As the capital of Arizona, Phoenix attracts millions of visitors each year. Also known as the Valley of the Sun, it is the largest city in the state and has a history of being driven by the “Five C’s“: Cattle, Cotton, Climate, Copper, and Citrus. Phoenix is rich in culture, taking the principles of the southwest and blending it with modern culture. The diverse food, music, and people guarantee you that there are many cool things to do in Phoenix. No wonder that tourists keep coming back year after year.
Below is a list of things to do in Phoenix that can keep any person of any age busy. The list includes outdoor activities, museums and even a zoo. Enjoying the best of Phoenix means getting out and seeing its stunning scenery, learning about the abundant culture surrounding the city, and surrounding oneself with all of the citizens that call this unique city home.
1. Learn and Play at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix
One of the premier things to do in Phoenix for families, this museum is one of the top three museums of its kind in the country. With over 48,000 square feet of space, it’s loaded with over 300 play experiences, classes, programs, and an art studio. This children’s museum is meant for children to learn through play and active experiences. Located in downtown Phoenix, on the corner of 7th Street and Van Buren, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix costs $11.00 per ticket (ages 1+) and $10.00 for seniors. Additional classes and programs will cost extra.
The Children’s Museum is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday. The museum is also open on select Mondays. Typical hours are from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M., with different hours for classes or programs. The museum is designed for children 10 and under, but children aren’t the only ones who can enjoy all the exhibits they have to offer. The museum requires a lot of moving and walking, but it is also wheelchair accessible.
2. See the Beauty of Phoenix at the Desert Botanical Garden
This beautiful place has been open for over 70 years, teaching and inspiring each visitor that comes through. There are over 140 beautiful acres with over 50,000 plant displays and it is one of only 24 gardens across the country that are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Their beautiful displays are meant to further education, research and conservation of the world’s desert plants. The Desert Botanical Garden is located on N. Galvin Parkway and the price of admission is as follows: $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, $12 for students, and $10 for children (ages 3-12).
This garden is open to visitors throughout the year, from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. daily. Different tours, classes, and programs’ hours will vary throughout the week. This garden is meant for everyone in the family to enjoy, although there is a lot of walking involved. The land is not too difficult to walk through but it may be hard to push wheelchairs or strollers through certain areas. For visitors looking to see the true beauty of Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden is just the ticket.
3. Relax at the Phoenix Zoo
Located in Phoenix on N. Galvin Parkway, the Phoenix Zoo is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Phoenix. It is a non-profit organization whose goal is to inspire and teach people from all over the world the importance of animals and conservation. Open for over 50 years, the Phoenix Zoo features endless animal exhibits, classes, shows, and educational programs for everybody. Tickets for the zoo are $24.95 for adults (ages 14+) and $14.95 for children (ages 3-13). The Phoenix Zoo has many dining and shopping options, and even has multiple rides, a theater, and a train.
The Phoenix Zoo is open daily from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M. from September until November and from January until the end of May. From June until August, they are open from 7 A.M. until 2 P.M. and from November to January they are open from 9 A.M. until 4 P.M. The zoo is designed to entertain and teach people of all ages, and all of their exhibits and shows are wheelchair accessible. It is pretty large, so be sure to bring your walking shoes.
4. See over 18,000 Pieces of Art at the Phoenix Art Museum
This institution was opened in 1959, becoming the Southwest’s largest art museum. Visitors can enjoy photography exhibitions, beautiful art, yearly festivals, art films, live performances, and educational programs. Located on N. Central Ave in Phoenix, this museum has become one of visitors’ favorite things to do in Phoenix. With over 18,000 pieces of art, it’s easy to see why so many come and visit the Phoenix Art Museum every year. Admission is $18 for adult non-members, $15 for seniors, $13 for students, and $9 for children (ages 6-17). Admission is free for children 5 and under military members who have an ID.
The museum can be enjoyed year-round, no matter the weather. They are open every day of the week, except for Mondays. The museum is open until 5 P.M. most days, except Wednesday when it is open until 9 P.M. The museum has something for everyone, no matter the age. They also host different festivals and classes that can be enjoyed by most. While it is a large museum that requires a lot of walking, it is also handicapped accessible and even provides wheelchairs.
5. Hike Up the Camelback Mountain
One of the reasons people keep coming back to Phoenix is its amazing, majestic scenery. Thousands of people each year make their way to Camelback Mountain to take it the sights. Resembling the hump and head of a camel, Camelback Mountain is located between the Phoenix neighborhoods of Arcadia and Paradise Valley. It costs nothing to try your hand at one of two hiking trails. One trail is a little over 1 mile long and the other trail is almost 1.5 miles. The hike, which takes between 1.5 to 3 hours, is well worth the time.
While there are obviously no set hours to enjoy Camelback Mountain, it is best enjoyed in nicer weather. Both trails to the peak of the mountain are considered strenuous, with gravel, boulders, and some steep grades. This is not ideal for young children or seniors. Visitors should be advised to dress appropriately and being proper supplies. Whether visitors are going for the hiking experience or the rock climbing, Camelback Mountain is the perfect place to experience the beauty that is Phoenix.
2. See Amazing Exhibitions at the Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center has the mission of inspiring, educating, and engaging the curious minds of visitors through science. With over 164,000 square feet of space, this science center uses hands-on experiences to create a unique learning experience for people of all ages. They feature many different temporary exhibitions throughout the year, in addition to the exhibits that never leave. The Arizona Science Center is located in the heart of Phoenix, on E. Washington Street. Tickets to the science center are $18 for adults and $13 for children (ages 3-17). Some exhibits require an additional cost.
The Arizona Science Center is open year-round, except Christmas Day, from 10 A.M. until 5 P.M. Meant to educate and inspire everyone, each exhibit is designed to amuse and entertain people of every age and background. Most exhibits are easily accessible, even by those in wheelchairs. This science center is one of the things to do in Phoenix that can keep everyone in the family busy all day, rain or shine.
This list of things to do in Phoenix is meant to be a how-to guide on enjoying one of the best cities in the country. As the cultural center of the state of Arizona, Phoenix isn’t just beautiful mountain ranges and desert wildlife. Phoenix is home to innovative technology, museums, inspiring arts and music, exciting performance arts, and an exceptional blend varying cultures’ foods. Phoenix is truly an amazing place to visit, with endless things that allow it to be one of the most visited cities in the country. Once you visit, you’ll never want to go home. And, if you have time, you can take a trip to the desert city of Scottsdale.