Fascinating places to visit in Phoenix, Arizona

Top tourist attractions in Phoenix, AZ.

There are many fascinating places to visit in Phoenix, Arizona. The city offers a lot, from breathtaking desert landscapes to incredible wildlife. So you’ll find plenty to choose from, whether you want to hike, explore the area’s history, or relax by the water.

If you’re an art enthusiast, several museums will fascinate you. The Heard Museum is one of the top museums in the state. It offers a range of exhibits that showcase the art and culture of the indigenous people of the Americas.

If you enjoy wildlife, check out the botanical garden and bat cave. They’re both free to visit. You’ll find a huge colony of Mexican free-tailed bats at Bat Cave. The city is also known for its delicious Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. You’ll find some of the best in the country in Phoenix.

tourist attractions in Phoenix

If you want more fun, check out the Castles n’ Coasters amusement park. This is a popular attraction for the whole family. Kids can have fun on the rollercoasters and go-karts, and adults can spend some time in the arcade or the food courts.

Another place you’ll want to check out is the Phoenix Fire Museum. This is a museum that is highly recommended, and it’s also reasonably priced. Besides its exhibits, you’ll find historical firefighting equipment from worldwide.

Another incredible attraction in Phoenix is the Japanese Friendship Garden. This garden is a beautiful oasis. There are sculptured landscapes, koi ponds, and a tea house.

places to visit in Phoenix
places to visit in Phoenix

Top 15 things to do in Phoenix, Arizona

  1. Westgate Entertainment District
  2. Phoenix Zoo
  3. Scottsdale Fashion Square
  4. OdySea Aquarium
  5. Desert Botanical Garden
  6. Chase Field
  7. Papago Park
  8. Castles N’ Coasters
  9. Lake Pleasant Regional Park
  10. Tempe Beach Park
  11. Phoenix Mountains Preserve
  12. South Mountain Park
  13. Butterfly Wonderland
  14. Musical Instrument Museum
  15. Hurricane Harbor Phoenix

things to do in Phoenix
things to do in Phoenix

Westgate Entertainment District

You will love the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, Arizona, if you are a sports fan. With a state-of-the-art ice rink, multiple sports arenas, and a variety of shopping and dining options, there is something for everyone.

One of the main attractions of the Westgate Entertainment District is the Gila River Arena, which has hosted many NHL games. It is also home to the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals.

Westgate Entertainment District (Glendale, Arizona)
Westgate Entertainment District (Glendale, Arizona)

Among the many restaurants and shops that make up the Westgate Entertainment District is a cigar house. In addition, there are over 160 different stores and bars, so there’s plenty to see and do.

State 48 Funk House Brewery is one of the area’s most popular restaurants. The brewery is open Monday through Friday, and you can get 16oz beers for $6. You can also go to Kabuki, which offers sushi rolls.

Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo in Arizona is a 125-acre zoo featuring more than 3,000 animals. Located in the heart of Papago Park, this zoo offers an immersive experience to visitors.

This zoo is one of the most visited in the country. Its attractions include several unique exhibits and narrated safari tours. In addition, visitors can enjoy a variety of food options at the zoo’s cafes, including churros, Mexican food, and burritos.

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Sumatran Tiger at Phoenix Zoo
Sumatran Tiger at Phoenix Zoo

There are also some special events at the zoo. These occur during the winter, spring, and summer months. Some of these events are free, and others are for a fee.

Riding a camel is one of the most popular activities at the Phoenix Zoo. Unfortunately, camel rides are not included in the ticket price but are a great way to get around the zoo.

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Scottsdale Fashion Square is the biggest shopping destination in Arizona. It offers over two hundred and fifty shops and restaurants in downtown Scottsdale. The mall’s anchor stores include Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Dillard’s. There are also specialty shops.

With more than twelve million visitors annually, Scottsdale Fashion Square is one of the southwest’s largest and most popular shopping destinations. You’ll find top brands such as Gucci, Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Versace, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, and Bulgari.

Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall
Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall

Scottsdale Fashion Square is open Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 9 pm. During the holidays, it operates extended hours. This includes extended Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s hours.

In March 2024, Scottsdale Fashion Square will get a new boutique hotel, Caesars Republic Scottsdale. And Macerich plans to add office and hospitality space to the area.

OdySea Aquarium

If you have always wanted to experience an underwater world, OdySea Aquarium is the place to go. Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, this aquarium is one of the largest in the country. It spans 200,000 square feet and features a wide variety of attractions.

Talking Stick Resort / Odysea Aquarium, Scottsdale AZ
Talking Stick Resort / Odysea Aquarium, Scottsdale AZ

While visiting the OdySea Aquarium, kids can participate in various activities. For example, they can take a stroller loan program, visit the touch pools, or go behind the scenes. Kids can also watch a 3D movie with Underwater Giants.

Another attraction is the SeaTREK(r) experience. This interactive experience is in an underwater tank and allows guests to walk along a trail and interact with a host of sea life. Participants must be at least nine years old to be eligible for this tour.

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden is a premier research institution dedicated to studying and preserving desert plants. It is located in Papago Park in central Arizona. The garden has a wide variety of vegetation, including thousands of species of cacti, trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Visitors to the Desert Botanical Garden can explore five different trails. Each trail highlights a specific topic. These include the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert, Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop, Saguaro Initiative, and the Ottosen Entry Garden.

Phoenix - Desert Botanical Garden
Phoenix – Desert Botanical Garden

The garden is a must-see destination for Arizona’s desert beauty. There are numerous events throughout the year. In the spring, the garden hosts music concerts. Also, in the summer, it offers special programs such as Dog Days at the Garden, which invites four-legged best friends to enjoy the outdoors.

Chase Field

Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the best places to see live entertainment. It is also home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, a Major League Baseball team. In addition, the stadium boasts several other sports and entertainment options, such as concerts, trade shows, and international soccer games.

While it’s not the tallest structure in town, the retractable roof at Chase Field is the first of its kind in the United States. Depending on the temperature, It can open or close during the summer.

Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona

Aside from sports, the stadium hosts other events, such as concerts, trade shows, and monster truck competitions. It also offers six-party suites and a variety of restaurants.

Chase Field in Phoenix is a cashless facility, meaning there are no tickets to purchase but plenty of parking. Some options include the Chase Field Parking Garage on Washington Street near Fourth Street. Also, several hotels are within walking distance. Hotels have the Renaissance Phoenix and Hyatt Regency Phoenix.

Papago Park

Papago Park is a great place to explore for hiking and biking. The park is located near the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Gardens. There are numerous trails to enjoy, and it is easy to access.

Aside from hiking and cycling, the park offers other recreational activities. It is home to the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Heritage Center, and the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden.

Papago Park - Phoenix, Arizona
Papago Park – Phoenix, Arizona

Papago Park is a large recreational area with over a thousand acres. Many trails provide excellent views of the surrounding desert landscape. In addition, the park features several lakes and fishing ponds.

The area is also home to the Papago Golf Course, a championship 18-hole golf course designed by William Francis Bell. This course is also home to the Phoenix State Sun Devils golf team.

Castles N’ Coasters

Castles N’ Coasters Phoenix is a family fun park with thrill rides, water slides, miniature golf, go-karts, bumper cars, and much more. With 14 rides, a miniature golf course, an arcade, and a snack bar, you will find something for the whole family to enjoy.

The main attraction is Desert Storm, a nine-story roller coaster with lap bar restraints to take riders on a 2,000-foot journey through the desert. There are also several spins and vertical drops.

Castles 'n' Coasters
Castles ‘n’ Coasters

Another ride at Castles N’ Coasters is Splashdown, a water ride that takes guests through the logging town of Splashdown Falls. It features tunnels, large drops, and waterfalls.

The family-friendly amusement park also features four 18-hole miniature golf courses, a zip line, and a ropes course. There is also an indoor video game arcade, a log flume ride, and bumper boats. You can even get a Gold or Silver Pass, which allows you to ride the rides as much as you want.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Lake Pleasant Regional Park in Phoenix, Arizona, is an outdoor recreation center with over 23,000 acres of land and water. This park is located northwest of Phoenix and features an impressive desert landscape.

The park offers various recreational activities, including hiking trails, water sports, and boating. The lake has over 10,000 acres of water surface, making it ideal for swimming, kayaking, and other water sports.

Lake Pleasant Visitor Center
Lake Pleasant Visitor Center

Lake Pleasant is also home to various fish, including largemouth bass, striper bass, catfish, and tilapia. In addition, the Arizona Game and Fish Department also stock Lake Pleasant with rainbow trout in the winter months.

Aside from boating and fishing, visitors can enjoy hiking, scuba diving, and kayaking. During the winter, Lake Pleasant is also home to various raptors, including bald eagles.

Tempe Beach Park

Tempe Beach Park in Phoenix is an exciting place for the whole family. It has a kid-friendly play area and an extensive trail system for biking and jogging. There is even a birdwatching pond.

The park is also home to many festivals and events. For example, the Fourth of July celebration is one of the year’s highlights. Also, there is a boat parade, an annual Aloha Festival, and Summer Ends Music Festival. Other events include an Ironman race and the Monster Mash Festival.

Tempe Beach Park
Tempe Beach Park

One of the most popular attractions at the park is the Splash Playground. This one-acre water playground was opened in 2002. This safe and fun way to have fun in the water is a favorite among thousands of people each year.

Another major attraction at the park is the baseball diamond. Baseball games are usually played here, especially in the summer. Occasionally, softball games are also held.

The park is a popular spot for concerts, as well. Some famous musical acts have been performed here, such as Pat Hatton, Roger and Joe Sprache, and Billy Joel. In addition, to live music, the park hosts various other events. The park holds an Oktoberfest and a Fourth of July fireworks display every September.

Phoenix Mountains Preserve

If you’re looking for an urban park with various hiking trails, you may want to check out the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.

This 23,000-acre park, part of the metropolitan area, combines several mountain ranges into one natural preserve. Featuring views of Camelback Mountain and the Sonoran Desert, it is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Aside from being home to many hiking trails, the Phoenix Mountains Preserve also offers several parks. Several of them are dog-friendly.

Phoenix Mountains Preserve - Piestewa Entrance sign
Phoenix Mountains Preserve – Piestewa Entrance sign

For instance, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix contains a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments. You can find out about the history of these instruments in informative videos.

The Phoenix Fire Museum in Scottsdale features replicas of prehistoric houses and fire trucks and artifacts from actual firefighting operations. The museum also hosts a variety of events and festivals.

South Mountain Park

South Mountain Park is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This southwestern mountain preserve offers stunning views and great trails for all ages and abilities.

The park is a perfect backdrop for birdwatching, nature viewing, and fun horseback riding. There are over 50 miles of trails to choose from.

Phoenix South Mountain Park
Phoenix South Mountain Park

One of the most coveted spots in South Mountain is the Dobbins Lookout. Visitors can take a short drive to this scenic location, which offers panoramic views of the Valley and Ahwatukee Foothills. In addition to views of the valley, this lookout also features a stone resthouse.

Another popular spot is the Gila Valley Lookout. This lookout is located on the public-access Summit Road. From this spot, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the city of Tempe and the Gila River Valley.

Butterfly Wonderland

Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, Butterfly Wonderland is a one-of-a-kind butterfly experience. This facility offers an engaging educational experience for families, children, and the young at heart, featuring a unique blend of tropical butterflies, desert nature exhibits, and aquatic displays.

Butterfly Wonderland
Butterfly Wonderland

The centerpiece of the attraction is the largest indoor butterfly pavilion in the country. You’ll also find a full-fledged cafe, a bee colony, ant farms, a Koi pond, and a stingray touch tank. In addition, you can get up close and personal with thousands of tropical butterflies and unique reptiles.

Numerous educational activities help visitors learn more about the Monarch butterfly’s life and other creatures. This includes a Butterfly House, an emergence gallery, and a chrysalis laboratory.

Musical Instrument Museum

The Musical Instrument Museum Phoenix is a large facility that houses nearly 6,000 musical instruments. In addition, it offers exhibits on culture and music throughout the world. This museum is a great place to visit for the whole family.

Martin Guitars @ Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix AZ
Martin Guitars @ Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix AZ

Aside from the plethora of musical instruments on display, the MIM also includes several video features and interactive areas. These features enable visitors to learn about the origins of the tools and how they are constructed.

In addition, there is a Music Theater, which hosts concerts and performances. The theater is acoustically excellent and seats up to 300 people. Throughout the year, there are special events such as cultural weekends. The Musical Instrument Museum Phoenix is a popular attraction open to the public most days.

Hurricane Harbor Phoenix

If you live in Arizona or visit often, you’ve probably seen this water park a few times. Previously known as Wet n’ Wild Phoenix, this 35-acre waterpark was acquired by the Six Flags franchise in 2018. Since then, Hurricane Harbor has been enhanced with new attractions, slides, and amenities.

One of the most incredible things about Hurricane Harbor is its large selection of water rides. The park has something for everyone, from the tallest slide in Arizona to a high-speed raft ride. You’ll also find a handful of pools perfect for laps, including a lazy river and a wave pool.

There’s plenty of fun at the Hurricane Harbor – and you don’t have to spend much money. For example, you can taste the water park ambiance with a discounted ticket to the park or rent a cabana.

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