Phoenix, the state capital of Arizona, is known for its warm, dry climate that attracts huge numbers of sunbathers during the winter months. The Greater Phoenix Area is a large sprawling city with a mix of modern high-rises, Indian and Spanish colonial influences and a touch of the Wild West. The city offers an abundance of art and cultural attractions, historic neighborhoods, museums, and a diverse arts community. Many people also come to the Phoenix area to enjoy the outdoors. There are numerous golf courses and three mountains around Phoenix that provide opportunities for hiking, biking, and rock climbing.
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1 Heard museum
The renowned Heard Museum in Phoenix is dedicated to the art and culture of the Southwest Indian peoples, with displays of basketry, pottery, jewelry, textiles, and a large collection of kachina dolls.
The museum’s galleries and outdoor areas feature traditional and contemporary Native American art. This is a great place to learn about native history and see traditional art. Outside, visitors can wander through the outdoor sculpture garden or take a garden tour of the museum.
Adres: 2301 North Central Avenue, Phoenix
Official site: https://heard.org/
2 Taliesin West
Located in Scottsdale, Taliesin West was the home and architectural school of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Located at the base of the McDowell Mountains, the school is now the international headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The building was constructed of native materials such as limestone and redwood, and constructed entirely by Wright and his students from 1937 to 1959.
Adres: 12345 North Taliesin Drive, Scottsdale
Official site: https://www.frannklloydwright.org/about/TaliesinWestTours.html
3 Desert Botanical Garden
Located in Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden features examples of vegetation from deserts in different parts of the world and a cactus garden. The garden covers approximately 140 acres, with 55 acres under cultivation, containing tens of thousands of plants. It is well maintained with over 1,000 volunteers and over 100 staff. In the spring, the plants come to life as they bloom in an array of colors. There are many trails and visitors should plan to spend a lot of time hiking. This is a great way to see desert life up close.
Adres: 1201 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
Official site: https://www.dbg.org/
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4 Heritage Square
Part of the original city of Phoenix, Heritage Square is a popular tourist area with eight lovingly restored homes from the city’s early days. These buildings date from the late 1800s and early 1900s, and many homes now have shops and restaurants.
Built in 1895, the Victorian Rosslyn style home is the cornerstone of this city block and its main tourist attraction. Located in the center of Heritage Square, The Burgess Carriage House was built around 1900 and is today the ticket office and information center of Rosson House. The Arizona Doll and Toy Museum is located in the 1901, Midwestern style, Stevens House. Also on Heritage Square are the Silva House, Bouvier-Teeter House, Stevens-Haustgen House, Thomas House and the Duplex.
5 Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum has a collection on the art of the European Renaissance and Baroque, the Far East and the American West. The museum also presents modern and contemporary works, fashion design, live performances and films. The beautiful exhibitions bring masterpieces from all over the world to your own backyard. The museum’s founding in 1959 and its eventual development into the leading art museum in the American Southwest reflects the community’s constant dedication and reflects Phoenix’s growth from a small desert town to the present-day metropolis it has become. The classic forward-thinking look of the 203,000 square foot building is a work of art in itself. Designed by New York architects Tod Williams / Billie Tsien &
Adres: 1625 North Central Avenue, Phoenix
Official site: https://www.phxart.org/
6 Hall of Flame Fire Museum
The Hall of Flame Fire Museum, which also sponsors the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, is both a historic look at the craft and a tribute to firefighters killed in the line of duty, or known for their heroism. On display at the museum are exhibits dating back to 1725, including old fire engines and some very curious types of fire extinguishers. While most of the focus is on the history of firefighting in America, there are also exhibits from Europe and Japan, offering a more international perspective on the profession.
The National Firefighting Hall of Heroes displays the names of those killed since 1981. There is also a memorial to the firefighters and police officers killed at the World Trade Center in 2001.
Address: 6101 East Van Buren Street, Phoenix
Official Site: https://www.hallofflame.org/
7 Phoenix Symphony
The Phoenix Symphony performs classical, pop, chamber and family programs in Symphony Hall at the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center from September through May. The Phoenix Symphony is Arizona’s only full-time, professional orchestra.
Adres: 75 North 2nd Street, Phoenix
Official Site: https://www.phoenixsymphony.org/
8 Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center has hundreds of interactive exhibits in five galleries, each with a unique theme. In addition, there are also exhibitions, an IMAX theater and a planetarium with 200 seats. The Science Center also seeks to bring global awareness to issues such as Global Warming and Climate Change through various programs.
Adres: 600 East Washington Street, Phoenix
Official site: https://www.azscience.org/
9 Papago Park
This 1,200-acre park offers fishing lagoons, biking trails, nature trails, and a golf course. Located in Papago Park are the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden. This is a nice place to walk, especially in the morning before the heat of the day. Sometimes you will see wildlife, mainly rabbits but occasionally bighorn sheep on the hill.
Adres: 625 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
Official Site: https://phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/papago/
10 Phoenix Zoo
Located in Papago Park, the Phoenix Zoo is famous for its Sumatran tigers and orangutans. There are more than 1,400 animals, including many endangered species, that call this zoo home. There are four different trails that visitors can follow: the Africa Trail, Tropics Trails, Arizona Trail, and Children’s Trail. This zoo is a favorite with children and offers all kinds of children’s programs, events and play areas. Some of the highlights include the petting zoo, camel rides, Stingray Bay and daily animal shows.
Adres: 455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
Official Site: https://phoenixzoo.org/
11 South Mountain Park
South Mountain Park in Phoenix is the largest urban park in the United States, spanning over 16,000 acres of desert landscape. The miles of trails that run through the park are ideal for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Views across the desert and beyond to the city are fantastic. This is a fun place to come at night, with great views of Phoenix and the city lights. The highest point in the park is Mount Suppoa at 2690 ft, but the highest lookout that can be reached by trail or road is Dobbins Lookout at 2330 ft.
Adres: 10919 South Central Avenue, Phoenix
Official Site: https://phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south/
12 North Mountain Preserve en Shaw Butte
North Mountain Preserve is a popular recreational area with a variety of hiking trails. North Mountain stands at an elevation of 2104 ft and Shaw Butte, the highest mountain on the reservation, stands at 2149 ft. Together, these mountains are a landmark in Phoenix. The more advanced hiking trails in the reserve lead to the top, but easier hikes provide access for all abilities. This is a lovely way to experience the local flora and fauna, with many plant species including saguaro cactus. It is also home to rattlesnakes and various hazards, so be careful on the trails.
Adres: 12950 North 7th Street, Phoenix
Official Site: https://phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/north/
13 Arizona State Capitol Museum
Set in beautiful gardens, the Old Capitol, built in 1900, was the seat of government until 1974. The imposing state building is now a museum focusing on Arizona history.
The museum offers traveling and temporary exhibitions.
Adres: 1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix
Official site: https://www.azlibrary.gov/azcm
14 Mystery Castle
The Mystery Castle is located just south of downtown Phoenix, near the entrance to South Mountain Park. It was built by Boyce Luther Gulley before his death in 1945, but his daughter lived here for decades afterward. To say the least, the castle is a unique piece of architecture. It is largely made of stone and other odd pieces that were recycled into use. The house has all kinds of whimsical elements and inlaid pieces. Although most people don’t consider it a castle or a masterpiece, it is definitely a unique building.
Adres: 800 E Mineral Road, Phoenix
Official Site: https://www.mymysterycastle.com/
Where to Stay in Phoenix for Sightseeing
Phoenix has a vibrant historic downtown area and this is one of the best places to stay if you’re visiting the city and don’t want to drive a lot to access major attractions, shopping, and dining. Below are some highly rated hotels in convenient locations :
- Luxury Hotels: The Westin Phoenix Downtown has a great location and all the regular amenities, scenic views, and an elegant outdoor pool. In the same neighborhood is the Sheraton Grand Phoenix, next to the Phoenix Convention Center and close to museums, theaters and shopping. If you’re in Phoenix to relax and less concerned with staying downtown, the Royal Palms Resort is a luxury resort hotel in a beautiful setting at the base of Camelback Mountain. This is a great place to hang around the pool and enjoy the desert scenery.
- Mid-Range Hotels: In the heart of downtown, the Renaissance is a top mid-range option with a heated rooftop pool. Of the same caliber is the Hilton Phoenix Suites, also with a good downtown location. A little further away from the center of town is the Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix Camelback, which has decent rooms with a balcony and a nice courtyard pool.
- Budget Hotels: America’s Best Value Inn is a simple hotel with nice rooms in a convenient downtown location. At the higher end of the budget hotels include the Fairfield Inn and Suites, which is within walking distance of the Heard Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Hampton Inn, which is just a little further away from the Fairfield but still within walking distance of several attractions and restaurants.
Tips and Tours: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Phoenix
- Sightseeing: For a fun family outing in Phoenix, a Segway Tour is a fun way to spend a few hours exploring the city’s sights. If you want to experience a bit of nature, the Sonoran Desert Adventure from Phoenix offers a morning tour of the McDowell Sonoran Reservation, which includes a leisurely hike and a 90-minute boat tour of Lake Saguaro. This is a five-hour tour, with hotel pickup and drop-off in Phoenix or Scottsdale.
- Day Trips: One of the greatest attractions in Arizona and America is just a day trip away from Phoenix. If you haven’t seen the Grand Canyon, you should put a tour from Phoenix on your to-do list. The Small-Group Deluxe Grand Canyon and Sedona Day Trip provides the perfect opportunity to see some of Arizona’s incredible scenery. This tour includes transportation in a luxury van to the Grand Canyon, including a stop in the picturesque town of Sedona, a picnic-style lunch, and a visit to a Navajo Nation Trading Post. If flying over the Grand Canyon is on your bucket list, the Grand Canyon Helicopter and Ground Tour from Phoenix offers a similar tour, with the addition of a 50-minute helicopter flight over the canyon and a gourmet lunch.