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Things to do in Phoenix

Things to do in  Phoenix

Welcome to Phoenix

Phoenix’s fair skies and warm temps draw winter-weary travelers to this sun-drenched corner nicknamed the Valley of the Sun. The capital of Arizona, Phoenix serves as home to a variety of cultural institutions. Join a small-group or private tour to experience the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum, and the unique Museum of Musical Instruments. Or follow your guide to the Desert Botanical Garden, which showcases the abundant flora of the Southwest, which thrives in the hot, arid climate. Check out plentiful golf courses and ballparks that serve as baseball spring training facilities and home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Foodies will find plenty to love: Book a culinary tour that tempts with Southwestern fare and wine and beer tastings. Beyond the metropolitan city, discover the dry, rugged desert landscape on an all-terrain vehicle tour, a hiking tour via one of the many trails, or on a horseback excursion. Or reach for the skies with a hot-air balloon ride over the Sonoran Desert at sunrise or sunset, with just a splash of Champagne. Phoenix makes a great departure point for forays to see the Grand Canyon’s Painted Desert. Or venture to points north, such as Sedona for its magnificent Red Rocks and nearby American Indian ruins.

Top 15 attractions in Phoenix

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale ranks among the Southwest’s top retail destinations, particularly for shoppers looking for Southwestern and Native American art and jewelry. The area is also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of the West, and the Scottsdale Historical Museum.More

Camelback Mountain

Visible throughout most of Phoenix, Camelback Mountain rises 2,704 feet (824 meters) above the Sonoran Desert. The red sandstone formation gets its name from its resemblance to a resting camel, and it’s one of the metro area’s most popular spots for hiking, rock climbing, and other outdoor adventures.More

Apache Trail

Originally built as a copper trade route, the Apache Trail now guides travelers past steep desert mountains, cliff dwellings, lake shores, eroded canyons, and old mining towns. This scenic road winds 120 miles (193 kilometers) through Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, from the outskirts of Phoenix to the vast Theodore Roosevelt Lake.More

Sonoran Desert

Get away from it all in the breathtaking Sonoran Desert, a 100,000-square-mile (260,000-square-kilometer) region that spans Arizona, California, and parts of Mexico. Though it’s the hottest of four deserts in North America, its two rainy seasons sustain unique animals and plants, including the only remaining jaguar population in the United States.More

Montezuma Castle National Monument

One of the most well-preserved ruins in North America, the 1,000-year-old Montezuma Castle was once home to ancient farmers known as the Sinagua Indians. Although the majestic ruins were given a “castle” title, they were actually a multi-family cliff dwelling. In 1906, the site was declared one of the United States’ first national monuments.More

Tonto National Forest

From pine-clad valleys to lakeside beaches; rocky mountain canyons to cacti-dotted desert—the Tonto National Forest boasts a diversity of natural landscapes to tempt any adventurer. Stretching over 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares and reaching altitudes of up to 7,900 feet (2,408 meters, it’s the largest national forest in Arizona.More

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

If there’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, McDowell Sonoran Preserve just might be it. With more than 30,000 acres, including the McDowell Mountains, visitors can hike it, bike it or even climb it.With more than 120 miles of trails, picking which way to go can be tough, so ask the experts. Most mornings McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Pathfinders are on duty at the Brown's Ranch Trailhead, Gateway Trailhead, Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, Sunrise Trailhead and Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Pathfinders have all sorts of information and suggestions to insure a fun, safe day on the trails.Fit families will enjoy the way the Family Passport keeps everyone moving together. Scavenger hunts for animal tracks, rocks and other nature provided attractions can provide inspiration for hours of exploring. When you visit five Preserve trailheads (Gateway, Lost Dog, Sunrise, Tom’s Thumb and Brown’s Ranch) and get your passport stamped you’ll win a Preserve bandana.More

Mission San Xavier del Bac

With its snow-white adobe bell towers and ornate facade rising out of the cacti-studded Sonoran Desert, Mission San Xavier del Bac embodies its nickname—the “White Dove of the Desert.” Founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1626, it’s among the oldest Catholic sites in the US, renowned for its unique architecture and rich iconography.More

Superstition Mountains

Surrounded by the cacti-dotted valleys of the Sonoran Desert, the jagged peaks and sheer cliffs of the Superstition Mountains are one of Arizona’s most photographed natural wonders. Hugging the southern borders of the Tonto National Forest and reaching heights of 6,266 ft (1,910 meters, the mountains are a firm favorite among hikers and rock climbers.More

Heritage Square

Occupying one of the oldest residential areas in Phoenix, Heritage Square comprises 10 fully restored Victorian buildings dating back to the original townsite in the 19th and 20th centuries. Visitors can tour house museums, dine at award-winning restaurants, or even catch a ballgame at Chase Field next door.More

Tuzigoot National Monument

The Tuzigoot National Monument is made up of the remains of a pueblo building on a hilltop outside of Clarkdale, Arizona.Built and occupited by the Sinagua people from roughly 1000 to 1400 C.E., the Tuzigoot village buildings include some with two or three stories. The ruins cover 42 acres, and you can see pithouses (entered via ladders through doors cut into the roof) and petroglyphs. There are other Sinagua ruins in the area, but this is the largest. There are artifacts recovered from the excavations of the Tuzigoot site on display in the visitor center.The name “Tuzigoot” is an Apache word, and the site was named by an Apache who was on the archaeological excavation crew in the 1930s when the site was found. The name means “crooked water,” referring to a nearby river.More

Phoenix Zoo

Founded by Robert E. Maytag in 1962, the Phoenix Zoo is one of the largest non-profit zoos in the United States—home to some 3,000 animals living across 125 acres (51 hectares of naturalistic exhibit space. Thirty of the zoo’s resident species are considered endangered or threatened.More

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)

This iconic contemporary art museum is located on 21-acres of local park in the heart of Scottsdale and showcases between nine and 12 exhibitions each year. Visitors who venture to this popular attraction will find some of the best examples of art, design and architecture in the Southwest.Travelers agree the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is an ideal place to escape the city’s heat while taking in some fabulous pieces. But since the museum is relatively small, it’s good to check ahead to be sure it’s not between exhibits.More

South Mountain Park

You could think of Phoenix’s South Mountain Park as a large outdoor playground. Actually, a very large outdoor playground. With more than 16,000 acres to explore, according to the Trust for Public Land, South Mountain Park is one of the largest municipally operated parks in the United States.With more than 50 miles of trails, South Mountain Park is a favorite among horseback riders, hikers and mountain bikers. But drivers can take in the scenery too. A little more than five miles up the Summit Road, there are Valley wide views to be had at Dobbins Lookout. If you’re inspired, keep going to the Gila Lookout for a view of the Gila River Valley. The drive is scenic, so take it slow to safely enjoy the view. There are many steep sections and blind curves and cars share the road with bikers and hikers.More

Wrigley Mansion

An Italian-style mansion set in the Arizona desert, the Wrigley Mansion was the vacation home of wealthy chewing-gum entrepreneur William Wrigley, Jr. and his wife Ada in the 1930s. Now a historic landmark and a fine restaurant, the mansion is a popular destination for special occasions, historical tours, and wine tastings.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Phoenix

Centipede Tour - Guided Arizona Desert Tour by ATV
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Morning Hot Air Balloon Flight Over Phoenix
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Sedona and Grand Canyon Single Day Tour
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Small Group Apache Trail Day Tour with Dolly Steamboat from Phoenix
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Centipede Tour - Guided Arizona Desert Tour by UTV
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Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride in Phoenix with Breakfast
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Custom Grand Canyon Day Trip
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Custom Grand Canyon Day Trip

Adventure Tour - Grand Canyon West Rim with Skywalk (ADV)
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Small Group Sedona Red Rock and Native American Ruins Day Tour
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Small Group Antelope Canyon Day Trip from Phoenix
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Sedona Day Trip from Phoenix
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Sedona Day Trip from Phoenix

Sedona with Jerome and Montezuma Castle One-Day Van Tour
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Recent reviews from experiences in Phoenix

Exceptional Service and Clean Car
Jayashree_V, Jan 2023
Phoenix Arizona Airport to Hotels or AirBNB Transfer in a Luxury electric car
Very knowledgable about Phoenix attractions and landmarks.
Thank you!
MELISSA_B, Jan 2023
RoRo Street Art Tour in Phoenix
It was fun to see that part of Phoenix and I have already recommended the tour to others.
Diane took us from...
Laura_H, Aug 2022
Small-Group Deluxe Grand Canyon Day Trip from Phoenix
She told amazing stories, took us to see things that most people wouldn't know to look at, was funny and helpful.
Great time at the Grand Canyon
Shelby_C, Aug 2022
Small-Group Deluxe Grand Canyon Day Trip from Phoenix
If you only have a day to see the Grand Canyon from Phoenix this is the way to go.
A must do!
jillzarend, Jan 2023
Grand Canyon with Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon Van Tour
I feel like I saw all of Arizona and our driver, Kim knew all the best areas to visit.
Amazing tour!
Erica_W, Oct 2022
Grand Canyon with Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon Van Tour
I got to see more of the area as we picked up other passengers.
We enjoyed this tour very...
Marjorie_D, Mar 2022
Best of Phoenix with Heard Museum, Ghost Town, and More VIP Private Day Tour
With our new friend in Phoenix, we have fallen in love with the City!
Perfect tour for first-time visitors in Sedona
Kyuho_H, Nov 2021
Small Group Sedona Red Rock and Native American Ruins Day Tour
This tour provides you a perfect path to visit the most famous sites in Sedona.
Stars o ertje desert
Bob_R, May 2020
After Dark Desert Tour and Navigating the Night Sky
We really enjoyed getting out into the Sonoran desert away from Phoenix to see the stars.
Great Experience
Ashley_L, Feb 2020
Custom Grand Canyon Day Trip
Mike was an amazing guide, and this was a great way to see the Grand Canyon in a single day from Phoenix.
I went with Dtours...
Joanne_V, Jan 2023
Small-Group Deluxe Grand Canyon Day Trip from Phoenix
I went with Dtours I am staying with friends in Phoenix and wanted to see the Grand Canyon.
fabulous experience
Eley_G, Oct 2019
Sedona and Grand Canyon Single Day Tour
if you are in phoenix, do not miss this tour to see sedona and the grand canyon.
I would recommend this tour to...
Jacks, Nov 2017
Small Group Sedona Red Rock and Native American Ruins Day Tour
I loved every minute of this tour and got to see things i would have missed if i had just explored on my own.
Truly outstanding. What a fantastic...
Michael B, Aug 2017
Signature Tour - Grand Canyon South Rim with Ground Tour (PJX)
The trip from Phoenix gave a great opportunity to see the interesting parts of northern AZ.
This is a must trip for anyone...
Linda G, Feb 2017
Small Group Apache Trail Day Tour with Dolly Steamboat from Phoenix
We were lucky enough to see bald eagles and mountain goats.
A splendid, informative, and fun snapshot of the Valley!
Michael_D, May 2022
3 Cities & Nature Tour. Shop, Art, History, Food. Scottsdale, Phoenix, & Tempe.
Learned a bit about cactuses; got to see some shi-shi houses in Scottsdale; and saw some great murals in Phoenix.
Wonderful canyon experience
Cassie_V, Jun 2022
Small-Group Deluxe Grand Canyon Day Trip from Phoenix
Very long drive from Phoenix bit well worth ot to see the canyon.
It was a great day!
cmz151, Apr 2019
Custom Grand Canyon Day Trip
We thought the best way to see the Grand Canyon during our trip to Phoenix was to book a private tour and we couldn’t have been more right.
I came to Phoenix to visit my son...
Catherine A, Oct 2017
Adventure Tour - Grand Canyon West Rim with Skywalk (ADV)
I came to Phoenix to visit my son for his Birthday.
We were already looking forward to...
Sandie_A, Oct 2017
Small Group Tombstone & San Xavier Mission Day Trip from Phoenix
While there, it's a must to see the re-enactment.
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All about Phoenix

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People Also Ask

What is Phoenix known for?

Phoenix is known for its year-round sunny weather, expansive desert landscapes, and baseball spring training headquarters. A hub for outdoor enthusiasts, Phoenix makes a great base for exploring the Sonoran Desert and landmarks like Camelback Mountain. Culture seekers can get their fill at Heritage Square or nearby Scottsdale.

What to do when it's hot in Phoenix?

When temps rise past the triple digits in Phoenix, stay cool at some of the city’s indoor attractions, like the Arizona Science Center or Phoenix Art Museum. Take the kids to the SEA LIFE® Aquarium or LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, or head to nearby Scottsdale for air-conditioned shopping at Fashion Square mall.

Is Phoenix worth visiting?

Yes. Phoenix is a popular destination for outdoor adventurers and visitors seeking refuge from cold winter climates, though summers can be scorching. It's at the doorstep of the Sonoran Desert and Tonto National Forest for easy access to hiking, mountain biking, and ATV tours.

What is there to do in Phoenix for a day?

If you have just one day in Phoenix, explore local history at the Arizona Capitol Museum, or enjoy a meal in style at historic estates like the Wrigley Mansion and Arizona Biltmore. Get outdoors with a hike up Camelback Mountain or along the scenic Apache Trail in the Superstition Mountains.

What activities do people do in Arizona?

Wide-open desert landscapes like the Sonoran Desert and Monument Valley make Arizona a popular destination for hiking, mountain biking, scenic drives, and ATV tours. A rim walk along the Grand Canyon is a must for first-time visitors, while stylish Sedona and Scottsdale are havens for shopping, dining, and wellness.

What is the number 1 attraction in Arizona?

Drawing more than 6 million visitors annually, the Grand Canyon is Arizona's top attraction. Carved over millions of years by the Colorado River, this natural wonder is a staggering gorge that runs a mile (1.6 km) deep into the desert’s sandstone bluffs.


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