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Things to do in Phoenix


Nicknamed the Valley of the Sun, it’s easy to figure out one of Phoenix’s biggest lures. With 300+ days of sunshine annually, it’s easy to find things to do in Phoenix in the great outdoors. But if you’d rather stay out of the sun, you won’t be disappointed here! That’s because there are plenty of museums, galleries, and unique shops waiting for you to explore. 


Things to do in Downtown Phoenix


No trip to Phoenix is complete without exploring all the great things to do downtown. Between arts, science, sports, and more, you’ll never run out of fun activities.


Arizona Theater Company


With every season, the Arizona Theater Company joins together with world-class actors, directors, and producers. The result? A collaboration celebrating what it means to be alive. In addition to inspiring joy and curiosity in its audience, the ATC brings people of all ages together. 


Regardless of whether you enjoy the classics or more contemporary stories, the ATC offers the quintessential theater experience for all. 


First Friday Art Walk


Looking for something different than the usual dinner and drinks on Friday night? Well, we’ve got just the thing for you! And it’s one of the very best things to do in Phoenix. So, here it is: the First Friday Art Walk! As a matter of fact, you should probably plan your vacation around the first Friday of the month. 


As a kind of rite of passage for new Phoenicians, the Art Walk spotlights local vendors, artists, and musicians.  


While the original event launched with just a handful of participants, its popularity grew quickly. Subsequently, it grew into the unique celebration that it is today. Now, you’ll find nearly 100 businesses and individuals hosting thousands of participants over dozens of city blocks. As one of the largest art walks in the country, there’s quite a lot to see and do!


Also bear in mind that participants also enjoy free admission and discounts to some of Phoenix’s best museums and attractions. These include the Phoenix Arts Museum, Heard Museum, and Japanese Friendship Garden. 


Sports, Sports, and Yet More Sports


As a sports-lovers paradise, going to see a game is always on the list of things to do in Phoenix. Head over to the Footprint Center to catch a Phoenix Suns or Phoenix Mercury basketball game. Or are you more in the mood for a baseball game? If so, Chase Field is the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks


Heritage Square


As a multipurpose area, Heritage Square is dotted with reimagined and repurposed buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries. So this means you can enjoy a delicious meal, sample a craft cocktail, wander through a museum, or visit a haunted home all in one place!


First, the anchor of Heritage Square is the historic Rosson House Museum. A fully-restored 1895 Queen Anne Victorian, this home was inhabited by Phoenix’s earliest settlers. For those people interested in the paranormal, this area is one of several supposedly haunted areas in Phoenix. 


For those more rooted in science, you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied, as well. At the Arizona Science Center, you’ll be captivated by more than 350 exhibits, including dinosaurs, astronauts, mummies, and more.


On the other hand, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix will enthrall your little ones. Features there include hundreds of hands-on activities and exhibits for children up to age 10.


When all that exploration has your taste buds in overdrive, you’ll have your choice of some of Arizona’s best-known restaurants. These include Pizzeria Bianco. Helmed by James Beard winner Chris Bianco, this show-stopper has hosted celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jerry Seinfeld.


Things to do in Phoenix Outdoors


If spending time in nature is on your list of things to do in Phoenix, you won’t be disappointed! That’s because Phoenix offers world-class opportunities for hiking, biking, and enjoying the great outdoors. 


Hiking in the Sonoran Desert Surrounded by the vibrantly alive Sonoran Desert, you’ll find unexpected greenery, abundant wildlife, and fascinating history. Best of all, this timeless landscape offers hiking opportunities for people of all skill levels. So you don’t have to be a world-class explorer to enjoy the surroundings!


Easy Hikes:

  1. Double Butte Loop and Hole-in-the-Rock Trail in Papago Park, Distance: 2.3-mile loop (Double Butte) and 825 feet out and back (Hole-in-the-Rock)
  2. Blevins Trail in Usery Mountain Regional Park, Distance: 3-mile loop
  3. Waterfall Trail in White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Distance: 1.8 miles out and back


Medium Hikes:


  1. Hidden Valley via Mormon Trail in South Mountain Park/Preserve, Distance: 4 miles out and back
  2. Pinnacle Peak Trail in Pinnacle Peak Park, Distance: 3.5 miles out and back
  3. Lookout Mountain Summit Trail in Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Distance: 1.2 miles out and back
  4. Dixie Mountain Loop in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, Distance: 3.82-mile loop


Hard Hikes: 


  1. Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback Mountain, Distance: 2.4 miles out and back
  2. Tom’s Thumb Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Distance: 4.6 miles out and back
  3. Piestewa Summit Trail in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Distance: 2.4 miles out and back


Water Activities in Phoenix

While our hiking trails are well-known and loved, the Salt River and freshwater lakes offer plenty of opportunity for fun and exciting days on the water. 


The 200-mile long Salt River has been a source of recreation for residents and visitors alike for thousands of years. These days it’s all about tubing and kayaking, though it also serves as the main water supply for Phoenix.  


So that you may best enjoy your tubing experience on the Salt River, be sure to check out Arizona’s Salt River Tubing & Recreation. This is your one-stop shop for everything needed to have an exceptional day enjoying all great Phoenix has to offer!


Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Salt River wild horses! While no one knows exactly where they came from, it is thought 17th-century explorers brought them from Spain. 


Today, you can generally find them at spots close to Saguaro Lake. And this includes Phon D. Sutton, Granite Reef, and Coon Bluff Recreation Areas


Stay tuned for our next post about the best things to do in Phoenix. Because there’s far too much great stuff for just one post!


Looking for a great place to stay during your adventure in Phoenix? Check out our gorgeous, fully-furnished and equipped vacation rentals for your stay in the Valley of the Sun!