Best Phoenix Attractions
People think of Phoenix, Arizona as a hot, unassuming location with scarcely anything to do outside of visiting the Grand Canyon. But the truth is that it is teeming with life and tourist attractions that will make your vacation memorable. For every snow-capped mountain range, there are dozens of glaciers, caves, and beaches.
There’s more to Phoenix than a nature and outdoor activities. You can go to world class museums, music festivals, or drink gin and dance.
To put it simply, there is more to “The Valley of the Sun” than meets the eye. Let’s talk about amazing things you can do in Phoenix, Arizona.
Attractions in Phoenix
Desert Botanical Garden
Sprawling over 100 acres of lush gardens, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix has become one of the most popular destinations for nature lovers. The garden has over 20 different collections of plants including flowers and cacti, as well as dedicated bird rooms.
The beautiful botanical garden was founded in 1939 to protect the damaged desert ecosystems. Thanks to ongoing efforts to preserve the ecosystem, the botanical garden now includes plants and shrubs from as far away as South America and Australia.
Phoenix Art Museum
Art aficionados will appreciate a visit to the Phoenix Art Museum, which is home to over 19,000 works of art with a focus on contemporary and modern works. One of the exhibitions covers the diverse history of Arizona and the Southwest in general. Galleries are located across three levels: an auditorium, sculpture garden, and museum shop. Exhibitions include live performances, movie festivals, discussions, and family events.
The art museum traces its roots in the early 1900s, but the build was opened in 1959. Today, it comprises over 26,500 square meters of area, making it one of the largest art institutions in Phoenix. Its nine departments include American, Asian, European, Modern art, Contemporary art, and Fashion. Visitors will also find breathtaking views of the city from the corners of the museum.
Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum is located at a distance of 20 minutes from the north of the city center. It is home to one of the biggest museums of its kind with unique exhibits covering the history and heritage of music with a wide collection of over 15,000 unique musical instruments from around the world.
The museum has become a favorite among tourists in Phoenix, as its galleries are always crammed with impressive instruments from over 200 countries. You’ll see and listen to everything from Indonesian boat lutes to Chinese instruments. In addition to gongs and drums in its Experience gallery, there are lots of prints and photos to view.
The highly aesthetic Camelback Mountain is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Phoenix. Camelback Mountain gets its name due to its uncanny resemblance to the head and hump of a camel. It offers a wider range of outdoor activities as well as breathtaking views from its slopes and summit.
It offers two stunning (although very difficult) trails to reach the summit, but the beautiful views from the top are worth the time and effort. However, if you’re not in the mood to reach the summit, you can still enjoy the inspiring view from below at nearby restaurants and resorts.
Phoenix isn’t just a winter destination, either.
Summertime offers everything from rafting to kayaking in the lakes. In fact, spending a day kayaking the Salt River is easily one of the most popular activities in Phoenix. There are kid-friendly exhibits as well as more specialized activities for adults. You can go trekking through the trees or canoeing in the water.
One thing to note is that some parts of the river may be remote, so beginners may want to skip it. If you get into trouble, help could be a few hours away. If you’re willing to take the risk, however, or if you love the thought of reconnecting with nature, then Salt River is easily one of the top destinations in Phoenix.
The OdySea Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in Phoenix, Arizona with over 30,000 creatures such as sharks and penguins. This troop is definitely recommended if you are traveling with kids. The ocean-based creatures live in nearly 2 million gallons of water. Make sure to check out the SeaTrek Underwater Tour where you’ll see a variety of stingrays, small sharks, and schools of fish.
In this exhibit, guests will have to put on an air-tight helmet and suit to walk around the floor of the exhibition. Don’t worry, it’s completely safe!
If you’re looking for a cool adventure with your family, then look no further than Hurricane Harbor. From relaxing pools to exciting rides, Hurricane Harbor is filled with sites that will keep the whole family entertained for several hours. The most popular activity is “Anaconda”, an enclosed flume slide where passengers speed down into a series of spirals and sharp corkscrew turns.
South Mountain Park
Sprawling over 16,000 acres of land, South Mountain Park is one of the largest managed parks in the country. Visitors can participate in a wide variety of activities including horseback riding, trails, and mountain bike riding. The mountainous area encompasses three ranges of Instagram-worthy sights.
The park has been protected and preserved since 1924 and is home to lots of native desert vegetation and is known for a large population of lizards called chuckwallas. There are over 80 kilometers of trails for outdoor enthusiasts to cover by hiking, horseback riding, or biking. These trails range from easy to moderate so visitors can find something they like.
These were just a few of the best things you to do in Phoenix, Arizona. Whether you’re vacationing, honeymooning, or traveling for the fun of it, make sure to visit some of these destinations.
You don’t want to miss the fun-filled activities at The Valley of the Sun.