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The Best Attractions in Phoenix You Shouldn’t Miss

The Best Attractions in Phoenix You Shouldn’t Miss

Howdy, fellow explorers! If you’re ready to turn up the heat on your travel bucket list, Phoenix is the place to be.

We’re dishing out the lowdown on the must-hit attractions in Phoenix that’ll have you trading your snow boots for flip-flops in no time. From cactus gardens to urban art scenes, get ready to soak in the best of the desert vibes!

1. Musical Instrument Museum

Address: 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050


Contact Details: +1 480-478-6000,

[email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adult – $20
  • Teens (ages 13–19) – $15
  • Children (ages 4–12) – $10
  • Children (ages 3 and under) – Free

Musical Instrument Museum transports you across cultures and periods with its themed galleries. Here, you’ll find legendary treasures like Eric Clapton’s “Brownie” and Prince’s iconic purple piano, which are showcased in the artist gallery.

With a headset syncing seamlessly to thousands of instrument sounds, this museum offers a unique auditory journey, culminating in live performances at the MIM Music Theater, featuring over 200 international acts annually.

Pro tip:
You can take advantage of the Experience Gallery on the first floor – it’s not just for kids, and you can try playing various instruments.

2. Odysea Aquarium

Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura Suite A-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256


Contact Details: +1 480-291-8000, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:  9 AM–7 PM
  • Tuesday:  9 AM–7 PM
  • Wednesday: 9 AM–6 PM
  • Thursday: 9 AM–6 PM
  • Friday:    9 AM–6 PM
  • Saturday: 9 AM–6 PM
  • Sunday:   9 AM–6 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adult (Ages 13 and up) – $44.95
  • Child (Ages 2-12) – $34.95

Located in the desert, Odysea Aquarium is the Southwest’s largest aquarium, boasting 6,000 creatures from sharks to penguins. Its Odysea Voyager offers a rotating aquarium journey with vast tanks, while touch pools offer an intimate encounter with residents.

As part of the expansive Arizona Boardwalk, it’s just one highlight in an entertainment complex that includes Butterfly Wonderland, Pangea: Land of the Dinosaurs, a laser and mirror maze, the UFO Experience, and the intriguing Museum of Illusions.

Pro tip:
For additional insights into the creatures’ behaviors and lifestyles, try to attend any talks or presentations about marine life at Odysea Aquarium. It’s like having a personal guide through the underwater world.

3. Heard Museum

Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-252-8840, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adult (Ages 18-64) – $22.50
  • Senior (Ages 65+) – $18
  • Military (w/ID) – $18
  • Student (College w/ID) – $9
  • Child (Ages 6-17) – $9
  • Child (Ages 5 & Under) – Free
  • American Indian Adult – Free
  • American Indian Child – Free

The Heard Museum holds a rich collection of Native American art, spanning almost a century. Through immersive exhibits and an authentic art shop, it weaves together the traditions, cultures, and histories of 22 regional American Indian tribes.

“Substance of Stars” is a captivating permanent exhibit at the Heard Museum, exploring its collection from Indigenous perspectives in a 360-degree Sky Dome. It offers a fascinating journey into the stories and memories of the Southwest’s native people.

Pro tip:
If you want to take a break, you can enjoy a meal at the Courtyard Café. The peaceful courtyard setting adds to the overall cultural experience.

4. Camelback Mountain

Media: CJ

Location: Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area

Scaling the renowned Camelback Mountain is a must for hiking enthusiasts. The view from the summit of this iconic landmark, named for its likeness to a kneeling camel, is a compelling reason to conquer its challenging trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla.

The hike, gaining 1,200 feet in elevation, treats you to breathtaking views of the city and the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. It is popular year-round especially in winter and you might consider ridesharing due to limited parking.

Pro tip:
The desert sun is no joke, so lather up with sunscreen, even on cloudy days. You’ll appreciate it when you’re basking in the Camelback glow.

5. Roosevelt Row

Location: downtown Phoenix, primarily along Roosevelt Street from 7th Street to Central Avenue


Contact Details: +1 602-829-5659

Roosevelt Row is a dynamic hub pulsating with creative energy. Stretching from Seventh Avenue to 16th Street between McDowell Road and Fillmore Street, it’s a treasure trove of art galleries, performance spaces, and eclectic local businesses.

Here, you’ll experience a lively culture – catch local bands at The Trunk Space, enjoy a DJ session at Jobot, explore unique shops like Rip Valley and Antique Sugar, and witness the vibrant art scene in galleries such as Eye Lounge and Modified Arts.

Pro tip:
Don’t miss the local culinary scene and try something new. Roosevelt Row boasts diverse dining options, from food trucks to trendy cafes.

6. Phoenix Zoo

Address: 455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 602-286-3800

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9 AM–4 PM, 5:30–10:30 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adult – $24.95
  • Child – $14.95
  • Kids aged two and below – Free

Hosting around 3,000 animals including lions, tigers, elephants, and rhinos, the Phoenix Zoo ranks among the nation’s largest nonprofit zoos. Here, you can journey through the native flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert along the Arizona Trail.

The zoo features Dinosaurs in the Desert, displaying life-size animatronic prehistoric creatures. You’ll also get to visit the Hunt’s Tomb, a unique white pyramid atop a hill and the final resting place of George W. P. Hunt, Arizona’s inaugural governor.

Pro tip:
If you have children with you, check out interactive exhibits like the Children’s Trail with a petting zoo. It’s perfect for the little ones to get hands-on with friendly animals.

7. Papago Park

Media: Fernie Serrano

Address: 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 602-495-5458

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 5 AM–11 PM

Just minutes from downtown, you’ll reach Papago Park, which is a desert haven with iconic red rock buttes and meandering trails. It is home to the famed Hole-in-the-Rock Trail and two must-visit attractions, the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo.

Beyond the scenic allure, Papago Park is also a recreational hotspot. Here, you can engage in serene fishing at the seven-acre stocked lagoons or explore the fascinating Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting.

Pro tip:
If you’re a golfer, don’t miss playing a round at the Papago Golf Course. The scenic backdrop makes it a unique and enjoyable experience.

8. Heritage Square

Address: 113 N 6th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-258-0048, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:                     Closed
  • Tuesday:                    Closed
  • Wednesday-Saturday: 10 AM–4 PM
  • Sunday:                     12–4 PM

Heritage Square is a living testament to Phoenix’s Victorian roots, where you’ll be transported back to the late 1800s. The star attraction of this spot is the meticulously restored Rosson House Museum.

It’s also a serene haven for history and tech enthusiasts, or anyone seeking a moment of quiet reflection. Here, you’ll find preserved 19th- and 20th-century homes, now housing eclectic restaurants and bars, adding a modern flair to this nostalgic corner.

Pro tip:
Don’t miss a slice of history at Pizzeria Bianco, a James Beard Award-winning spot within Heritage Square. You can indulge in their renowned pizzas, combining the best of past and present.

9. Desert Botanical Garden

Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 480-941-1225

Operating Hours: Monday-Thursday:

8 AM–8 PM, Friday & Saturday: 8 AM–4 PM, 5:30–9:30 PM, Sunday: 8 AM–8 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adult – $24.95
  • Child – $12.95
  • Free – Children aged 2 and younger

Across 140 acres, Desert Botanical Garden’s paths wind through diverse native plants, including iconic Mexican cardon cactuses thriving for over 75 years. It’s also home to a variety of arid species, from majestic saguaros to delicate blossoms.

Throughout the year, this picturesque landscape sets the stage for the garden’s seasonal events. In winter, Las Noches de Las Luminarias transform the space with thousands of luminaria bags and twinkling lights, creating a magical holiday tradition.

Pro tip:
You can opt for a guided tour to gain insights into the diverse desert flora. It’s a great way to learn about the fascinating adaptations of each plant.

10. Phoenix Art Museum

Address: 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-257-1880, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:                  Closed
  • Tuesday:                 Closed
  • Wednesday:           10 AM–9 PM
  • Thursday-Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults – $25
  • Seniors – $22
  • Students (with valid ID) – $20
  • Youth (6-17 years old) – $15
  • Museum Members, and kids 5 years old and under – Free

Housing captivating exhibits like “MOVE: The Modern Cut of Geoffrey Beene,” Phoenix Art Museum is Southwest’s largest fine art haven. It showcases contemporary masterpieces alongside global treasures, fostering a diverse artistic experience.

From the iconic Yayoi Kusama infinity room to the meticulously crafted Thorne Rooms, the permanent collection promises artistic wonders. You can avail of complimentary access on Wednesdays and Free Family Sundays on the second week of each month.

Pro tip:
You can download the museum app for a digital guide, event updates, and additional insights into the fascinating world of the Phoenix Art Museum.

11. Taliesin West

Address: 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259


Contact Details: +1 480-860-2700

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • 26 years old and above – $39
  • 13–25 years old – $27
  • 6–12 years old – $19

Taliesin West lets you step into the world of the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This National Historic Landmark, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, served as Wright’s winter home, studio, and architectural laboratory.

You can explore the organic architecture that seamlessly blends with the desert surroundings as you wander through rooms, gardens, and walkways. You have two tour options: a 60-minute self-guided audio journey or a 90-minute guided exploration.

Pro tip:
To ensure availability on your preferred tour, secure your spot by booking tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

12. Melrose District

Media: Macy Lee

Location: North Central Phoenix along 7th Avenue

Affectionately known as “The Curve” for its winding layout and celebrated as the “gayborhood” for its vibrant LGBTQ+ presence, this district is a captivating blend of pride and mid-century heritage.

Phoenix’s Melrose District spans a charming 1-mile stretch along Seventh Avenue. This district offers the best in antique shops, art, dining, and lively patio scenes, allowing you to immerse yourself in the unique character of this dynamic neighborhood.

Pro tip:
Melrose is known for vintage fashion. You can explore the boutiques for unique clothing finds that tell a story of retro charm.

13. Cosanti

Address: 6433 E Doubletree Ranch Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253


Contact Details: +1 480-948-6145, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9 AM–5 PM, Sunday: 11 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Located in the Arizona desert, Cosanti is a unique gem listed on the Arizona Registry of Historic Places. Crafted by visionary architect Paolo Soleri, the otherworldly structures showcase his innovative earth-casting technique.

These architectural marvels, formed by creating concrete shells over mounded dirt, is a testament to Soleri’s experimental approach. As a still-active studio, visitors are invited to witness artisans at work, particularly renowned for crafting world-famous bells.

Pro tip:
While entry is free, consider making a donation. Your contribution supports the nonprofit Cosanti Foundation, ensuring the preservation of this architectural treasure.

14. Japanese Friendship Garden

Address: 1125 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003


Contact Details: +1 602-274-8700

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 9 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults – $10/$12 at gate
  • Seniors – $8/$10 at gate
  • Students – $7/$9 at gate
  • Military – $7/$9 at gate
  • Youth (ages 7-17) – $7/$9 at gate
  • Children (ages 0-6) – Free

Nestled in the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Japanese Friendship Garden is a surprising oasis that has thrived for over two decades. Established in collaboration with Himeji, Japan, this serene haven near Hance Park transports visitors to a tranquil world.

The garden showcases traditional Japanese architecture, winding paths that lead to hidden corners, a picturesque lake adorned with a waterfall, and a lively population of koi. Here, you can take a leisurely stroll and immerse yourself in its peaceful ambiance.

Pro tip:
The garden occasionally hosts cultural performances, tea ceremonies, and other community gatherings that add an extra layer to your visit. So, keep an eye on local event listings.

15. Old Town Scottsdale

Address: Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251


Whether you’re indulging in world-class shopping at Scottsdale Fashion Square or exploring Arizona-themed treasures on Fifth and Brown Avenues, there’s something for everyone at Old Town Scottsdale.

This Phoenix spot lets you immerse yourself in Southwestern arts, discover upscale galleries, and dive into trendy boutiques. It comes alive after dark, offering a variety of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, with live music venues like the Old Town Tavern.

Pro tip:
If your schedule allows, plan an evening visit to Old Town during a night market. The atmosphere is lively, and you’ll find unique products and local crafts.

16. South Mountain Park and Preserve

Media: Kevin Anthony Gatti

Address: 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042

Contact Details: +1 602-495-5458

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 5 AM–7 PM

South Mountain Park and Preserve is a sprawling desert escape with over 50 miles of trails winding through 16,000 acres of Sonoran Desert landscape. It’s an outdoor haven for those seeking adventure close to home.

Among the desert views and diverse plant life, the park features hidden petroglyphs etched into rocks, adding a touch of mystery. If hiking isn’t your preference, drive up the 5.5-mile Summit Road to Dobbins Lookout, it offers panoramic views of the city.

Pro tip:
There’s an interactive trail map available online that you can utilize to plan your route. It helps navigate the extensive trail system and ensures you won’t miss any highlights.

17. Arizona Science Center

Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-716-2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10:30 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adult – $21.95
  • Child (3-17 years old) – $15.95

Situated in Heritage and Science Park, the Arizona Science Center offers a captivating mix of education and entertainment. Architect Antoine Predock’s design turns exploration into a journey across its 140,000-square-foot space.

With four levels of hands-on exhibits, a cutting-edge planetarium, and a 5-story high giant-screen theater, the Center invites discovery for all ages, from the young to the young at heart. It also boasts seven themed galleries filled with interactive wonders.

Pro tip:
Don’t miss the planetarium show—it’s a stellar experience. Get there a bit early to snag the best seats for the cosmic journey.

18. Arizona State Capitol Museum

Address: 1700 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007


Contact Details: +1 602-926-3620, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee: Free

The old State Capitol, erected in 1900 and the government seat until 1974, has transformed into the Arizona State Capitol Museum. This free museum unfolds Arizona’s captivating history across its four floors.

The standout display is the Arizona flag, a masterpiece made from 113,998 Lego bricks, each ingeniously representing a mile in the state. There’s also the Arizona Takes Shape exhibit, which offers insights into the state’s evolution from a territory to the present.

Pro tip:
The museum is a great spot for both sunny and mild days. Try to plan your visit when the weather is conducive to strolling through the beautiful outdoor areas.

19. Phoenix Children’s Museum

Address: 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034


Contact Details: 1 602-253-0501

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Anyone 1 year and older – $17 per person
  • Children under the age of 1 – Free

The Phoenix Children’s Museum has been a hub of family fun since 2008. With 14 engaging galleries like the Noodle Forest, Blockmania, Pedal Power, and the Texture Café, it captivates young minds with interactive displays.

The attentive staff ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for both kids and parents. It’s conveniently located near the Arizona Science Center and combining visits to both spots is a breeze.

Pro tip:
If you have a stroller, use it strategically. Some areas may get crowded, so folding it up when not needed can make navigation easier.

20. Castles N’ Coasters

Address: 9445 N Metro Pkwy E, Phoenix, AZ 85051


Contact Details: +1 602-997-7575,

[email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday:

10 AM–10 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 8 AM–10 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Elite pass – $57
  • Thrill Pass – $47
  • Thrill Pass + Golfer Pass – $54
  • Thrill Pass + Gamer Pass – $54
  • 1 Round of Mini Golf – $15

When it comes to family outings, Castles-N-Coasters is a unanimous choice and regardless of your age, there’s a thrill waiting for you. Spanning 10 acres, this park is a diverse blend of attractions, from heart-pounding roller coasters to leisurely mini golf.

For the daring, the double-looped Desert Storm roller coaster offers an intense experience, while the Skydiver is less scary yet an exhilarating free-fall from 120 feet. If the fun must go on, explore options like the Sea Dragon ride or the XD Dark Ride.

Pro tip:
If you plan to cool off on the Splashdown log flume, save it for the warmer afternoon hours—it’s both refreshing and enjoyable.
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