20 Things To Do In Phoenix

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

Phoenix, Arizona, is a wide and vast gem of southwest culture: peppered with attractive cityscapes, stunning desert scenery, and year-round sunshine. From its busy big-city ballparks and glitzy eateries to hidden lakes and sprawling desert hikes, it’s no surprise that Phoenix is considered one of the top cities in the United States.

With so much to explore, from nature’s finest attractions to history’s best-preserved secrets, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with these exciting things to do in Phoenix that will make your trip memorable.

Phoenix, Arizona

20 Things To Do In Phoenix

Aerial View Of Downtown Phoenix Arizona
Looking for things to do in Phoenix, Arizona? Check out our top 20 list.

1- Hike To The Iconic Hole In The Rock

Hole In The Rock is widely considered the best place to watch the sunset near Phoenix, and it’s easy for beginners and experts. 

Located in Papago Park – a favourite with the locals – the Hole in the Rock hike takes you to a natural formation of sandstone buttes that you can sit or stand inside.

The hike is only 0.3 miles (0.4 km), making it a quick and easy trip that requires little to no preparation.

For even more relaxation, you may like to join a private guided yoga session at Papago Park. 

The view from the top overlooks the whole of Phoenix and its skyscape is especially impressive when viewed through the titular hole in the rock.

Don’t miss out on one of Phoenix’s most infamous hikes and beloved panoramic views, and head to Hole in the Rock for a bit of exercise with a big reward.

Hole in the Rock is at 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008.

Top tours

2- Catch A Baseball Game At Chase Field

Chase Field is a retractable roof stadium located in Downtown Phoenix, and it’s home to Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks.

In addition to hosting several Major League Baseball games at this stadium, Chase Field has also held concerts for artists as renowned as NSYNC, Elton John, and Guns N’ Roses.

Chase Field is best known for its swimming pool located in right-centre field; it’s rented out to patrons during games for around $3500 per game.

If you’re visiting Phoenix during the regular season, consider heading to the ballpark and watching a game.

Visiting during the off-season? Consider reserving a guided field tour, and enjoy seeing all that the ballpark has to offer.

Chase Field is at 401 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

3- Relax At The Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden pond, lawns, rocks and trees
Relaxing in the Japanese Friendship Garden is another thing to do in Phoenix.

If you want to unwind after a busy day, you’ll want to enjoy a serene stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix.

The garden covers 3.5 acres (1.4ha) of stunning scenery, and it’s recognized as an authentic Japanese Garden in partnership with Phoenix’s sister city of Himeji, Japan.

Some of the garden’s best attractions include a tea garden and tea house, a koi pond and a fascinating 12-foot (3m) waterfall.

You can stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix on your own or make your experience more immersive with one of the many weekly events and workshops they offer.

Tickets range from $7 to $12, depending on your age and rank, and they can be purchased online in advance or at the gate in person.

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix is at 1125 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003.

4- Admire Art At The Phoenix Art Museum

Dive into world-class art and culture at the Phoenix Art Museum, the largest visual arts museum in the Southwest United States.

The Phoenix Art Museum was opened in 1959 and was followed by an expansion in 1965 due to its popularity and success.

As a visitor to the museum, you’ll be greeted with a dynamic assortment of more than 20,000 unique art pieces across nine diverse collections.

The Phoenix Art Museum is best known for its modern art collection, multiple photography exhibits, and The Thorne Rooms: architectural reconstructions of actual colonial bedrooms.

Check out the museum’s permanent “infinity-room” installation created by artist Yayoi Kusama which mirrors the experience of being surrounded by dancing fireflies.

Phoenix Art Museum is at 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

5- Enjoy The Scenic Views At Camelback Mountain

Golf Course at Camelback Mountain
Visiting Camelback Mountain is one of the things to do in Phoenix, AZ.

Located just outside Phoenix’s city bounds, Camelback Mountain is a wildly popular hike that offers visitors jaw-dropping scenic views.

There are two different trails to choose from when hiking Camelback Mountain: Echo Canyon Trail, a 2.5-mile (4 km) round-trip journey, and Cholla Trail, a 2.6-mile (4.1 km) out-and-back adventure.

Both trails are challenging rocky ascents with little-to-no shade and a steep increase in elevation, so pack lots of water and plan accordingly.

Some of the plantlife and wildlife you’ll enjoy during your visit to Camelback Mountain include roadrunners, desert tortoises and a wide array of cacti.

Breathe in the fresh air and exercise while catching can’t-miss panoramic views at Phoenix’s beloved Camelback Mountain.

Camelback Mountain is at 5700 N Echo Canyon Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85018.

Top tour: Epic Camelback Mountain Guided Hiking Adventure.

6- Stroll Through The Desert Botanical Garden

General View Of The Entrance To The Desert Botanical Garden
Exploring the Phoenix Botanical Garden is one of the family things to do in Phoenix.

The Desert Botanical Garden is a popular attraction that walks visitors through stunning arrays of desert plants and flowers.

Home to over 50,000 plants, the Desert Botanical Garden houses a diverse selection of cacti, succulents, wildflowers, and more.

Visitors will also find many accessible trails within the gardens, including the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail and the Desert Wildflower Loop Trail.

Desert Botanical Garden is also home to delightful dining options for refreshing and relaxing during your visit, with brunch, lunch, dinner and drink selections.

Soak in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert at the Desert Botanical Garden, and reserve your tickets in advance: this is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike.

The Desert Botanical Garden is at 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008. This tour includes a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden. 

7- Pay A Visit To The Phoenix Zoo

Hamadryas Baboon eating a leaf
Visiting Phoenix Zoo is one of the fun kid-friendly things to do in Phoenix.

Phoenix Zoo is one of the world’s largest nonprofit zoos, coming in at an impressive 125 acres (50 ha) of excitement and discovery.

This family-friendly stop is perfect for visitors of all ages and is full of sights and activities to keep you entertained.

Over 400 unique species are represented at the Phoenix Zoo, with more than 3000 animals total, from eagles and elephants to bears and baboons.

There are many different paths to take through this fun-filled zoo, including the Africa Trail, the Arizona Trail and the Tropics Trail.

Visitors may also want to partake in some of the several events and programs hosted by the zoo, such as their popular nature walks or photography classes.

Admission ranges from $20 to $40 depending on your age and the time of your visit, so plan your trip in advance for the best possible experience.

The Phoenix Zoo is at 455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008. Skip the line and book your tickets here and if you’re visiting with kids, you may also like to pre-book tickets to the SEA LIFE Aquarium

8- Go On A Day Trip To The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon South Rim Silhouette At Golden Sunset, Arizona, USA
Taking a trip to the Grand Canyon is one of the best things to do from Phoenix.

Leave the city behind you for a day and embark on one of the most popular day trips from the Phoenix area: a visit to the infamous Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is a scenic wonder and regularly attracts tourists from all around the world who are hoping to glimpse its breathtaking natural beauty.

There are around 233 miles (374 km) between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, which comes out to around three and a half hours of driving either way.

Once you’ve arrived at the Grand Canyon, you’ll be greeted by jaw-dropping canyon views, with the stunning Colorado River flowing thousands of feet below.

With multiple entrances and routes to choose from on your visit to the Grand Canyon, you may consider joining an exciting guided tour to make the most of your visit.

The Grand Canyon is at 20 South Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.

Top tours from Phoenix:

9- Enjoy Nature At Butterfly Wonderland

Image of Adorable pair of Red Lacewing butterflies on purple flowers.
Admiring butterflies is one of the lovely things to do in Phoenix.

Step into a whole new world at Butterfly Wonderland, a magical transportive experience in Phoenix’s neighbouring city of Scottsdale.

Butterfly Wonderland is an enclosed indoor attraction that mirrors tropical rainforest habitats and is the largest butterfly conservatory in North America.

Over 70 species of butterflies call Butterfly Wonderland home, fluttering among the flowers and coming close to their human visitors.

In addition to the charming array of butterflies, Butterfly Wonderland hosts a delightful rainforest reptile exhibit and an interactive honeybee display.

Tickets to the Butterfly Wonderland are $30 per person and can be purchased online or in person.

Butterfly Wonderland is at 9500 East Via de Ventura F100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256.

10- Enjoy The Street Art In Downtown Phoenix

There’s no end to the fun and entertainment visitors enjoy in Downtown Phoenix, from bustling nightlife and high-end shopping to photo-ops and street art.

Downtown Phoenix is a business and entertainment district with big-city skyscrapers and unique artsy murals.

Enjoy Phoenix’s downtown district’s vibrant art and culture by taking a self-guided walking tour of the local street art scene.

For the best street art in Downtown Phoenix, head to the Roosevelt Row Arts District, where you’ll find streets lined with life-size murals.

From picture-perfect wall art to walkable shopping and dining, a trip downtown makes for a can’t-miss outing to include on your Phoenix itinerary.

Downtown Phoenix is at 1 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

Top tour: RoRo Street Art Tour in Phoenix.

11- Go Hiking In The Superstition Mountains

Desert Cactus Saguaro Landscape, Superstition Mountain Near Phoenix Arizona
Heading to Superstition Mountain is one of the things to do in Phoenix in the summer.

The Superstition Mountains are a well-known mountain range located east of Phoenix, and they’re the perfect destination for all outdoor recreational needs.

Located 65 miles (104 km) from the heart of Phoenix, a drive to the Superstition Mountains takes approximately an hour and a half.

Once you’ve arrived at the iconic mountain range, you’ll be greeted by miles of natural beauty, from the rugged mountains to the surrounding cacti-draped hills and teeming fields of flowers.

Hiking trails in the Superstition Mountains include the Hieroglyphic Trail, a 2.9-mile (4.6 km) hike that leads to a small waterfall, and Wave Cave Trail, a 3-mile (4.8 km) trail with unmatched panoramic views.

If you want to turn your day trip into an overnight experience, consider camping at the nearby Lost Dutchman State Park.

Superstition Mountains is at 4087 E Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119.

12- Enjoy Watersports At The Lower Salt River Recreation Area

Phoenix’s beloved Salt River is a popular summer destination for watersports and sightseeing that visitors won’t want to pass up.

The Salt River spans 200 miles (321 km) and is a perfect spot for tubing, kayaking, or swimming.

Most locals frequent the Lower Salt River Recreation Area, a portion of the river around 40 minutes from Phoenix’s downtown.

But Salt River is also a hidden gem for watching wildlife: in particular, it’s regularly visited by several wild horses, who are often spotted cooling down in the river around sunrise and sunset.

Whether you’re looking to take in fascinating scenic views or hoping to make a splash in the temperate water, the Salt River has it all.

The Lower Salt River Recreation Area is at G8WR+G9, Mesa, AZ 85264.

Top tour: Salt River Kayaking Trip.

13- Experience A Secret Speakeasy At Stardust Pinbar

Stardust Pinbar is a David Bowie-inspired speakeasy and pinball bar that can only be accessed via a hidden entrance in a local pizza joint.

To find Stardust Pinbar, head to Ziggy’s Magic Pizza Shop and enter a set of inconspicuous double doors that will take you from the casual pizza place to the neon, bright pinball bar.

With an illuminated dance floor, trendy cocktails, and an array of retro pinball games, Stardust Pinbar is a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

Stardust Pinbar is at 401 W Van Buren St Suite C, Phoenix, AZ 85003.

14- Visit The Historic Tovrea Castle

Hailed a “Jewel of the Sonoran Desert”, Tovrea Castle is an intriguing historic landmark that has captivated visitors since its inception in 1931.

Alessio Carrero built Tovrea Castle in his native Italian architectural style and was later purchased by E. A. and Della Tovrea.

The castle features a bizarre dome-like shape, and it is rumoured that E. A. Tovrea purchased it for his wife as a duplicate of their wedding cake.

An array of saguaro cacti surrounds Tovrea Castle, and visitors can tour the castle grounds and interior for only $22 during the weekend.

Tovrea Castle is at 5025 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008.

15- Admire The Architecture At Heritage Square

Heritage Square is known for being Phoenix’s oldest residential square, and its photogenic architecture attracts locals and tourists alike.

The buildings in Heritage Square were constructed in a traditional Victorian style, and they remain as a towering slice of Phoenix’s history to this day.

Most well-known amongst Heritage Square is the Rosson House Museum, a fully restored Queen Anne Victorian house with fully-furnished rooms.

Visitors are also welcome to enjoy this walkable city block and photograph the site’s numerous historical buildings and points of interest.

Heritage Square is at 113 N 6th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

16- Peruse The Musical Instrument Museum

Bass Guitar Fretboardsand Strings In Music Recording Studio
Visiting the musical instrument museum is one of the fascinating things to do in Phoenix.

The Musical Instrument Museum is an unusual museum that displays a worldwide collection of instruments and related objects.

It houses a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments, including rare treasures from little-known corners of the world.

The Musical Instrument Museum also hosts live concerts that cover a variety of genres and holds events to introduce little-known instruments and their history.

Whether you’re a musician or have a casual interest in the subject, the diverse selection at this museum is bound to delight and entertain just about anyone.

The Musical Instrument Museum is at 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050.

17- Sightsee At Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a popular water recreation area bordering Phoenix’s northwest bounds.

Some of the many activities that visitors to Lake Pleasant Regional Park can enjoy include hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, and even camping.

Nestled in the Sonoran Desert, you’ll find signature desert-themed nature, such as the towering saguaro cacti, which make for a perfect picture set against the backdrop of the lake.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park also hosts a guided Moonlight Scorpion Hunting tour, a fun and unordinary activity for visitors of all ages.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park is at 41835 N Castle Hot Springs Rd, Morristown, AZ 85342.

Top tour: Stunning Sunrise or Sunset Guided Hiking Adventure in the Sonoran Desert.

18- Get Your Shop On At Biltmore Fashion Park

Biltmore Fashion Park is an outdoor shopping centre home to the best of Phoenix’s luxury fashion scene.

This bustling fashion mogul has been around since 1963 and has provided a welcome escape for affluent locals and tourists ever since.

Visitors can enjoy shopping at well-known high-end retailers like Saks Fifth Ave, Ralph Lauren, and J. Crew.

You can refuel during or after your shopping spree with some of Biltmore Fashion Park’s popular dining options, including The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, and Zinburger.

Biltmore Fashion Park is at 2502 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016.

19- Speed To The Phoenix International Raceway

Immerse yourself in high-speed entertainment at the Phoenix International Raceway, a thrilling motorsport track and event destination.

The raceway opened in 1964 and has been hosting top-notch entertainment ever since; it currently holds two NASCAR race weekends yearly.

In addition to watching the bi-annual NASCAR shows, visitors can get behind the wheel and speed along the professional racetrack.

The Phoenix International Raceway is at 7602 Jimmie Johnson Dr, Avondale, AZ 85323.

20- Catch A Panoramic View At Dobbins Lookout

Phoenix, Arizona Skyline at night.
You’ll find lots of things to do in Phoenix after dark too.

See the city at sunset from the elevated viewpoint of Dobbins Lookout, a scenic observation point that can be reached by foot or car.

The lookout is a large stone watchtower atop South Mountain Park, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Not only does Dobbins Lookout provide visitors with stunning views of the Phoenix cityscape, the surrounding desert scenery is also more than worth a look.

Drive up to the lookout during golden hour, or take the long way around and choose from several hiking trails to enjoy Phoenix’s finest nature.

Dobbins Lookout is at North Summit Rd, South Mountain Park, Phoenix, AZ 85042.

Previous articleWhere To Stay In Hong Kong
Next article20 Cities in New Mexico
cropped layla hughes travel writer.jpg
Layla Hughes is a freelance writer and lover of travel, who is currently preparing to live the digital nomad lifestyle and see the US, Canada and Mexico through the windows of a converted camper van. She grew up on the Central Coast of California and attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she worked on the study abroad committee and studied English. Her favourite travel destination is North Carolina, where she is considering settling down after her thirst for travel is satisfied.