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Fun Things to Do in Phoenix

Fun Things to Do in Phoenix

Phoenix isn’t just a city; it’s a playground for those seeking a good time under the relentless desert sun. Whether you’re a local looking to shake up your routine or a visitor ready to explore beyond the usual tourist traps, it has a trick or two up its sleeve.

From hot air balloon rides that’ll make your heart race to hiking trails that challenge both your stamina and your selfie game, get ready for a journey filled with fun things to do in Phoenix.

1. Discover floral beauty at the 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

Heading to the desert might not scream “floral paradise,” but the Desert Botanical Garden defies expectations. Nestled in the Sonoran Desert, it boasts 50,000 species of flora, making it a vibrant spectacle against the backdrop of the arid landscape.

From exotic flowers to towering cacti, the garden showcases a global array of plant life, proving that even in the desert, nature knows how to put on a colorful show. The garden also offers an on-site garden shop and hosts a variety of events.

Pro tip:
Upon entering the garden, head straight to the Butterfly Pavilion early in the day. The fluttering kaleidoscope of colors is not only a serene start to your visit but also a prime Instagram opportunity before the midday crowd rolls in.

2. Explore the 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

Spanning 125 acres across four trails, the expansive Phoenix Zoo offers a journey through diverse ecosystems. From the majestic Asian elephants to the slinking Komodo dragons, every corner unveils a new animal wonder.

You can also amp up the excitement with a narrated safari tour or immerse yourself in the wild world of the 4D theater. When it’s time to refuel, the zoo offers not just eateries but also scenic picnic spots, ensuring a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation.

Pro tip:
Get hands-on at the Red Barn petting zoo, but be sure to check the schedule for animal encounters and keeper talks. It’s a great way to learn more about your favorite furry friends from the experts.

3. Ride into fun at 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

Tucked away in the northwest corner of Phoenix, Castles N’ Coasters is a hidden gem for thrill-seekers. It may not be the biggest theme park on the block, but it sure packs a punch with an array of rides to keep you entertained from dawn till dusk.

From thrilling rides to bumper boats, go-karts, Viking ships and a giant arcade, Castles N’ Coasters is a one-stop-shop for a day brimming with amusement. And if you need to cool off, why not cap off the day with a round of miniature golf?

Pro tip:
Check the park’s website for any special events or promotions. You might snag a deal on unlimited ride wristbands or discover a themed night that adds an extra layer of fun to your visit.

4. Discover Phoenix’s musical tapestry at the 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

Housing a staggering collection of over 15,000 instruments and artifacts, the Musical Instrument Museum is a sole institution of its kind on the planet. Here, you can marvel at iconic instruments from legends like John Lennon and Elvis Presley, among others.

As you wander through its halls, modern and high-tech display cases bring each instrument to life with video and audio features, allowing you to experience the original sounds.

Pro tip:
The headphones provided are your auditory passport to each exhibit. Don’t forget to fully immerse yourself by tuning in to the diverse sounds and music accompanying the displays.

5. Stroll through history at the Old Town Scottsdale

Address: Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251


Stepping into Old Town Scottsdale is like taking a stroll through a time capsule, where the echoes of the 1920s still resonate in the present-day charm. This neighborhood, nestled within the original site of the town, beckons with a medley of activities.

Here, you can explore art galleries, design stores, and boutiques that line the streets, each offering a unique piece of the local culture. When hunger strikes, you can dive into the array of restaurants and bars that add a contemporary beat to the historic ambiance.

Pro tip:
Don’t miss the Scottsdale Historical Museum tucked away in a small red schoolhouse. It’s a hidden gem that offers fascinating insights into the town’s past.

6. Unleash your curiosity at the 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

Whether you’re drawn to the world-class planetarium or simply curious about any aspect of science, the Arizona Science Center promises an enlightening experience. Spanning four floors, this hands-on museum transforms learning into an interactive adventure.

Its learning hub, tailored for children, offers a playful environment for young minds to explore. But it’s not just for the little ones – Science with a Twist, a program for those 21 and over, combines science with drinks, dancing, and a lively atmosphere.

Pro tip:
Utilize the interactive map available at the entrance. It helps you navigate seamlessly through the diverse exhibits, ensuring you don’t miss any hidden gems.

7. Visit the Hall of Flame Fire Museum

Address: 6101 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 602-275-3473

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 AM–6 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults – $15
  • Senior Citizens – $13
  • Child (6–17 years old) – $13
  • Kids 3–5 years old – $9
  • Kids 3 years below – Free

The Hall of Flame Fire Museum takes you on a journey through centuries of firefighting. It showcases meticulously restored fire trucks, which is a captivating timeline from horse-drawn carriages in 1865 to the sturdy Type 700 firetrucks of the 1950s.

It’s not just an American affair – the museum proudly showcases firefighting vehicles from around the world. You can also step into the antique fire helmet collection, a visual journey through time and across nations.

Pro tip:
Take a moment of silence in the Hall of Heroes. It’s a humbling experience to reflect on the sacrifices made by firefighters throughout history, and the atmosphere in this section adds a unique emotional depth to your visit.

8. Watch mesmerizing performances at Mesa Arts Center

Address: 1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201


Contact Details: +1 480-644-6500, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 12–5 PM

The Mesa Arts Center is a cultural gem that has graced Phoenix since 2005. With a vast expanse of 212,755 square feet, this center houses four unique theaters, studios, galleries, and classrooms, creating a vibrant hub for creativity.

From orchestras to dramas, the diverse range of scheduled performances caters to various tastes and budgets. Before you leave, don’t miss a visit to the Mesa Arts Center Store, where you’ll discover special and rare items perfect for collecting or gifting.

Pro tip:
Snag a balcony seat for a unique perspective. While closer seats offer an intimate experience, the balcony provides a panoramic view that adds a different dimension to certain performances.

9. Journey through time at the Arizona Museum of Natural History

Address: 53 N Macdonald, Mesa, AZ 85201


Contact Details: +1 480-644-2230

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 AM–5 PM, Sunday: 12–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • $13 – Adults
  • $10 – Seniors (65 years old plus)
  • $8 – Students (13 years old and up, must present an ID)
  • $7 – Children (3-12 years old)
  • Free – Children (2 years old and under)
  • $2 – EBT Card Holders (Must show ID & EBT CARD)

*EBT card holders can receive a discounted museum admission of $2 per person for up to 6 family members.

Established in 1977 within the walls of the former Mesa City Hall, the Arizona Museum of Natural History unravels the rich history of Phoenix and its surroundings. Here, you can embark on a journey through time with its archaeological wonders.

In this museum, you can explore the Dinosaur Mountain’s mesmerizing Mesozoic Era exhibit with a three-story waterfall, while the young enthusiasts can engage in hands-on fossil discoveries with life-sized casts and the Paleo Dig Pit.

Pro tip:
Save time for the museum store at the end. It’s not your typical gift shop; you might find unique items related to archaeology, paleontology, and natural history that make for memorable souvenirs.

10. Soar high with Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Co.

Media: ICONIC LIFE Magazine

Address: 715 E Covey Lane #100, Phoenix, AZ 85024


Contact Details: 800-725-2477, 480-299-0154

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 7AM–7PM

Ever dreamt of surveying the Grand Canyon from a birds-eye perspective? Picture this: drifting through the Phoenix skies in a hot air balloon, an experience that’s not just breathtaking but surprisingly effortless with an expert pilot steering the way.

Among the top-notch options is Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Co., a seasoned team that not only handles the technicalities but happily plays photographer, capturing your magical moments high above the Arizona landscape.

Pro tip:
Capture the moment with a GoPro or a similar small camera. Balloon rides offer incredible views, and having a compact camera ensures you can document the entire journey without the bulk.

11. Saddle Up for Fun at MacDonalds’ Ranch

Address: 26540 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255


Contact Details: +1 480-585-0239, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday: 9 AM–5 PM, Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday-Sunday: 9 AM–5 PM

Looking for some good, old-fashioned family fun near Phoenix, Arizona? MacDonalds’ Ranch offers activities that take you on horseback rides, providing insights into desert survival skills, identifying directions, and of course, the art of horse riding.

With various tour lengths available, you’ll not only enjoy the scenic ride but also gain valuable knowledge about the desert and wilderness. Plus, the chance to bond with your trusty steed is an added bonus.

Pro tip:
Check the weather forecast before your visit and come prepared for any unexpected changes in weather conditions.

12. Embark on an adventure at South Mountain Park and Preserve

Address: 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042


Contact Details: +1 602-495-5458

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

The South Mountain Park and Preserve is a Phoenix Point of Pride and one of the largest parks in the U.S. It’s a sprawling 16,000-acre oasis offers 60 trails and breathtaking desert vistas.

Since the 1920s, the park has offered diverse activities—bike, horseback ride, hike trails, take a Wild West tour with Ponderosa Stables, explore petroglyphs, spot chuckwallas, marvel at elephant trees, or visit the Environmental Education Center.

Pro tip:
Check the season. Spring brings wildflowers, while fall offers a more temperate climate.

13. Enjoy Desert Ridge Marketplace’s dynamic scene

Address: 21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050


Contact Details: +1 480-513-7586

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11 AM–9 PM, Sunday: 12–6 PM

Escape the scorching Arizona sun and step into the cool oasis of Desert Ridge Marketplace, where shopping meets entertainment. Surrounded by palm trees, this outdoor mall is not just a retail haven but also a hub for diverse dining experiences.

Post your shopping spree, catch a film at the 18-screen cinema or choose from over 30 dining options to satisfy your taste buds. Weekends come alive with street performances, adding a touch of art and culture to your visit.

Pro tip:
Stay updated on interactive events or workshops. Desert Ridge occasionally hosts art exhibitions, culinary events, and DIY sessions.

14. Discover elegance at Wrigley Mansion

Address: 2501 E Telawa Trail, Phoenix, AZ 85016


Contact Details: +1 602-955-4079, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:       Closed
  • Tuesday:      Closed
  • Wednesday: 4–10 PM
  • Thursday:     4–10 PM
  • Friday:           4–11 PM
  • Saturday: 4–11 PM
  • Sunday:  10 AM–2 PM

The Wrigley Mansion is a testament to the legacy of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. Overlooking the city, this mansion boasts a distinct Californian flair, attributed to its remarkable tilework crafted at Wrigley’s Catalina Island factory.

Beyond its fascinating backstory, the Wrigley Mansion is a popular destination for upscale dining and events, making it ideal for those seeking a touch of elegance in the desert. You can also join a 45-minute tour that guides you through this iconic mansion.

Pro tip:
If you’re a wine enthusiast, inquire about the Wrigley Mansion’s wine club. You might discover exclusive events and tastings during your visit.

15. Experience lakeside tranquility at Tempe Beach Park

Address: 80 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281


Contact Details: +1 480-350-5200 

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 5 AM–12 AM

Nestled along the south shore of Tempe Town Lake, Tempe Beach Park is an ideal spot for recreational activities in Phoenix. Spanning 25 acres, it offers breathtaking sunset views across from Papago Park.

You can explore the lake with rented paddleboards, kayaks, scooters, or bikes along the scenic five-mile trail. Families can also enjoy the splash playground, and the amphitheater hosts entertaining shows and concerts for up to 5,000 people.

Pro tip:
If attending a concert, bring a blanket or portable chair. Seating is open, and having a comfortable spot can enhance your enjoyment of the show.

16. Discover the Hole in the Rock

Address: 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 602-495-5458

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

The Hole in the Rock is a geological wonder amidst Arizona’s captivating landscape. This small sandstone hill, adorned with various openings, offers a glimpse into the ancient Hohokam culture’s ingenious use of natural features as a seasonal calendar.

You can venture inside to explore this unique space and uncover its historical significance. As an added bonus, you can catch the breathtaking sunset views of Phoenix from this vantage point.

Pro tip:
Bring a camera or smartphone with a panoramic mode to capture the vastness of the landscape. The unique rock formations against the city skyline make for incredible shots.

17. Immerse in nature’s delight at the Butterfly Wonderland

Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura F100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256


Contact Details: +1 480-800-3000, [email protected]

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

Entry Fee: $29.95

Butterfly Wonderland is a vibrant tropical conservatory anchored by the enchanting Butterfly Pavilion, where countless butterflies flutter freely, delighting visitors witnessing their emergence from chrysalises.

They also have a showcase of the desert’s venomous inhabitants, freshwater marvels at OdySea in the Desert aquarium, a captivating journey into the world of honey bees, and the enchanting visuals of the 3D theater.

Pro tip:
Be cautious in the Butterfly Pavilion; avoid touching the butterflies, but don’t be surprised if they land on you—they’re quite friendly!

18. Experience heritage at the Superstition Mountain Museum

Address: 4087 E Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119


Contact Details: +1 480-983-4888

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

Entry Fee: $7

Nestled near Goldfield Ghost Town, the Superstition Mountain Museum might not be the most famous spot, but it tells a captivating story, focusing on the elusive Lost Dutchman Mine and the numerous expeditions aiming to unveil its secrets.

Despite countless efforts, the Dutchman’s mine has eluded discovery. As you explore, take a peek at Apacheland located just behind the museum, a site with a cinematic history, having served as a backdrop for numerous films.

Pro tip:
If available, opt for a guided tour. Local guides often share fascinating anecdotes and legends related to the area that you might not find in the exhibits.

19. Embark on culinary adventures with Taste It Tours

Address: 4410 N. Scottsdale Rd, Suite 11, Scottsdale, AZ 85251


Contact Details: 480-274-3569, [email protected]

Operating Hours:


  • Classic Tour Package – $75 per person
  • Premier Tour Package – $90 per person
  • Executive Tour Package – $100 per person
  • Scottsdale Taco Tour Package – $75-$95 per person
  • Scottsdale Wine Walk – $85 per person
  • Brewery Tours – $85 per person
  • Progressive Dinner Tour – $125 per person

Delve into Phoenix’s culinary wonders with Taste It Tours, a must for food enthusiasts. Guided by the passionate local, Jessica Combest, the tour explores hidden gems in Scottsdale and Phoenix, providing an authentic taste of the local food scene.

Beyond the delightful dishes, the tour unveils the city’s rich heritage and captivating architecture. With stops at 4 or 5 carefully selected locations, Taste It Tours ensures an immersive journey into Phoenix’s status as a food mecca in Arizona.

Pro tip:With numerous tastings ahead, consider having a light breakfast to ensure you have room to savor the diverse array of dishes offered during the tour.

20. Unearth the Old West in Goldfield Ghost Town

Address: 4650 N Mammoth Mine Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85119


Contact Details: +1 480-983-0333

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

Entry Fee:

  • Adults – $12
  • Seniors – $10
  • Children ages 5-12 – $8
  • Children ages 4 and under – Free

Nestled near Phoenix lies a fascinating spot worth exploring – the Goldfield Ghost Town. Dating back to 1893, Goldfield once thrived with prospectors seeking fortune in the Superstition Mountains.

While the gold may be gone, the spirit of the Old West lives on in this reconstructed tourist town. Here, you can walk through its historic western buildings, brought to life by skilled re-enactors, offering a glimpse into the bygone era.

Pro tip:
If you’re interested in the gunfight show, arrive a bit early to snag a good viewing spot. The performances are entertaining and provide a lively taste of Goldfield’s history.
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