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Top Things To Do In Phoenix

With its palm canopies and azure skies, Phoenix earns its sunny reputation. But the Valley of the Sun is more than vibrant sunsets and trendy summer nights. With gorgeous desert scenery, America’s fifth-largest city welcomes any visitor ready for award-winning dining, red rocks, and Saguaro cacti. Soar into Sky Harbor International Airport and explore the sands and cityscapes of the Phoenix metro area.

Phoenix's perpetual sunshine creates a culture unlike anything else in the country. You can spend your time sipping margaritas next to the swimming pool, or you can explore the city and learn about its Wild West roots. Here are some of the best things to do near Phoenix:

  • Enjoy the views of Camelback Mountain  
  • Sip a dirty chai latte at Lux on Central
  • Cheer on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field
  • Tee up at TPC Scottsdale, one of the best Phoenix golf courses
  • Rent a Grid Bike and take a two-wheel tour of Central Phoenix's arts and culture scene

The city's desert trails cross every corner of the Valley, and they are always free to bike or hike. Whether you’re looking for discounted museum admission or your next outdoors adventure, there’s plenty of free things to do in Phoenix. If you’re looking for cheap things to do near Phoenix, here are a few ideas:

  • Pack a bottle of water and hike up Piestewa Peak Trail
  • Learn the backstory on the Hohokam people at Pueblo Grande Museum and Ruin
  • Jump into culture with free admission days at Heard Museum
  • Join Maricopa County Parks' guided events on wildflower walks and moonlit hikes
  • Get a taste of local flavor from one of 75 food vendors that gather at the Uptown Farmers Market  

Phoenicians enjoy a sprawling city with a mix of modern high-rise buildings, Indian and Spanish colonial influences, and a touch of the Wild West. The city offers a healthy mix of cultural attractions, historic neighborhoods, museums and a diverse art community.

Check out some of the popular attractions near Phoenix:

  • Explore the gritty, urban Warehouse District
  • Take an evening stroll in the Desert Botanical Garden
  • Plan a pool day and poker night at Talking Stick Resort
  • Stroll through Heritage Square, part of Phoenix's original townsite
  • Learn about the roots of jingles and tunes at the Musical Instrument Museum

Year-round sunshine means outdoor art exhibits, plenty of poolside play, and lots of opportunities to walk from food truck to food truck. Try noshing on everything from BBQ to fry bread. Get to know Sonoran hot dogs between museum trips and happy hours. Here are some exciting activities near Phoenix:

  • Learn about aquatic critters at Odysea Aquarium
  • Go on a behind-the-scenes tour at Four Peaks Brewing Company
  • Reserve a table at Olive & Ivy for casual dining in a refined setting
  • Explore CityScape, a two-block concentration of restaurants, bars, and retailers
  • Grab a spot on the airy patio or indoor communal tables at Phoenix Public Market Cafe


Concert-goers, foodies, and art-lovers rejoice – Phoenix’s many neighborhoods leave plenty to discover at night. With hangouts like Camp Social and The Little Woody, Central Phoenix is where 9-to-5’ers spend their happy hours. Cobra Arcade Bar and The Van Buren elevate the Downtown Phoenix bar scene with theme nights and events. There are plenty of nighttime activities near Phoenix:

  • Invite a loved one to a candlelit dinner at CIBO, a pizza-serving bungalow downtown
  • Order a margarita during Taco Guild’s reverse happy hour
  • Explore downtown Phoenix’s galleries, happy hours, and food trucks on First Friday
  • Visit Crescent Ballroom for street shows, concerts, and affordable beer prices
  • Try the latest cocktail concoction at the eclectic Bitter & Twisted

Brunch is just the start for Phoenix’s weekend warriors. Performances at a multitude of theaters, concert halls, and cultural centers are constant weekend attractions in Phoenix. Art and history lovers can flock to a diverse group of fascinating museums.

Here are some ideas for weekend activities near Phoenix:

  • Enjoy all-American eggs and bacon at Matt’s Big Breakfast
  • Drop in for a morning stretch at Sutra Studios
  • Book a boozy brunch at Snooze: An AM Eatery
  • Soak in Sonoran Desert scenery during a guided horseback ride with Ponderosa Stables
  • Enjoy the Arizona Science Center’s hands-on fun with more than 300 interactive exhibits

Leisurely hikes and accessible arcade games are just a few of the things to do with kids in Phoenix. Little learners will be enchanted by the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Energetic youngsters will enjoy the upbeat amusement center, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona.

Here are some family-friendly things to do near Phoenix:

  • Learn about many different types of trees at Boyce-Thompson Arboretum
  • Discover a peaceful paradise at the Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix
  • Visit the animals at the Phoenix Zoo
  • Watch the sunset from the top of South Mountain
  • Taste ice cream made from liquid nitrogen, only found at Creamistry

When the summer weather strikes and date ideas become scarce, take your beau on a coffee-sipping adventure, or shift lunch dates to dinnertime.

Check out these date night ideas near Phoenix:

  • Brush off your art history trivia to impress a date at Phoenix Art Museum
  • Swing into action every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Duce’s South Central Swing Nite, featuring cocktail specials and a free one-hour swing dance lesson
  • Step inside the largest butterfly conservatory in the country at Butterfly Wonderland
  • Enjoy the unexpected Asian flavors folded into The Clever Koi’s cocktail menu
  • Sweep your date off their feet with a trip through the sky on Float Balloon Tours

Desert nights and daytime happy hours are more fun with friends, family and co-workers. Whether your friends are visiting for a music festival or you’re planning team-building activities in Phoenix, the desert has plenty of things to do for groups. Grab your friends and consider these things to do:

  • Reserve a Topgolf bay on a Friday night
  • Sip a drink at Culinary Dropout at The Yard and play some foosball
  • Check out some of Phoenix’s coolest street art on Roosevelt Row
  • Rent inner tubes and float down the Salt River in Tonto National Forest
  • Beat the heat by hopping pool parties at Talking Stick Resort or Maya Day and Nightclub

Many people opt for indoor activities during the Phoenix summers. With scattered dust storms and intense heat, it’s a good idea to explore the Valley of the Sun’s many indoor options to stay active.  There are plenty of things to do indoors:

  • Plan a retail therapy session with the many shops at Fashion Square Mall
  • Sit back, click in, and cycle at spin studios like Reformed Pilates
  • Paint and sip at The Painters Lounge
  • Explore 30-ft high rock climbing walls at Phoenix Rock Gym
  • Pull up a chair at one of Lone Butte Casino’s many blackjack tables

Backed by desert vistas and a city skyline, outdoor activities in Phoenix are as abundant as they are assorted. Nearby mountains and trailheads enable citydwellers to explore the sunny outdoors. Active things to do in Phoenix include:

  • Watch the Arizona sunset from Papago Park’s iconic Hole-in-the-Rock
  • Fly to new heights with a hot air balloon ride with Rainbow Ryders
  • Plan a day trip to Canyon Lake, a desert oasis just an hour east of Phoenix
  • Cycle down the bike-friendly streets of Central Phoenix
  • Visit The Grand Canyon, the seventh wonder of the world

Hidden Gems & Places to Visit Near Phoenix, AZView All