Arizona is home to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, crazy desert wildlife, and very hot summers.
If you’re ever in Phoenix, it won’t be hard to see that there are a ton of things to do. This list gives you 10 places to start, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the choices.
#1 Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center’s motto is “Never stop wondering,” so if you feel like learning, it’s the place to be. Here, they strive to inspire, engage, and educate anyone with a curious mind. On a daily basis, you can see demonstrations like “Stomach this,” “Dig it,” “Discover DNA,” or “Great Balls of Fire!” You could even dissect a seastar! Check before your visit to see what new, exciting events they have planned!
#2 Papago Park
Papago Park is one of thirty-three Phoenix Points of Pride. These Points of Pride are designed to showcase the best the city has to offer, to residents and visitors alike. This 1200 acre park is known for the red sandstone formations that are between six and fifteen million years old. Hole-In-The-Rock is the most famous of these features. Be sure to keep an eye out for the desert plants (like the distinct Saguaro cactus), while you’re enjoying activities like hiking, picnicing, bicycling, and fishing.
#3 Hall of Flame Fire Museum
Also known as the National Historical Fire Foundation, the goal of this museum is to preserve the historical firefighting equipment from all eras and locations. The museum has 5 different exhibits, and also features the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes Gallery. Their fully restored fire apparatus date as far back as 1725 through 1969 and come from places like England, France, Austria, Germany, and Japan.
#4 Chase Field
Chase Field is home of the Major League baseball team, the Arizona Diamonbacks. Opened in 1998, this field is the first in the United States to have a retractable roof that covers its natural-grass field. This is necessary, of course, because the average high temperature during baseball season is 99.1 °F! Come visit during the season and catch a game in the climate control!
#5 Phoenix Zoo
Another Phoenix Point of Pride, Phoenix Zoo has been around since 1962! It’s the largest non-profit, privately owned zoo in the United States. With over 1, 400 animals and 2.5 miles of walking trails, you could definitely spend a day here. Be sure to check out the each of their themed areas including The Arizona Trail, The African Trail, The Tropics Trail, and the Children’s Trail. It’s also a great place to learn about conservation.
#6 Phoenix Art Museum
This 285,000 square foot museum is the Southwest United States’ largest museum for visual art. Here you can find over 18, 000 works of art from places all over the world, like Asia, Europe, and Latin America. There is an interactive space for kids, a photography exhibition, and a landscaped sculpture garden. Be sure to see what festivals and live performances are being hosted when you visit!
#7 Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden was founded by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society in 1937. There are 140 acres of beauty, where you can find more than 21, 000 plants. A lot of these plants are even rare or endangered! As you might expect, they also have a great collection of agave and cacti. But, collections from other, far-reaching parts of the world, ensure that you’ll be learning about a variety of ecosystems!
#8 Camelback Mountain
Named for its unique shape, Camelback Mountain is a view that will quickly become familiar if you visit Phoenix. Found within the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area, people often go here to explore caves, hike, or rock climb. If you’re feeling ambitious and you’ve got a few hours on your hands, take the Cholla Trail or the Echo Canyon Trail up to the peak — it’s about 1,280 feet up.
#9 Heard Museum
The Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art hopes to educate people on the culture and heritage of native peoples, especially those from the southwest. The cool thing about this museum is that it isn’t simply history! Many of the exhibits feature contemporary art and culture. The Heard Museum has been recognized internationally for their collections and festivals, so you definitely don’t want to miss it!
#10 South Mountain Park
South Mountain Park encompasses a whopping 16, 283 acres, making it the largest municipal park in the United States! It offers 58 miles of cycling, hiking, and horseback riding trails, and is known for its breathtaking lookout points. South Mountain Park also has the distinction of having the highest density of chuckwallas ever reported. These huge lizards call South Mountain home, and if you head over for a visit, there are likely to be plenty of photo opportunities.