Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a beautiful park that is located in Nevada and Arizona. There are so many things to do at this park, including hiking, fishing, camping, and swimming. The scenery is absolutely stunning, and its a great place to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Lake Mead is important to the Hoover Dam because it provides the water needed to generate hydroelectric power.
The dam couldnt operate without it, so the recreation area is a vital part of the overall infrastructure.
The park offers some of the best fishing in the country, as well as plenty of opportunities for camping, hiking, and swimming.
Its a great place to spend a weekend or a summer vacation, and its one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Southwest.
Pueblo Grande Museum And Cultural Park
Rangerdriver94 / Shutterstock
Dont let the desert fool you one of the best things Arizona has to offer is its view.
The state is packed full of amazing sights that will blow the mind, and you can see some of them in the Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park.
This National Historic Landmark is home to the largest archaeological site in Phoenix the preserved ruins of an ancient abandoned Hohokam village.
These days, visitors driving in from Phoenix will find the grounds of this small museum to be a well-maintained spot that is chock full of historical sites.
Visitors can wander down an interpretive trail that leads you through reconstructed and furnished buildings, giving modern tourists a chance to step back into the past.
Once it gets too hot, visitors can also duck into the museum to check out the recovered artifacts.
The museum is also home to many other activities, such as workshops, demonstrations, talks, markets, and even auctions!
Address: 4619 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034, United States
Ponderosa Livery & Boarding Stables
Get a taste of the Wild West at the Ponderosa Livery & Boarding Stables. You’ll connect with nature as you tour the desert by horseback and even prove it to your friends if you dare not to bathe. With more than 50 miles of trails to explore, your guided tour will show you everything there is to see in the desert on horseback. Saddle up and have fun pardner!
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Tempe Center For The Arts
Tempe is a charming place and its arts center has tons of charisma to go along with it. Situated in a picturesque location on the Tempe Town Lake, you will find free parking and a variety of shows and events throughout the year. Local artists and arts groups such as the Tempe Symphony Orchestra are highlighted, along with an open mic night for those budding performers. Covid update: Events are extremely limited. Check out their calendar for what is available.
Hike The Many Phoenix Mountain Parks
There is ample hiking in and around the Phoenix area in many state and local parks. Hiking is my preferred exercise and its one of my favorite things to do in Phoenix. It doesnt really feel like a workout when you get such incredible views of the valley from the peaks.
The parks are a nice representation of the beauty of the desert. There are a lot of beautiful cacti and desert plants throughout and after the spring rains, you can see a beautiful canopy of green and wildflowers coat the ground.
One of the things I most love about Phoenix is that the mountains are everywhere and its really easy to get a hike in instead of going to the gym for exercise. And nothing is more rewarding than when you climb a peak and see a gorgeous view of the entire area.
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Shop Your Community Farmers Market In
Multiple locations, onlineWhether youre searching for locally made pasta, fresh-baked breads, cage-free eggs, seasonal organic veggies and fruits, or tapenades, Valley farmers markets including the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, Uptown Farmers Market, and Mesa Farmers Market & Flea have what just what you need to conquer your shopping list. You’ll leave with a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that youre supporting local farmers, makers, and vendors during these uncertain times. And that feels good, doesnt it?
Desert Belle Cruise Sightseeing Cruise On Saguaro Lake
A reservoir high on the Salt River, Saguaro Lake is walled by the steep, rust-coloured slopes of the Tonto National Forest.
One unforgettable way to soak up this evocative desert scenery is on the Desert Belle , a restored sightseeing boat making gentle 90-minute cruises on the lake.
You can travel on the shaded upper deck or in an air-conditioned cabin, and will have lots of time to view the cactus-strewn desert terrain and catch sight of some of its wildlife.
You may see bald eagles swooping overhead, or bobcats, bighorn sheep and coyotes in the brush.
Theres also live narration by the captain, calling your attention to landmarks and animals you might have missed, and a concession stand if you get thirsty.
Saguaro Lake is roughly 45-minutes east of downtown Phoenix, and the cruise aboard the Desert Belle is available through Viator.
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Free Things To Do In Phoenix With Kids: Mall Edition
Time for a quick list of indoor play areas at malls in Phoenix! If youre looking for a simple indoor play area for your little ones, try these at various malls across the Valley:
Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler , 3111 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
Arizona Mills in Tempe , 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir, Tempe, AZ 85282
Superstition Springs Center in Mesa , 6555 E Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85206
Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale , 7700 W. Arrowhead Towne Center, Glendale, AZ 85308
Desert Sky Mall in Phoenix , 7611 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85033
A few tips when you visit:
- most play areas are closed around 2-3pm for cleaning.
- there is a height limit of 48 and under to play.
- the play areas are usually available before the mall shops officially open! This is super handy for early risers.
- the Arrowhead, Paradise Valley and Superstition malls also offer the free monthly Kids Club events. Songs, stories and crafts are all aimed at children 6 and under. We did this program for a couple years while our oldest was a toddler and she loved it.
- there are restrooms near every play area sometimes it might in a store .
- the train and carousel rides mentioned below cost anywhere from $2-3/person
Other Indoor Mall Activities, costs vary
Childrens Museum Of Phoenix
The Childrens Museum of Phoenix is open to the public year-round on Tuesdays through Sundays, from 9:00am until 4:00pm, as well on select holiday Mondays. Free on-site parking is available. Visitors can explore the Childrens Museum free of charge during the first Friday night of most months during the year from 5:00pm until 9:00pm. There are a wide range of interactive and hands-on exhibits for kids to play in and learn. These include the Art Studio, Noodle Forest, Block Mania, The Market, Building Big, the Schuff-Perini Climber, Pedal Power, The Grand Ballroom, and the Move It outdoor exhibit.
215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034, Phone: 602-253-0501
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Enjoy The Phoenix Art Museum For Free On The First Friday
Phoenix Art Museum
While you normally need to pay for a ticket to enter the Phoenix Art Museum, guests can get in free by visiting on the first Friday of the month between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., when general admission is based on a voluntary donation. View more than 20,000 works of art, ranging from Latin American, Asian, and European art to American and Western American art, as well as a mix of photography, contemporary and modern art, and fashion design. The Thorne Rooms, extremely detailed replicas of full-sized rooms based on the decor and styles youd see in Europe and the United States throughout the ages, are a particularly interesting exhibit.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
The caverns were discovered by two cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, on November 14th, 1974. These caves are considered to be one of the best-preserved limestone cave systems in the world.
The caverns are open year-round and feature a great range of guided tours perfect for beginners.
Kartchner Caverns consists of two major chambers that are connected by a labyrinth of tunnels. The first chamber is called the Big Room and it is 2,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high.
The Big Room contains beautiful examples of helictites, anthodites, moon milk, flowstone rocks covered with frostwork, cave pearls, and numerous cave columns.
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Macalpines Diner & Soda Fountain
MacAlpines Diner & Soda Fountain
One of the most loved eateries in Phoenix is MacAlpines Diner and Soda Fountain and its also among the oldest that still stands in Phoenix.
The building started out as a pharmacy in the 1920s before adding a soda fountain in 1938 and even then, it was a soda fountain and pharmacy until 1991 before becoming a diner!
If a diner can be fun and provide entertainment, MacAlpines certainly does just that.
Enjoy old-fashioned meals that still hold up now, with classics such as phosphates, egg creams, malts, and a whopping 99 different flavors of soda!
This includes basic cola and fruit flavors to more exotic and unusual offerings, like red velvet and bubblegum.
Address: 2303 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006, United States
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is a true wonder of nature and arguably the most famous of all the worlds natural wonders, making it a must-visit in Arizona.
Its the worlds largest canyon, formed by natural erosion over millennia, and in turn has become an important tourist hotspot for visitors from all over the world, who come to admire its majesty.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is one of the more recent additions to the park this horseshoe-shaped bridge offers visitors a unique and vertigo-inducing view of the canyon from 4,000 feet up.
The south rim of the Grand Canyon is open all year round and is one of the most popular areas to visit.
The visitor center and town of Grand Canyon Village is located on the south rim and has a museum, gift shop, and restaurant. There are also many trails that lead down to the canyon floor as well as ranger programs.
I know, that last vid was pretty choice. Watch our visual guide about Grand Canyon National Park on this YouTube video below.
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Arizona Museum Of Natural History
Arizona Museum of Natural History
Theres no denying the amount of archeological history Phoenix is packing, so it only makes sense that one of the best Phoenix attractions in the location is the Arizona Museum of Natural History.
Located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, the museum was founded in 1977 in what was previously Mesa City Hall.
The Arizona Museum of Natural History is famous for its dinosaur exhibits which shouldnt come as a surprise, considering how Phoenix and its surrounding lands are a prime source of archeological discoveries.
Visitors can check out the museums multilevel Dinosaur Mountain, a Mesozoic Era exhibit that features a three-story waterfall!
Children will definitely appreciate being able to see and touch life-sized casts of the dinosaur skeletons, and budding archeologists have a chance to even try their hand at unearthing their own fossils and bones in the museums Paleo Dig Pit!
Also worth checking out are the various exhibits and galleries dedicated to ancient Mesoamerican cultures and history as well.
Address: 53 N Macdonald, Mesa, AZ 85201, United States
Looking for some more fun? Check out some of the coolest things to do in Arizona!
Drive Along The Scenic Apache Trail
Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons
The Apache Trail, also known as Route 88, is one of the most beautiful drives you can take near the Phoenix area, with 40 miles of canyons, geologic formations, desert plants and trees, desert and lake views, and seasonal wildflowers blooming at certain times of the year. Avoid making the drive when it’s raining, very windy, or on the hottest days of the yearunless you have a lot of confidence in your car’s maintenance and you don’t mind getting out in extreme heat for the scenic stops.
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Wildlife Zoo Aquarium And Safari
To see exotic animals from around the world, head to the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park. The title says it all. Here, you’ll find Arizona’s largest collection of exotic animals– from large birds to wild cats. Unlike most zoos, this zoo offers an open natural environment so don’t style your hair with albino alligator bait! The safari park recently expanded with three new rhinos, baboons, hyenas, and many more fun and exotic creatures. To add to the fun are a bunch of rides including an African Safari train, a log flume ride and a skyride that gives you that bird’s eye view of the park.
When To Visit Phoenix
Phoenix is located in the low desert so winters are mild and summers are scorching hot. Its incredible from October through April. If youre ok with cool mornings and evenings and hot days, the cusp months of May and September are great as well.
Monsoon season is technically from mid-June through the end of September. Though, in my experience, it seems to start in mid-to-late July and go through the end of August. August is the primary month. There are scattered showers during this time that can bring the temperatures down some. However, the humidity increases as a result.
In my opinion, its not a fun time to be in Phoenix. Though you can get some great hotel deals, Id come at a different time of year when the weather is better and you can go outside without risking bursting into flame. There are so many fun things to do in Phoenix outside.
If youre looking for a road trip out of Phoenix, particularly during the scorching summer months, here is a fun list of great day trips from Phoenix and roadtrips from Phoenix. And for something uniquely southwestern U.S., check out the Native American ruins of Arizona.
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Fun Activities For Seniors In Phoenix Az
Phoenix is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the entire country. Its a haven for museum hopping, theatergoing, art shows, shopping, golfing and gourmet dining. There are so many things for seniors to do in Phoenix, its hard to know where to start. So weve created a shortlist to help you experience Phoenixs finest. If youre visiting or considering a move, let these activities be your guide to what to do in Phoenix. Be sure to check with the Arizona Office of Tourism for the latest openings as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
Awesome Free Things To Do In Phoenix
If there were one thing that Phoenix has, it would be endless sunshine. Phoenix is Arizonas capital, and its also one of the most populous in the nation. Its a city thats surrounded by some of the most stunning mountain views, and the sunsets here are some of the best. While the cost of living in Phoenix may be just at average, it doesnt hurt to check out affordable things to do in the city, especially since Phoenix has a ton of attractions that are free. If youre looking for ways to spend your days in Phoenix without spending your dollars, here are 20 awesome free things to do.
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Where To Stay In Phoenix
In a city as large as Phoenix, there are a lot of hotel options to choose from. The trick is to stay in a convenient area to the things you want to do when youre there.
The Phoenix metro is a large geographic area. It takes over an hour, without traffic, to drive it from end to end. So, your best bet is to plan out what you want to do, then look to book your hotel.
If you find youre doing things all around the valley, no worries! There are three great areas to stay in: downtown Phoenix, Old Town Scottsdale, and Tempe. Each is close to many popular things to do, and they are mostly near main highways.
Here are the top recommendations for hotels to stay at in the Phoenix area, as well as a resort that I love.