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Arizona State Capitol Building_ Image by DustyPixel from Getty Images Signature - Things to do in Phoenix, AZ

20+ Best Things to Do In Phoenix, AZ (+ Map!)

By Sometime Traveller

Updated on

This ultimate guide to the best things to do in Phoenix, AZ, will help craft an itinerary that’s as unique and awesome as you are. Phoenix in Arizona is a sun-kissed paradise coupled with rich culture and lively entertainment. It is an oasis in the desert that has something to offer everyone, from solo wanderers to family folk. Are you longing for heart-racing treks with panoramic views?

Prepare to explore the heart of the Sonoran Desert, discover the city’s vast cultural expanse, and be sure to check off a lifetime’s worth of incredible dining experiences. 

Here Are The Best Things to Do in Phoenix, AZ

1. Discover Arizona’s Rich History at the Capitol Museum

Arizona State Capitol building, Phoenix, AZ, Image by LordRunar from Getty Images Signature
Arizona State Capitol building, Phoenix, AZ, Image by LordRunar from Getty Images Signature

The Arizona Capitol Museum, located in the renovated Old Capitol Building, is a unique and educational place and you must have in your list of things to do in Phoenix, AZ. It explores Arizona’s interesting political and social history. Exhibits tell the story of how this state went from being a territory to its present form, and you can have fun while doing so!

Discover the mesmerising tales of Arizona’s government, which range from crafting its own constitution to transforming the political arena. Among the things you can expect are revolving art and history displays, a famous copper dome, and access to various monuments on the Capitol Mall and Wesley Bolin Plaza. 

Ultimately, the Arizona Capitol Museum offers an excellent opportunity to dig deep into Arizona’s history while comprehending what has influenced it over time.

Address: 1700 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007

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2. Explore the Charm of Yesteryear at Phoenix’s Historic Heritage Square

Heritage Square, Phoenix, AZ, Image by Costa Constanti
Outside Heritage Square, Phoenix, AZ, Image by Costa Constanti

Visit Heritage Square if you want to step into Phoenix’s Victorian past. The beautifully restored Rosson House Museum offers a glimpse into the lives of early settlers. Historic houses are along picturesque streets lined with shops and restaurants. 

It is ideal for history lovers, architecture enthusiasts, and those looking for peace and quiet. 

However, Heritage Square has more than just history; it is also a bustling meeting point where the present meets the past. 

You can find delicious food at various eateries here, go shopping at quirky stores that sell one-of-a-kind items, or simply chill out in this calm environment! Come to this magical place and see another side of Phoenix.

Address: 113 N 6th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
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3. Immerse in Creative Wonders at the Phoenix Art Museum 

Phoenix art museum, Phoenix, AZ, Image by DreamArtist
Phoenix art museum, Phoenix, AZ, Image by DreamArtist

The Phoenix Art Museum is a place where people can experience art of all kinds. This includes everything from Latin American works with lots of colors to a really cool firefly installation. They have events for families, activities for kids, and even nights that are just for adults because it’s not like other museums. 

Plus, you can get there on the light rail, which is convenient. On Wednesdays, you can pay whatever you want to see special exhibits if you’re trying to save money. It’s basically an awesome space for anyone who loves art in any form, no matter what age they are or what they’re into.

Address: 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

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4. Ascend the Iconic Camelback Mountain for Breathtaking Phoenix Views

Camelback Mountain Phoenix, AZ, Image by BCFC from Getty Images
Camelback Mountain Phoenix, AZ, Image by BCFC from Getty Images

A landmark of note, Camelback Mountain offers visitors some stunning views over the Phoenix skyline. The mountain’s shape itself is enough to provoke curiosity since it looks like a hump on a camel’s back which makes for great photography shots too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a climbing expert or just coming by – there are things for both plus everyone in between. 

Those who love challenges will find themselves on difficult paths that lead up to breathtaking panoramas from which one can take perfect panoramic photos worthy of Instagram likes. 

People can also have fun by going into caves they didn’t know existed within this place full of different kinds of cactuses and other desert plants or trying to spot such reptiles as lizards or birds living nearby. 

You may decide to go hiking here, explore around, or simply sit down somewhere while enjoying amazing views—whichever way you choose, one thing remains certain: no matter what you do at Camelback Mountains, your adventure in the desert will be unforgettable.

Address: Phoenix, AZ 85018

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5. Delve into Native American Artistry at Phoenix’s Heard Museum

Heard Museum in Phoenix
Heard Museum in Phoenix

If you want a memorable trip focused on Native American culture, consider going to the Heard Museum in Phoenix. This well-known institution, with its goal of connecting Indigenous creativity with global audiences, gives visitors a chance to learn about and appreciate the diverse history and artwork of American Indians.

The museum’s extensive art and artifact collection fascinates guests, giving them a peek into the lives of Native American communities, both historical and contemporary. Tourists laud the beautiful gardens and instructive displays for presenting different styles and practices. 

Anyone interested in delving deeper into indigenous culture will find the Heard Museum to be an incredibly enriching place to visit, with friendly staff members who know their stuff.

Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

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6. Uncover the Lush Diversity at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden

Purple Cactus Blue Flowers Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix AZ, Image by bpperry from Getty Images
Purple Cactus Blue Flowers Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix AZ, Image by bpperry from Getty Images

Get away from the usual and discover the stunning Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The 140-acre lot houses over fifty thousand desert plants from various corners of the Earth, representing unique adaptations thriving in dry places marked by vibrant hues. 

Take walks along thematic trails, be awed by giant cacti, and learn about conservation work being done onsite.

This garden isn’t like any other—it’s more like an immersion. Dig into the past and present of the Sonoran Desert, pass by beautiful art displays, and have fun at seasonal celebrations. 

No matter if you’re a fan of plants, an aspiring photographer, or just want somewhere quiet to think, the Desert Botanical Garden has something everyone can enjoy on their unforgettable journey.

Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

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7. Step into a World of Imagination at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Children's Museum of Phoenix
Children’s Museum of Phoenix

One of the best places to take your young children is the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Dedicated to preparing kids for school through early childhood education, this museum boasts over 48,000 square feet filled with interactive displays designed to foster play-based learning. 

Kids can explore a three-story climbing structure, crawl through a noodle forest and get creative in the art studio, among other things.

Set in a school that was built in the past, this museum is an exceptional place for children aged ten and below to learn and have fun. Special occasions and programs are held all year round, which means that every visit is different from another. 

If you live in or are visiting Phoenix, the Children’s Museum should be at the top of your list for a great family day out.

Address: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

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8. See Phoenix’s Art Scene at Roosevelt Row

Roosevelt Row Arts District Phoenix, AZ - Image by Heiko Raff
Roosevelt Row Arts District Phoenix, AZ – Image by Heiko Raff

Roosevelt Row is located in the heart of Phoenix’s art district. This area is home to street art, murals, art galleries, and numerous up-and-coming trendy clothing brand stores. 

The local art at the Evolve Gallery, in the ‘Unmasked’ show by Dustin Lopez and Harley Holt, can captivate your attention. Their views can bring a new twist to the perception of society and history, which makes it quite appealing to art lovers.

Roosevelt Row’s artistic identity is not strictly limited to graphic arts. Visitors can walk around the vibrant streets, view the hitherto unknown cafes, and listen to live musical performances. 

It energises and offers a taste of multicultural dining and other excitement that is ideal for a day or night out in Phoenix. If you are an art freak or if you just want to have a good time in an urban setting, Roosevelt Row guarantees a memorable experience.

Address: 918 N 2nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

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9. Scale new heights at Phoenix’s Piestewa Peak

View from Piestewa Peak Image by Kanopter from Getty Images
View from Piestewa Peak Image by Kanopter from Getty Images

If you fancy pushing yourself and are addicted to witnessing striking scenery, Piestewa Peak is a must-see place in Phoenix. 

I have heard that the strenuous walk through this iconic peak can increase your heart rate due to its sudden turns, which are sharp and dangerous rocks everywhere. It requires a high level of stamina, but every step taken is worth it.

It is as if you walk into a postcard when you finally make it to the top. The Arizona sun’s warm light casts over the city below while one enjoys panoramic views. That view will blow your mind (even more than the hike!). 

Remember to bring lots of water with you and start early enough to avoid being scorched by the sun. 

No matter whether you are an experienced hiker or just a relaxed wanderer, Piestewa Peak in the Sonoran Desert will offer you an experience that will remain etched in your memory forever.

Address: Phoenix, AZ 85016

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10. Explore the natural beauty at South Mountain Park & Preserve

Phoenix Downtown from South Mountain Park and Preserve, Pima Canyon Hiking Trail, Phoenix, Southern Arizona desert - Image by Jeremy Christensen from Getty Images
Phoenix Downtown from South Mountain Park and Preserve, Pima Canyon Hiking Trail, Phoenix, Southern Arizona desert – Image by Jeremy Christensen from Getty Images

People who enjoy spending time outside or want to get away from the busy city should definitely check out South Mountain Park and Preserve. It is among the biggest public parks in America covering about 16000 acres of land with various landscapes. 

The park has more than a hundred miles of trails suitable for hiking, cycling, and even horseback riding. What sets this place apart, besides its breathtaking views, are its interesting past events, which will be commemorated on its centennial anniversary in 2024, thus making it one of the best things to do in Phoenix, AZ.

Dobbins Lookout is the highest point that can be reached and provides visitors with a panoramic view of the entire valley. South Mountain Park and Preserve has trails for every level of hiker. 

However, be careful when walking along any of the park’s scenic roadways because they are shared with cars and have numerous blind corners.

Address: 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042

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11. Capture the essence of Papago Park’s serene landscape

Papago Park Phoenix, AZ - Image by Ron and Patty Thomas from Getty Images Signature
Papago Park Phoenix, AZ – Image by Ron and Patty Thomas from Getty Images Signature

A few minutes away from the heart of Phoenix, Papago Park is a nature lover’s paradise. Discover the beauty of a distinctive desert formed by sandstone buttes through simple walkways and cycling paths ideal for jogging or having a scenic drive in the morning. 

Apart from being a natural marvel, it hosts two of the best places to visit in Phoenix: the popular Phoenix Zoo and the captivating Desert Botanical Garden.

You could fish at the lagoon, take part in archery or orienteering and go to the Hall of Flame Museum. Enthusiasts can see a game at Papago Sports Complex or play golf at Papago Golf Course, where the Arizona State Sun Devils play. 

There’s no doubt that Papago Park is one of Phoenix’s most popular places because of all it has to offer.

Address: 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

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12. Experience the Vibrant Heart of Downtown Phoenix’s Farmers Market

Farmers Market in Downtown Phoenix
Farmers Market in Downtown Phoenix

The Farmers Market in Downtown Phoenix is a lively place that represents the local culture with its enthusiastic sellers and friendly atmosphere. Have some fun on Saturday by eating chorizo burritos, drinking some refreshing beverages, and smelling freshly baked goods. 

Find things you can’t get anywhere else, like eggs from nearby chickens or crafts made by hand or even tasty Somali sambusas.

Participate in the lively atmosphere of the market by mingling with friendly food growers, talented craftsmen, and other visitors. It’s more than just a place to shop—it’s a celebration of Phoenix’s vibrant culinary community and diverse cultural traditions. 

Although smaller in size and carefully selected in variety, this downtown farmer’s market authentically represents what living here means to us!

Address: 720 N 5th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

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13. Live in the Orchestra world with The Phoenix Symphony

Phoenix Symphony Hall - Image by Toni H
Phoenix Symphony Hall – Image by Toni H

The largest orchestra in the state of Arizona is the Phoenix Symphony. They offer many different musical experiences for everyone to enjoy. Classical concerts, pop series and family-friendly shows all take place in this perfect by the lake location.

The excellent Symphony has been able to expose many different types of music, ranging from ageless works of art to composers still living or even songs people hear every day on the radio thanks to very skilled musicians. 

This effort reaches students who might otherwise never be introduced to this kind of art, and community programs designed for young people help them see that such a thing exists at all. 

Another important point about The Phoenix Symphony is that it provides an eclectic mix of tunes that will satisfy any fan, regardless if they’re into hip-hop or country music.

Address: 75 N. 2nd St. Phoenix, AZ 85004

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14. Experience the World’s Music at the Musical Instrument Museum

Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) Phoenix Arizona⁠ Image by DreamArtist
Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) Phoenix Arizona⁠ Image by DreamArtist

Seeking unique things to do in Phoenix, AZ? Get lost in noise from around the world at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). It is not a museum alone; it is an international adventure through sound. 

Spanning all corners of the earth and housing 6,800 instruments and objects used for making music, this place illustrates how music can shape diverse societies.

MIM offers more than its exhibits; visit the Experience Gallery to see what music feels like or the Artist Gallery to view iconic instruments up close. During the summer, concerts are held too. It is a place of interest for all music enthusiasts and those curious about various cultures’ creative abilities.

Address: 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050

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15. Encounter wildlife wonders at the Phoenix Zoo

A Lion on a Log ⁠in Phoenix Zoo Image by Frank Michler from Pexels
A Lion on a Log ⁠in Phoenix Zoo Image by Frank Michler from Pexels

When in Phoenix, you must visit the Zoo. This famous Phoenix Zoo contains over 3,000 animals and is a perfect place for families or people who love animals. Most of these species are endangered. 

You can see various creatures, ranging from Sumatran tigers to Masai giraffes; you might also have a chance to feed stingrays! They also have beautiful gardens with lots of water features, which makes it even more interesting because they hold different events every month throughout the year.

It’s not all fun and games at the Phoenix Zoo — they are also committed to making an impact. As a nonprofit, their mission is to rescue animals and educate the public on conservation efforts. 

That means that as you tour around and enjoy yourself, know that your money is going towards something big. This is definitely an adventure you won’t want to pass up; make sure that the Phoenix Zoo is on your list of things to do in Phoenix!

Address: 455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008

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16. Uncover the secrets of science at the Arizona Science Center

Inside Arizona Science Center Phoenix
Inside Arizona Science Center Phoenix

Prepare to fire up your imagination at the Phoenix, Arizona-based Arizona Science Center! It is a place where you can learn about science in a hands-on way. The four floors are filled with displays and other activities that will interest anyone. 

Learn more about the human body or conduct experiments on your own to find out how things work. The centre also houses a giant-screen theatre that shows movies that make you feel like you’re part of the action – perfect for all ages. But the fun doesn’t end! 

Arizona Science Center offers a variety of special events all year round for kids and adults alike. From weekend family outings to one-of-a-kind Phoenix-only happenings, there’s always something different to discover. 

Take a look at their calendar of events so you can plan your trip and have amazing experiences at this essential attraction located in downtown Phoenix.

Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

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17. Tour the Historic Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix

Outside Wrigley Mansion Image from  Shariaps
Outside Wrigley Mansion Image from Shariaps

Discover a part of Phoenix’s past at Wrigley Mansion, an architectural masterpiece from the 1930s that provides stunning views and several places to eat. 

Sample dishes created with locally sourced ingredients at Geordie’s Restaurant and Lounge; at Jamie’s Wine Bar, enjoy small plates designed for sharing along with a selection from the extensive wine list, which changes regularly; or dine in a space-age setting with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic city vistas while working through the multi-course tasting menu served at Christopher’s.

More than just a place to eat, the Wrigley Mansion provides an experience that will be remembered for years to come. Whether you want to know more about its past with a guided tour or have your wedding in one of the many stunning locations, this is perfect for any special occasion. 

For more information on live jazz shows, menus, and other events happening during your stay check out their website.

Address: 2501 E Telawa Trail, Phoenix, AZ 85016

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18. Catch a Game at Chase Field in Phoenix

Chase Field Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field Phoenix, AZ

If you are a baseball fan in Phoenix, Arizona, you must add watching a game at Chase Field to your list of things to do in Phoenix. The state-of-the-art stadium, situated in downtown Phoenix, guarantees unique experiences among other Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums. 

With its retractable roof, which can be closed or opened depending on the weather, Chase Field ensures that fans have comfortable days during games, even when it is extremely hot in Arizona.

Chase Field is a very dynamic place. It has a lot of noisy people, good food and drink and plenty of things to do for the young and old alike. 

People who love games or want to have fun in Phoenix need to come here because it’s close to everything, and there’s something for everyone.

Address: 401 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

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19. Enjoy at Tempe Town Lake

Salt River at Tempe Lake with Tempe Skyline Near Phoenix Arizona⁠ Image by Ron and Patty Thomas from Getty Images Signature
Salt River at Tempe Lake with Tempe Skyline Near Phoenix Arizona⁠ Image by Ron and Patty Thomas from Getty Images Signature

Located in Tempe, Arizona (10 miles from Phoenix), Tempe Town Lake is a reservoir that could be described as an urban paradise because of its great views and infinite possibilities for outdoor activities. 

It has earned its reputation of being the best place to go for boating, kayaking, paddleboarding or fishing among all water sports enthusiasts. The man-made lake is two miles long, with a five-mile scenic loop path around it that provides stunning vistas of downtown skylines against desert backdrops.

Ideal for family picnics and community events, the groomed parks and picnic spots of Tempe Town Lake are nothing short of perfection. If you’re looking for a combination of city conveniences and natural beauty, this man-made lake near downtown Tempe and Arizona State University is your best bet.

20. Explore Tovrea Castle, a Phoenix Landmark

Tovrea Castle Phoenix AZ Image by Brianna Green
Tovrea Castle Phoenix AZ Image by Brianna Green

Did you ever wonder how a castle would appear in the Arizona desert? If yes, then this place should be on your list of things to do in Phoenix, and it is Tovrea Castle, situated on a hill in Phoenix. It was constructed during the 1920s and, apart from being architecturally marvellous, has an interesting past to tell. 

The guided tours of Tovrea Castle include visits to well-maintained cactus gardens and inside the castle. Immerse yourself in the castle’s history and meet its residents. 

While you’re there, don’t forget to take in the breathtaking sights of the desert around it. Moreover, visit “Treasures at the Castle,” a souvenir shop where you can find one-of-a-kind keepsakes. 

This is your chance to discover an authentic, hidden treasure in Phoenix’s downtown area. I recommend you to plan ahead as tours fill up fast.

Address: 5025 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008

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21. Experience Authentic Mexican Flavors at La Santisima

La Santisima Mexican restaurant Phoenix, AZ
La Santisima Mexican restaurant Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, Arizona’s La Santisima restaurant is a must for those who want to experience authentic Mexican food. They use fresh and local ingredients coupled with traditional Mexican tastes, thereby offering different kinds of gourmet tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and seafood dishes. 

Do not miss trying their popular salsa bar, which is filled with handcrafted salsas that go perfectly with any dish.

La Santisima’s love for Mexican food is evident in each meal they serve. They collect ingredients from all over the country, so every bite you take represents a different region. 

The staff only use the highest quality products because they want guests to feel like they’re dining in Mexico itself.

Address: 4117 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

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Thanks for reading our carefully curated list of the best things to do in Phoenix, AZ. If you enjoy it, PLEASE SHARE it with your family and friends to help us grow. You can also checkout our 2024 Phoenix travel guide has everything you need, from the best places to eat and stay, to the coolest bowling alleys and hiking trails. We’ll even point you to the top coffee shops, pizza joints, and Chinese restaurants in the city.

FAQ’s

Where can I experience the local food scene in Phoenix?

The Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market offers local produce, artisan goods, and a taste of the local food culture every Saturday.

What are some unique events to attend in Phoenix?

Check out the Arizona State Fair, typically held in October, for a mix of rides, concerts, and unique local foods.

What sports events can I watch in Phoenix?

For an exciting sports experience, catch an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game at Chase Field or a Phoenix Suns basketball game at Footprint Center.

Where can I enjoy live music in Phoenix?

The Crescent Ballroom and the Van Buren are popular venues for live music. They feature both local and touring artists in an intimate setting.

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