Phoenix, a desert metropolis, is known for its year-round sunshine, famous red rocks, and mountainous landscapes. It’s the ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts to flock.
After all, with over 300 days a year of guaranteed sunshine, it’s one of the few places you can hike without needing to pack your waterproof gear. However, not everyone wants to spend their free time out in the Valley of Sun clocking up the walking miles. Instead, some prefer to head to a city and explore the cultural aspects, taking in the sights, eating tasty food, and lounging around in hip bars. So where should you head on your next trip to Phoenix?
Phoenix – A City of History, Culture and Hikes
#1 Go for a Hike
If there’s a mountain or a walking trail worth traipsing, we’ll attempt it, even if I end up questioning my sanity. With hikes of various degrees of difficulty, you’ll find something that will suit not only your fitness level but also your adventurous nature. Phoenix is a great place to go on an enjoyable trek together as a family.
Possibly the most famous of all Arizona trails is the one that leads you up to Camelback Mountain. Once you summit, you’ll be blessed with wonderful panoramic views of Phoenix and the surrounding desert landscape.
Also, if you are the outdoorsy type, there are plenty of RV parks and campgrounds in the Phoenix area to stay at.
#2 Visit the Desert Botanical Gardens
Believe it or not, flowers do grow in the desert. They just need to be a little hardier than your common garden pansy.
At the botanical gardens, you’ll find more than 4,000 species and over 27,000 plants, which make up a stunning visual treat. A visit here also provides you with the opportunity to see some of the more unusual desert plants, including giant cacti and century plants.
Not a fan of flowers? Perhaps you would find one of the many exhibitions, trails, or bird-watching tours more enjoyable. The botanical gardens also run a series of different events throughout the year, including music performances and dance shows.
#3 Roosevelt Row
If you enjoy art, then Roosevelt Row is the one place you must visit in Phoenix. This walkable street is the creative hub of the city known for its many art galleries, its colourful murals, and its trendy restaurants.
If you happen to be in Phoenix on the first Friday of each month, why not take in the Free Art Walk provided by Art Link. Here you can enjoy exploring the numerous art galleries as part of an organized tour, and you can also check out some live performing arts and artist studios.
#4 Old Town Scottsdale
If you fancy some retail therapy, then head to Scottsdale. Here, new meets old, and your inner shopaholic can come out to play. This is the place where fine boutiques, designer department stores, and chintzy souvenir shops all mix together alongside art and craft shops and artisan markets.
#5 Phoenix Breweries
With over 40 breweries in the state of Arizona, craft beer has become a popular drink for Phoenix locals. Why not sample some of the best ale in the country at one of the many microbreweries dotting around the city?
With many unique tastes, like the Mr. Pineapple at San Tan Brewing Company or the Pomegranate Wheat and Black Cherry Blonde from the Desert Eagle Brewery, this isn’t just a trip for diehard proper ale drinkers. This is an adventure that even those who prefer something more fruity will enjoy.
#6 Take in a Museum or Two
With museums galore, you are spoilt for choice on where to head first. With the Musical Instrument Museum, the Heard Museum, the Hall of Flame, the Martin Auto Museum, and the Harley-Davidson Museum to consider, deciding which museum to head to first will a tough.
For those who enjoy history, there are many museums for you to explore. For those traveling as a family, you may wish to check out the dedicated children’s museum with its hands-on displays.
#7 Taliesin West
Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect who designed more than 1,000 structures, once lived in Phoenix. Today his winter house, Taliesin West, is open to the public for tours. Situated in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, it was designed and maintained by Wright and his apprentices, making it one of the architect’s more personal projects.
Not only did this man design houses, but he also built many hotels, museums, and iconic buildings. His projects include the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Romeo and Juliet Windmill in Wisconsin.
#8 Eat at the Famous Food Trucks
The desire for fast food has increased over the years, so it’s no surprise that food trucks are popping up everywhere. Phoenix takes this trend a step further with countless food trucks that aim to bring delicious food to the streets of the city. While burgers may still be on the menu, you can also find other tasty alternatives, including pretzels and tasty sandwiches.
#9 Spend time at the Heritage and Science Park
Home to Rosson House Museum and several other beautifully restored historical homes, this area of Phoenix is a crucial part of the cultural landscape. Along with the award-winning restaurants and the Arizona Science Center, you’ll find many festivals and events throughout the year. Wandering the tree-lined streets of Heritage Square will transport you back to the 1900s, offering you a glimpse into the lifestyle of families from yesteryear.
So, you see, there is much more to the Valley of Sun than just a hiking trail or two. Phoenix is a city of contrasts, and for those seeking a multitude of different things to see or do, is the perfect city for a short weekend break.
Thinking of heading to the city and looking for a place to stay? Then check out these recommendations from Hotel Planner, a website that offers numerous suggestions to suit all budgets and travel styles.
Have you traveled to Phoenix? Have we missed something that you feel everyone should see or do while in the city? We would love to hear your suggestions below.