “Southwest” like desert plants and cacti. If you want to experience the Southwest at its finest, make time to visit the Desert Botanical Garden. The garden sprawls across 50 acres of land and has more than 50,000 plants species.

You can also traverse five thematic trails throughout the park; all of which display different plants and aspects of Southwest culture. Whether you want to learn about early Sonoran Desert dwellers or you want to spell fresh desert wildflowers, the Botanical Garden has it all.

3 Cultural Experiences

When you need a break from the Phoenix heat, head inside to take in Arizona’s rich culture. Consider making a stop at any (or all) of these three attractions.

1. Heard Museum

History buffs and art aficionados alike love the Heard Museum. With 11 exhibits and more than 32,000 pieces of art, the museum is one of the country’s finest displays of Native American history and culture.

Here you’ll find a beautiful collection of Kachina Dolls, authentic Native art, and even contemporary art for purchase.

If you plan to visit Phoenix in early February, be sure to attend the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest at the museum.

2. Phoenix Art Museum

If you don’t get your fill of art and culture at the Heard Museum, stop by the Phoenix Art Museum a few blocks south. With exhibits of Latin American, European, Asian, and Western American art, the Phoenix Art Museum truly has something for everyone’s taste. Several pieces of its 17,000-piece collection date all the back to the Renaissance era, and you can also enjoy plenty of contemporary pieces as well.

3. Attractions for the Kids

Do you plan to travel with your children? While the Heard and Phoenix Art museums do have children’s exhibits, you may need a few more activities to entertain your little ones. Keep the following kid-friendly cultural attractions in mind:

  • Phoenix Zoo. If your kids love animals, they’ll love the Phoenix Zoo. The 125-acre zoo houses everything from polar bears to baboons, giraffes, and Sumatran tigers.
  • Arizona Science Center. Your children’s imaginations can run wild at the Arizona Science Center, with more than 300 hands-on exhibits and live demonstrations. If your kids love movies, catch a flick at the Dorrance Planetarium’s five-story IMAX theater.

3 Must-Visit Restaurants

You have to eat at some point while you’re in Phoenix, so why not dine at one of these three restaurants?

1. Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe. Located in downtown Phoenix, Mrs. White’s has been a local favorite since 1964, and for good reason. If you’re craving soul food, you’ll have a hard time finding tastier fried chicken or catfish anywhere in Arizona.

2. Los Dos Molinos. You can’t visit Arizona without eating Mexican food, so stop by Los Dos Molinos before you head home. Los Dos Molinos has several locations around the valley, but its original South Phoenix location offers a special experience. You’ll feel right at home in this centuries-old adobe building adorned with colorful decor.

3. Mary Coyle’s. Looking for a place to satisfy your sweet tooth? Mary Coyle’s is the place for you. This ice creamery has been serving delicious concoctions for more than 63 years. Whether you try the maple walnut ice cream or the delightful Hula Bowl, you can’t go wrong at Mary Coyle’s.

Phoenix is full of things to do and places to see. When you arrive, don’t waste your time waiting in line for a rental car. Book a cab and dive right into all that Phoenix has to offer.