Phoenix is the sort of place where I could very well go for a few days and accidentally never leave. It has this perfect mix of city amenities, history, and natural beauty to explore. There are so many different hikes, art museums, historical sites, great restaurants, craft beer bars, and cute boutique hotels to fill your days and nights.
These are some of my favorite things to do on a trip to Phoenix.
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is not like any other botanical gardens I’ve ever been to. You’ll see many types of cacti and stroll down beautiful walkways through a very arid desert setting. We had only planned to explore for an hour or so but ended up staying for most of the afternoon. The place has a really nice gift shop, and the restaurant makes a great cup of coffee.
Arizona Science Center
This science museum is so cool. It has four floors of interactive activities that definitely aren’t just for kids. Also on the scene are a planetarium and an IMAX theater that has a constantly changing science film showing.
The Camelback Mountains were given that name because they look just like a kneeling camel, even down to their brown-red color. You can explore many hiking trails around this mountain range, depending on how hard of a hike you’re looking for.
Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest visual arts museum in the Southwestern United States. It has so many beautiful exhibits, and once a week the museum is completely free to visitors. It’s also in a perfect location for exploring the rest of the city. I would definitely recommend staying in a hotel near the Phoenix Art Museum if you’re planning on visiting the city.
Papago Park is a seriously beautiful park in Phoenix where you can spend an afternoon cycling, jogging, and playing in the children’s waterpark. The red rocks and palm trees make for a beautiful place to wander around and photograph, especially at sunset.
Pueblo Grande Ruin
The pre-Colombian Pueblo Grande Ruin is absolutely incredible. I had no idea there was an archeological site this old in Arizona until we got to Phoenix. You can walk around the site, which is really cool, but if you really want to learn about the history of the people who used to live in this region, don’t miss the museum here. It’s really reasonably priced compared to a lot of the other museums in the city.
Piestewa Peak is the second-highest point in Phoenix, and there are a few nice challenging hiking trails that will take you to the top. I loved the rocky trails, and the view from the top is utterly breathtaking, and not just because it’s so steep!
The Heard Museum is a really fascinating museum that focuses on the history of Native Americans in this region of the country. As someone who grew up in New York, I never really had the chance to explore the history of Native Americans in great depth. It was really interesting to learn more and to gain a better understanding of their culture.
Phoenix is a seriously cool city that I hope to get back to at some point in the future. The hikes are varied, and the natural beauty really captured me most while I was there. It’s a great city for those who love the outdoors.
Featured Image via Flickr by Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale