The capital of Arizona, Phoenix and its perpetual sunshine makes it a popular destination for sun seekers and folks looking to escape the cold of the winter. While booking a secluded resort and sipping margaritas by the pool is a great way to spend the time, Phoenix offers much more than the resort life. There are many fun things to do in Phoenix, from exploring museums, checking out unique architecture, learning about the desert, and hiking the many mountains in and around the city. Those who are feeling lucky can also try their hands at one of the reservation casinos! Here are the top things to do in Phoenix.
1. Taliesin West
Taliesin West was the winter home and architecture school of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Even if you have only the tiniest interest in architecture, Taliesin West is a worthwhile addition to your list of things to do in Phoenix. A UNESCO site, the building is a true work of art. Inspired by the natural surroundings and built out of native materials, Taliesin West possesses an almost prehistoric grandeur. It remains a lively community and working school, so you may see students at work during your guided tour.
2. Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instruments Museum is one of the largest in the world, with a collection of over 6,800 instruments from almost 200 countries. The immersive exhibits foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and the craftsmanship and traditions of instrument makers from the past to the present. A visit to the museum is also about experiencing the sensory nature of music and how it affects our emotions. Through state-of-the-art, interactive media, guests can see the instruments, hear their sounds, and observe them being played in their original contexts.
3. Camelback Mountain
As one of the highest peaks in Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is among the most scenic hiking spots in the city. Standing at more than 2,700 feet (823 meters), the summit offers spectacular views of Phoenix and Scottsdale. As one of the highest peaks in Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is among the most scenic hiking spots in the city. Soaring more than 2,700 feet in elevation, Camelback’s summit offers spectacular views of Phoenix and Scottsdale. You can reach it via the 1.2-mile (1.9 km) Echo Canyon Trail, but keep in mind that it is incredibly steep. If you’re looking for a slightly easier hike, the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) Cholla Trail on the east side of the mountain offers a more gradual incline, at least until you near the summit. You can also try one of the several beginner-friendly trails that circle Camelback’s base, such as the Bobby’s Rock Trail.
4. Heard Museum
The Heard Museum is dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art. It presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions of traditional and contemporary art by American Indian artists. The Heard Museum collaborates with American Indian artists and tribal communities on providing visitors with a distinctive perspective about the art of Native people, especially those from the Southwest. Housing a massive collection of more than 40,000 pieces of Native American art, you’ll see Navajo textiles, jewelry, Hopi katsina dolls, ceramics and many more. Phoenix has a strong Native American influence, so this is a great museum to go to learn more about the area.
5. Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is hands down, one of the most unique botanical gardens in the world. If all you think of are sand and shades of brown, you’ll be surprised to find that it is home to ten thousands of cacti, trees and flowers from all around the world. The brightly coloured plants contrast the red rocks of the Sonoran Desert and extensive trails that wind their way around the property. If you have young ones, they’ll love spotting hummingbirds and butterflies in the gardens designed to attract these creatures. Expect to do lots of walking while learning about life in the desert, so try to come early when the heat is still bearable.
6. Pueblo Grande Museum
History and archaeology buffs should put Pueblo Grande at the top of their list of things to do in Phoenix. The largest preserved archaeological site within Phoenix, this site features the ruins of an ancient Hohokam village. These Ancestral Native Americans developed some of the largest and most advanced canal systems in all of pre-Columbian North America. Occupying Pueblo Grande from approximately 450 to 1450, the Hohokam people abandoned their village for reasons unknown. Walk among what’s left of houses, canals and cemeteries on a short trail. You can also view artifacts found during the site’s excavation at a small on-site museum.