58 Fun Things To Do in Phoenix, Arizona by JetSettingFools.com

58 Fun Things To Do in Phoenix, Arizona

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Phoenix, Arizona is a desert oasis boasting fantastic attractions, fun activities and a phenomenal foodie scene. Having lived in PHX for more than 10 years, we have first-hand knowledge of all the fabulously fun things to do in Phoenix, AZ.

During our long stint as desert dwellers, not only did we seek out the best sights in Phoenix, AZ, but we also hosted numerous visiting friends and family – and made a great effort to keep our guests thoroughly entertained. Our list of must-do things in Phoenix encompasses a range of sights – from fun things to do in downtown Phoenix to the best attractions in Phoenix, AZ for family.

Whether you are visiting Phoenix on a quick business trip, are basing yourself in the city for a week-long Arizona stay or are a new resident in the Valley of the Sun, our list of things to see and do in Phoenix is the perfect place to start!

58 Fabulous Things To Do in Phoenix, Arizona by JetSettingFools.com

 

Things To Do: Phoenix FAQs

Before we get to our list of the best things to do in Phoenix, there’s a few things you should know about the city. We are answering some of the most frequently asked questions so that you are ready on arrival.

 

Where is Phoenix, Arizona?

Phoenix is situated in the south-central portion of Arizona along the Salt River Valley. The city sits about halfway between Flagstaff (to the north) and Tucson (to the south). The sprawling metropolis, also known as Phoenix Metro, is home to some 5 million residents.

The Phoenix attractions on our list are located both in Phoenix proper and in the suburbs beyond the city. We provide a helpful Phoenix map of sights at the end of the article.

To help you best plan your trip, we also recommend things to do near Phoenix, AZ that can be reached on a day trip.

 

Are There Things To Do in Phoenix with Kids?

Absolutely! As a family-friendly city, there are heaps of things to do in Phoenix, Arizona with kids. While our list is not specifically geared towards kids, we include several Phoenix attractions for families.

 

Are There Free Things To Do in Phoenix?

Yes! If you are on a budget, no worries. There are many things to do in Phoenix for free. Throughout our list we highlight the best free things to do in Phoenix, AZ.

 

In addition to Phoenix Sightseeing, What Do Visitors Need To Know?

Our list features the best things to see in Phoenix – but we know there is so much more to planning a trip than sightseeing. In addition to sharing the top things to do in Phoenix, AZ, we also offer an abundance of general tips for traveling to Phoenix.

In our article, you will find details for how to get to Phoenix, where to stay and what to eat.

 

What is the Best Time for Visiting Phoenix?

We already mentioned that Phoenix is in the desert…which means summers are brutally hot, but winters are exceptional. Regardless of the season, there are fabulous Phoenix, AZ things to do year-round. 

 

Spring in Phoenix

We think that springtime is the best season for fun things in Phoenix – indoors and out! The weather is typically warm, but not hot, with loads of sunshine. It’s a great time for fun Phoenix, Arizona outdoor activities and there are a multitude of springtime events in the city.

 

Summer in Phoenix

Summers are miserably hot, but there is still fun stuff to do in Phoenix in the summertime. We recommend choosing activities and things to do inside in Phoenix during the hot summer months. However, nearby lakes and rivers provide outdoor entertainment for summer visitors. However, we suggest you start your day very early and stay hydrated!

 

Phoenix Autumn

Phoenix can be very pleasant in the autumn. High temperatures finally drop below triple-digits and evenings are cool. Visitors can enjoy a mix of indoor and outdoor attractions in the fall in Phoenix.

 

Wintertime in Phoenix

Winter in Phoenix can feel like heaven – especially for visitors from cold-weather places. High temps can still reach the 70s and the sky is full of sunshine, which is ideal for many of the best activities in Phoenix. It’s no surprise that Phoenix makes our list of the Top Winter Destinations and one of the Best Places for NYE!

What to See, Do and Eat in Phoenix, AZ Tips from a Local by JetSettingFools.com


 

THINGS TO DO IN PHOENIX, AZ

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s dive right into our huge list of fun things to do in Phoenix, AZ!

Because there are so many incredible Phoenix things to see, we have broken out our list into subcategories. The categories we feature are: Things To Do in Phoenix Downtown, the Best Attractions in Phoenix, Outdoor Adventures in Phoenix, Sports and Fun Events in Phoenix, the best Phoenix Day Trips and finally What to Eat and Drink in Phoenix.

Save, Bookmark or Pin our list of Things To Do in and around Phoenix so that you can easily access it as you plan your trip to Arizona!

 

Cultural Things To Do in Downtown Phoenix

We are kicking off our list with the top Phoenix tourist attractions in downtown. From amazing museums to live music venues to street art murals, these cultural attractions are some of the best things to see in Phoenix!

 

#1 Arizona Capitol Museum

One of the best historical places to visit in Phoenix is the Arizona Capitol Museum. Featuring 4 floors of engaging exhibits detailing the history of the state, visiting the Arizona Capitol Museum is both interesting and educational.

Plus, there is no entry fee – making it one of the fun, free things to do in Phoenix!

 

#2 Roosevelt Row Street Art

Colorful street art murals decorate many of the buildings in the city. Of all the street art you can seek out, the murals at 1 1/2 Street in the Roosevelt Row Arts District are one of the best things to see in downtown Phoenix.

You can set off on foot to find street art on your own – or join a local for a tour. The behind-the-scenes look at the local works of art is one of the fun things to do in Phoenix, Arizona!

 

#3 First Friday Phoenix Art Walk

First Friday is a fabulous downtown Phoenix event! If your trip coincides with the first Friday of the month, then step out for a night of art and fun at the Artlink First Friday Art Walk. The downtown gallery hop – which features 70 galleries and artistic spaces – is one of the unique things to do in Phoenix.

A convenient and free shuttle helps patrons get around – and visitors can find more information on the official Artlink Phoenix Facebook page.

 

#4 Heritage Square and the Rosson Museum

Heritage Square is a preserved part of the city’s past right in the heart of downtown. Historic Victorian dwellings line the street – as skyscrapers tower overhead just blocks away. The restored Rosson House, which dates to 1895, stands as the most magnificent house on the square.

In fact, touring the Rosson House is one of the top things to do in Phoenix. One-hour guided tours include access into the living areas of the house and the guide shares tales of what it was like for families to live in Phoenix in the late 1800s.

 

#5 St. Mary’s Basilica Phoenix

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – but better known as St. Mary’s Basilica – is another one of the fantastic historic places to go in Phoenix.

The downtown Catholic church was built in 1915 and ranks as the second oldest church in Phoenix (after the First Presbyterian Church, which dates to 1879). Pope Saint John Paul II visited the church in 1987 and it is listed as a Phoenix Point of Pride. All are welcome to enjoy the church and gift shop.

 

#6 Arizona Science Center

One of the top Phoenix, AZ attractions – and one of the best kid-friendly things to do in Phoenix – the Arizona Science Center is a must-do for families!

The AZ Science Center features more than 300 exhibits and live demonstrations – including a planetarium, an IMAX theater, science experiments and hands-on experiences.

 

#7 The RoHoEn Japanese Friendship Garden

Long one of our favorite downtown Phoenix attractions, the Japanese Friendship Garden – formally named RoHoEn – is an oasis in the middle of the bustling city.

The garden, which is a must-see in Phoenix, features a strolling garden, courtyard, stone garden, tea garden, tea house, a waterfall and koi pond. Find out more information about the garden.

 

#8 Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Without a doubt the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is one of the best things to do in Phoenix, AZ with kids. The museum offers loads of energy-burning activities for young ones – from infants to 10-year-olds.

Ranking as one of the top Phoenix, AZ tourist attractions for families, the museum features play-and-learn exhibits and programs. Visiting the museum is ideal in the summertime when it is too hot for kids to play outdoors.

 

#9 Heard Museum

Visiting the Heard Museum is one of the most interesting things to do in Phoenix, Arizona. The museum, which was founded in 1929, details the history, culture and art of Native American Indians.

In addition to the engaging and poignant exhibits and artwork, the museum hosts numerous top Phoenix events throughout the year – including artist talks, hoop dance competitions, markets and fairs.

 

#10 Phoenix Art Museum

One of the fascinating places to see in Phoenix, the Phoenix Art Museum features an impressive collection of objects, artworks and fine art. We personally most enjoy the museum’s contemporary works of art. Plus, the numerous events that the art museum in Phoenix hosts are not to be missed.

Pro Tip: Tickets are required, however Wednesday afternoons are Pay-as-You-Wish and on First Friday the museum is free to visit.

 

#11 Theatrical Performances in Phoenix

Going to the theater is one of the top things to do Downtown Phoenix – and with several theaters there is always something to see! Performances range from local productions to Broadway musicals.

Downtown Phoenix hosts multiple theaters – the best among them are the historic Orpheum Theatre, the Herberger Theater Center, the Arizona Opera and The Phoenix Theater Company.

 

#12 Live Music in Phoenix

Looking for a little Phoenix fun after dark? Catching a concert is one of the best things to do at night in Phoenix! Over the years, we have seen a slew of concerts in downtown Phoenix in venues both big and small.

The 5,000-seat Arizona Federal Theatre (formerly Comerica Theatre) has a solid lineup of entertainers – from musical acts to comedians.

That said, the best venues for intimate performances are The Van Buren and Crescent Ballroom. Additionally, The Nash is a fun jazz club that hosts concerts and open jam sessions.

 

#13 FilmBar

Spending an evening at FilmBar is one of the cool things to do in Phoenix. The small movie theater screens documentaries, indie and foreign films, local movies, classic movies and cult classics.

Patrons can buy beer and wine – as well as tamales, popcorn and candy – at the on-site bar to enjoy during the flick. The artwork is worth checking out, too!

 

#14 Phoenix Ghost Tour

If you are looking for quirky things to do in Phoenix at night, tap into the paranormal on a fantastic Phoenix Ghost Tour.

The one-hour walking tour visits the most haunted places in downtown Phoenix – and the guide shares the spooky stories of the past. 

The Best Things To Do in Phoenix, Arizona by JetSettingFools.com

 

Top Phoenix Attractions

Not all the fun places in Phoenix are located downtown! The Valley is massive – and there are Phoenix points of interest sprinkled throughout.

 

#15 Musical Instrument Museum

Consistently ranked as one of the top Phoenix places to visit, the Musical Instrument Museum is a must-see for music fans.

The museum has more than 4,300 instruments on display from around the world – but that is not the only reason why it is one of the best things to do in North Phoenix! In addition to the galleries, the MIM hosts concerts, educational programs and themed events.

 

#16 Phoenix Zoo

Getting wild at the Phoenix Zoo is one of the best family things to do in Phoenix. The zoo, which is located on the east side of the city near Tempe, is open year-round, with special events during the summer (Cruise the Zoo) and winter (ZooLights).

Home to more than 3,000 animals (favorites are the lions, orangutans and giraffes), the zoo habitats are separated into sections: Africa Trail, Arizona Trail, Tropics Trail and the Children’s Trail. Buy your tickets in advance

 

#17 Wildlife Zoo

The Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park is another one of the fun activities in Phoenix that is spectacularly wild! The expansive zoo is located on the west side of Phoenix – and visitors can easily spend an entire day at the park.

The Wildlife Zoo houses 6,000 animals – many of which are exotic or endangered. Guests can take in educational shows, feed the giraffes, touch the stingrays and take a plunge on the log water ride.

 

#18 SEA LIFE Aquarium

Featuring a 360-degree ocean tunnel and underwater entertainment, the SEA LIFE Aquarium is a star attraction in the city! Visiting the aquarium is one of the top things for kids to do in Phoenix – and it’s fun for adults, too.

In addition to seeing fish and rescued sea turtles, visitors can touch-and-play in the interactive tide pools, watch sharks feed and learn more about the sea creatures from aquarists. Buy your tickets in advance

 

#19 LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND Discover Land is one of the best kids’ indoor activities Phoenix has to offer!

The 2-story play area is a place for fun and building – but there is so much more to see and do. Visitors can watch shows at the 4D cinema, build LEGO racers, take exciting rides and meet their favorite LEGO characters. It’s best to get tickets in advance!

 

#20 Queen Creek Olive Mill

The Queen Creek Olive Mill is a working mill and one of the interesting places to visit near Phoenix. Located southeast of the city, the award-winning olive mill offers informational guided tours where guests learn about the farming, production and best uses of olive oil.

Visitors can pick up olive oil products in the gift shop – including skin care and beauty products – plus visit the on-site restaurant and taste olive oil samples.

 

#21 Wrigley Mansion

The landmark Wrigley Mansion is one of the cool places in Phoenix to visit. The historic mansion was home to both the Wrigley and Hormel families (and is it’s said to currently be home to a few ghosts, as well).

Visitors can book a guided tour of the mansion – or make reservations to dine at one of the classy on-site restaurants – Geordie’s Restaurant and Lounge or Christopher’s at Wrigley Mansion. Guests can also partake in an excellent happy hour at Wrigley Mansion – plus, it’s an ideal spot to watch a spectacular Phoenix sunset!

 

#22 Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright

One of the top things to do around Phoenix is touring the architectural gem, Taliesin West, which is located in North Scottsdale.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taliesin West served as the winter home and desert laboratory for Frank Lloyd Wright. Established in 1937, the grand residence was designed in congruence with the surrounding nature.

 

#23 Happy Hour Drinks at a Phoenix Resort

Phoenix is dotted with luxury resorts nestled in luxurious desert surroundings. Popping by for a happy hour cocktail is one of the best things to do in Phoenix, Arizona – especially if you are visiting Phoenix on a budget.

My favorite place for an afternoon margarita is Rita’s Cantina at the historic Camelback Inn, which offers impeccable views of the desert mountains. That said, almost all resort bars offer a happy hour special – like Frank and Albert’s at the Arizona Biltmore and Jade Bar at Sanctuary (which offers a late evening happy hour menu).

By the way, staying at one of the classy resorts is even better than just going for happy hour! We share tips on where to stay in Phoenix in a minute!

 

#24 Phoenix Spa Treatments

The best resorts in Phoenix have on-site spas – and spending a day at the spa is one of the fun activities in Phoenix, AZ.

I think the best Phoenix resort for spa treatments is the posh Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. The Asian-inspired spa features a range of treatments – from specialty massages to facials to acupuncture. Best of all, visitors who book a spa treatment are allowed to use the facilities and outdoor pool for the entire day.

 

#25 Shopping in Phoenix

Shopping is, perhaps, one of the most popular Phoenix activities – and there are plenty of places around town to do it!

Visitors looking for name-brand retailers and luxury boutiques should start their shopping spree at Biltmore Fashion Park…and then head for Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Downtown Glendale on the west side of the city is the place to go for antiquing and collectibles. Visitors interested in finding vintage items will want to shop in the city center Melrose District. The Phoenix Farmer’s Market – open on Saturday mornings in downtown Phoenix – is ideal for locally grown produce and other products.

 

#26 Old Town Scottsdale

Visiting historic Old Town Scottsdale is one of the entertaining things to do in the Phoenix area.

The district is reminiscent of an Old Western town – which is why it is one of the fun places to go in Phoenix. The streets are lined with shops selling Native American crafts and Western wear.

Restaurants abound in the area to satisfy any palette – and get your sweet treat at Sugar Bowl. Nightlife in Old Town Scottsdale can be casual and upbeat at places like the landmark Rusty Spur and the quirky and laid-back Coach House. There’s also countless Scottsdale clubs to dance the night away.

 

#27 Tempe Town Lake and ASU Campus

Going to Tempe is another one of the fun things to do in the Phoenix area – both day and night!

During the day, spend time at Tempe Town Lake and the Tempe Beach Park – where you can go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or stretch your legs on the lakeside walking paths.

Tempe is also home to Arizona State University campus – and visiting is one of the best things to do around Phoenix, AZ. Take a campus tour, climb up “A” Mountain and then bar hop your way down Mill Avenue in the evening.

The popular Papago Park and Hall of Flame Fire Museum are other top attractions in Tempe.

 

#28 Cityscape in Downtown Phoenix

An entertainment hub in the center of the city, Cityscape ranks as one of the fun things to do in Phoenix at night. Have a satisfying and hearty meal at The Arrogant Butcher and indulge in cocktails at the sleek Blue Hound. 

In addition to the many restaurants and bars, visitors can also go bowling or watch live comedy acts at Cityscape.

 

#29 Desert Botanical Garden

Ranking as one of the top attractions in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden features thousands of desert plants – including cactus, trees and flowers – in the 55-acre park.

In addition to the incredible display of desert flora, the botanical garden also hosts numerous events throughout the year. Special exhibits – like Chihuly in the Desert – are especially popular.

That said, the annual wintertime evening Las Noches de las Luminarias at the garden – an event featuring twinkling lights and holiday music – gets our vote as one of the best things to do in Phoenix in December!

 

#30 Pueblo Grande Museum

Featuring the preserved ruins of an ancient Native American village, the Pueblo Grande Museum is an excellent place in Phoenix to learn about the history and culture of the land that the Hohokam tribe inhabited. 

Inside the museum, visitors can see recovered objects – like jewelry, tools and pots. Guests then embark on a trail through the ruins and recreated dwellings to get a better understanding of how the village likely looked. 

Pro Tip: Going to the Pueblo Grande Museum is one of the fun things to do at Phoenix Sky Harbor on a long layover. The museum is right next to the airport and a great place to stretch your legs…just remember to leave enough time to get back through security!

 

#31 Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Called the Wedding Cake Castle by locals, the Tovrea Castle is a fine example of art deco architecture…and the cactus gardens are exquisite. Built in the 1920s as a hotel, the building is steeped in history and plagued by urban legends. 

Visiting is one of the best architectural, historical and nature things to do in Phoenix. (That said, it is incredibly difficult to score tickets – so it’s best to try to get tickets far in advance!)

58 Things To Do in Phoenix, Arizona by JetSettingFools.com

 

Outdoor Activities Phoenix

With ample sunshine and lots of wide open spaces, there are tons of things to do in Phoenix outdoors. We are highlighting the best outdoor fun Phoenix has to offer.

 

#32 Hiking in Phoenix 

If we had to pick just one of the best outdoor things to do Phoenix, it would be hiking. With miles of trails in multiple parks around the city, hiking is a must-do in Phoenix!

Our favorite hiking trails in the city are at Phoenix Mountain Preserve and South Mountain Park – but they are far from the only places to hit the trails. The Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback Mountain is a challenging trail; we detail it and the top hikes in the city in our article, The Best Phoenix Hiking Trails.

Visitors who would rather hike with a local can book a Sunrise or Sunset Tour or a private guided hike

Want to attempt summiting the challenging Camelback Mountain trail? Take the trek with a knowledgeable and certified mountain guide on a Camelback hiking tour

 

#33 Phoenix Parks

Visitors on a budget and looking for cheap things to do in Phoenix might want to check out some of the spectacular city parks – which are free to visit! (The parks are also fun family things to do in Phoenix!)

Downtown Margaret T Hance Park sits atop the I-10 Deck Park Tunnel and has recently undergone a massive renovation to include a kids play area, misters, more shade and a water feature.

Encanto Park and the adjoining Enchanted Island Amusement Park is another city of Phoenix park that offers areas for playing and picnicking.

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale is another outdoor play area that features train rides, a historic carousel and model trains.

 

#34 Golf in Phoenix

Golfing is one of the outstanding outdoor things to do in Phoenix! In fact, Phoenix is one of the top golfing destinations in the United States…and there are close to 200 courses in and around the city where visitors can play.

Some courses – like Boulders Golf Club – are designed to enhance the breathtaking Sonoran Desert scenery. The classic Wigwam Golf Club, on the other hand, features eucalyptus and pine trees on the course. Most of the Phoenix resorts, like Gainey Ranch, have exceptional golf courses – but there are phenomenal city golf courses, too (the Papago Golf Course is a top pick!).

Visitors can play a round of golf in Phoenix any time of year…you will just want an early morning tee time during the hot summer months! However, if you want to leave the planning to someone else, you can have a professional sort the details of your golf excursion.

 

#35 Dobbins Lookout and the Mystery Castle at South Mountain

We’ve already mentioned South Mountain as one of the best places to hike in the city, but visitors not interested in trekking still have reasons to visit South Mountain: Dobbins Lookout and the Mystery Castle.

Dobbins Lookout is one of the best places to visit in Phoenix for the fantastic city views (and it’s one of the best free things in Phoenix, too!). Standing at 2,330 feet, the viewpoint offers astounding panoramic views of the Valley. To get there, visitors drive up a scenic 5.5-mile road to the lookout point.

Sitting at the foothills of South Mountain is Mystery Castle. Built in the 1930s by a father for his little girl, the 3-story, 18-room castle is constructed of stone and salvaged materials. The unique structure is a Phoenix Point of Pride – and it is open for tours (tickets required).

 

#36 Phoenix Bicycle Exploration

Another one of the best things to do outside in Phoenix is to hop on two wheels to explore.

Cruising through the quiet and beautiful historic neighborhoods is high on our list of fun downtown Phoenix things to do. Visitors can use bicycles from Bike Share vendors and pedal to their heart’s content – or join a guided bike tour of the best neighborhoods in the city.

Another great spot for cycling (or jogging) in the city is Grand Canal Trail. The Arizona canals were built in the late 1800s to bring water from the Salt River to the surrounding communities. Today, the Grand Canalscape – and Grand Canal paths – extends for several miles through Phoenix, reaching Glendale in the west and Tempe in the east. 

Alternatively, visitors can escape the city center and ride bikes along the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt in Scottsdale. The park features 11 miles of paved path that passes by lakes and gardens. Plan your own route or join an Ebike tour.

 

#37 Hot Air Balloon Ride

A Phoenix outdoor activity that gets rave reviews (but one we have yet to do, but have always enjoyed seeing from the ground) is taking a morning hot air balloon ride.

Floating above the Sonoran Desert in a colorful balloon is one of the romantic things to do in Phoenix – especially if you opt for a balloon ride with an included champagne breakfast. 

 

#38 Saguaro Lake Kayaking and Paddle Boarding

Saguaro Lake is stunningly beautiful – and kayaking or paddle boarding on Saguaro Lake is one of the best activities to do in Phoenix outdoors!

Paddling through the mountainous landscapes and towering cactus is so peaceful that it’s almost surreal. Visitors should organize their kayak rental or Stand Up Paddle Board adventure in advance to ensure a spot (and get a free parking pass!).

 

#39 Salt River Tubing

One of our favorite things to do in Phoenix in the summer is to escape the city for a leisurely float on the Salt River. The cool mountain water is absolutely refreshing in the summertime heat. The river snakes through the scenic Tonto National Forest, meandering through pristine desert landscapes.

The most popular tubing route can get a little rowdy on the weekend when the beer flows faster than the Salt River. (Bring your own cooler and canned beer (no glass!) for imbibing – and bring a designated driver or book transportation!) 

Visitors looking for a tubing experience that is a isn’t a party on the water should make reservations at Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch.

 

#40 Rafting the Lower Salt River

Another fun way to experience the Salt River is on a rafting trip…and it is perhaps one of the better Salt River family activities in Phoenix, AZ.

The trip is an easy, beginner Class 1 rafting tour. The guide maneuvers the boat as well as provides information about the surrounding nature. Lucky rafters will get a glimpse of the area’s wild horses – but all will enjoy the peacefulness of the picturesque river.

 

#41 Boating in Phoenix

Boating might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are planning your trip to Phoenix, but we can assure you that boating is one of the cool things to do in Phoenix, AZ!

Lake Pleasant, just north of Phoenix, offers numerous opportunities for getting out on the water in a boat! Rent a sailboat, pontoon boat or jet skis and head out on the water for a day of fishing, splashing or just taking in the desert mountain scenery.

 

#42 Sonoran Desert ATV Tour

The rugged and rocky trails of the Sonoran Desert are top attractions near Phoenix. Joining an ATV tour in the desert is another one of the Phoenix fun things to do. (In fact, ATVing gets high marks as one of the fun things to do in Phoenix with teenagers!)

Tour participants are outfitted with everything they need to ride off-road through the Bradshaw Mountains. In addition to the thrilling ride, guests are treated to magnificent scenery and tales about the Native Americans and desert creatures that have inhabited the lands. 

What To See, Do and Eat in Phoenix, Arizona by JetSettingFools.com

 

Sporting Events and Entertainment in Phoenix

Phoenix has a full lineup of sports and events that take place throughout the year. Attending an event and cheering on the home team (or your team) are cool things to do in Phoenix, Arizona!

 

#43 Arizona Spring Training

Without question, attending a Spring Training baseball game is one of the best things to do in Phoenix, AZ. The Arizona Cactus League is comprised of 15 Major League Baseball teams that compete from the end of February and throughout the month of March.

The warm (but not hot!) springtime weather is perfect for a day at the ballpark. Seats in the casual lawn section are fairly affordable, too – making Spring Training games fun, cheap things to do in Phoenix.

 

#44 Professional Sports Teams in Phoenix: MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL

One of the best things about Phoenix is all the sports teams! Whether you are looking for family fun in Phoenix, things to do in Phoenix for couples or fun group activities in Phoenix, attending a sporting event is sure to entertain.

The city hosts the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, the NFL Arizona Cardinals, the NBA Phoenix Suns and the NHL Arizona Coyotes. Additionally, fans can cheer on the WNBA Phoenix Mercury, the USL Phoenix Rising FC soccer club and the Arizona Rattlers arena football team.

Thinking it might be too hot for Diamondbacks baseball? With the air-conditioned Chase Field stadium that features a retractable roof and an indoor pool, a summertime ball game is one of the best things to do indoors in Phoenix!

 

#45 Phoenix Raceway

The Phoenix Raceway track has been a one of the top Phoenix-area attractions since it opened in 1964. NASCAR began racing the track in 1988 – and Phoenix Raceway now hosts two NASCAR events annually, in addition to other racecar events throughout the year.

Motorsport enthusiasts can find a schedule and event information on the official PR website.

 

#46 Phoenix Open Golf Tournament

Nicknamed ‘The Greatest Show on Grass,’ the Phoenix Open is an annual PGA Tour event – and one of the best things to do in Phoenix in February. The pro golf tournament is well-known for the 16th hole, which many call the Loudest Hole in Golf.

In addition to the daytime golf event, the Birds Nest party tent hosts four nights of concerts and debauchery. Attending the tournament is a must-do in Phoenix, AZ in February!

 

#47 Events in Phoenix

Sports, car racing and golf tournaments are not the only Phoenix events – there is so much more going on in Phoenix!

The annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction is a superb event featuring some of the finest automobiles in the world.

The Arabian Horse Show has been held in Scottsdale since 1955 – and it remains a first-class horse show with more than 2,400 horses competing for the top prize.

Another highly entertaining annual event in Phoenix, AZ is the Arizona Renaissance Festival. The medieval fair features multiple stages, arts, crafts and a Jousting Tournament – and it ranks as one of the best things to do in Phoenix with family.

 

#48 Phoenix Casinos

Gaming at the casinos in the Greater Phoenix Area is big fun! In fact, spending an evening at one of the many casinos is one of the best indoor things to do in Phoenix.

In addition to the table games and slot machines, guests can dine at the on-site restaurants, take in a musical performance and enjoy the amenities at the adjoining resorts.

Local Tip: The best casinos in Phoenix are Vee Quiva in the West Valley, Talking Stick in Scottsdale, and Wild Horse Pass in the East Valley.

Phoenix, AZ Everything You Need to Know to Plan Your Trip by JetSettingFools.com

 

Things To Do Near Phoenix: Day Trips from Phoenix

While there are plenty of things to see in Phoenix, AZ, there are top attractions around the state, too! It just so happens that some of the best things to do in Arizona can be reached on day trips from Phoenix. Take a road trip or join a tour to get to these top destinations near Phoenix.

 

#49 Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat

The 40-mile Apache Trail (officially AZ Route 88) is one of the most outstanding scenic drives in the state of Arizona – and there are plenty of tourist stops along the way. We personally think it is one of the best things to see around Phoenix – and we regularly took our visiting guests on the picturesque drive. Just be aware that most of the route is unpaved!

Top attractions on the Apache Trail are the Goldfield Ghost Town, the historic mining town of Tortilla Flat (population 6), Canyon Lake and the old-fashioned Dolly Steamboat and the Theodore Roosevelt Dam.

From Roosevelt Dam, avid road-trippers can continue driving in a loop, making stops at the Tonto National Monument Cliff Dwelling and the town of Globe (pop into the Drift Inn Saloon for some fun!).

On the other hand, if you want to leave the planning – and driving! – to someone else, join the highly-rated Apache Trail tour.

 

#50 Grand Canyon

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the great Southwest on an epic full-day tour to the famous Grand Canyon. The gorgeous canyon was beautifully carved by the Colorado River, exposing 2 billion years of history…and a landscape that is unlike any other in the world.

With a car, visitors can plan a trip to Grand Canyon National Park and back in one day – but be warned, it’s a very long day – with about 3.5 hours of driving each way.

If you would rather gaze at the scenery instead of focusing on the road, we recommend joining a popular small-group tour

Really want a grand experience? Take a Grand Canyon helicopter tour – get the details!

 

#51 Sedona Red Rocks and Native American Ruins

Sedona, Arizona is breathtakingly beautiful. Highlighted by majestic red rock formations, nature trails, Vortex meditation sites, shopping, arts and culture, spending a day in Sedona is one of the best things to do near Phoenix.

Being just a 2-hour drive from Phoenix, a Sedona day trip is fairly easy for visitors to plan on their own. That said, joining a tour will ensure visitors see the best sights – like Bell Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross and Native American ruins.

 

#52 Combo: Grand Canyon and Sedona

Seeing both the Grand Canyon and Sedona in one day is a big undertaking – but not with a professional guide behind the wheel!

Limited to just 5 tour participants, the full-day tour features the absolute best sights in Northern Arizona. It is perfect for visitors short on time who want to see it all!

 

#53 Antelope Canyon

The amazing Antelope Canyon is one of the most beautiful destinations in the state…and also one of the more difficult ones to get to!

If you want to visit Antelope Canyon on a day trip from Phoenix, we recommend hiring a private tour guide for the trip! 

 

#54 Flagstaff, Arizona 

Taking a day trip from Phoenix to Flagstaff is a fun city escape! The mountain town is casual and comfortable – especially in the summertime when the Valley is scorching hot.

The town itself has a handful of sights – and nearby attractions, like Agassiz Peak, the Wupatki National Monument, Slide Rock State Park and Winslow, Arizona are fun to visit, too.

Pro Tip: Read more of our top tips for What To See and Do in Flagstaff.

 

#55 Verde Canyon Railroad and Historic Jerome, Arizona

Jerome is an old mining town that was once known as the Wickedest Town in the West. Today, it’s a fun place to visit – boasting a gold mine, haunted hotel, historic park, boutique shops and a winery.

From Jerome, the Verde Canyon Railroad is just a short jaunt away. Passengers can hop aboard for a scenic train journey through the Verde Valley. Plan the trip on your own or join a fabulous tour

 

#56 Tombstone, Tucson, Saguaro NP and San Xavier Mission

If you want to check out things to see around Phoenix to the south, then we recommend making a trip down to Tombstone – and combine it with a stop in Tucson to see the San Xavier Mission and Saguaro National Park.

Tombstone – also known as The Town Too Tough To Die – is home to famous Western sights, like the OK Corral and the Big Nose Kate Saloon. The old Western town is steeped in history and is fun for the whole family.

Tucson, which is conveniently on the route between Phoenix and Tombstone, is a fun city to visit. That said, the two attractions we most like in the region are the San Xavier Mission, a striking baroque Catholic church that was completed in 1797, and Saguaro National Park, where you can hike among the largest cacti in the country.

Seeing all of the sights in one day is likely too much – so you will have to pick and choose as you plan your Phoenix day trip. Alternatively, let a guide lead the way (and make the drive!) on an organized tour of Tombstone and San Xavier. 

 

#57 Southern Arizona Wine Tour

Another fun southern day trip from Phoenix is into the Sonoita Wine Region for a day of sipping and swirling in the Great Southwest.

Visitors could easily plan their own trip to multiple wineries, but it’s much more relaxing to hire a driver for the trip

 

#58 Three City Tour: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe

Visitors who want a guided tour of the best spots in Phoenix Metro can join a half-day tour of three cities: Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe.

The local guide provides transportation and insider secrets about the best things to do and see in the Valley of the Sun. Get the details!

Subscribe Packing Checklist by JetSettingFools.com


 

What To Do in Phoenix: Eating and Drinking

In recent years, Phoenix has emerged as a foodie city – and there are an abundance of establishments for eating and drinking. We are highlighting our favorite places…the ones we frequented as locals (and naturally took our visiting guests!).

 

Restaurants in Phoenix

Seeking out the best restaurants and delicious fare is one of the top things to do in Phoenix, Arizona. Whether you are looking for a restaurant for family fun in Phoenix, AZ or great places for dates in Phoenix, we’ve got it covered!

 

Upscale Phoenix Restaurants

There is no shortage of fine dining in the Valley of the Sun, but we whittled our list down to a few of our favorites.

Durant’s is one of the best places to go in Phoenix for a classy meal. The old-school steakhouse has a throwback vibe, red-velvet décor and excellent martinis.

For exquisite meals and desert ambiance, dine at Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn. Known for their brunch, we think the dinner menu is even better.

Charming and quaint, Quiessense offers guests a superb dining experience – complete with multiple courses and wine pairings.

El Chorro, established in 1937, is another fabulous place to eat in Phoenix. The beautiful mountain views only enhance an already phenomenal meal!

 

Mexican Food in Phoenix

Delicious Mexican food is a Phoenix specialty! There are countless Mexican restaurants in Phoenix – from casual to classic to upscale.

Our top pick, however, for a casual Phoenix Mexican restaurant is the unassuming Via Delosantos. The simple, no-frills restaurant does it right!

When we are simply craving a solid burrito, the original America’s Taco Shop on 7th Street is where we go. Try the El Pastor – you won’t regret it!

Tee Pee Mexican Food is a long-standing local favorite. Established in 1958, the classic Mexican joint has been frequented by a slew of celebrities – and for good reason, the food is spectacular!

For an upscale Mexican eatery, we recommend The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale. The chic spot serves sophisticated Mexican eats. Start with their signature guacamole and then go for the pork shoulder tacos.

A longtime city favorite, Richardson’s dishes out some of the best New Mexican fare in Phoenix. The portions are huge – and incredibly satisfying, which is why it ranks as one of the best places to go in Phoenix, AZ for spicy, flavorful food.

 

Contemporary Phoenix Restaurants

Of course, not all the best food in Phoenix is Mexican! In fact, some of our favorite places to eats in Phoenix serve contemporary fare in fashionable settings.

Postino Central gets our top vote for an absolutely scrumptious meal in a fantastic setting. Featuring Italian paninis, out-of-this-world bruschetta and a phenomenal wine list, Postino is a local favorite!

The stylish Hula’s Modern Tiki is an excellent choice for Hawaiian-slash-Polynesian fare. Every dish is delicious and their mai tais are exceptional.

Hanny’s is another top choice for contemporary fare in impressive digs right in downtown Phoenix. With a creative menu and hand-crafted cocktails, it’s hard to go wrong at Hanny’s! 

 

Best Pizza in Phoenix

Visitors who like good pizza – really, really good pizza – are spoiled for choices! The absolute best pizza in Phoenix is in the heart of the city and just north of downtown.

Eating a wood-fired pizza at Pizzeria Bianco is – hands down – one of the top culinary activities to do in Phoenix, AZ. The small restaurant is located in a historic building in Heritage Square. Be prepared for a wait to get a seat – and enjoy a cocktail at Bar Bianco next door.

Cibo is our other favorite pizzeria in downtown Phoenix. The Da Vinci pizza is divine! The restaurant offers a cozy ambiance in a remodeled historic home and wonderful Italian fare – and it’s best to make a reservation.

The Parlor Pizzeria offers a jovial vibe alongside their delicious pies. The hip space is also a fun spot for happy hour.

Another one of the cool places to go in Phoenix for pizza is Federal Pizza. The Uptown Phoenix neighborhood joint offers a unique selection of pizzas – as well as a good line up of local AZ craft brews.

 

Breakfast in Phoenix

Fun weekend brunches are one of our favorite things to do in Phoenix, Arizona. We already mentioned the phenomenal brunch at Lon’s – but we have a few suggestions for great breakfast spots in Phoenix as well.

A staple in the downtown Phoenix food scene, Matt’s Big Breakfast offers classic breakfasts made from scratch. The breakfast sandwich is my meal of choice – and Kris loves the Big Papa Burrito.

Vovomeena is a hip breakfast spot and an absolute gem! Go for the Mexican Benedict and the cold brew coffee.

If you are just looking for the best coffee in Phoenix, then we recommend heading to a coffeehouse in downtown Phoenix, like Lola Coffee, Songbird Coffee and Tea House or Giant Coffee.

 

Best Bars in Phoenix

Phoenix is a city that knows how to have fun…and there are heaps of entertaining bars to prove it! We could go on and on about all the incredible places to drink in Phoenix, but we are limiting our list to our top picks!

 

Breweries in Phoenix

When we first moved to Phoenix, Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe was the only craft brewery in the Valley. While Four Peaks remains one of the best Phoenix breweries, there is a lot more brewing in the city!

Arizona Wilderness is one of the best craft breweries in downtown Phoenix. For a taste of brews from around the state and region, we highly recommend visiting Angels Trumpet Ale House, which has long been one of our favorite Phoenix craft beer bars.

Not sure where to go? Let a guide lead the way on a customizable Brewery Tour.

 

Cocktails in Phoenix

We’ve already mentioned the tasty cocktails at Hula’s and Hanny’s – but we have a few more suggestions! The Windsor in North Central Phoenix has a wickedly good cocktail list as well as Sazerac and Bitter and Twisted in downtown.

 

Wine Bars in Phoenix

Postino Central ranks as our favorite wine bar in Phoenix; we love the selection, happy hour offerings and welcoming vibe. That said, for a more complete – but still incredibly fun – wine experience, Tarbell’s Wine Store is our top choice.

If you are just looking for something in downtown, then GenuWine Arizona is a fantastic place to sample wines with the help of knowledgeable staff. 

 

Neighborhood Phoenix Bars

Looking for cool and casual spots to kick back with a few adult beverages? Our favorite neighborhood spots are The Main Ingredient Ale House, The Vig Fillmore, and the always-fun Duce.

 

Phoenix Map of Attractions

To help visitors plan their time in the city, we have marked the top things to do in Phoenix on this helpful map. Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Map of Phoenix. 

Map of Phoenix by JetSettingFools.com

 

Plan a Trip to Phoenix, Arizona

We have already highlighted the best activities in Phoenix and top things to see near Phoenix…so now it is time to plan the rest of the details of your trip!

 

How To Get to Phoenix

Phoenix is best reached by plane – and there are two airports in the Phoenix Metro area.

The largest, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), is serviced by all major US carriers and is located just 5 miles from downtown Phoenix. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) is a smaller airport that services ultra-low-cost airlines (like Allegiant) and is 37 miles east of downtown Phoenix.

Use our top tips for booking the best flights – and then start your search for the best airfares.

 

How To Get to Downtown Phoenix from the Airport

Passengers arriving to Phoenix at Sky Harbor Airport have multiple options for how to get to downtown Phoenix. Taxis, shuttle buses and private transportation are all available. Additionally, the Phoenix Light Rail public transportation offers affordable rides into the heart of downtown.

Getting into the city from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway requires a car – but you can book private transport, grab a taxi or ride in a shared shuttle.

Both airports have easy access to rental cars. Before reserving your rental, use our top tips for Renting a Car.

 

Where To Stay in Phoenix

Choosing where to stay in Phoenix, Arizona will depend on your interests and budget. We have a few accommodation tips to help you decide which Phoenix resort or hotel may be best for you!

 

Best Phoenix Resorts

Throughout our list of Phoenix things to do, we highlighted some of the best resorts in the city. In addition to their restaurants and amenities – they are also wonderful places to stay!

 

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort

The chic Sanctuary Resort offers a luxurious and classy resort experience. A perfect place to base yourself on a romantic trip to Phoenix or during a summer staycation, the service, grounds and rooms all get excellent marks. Check rates and availability.

 

Camelback Inn Resort and Spa

Nestled between Camelback and Mummy mountains, the resort boasts impeccable grounds, gorgeous gardens and stunning views. We love the charming Southwestern flair that can be felt throughout the property. Check availability for your stay!

 

Arizona Biltmore

We have had the pleasure of staying at the Arizona Biltmore on several occasions – and each one was spectacular! An Arizona landmark featuring Frank Lloyd Wright style architecture, the historical resort aims to please with multiple pools, entertaining evening activities and beautifully renovated rooms. Check rates for your stay!

 

Hotels in Downtown Phoenix

Visitors who would rather be in the heart of the action will find several downtown Phoenix hotels. We are recommending our top picks for a range of budgets.

 

Kimpton Hotel Palomar

The posh Hotel Palomar is a fantastic place to stay in downtown Phoenix. The hotel gets high marks for the large, spacious rooms and city center location. However, what we love about Palomar is the amenities – namely the outdoor rooftop pool! Check rates and availability!

 

Found:RE

A boutique art hotel, Found:RE is an innovative hotel offering unique-but-comfortable rooms and local artworks. Plus, there is an onsite restaurant, bar and pool. Check rates!

 

What To Pack for Your Phoenix Trip

Packing is an important thing to consider when you plan a trip to Phoenix. What to pack for Phoenix will depend on the time of year – but we’ll help you out with the best tips. You can find all of our packing hacks and advice on our Travel Packing page.

 

Light, Breathable Clothing that can be Layered

In the summertime, you will want to make sure to bring lightweight and breathable clothing that will help you keep cool during the hot days. Even in the summer, it is a good idea to bring a jacket – as most establishments keep the air conditioning quite cold.

Outside of the summer months, the dry desert air can mean crisp mornings, warm days and cool evenings – so make sure you pack outfits that can be layered (and unlayered) throughout the day.

 

Phoenix Essentials

The sun in Phoenix is intense. Wearing sunscreen is a must in Phoenix…year-round! In addition to packing sunscreen, you will want to bring sunglasses and a wide-brimmed travel hat to keep the sun off your face. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, as well!

 

Good Travel Shoes

Whether you plan on exploring downtown Phoenix or want to spend your days shopping, you will want to make sure you wear comfortable shoes!

In Phoenix, I like to wear flip flops with good arch support throughout the year. However, wintertime visitors will likely want to pack a pair of travel sneakers, too. Read my tips for the Best Travel Shoes.

 

Travel Camera for Phoenix Photography 

The scenic desert landscapes and city sights are best captured with a real camera. We like to travel with an affordable beginner’s DSLR Canon Rebel – and use an everyday 18-135mm lens so that we do not have to travel with multiple lenses. Use our tips for the Best Travel Camera.

 

Arizona Travel Insurance

Don’t forget to insure your trip! Plans change and planes cancel – but trip insurance can help you recoup some of your costs when things go awry. We like the affordable plans at World Nomads that offer heaps of coverage for our trips. 

 

We Want To Know: What are your favorite things to do in Phoenix, Arizona? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments below!

 

Start planning your trip to Phoenix! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

More Top USA Destinations

Traveling to other top destinations in the USA? We can help you plan your trip! 

Want more travel tips? Read our top picks for the Best USA Weekend Destinations and discover new places to travel on our list of Underrated USA Travel Destinations.

 

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