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21 Things to Do and Hidden Gems in Downtown Phoenix

21 Things to Do and Hidden Gems in Downtown Phoenix

Are you planning a visit to downtown Phoenix? While the city is known for its sports and towering buildings, there’s much more to explore beyond the surface. 

There are 21 hidden gems and must-do activities waiting to be discovered. This guide will help you uncover the vibrant culture and unique experiences that make downtown Phoenix an unforgettable destination. 

Keep reading and explore the heart of Arizona like never before!

1. Go on an Art Adventure at the Phoenix Art Museum


Address: 1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16022571880

Operating hours: Wednesday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest in the southwestern United States. It boasts over 20,000 objects spanning centuries and continents and offers a unique blend of permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. 

If you’re looking for a more interactive experience, the Phoenix Art Museum offers a variety of programs and events throughout the year. From lectures and workshops to film screenings and live performances, there’s something to engage every visitor.

Pro tip:
Take advantage of free admission every Wednesday from 3:00 to 9:00 PM. Don’t miss The Hub: The James Keith Jr. Memorial, a vibrant community space within the museum. 

2. Have a Fun Day at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix


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

Contact details: +16022530501

Operating hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The Children’s Museum is a wonderland bursting with over 300 interactive exhibits designed to spark curiosity and ignite imaginations in children of all ages, especially those under 10. 

The first floor boasts a towering three-story Climber, a maze-like structure perfect for aspiring adventurers. On the other hand, the top floor has a whimsical Waterworks exhibit, where kids can cool off and splash around in an interactive water play area.  

Pro tip:
If you let your little ones loose in the Waterworks exhibit, pack a change of clothes and a towel. Take the chance to conquer the towering Climber—it’s a museum highlight and an excellent way for kids to burn off energy.

3. Learn about American Indians at the Heard Museum


Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16022528840

Operating hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The Heard Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in art, history, and indigenous cultures.  Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum is the premier showcase of Native American art in the United States. 

What makes it unique is its dedication to presenting the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective. It has 11 spacious exhibit galleries and beautiful outdoor courtyards, all showcasing the artistic mastery of American Indian artists.  

Pro tip:
Take advantage of the opportunity to explore the Heard Museum’s beautiful outdoor courtyards. These courtyards feature traditional architecture and landscaping and offer a serene oasis in the heart of downtown Phoenix.

4. Learn about Wonders of Science at the Arizona Science Center


Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16027162000

Operating hours: 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Arizona Science Center boasts more than 300 interactive exhibits. Explore the human body, delve into the cosmos at the Dorrance Planetarium, or experience the magic of giant-screen films at the five-story Irene P. Diamond IMAX Theater.

It encourages visitors to tinker, touch, and experiment. Climb aboard a simulated spacecraft, dissect a giant model heart, or witness the power of electricity through dazzling demonstrations.

Pro tip:
Catch a show at the Dorrance Planetarium. Under a breathtaking digital sky, immerse yourself in the wonders of the universe.

5. Immerse Yourself in the Vibrant Energy of Roosevelt Row


Address: 147 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16025603232

Roosevelt Row is a unique district that seamlessly blends historic brick buildings with bursts of modern street art. Independent art galleries showcasing local talent line the streets alongside trendy boutiques bursting with one-of-a-kind finds. 

As the evening unfolds, Roosevelt Row transforms into a lively hub. Catch live music from hidden bars or clink glasses with friends at a rooftop patio overlooking the city lights. 

Pro tip:
Plan your visit for the First Friday Art Walk. During this monthly extravaganza, galleries unveil new exhibits, street performers take center stage, and the entire district comes alive with artistic expression.

6. Step Back in Time and Tour the Rosson House Museum


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

Contact details: +16022580048

Operating hours: Thursday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The Rosson House Museum’s historic house, built in 1895, offers a glimpse into the lives of early Phoenix families. It is a unique architectural gem designed in the Stick and Eastlake Queen Anne style. 

The Rosson House Museum is part of Heritage Square, but the Rosson House stands out for its grandeur and excellent preservation. It’s the only house in Heritage Square that is fully furnished, offering a more complete picture of Victorian life.

Pro tip:
Tours are offered every hour and last about an hour. Take the opportunity to take photos on the wraparound porch, a quintessential feature of Victorian architecture.  

7. Stroll through Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market


Address: 720 N 5th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16026256736

Operating hours: Saturday – 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, a bustling marketplace in the heart of Phoenix’s Bioscience Core, is a symphony of sights, smells, and flavors. Local farmers and small businesses gather every Saturday morning to showcase their bounty.

Here, you can chat with the passionate growers who nurtured the vegetables you hold or the beekeeper who bottled the honey you’re tasting. Local chefs often set up shop, offering delicious ready-to-eat meals that showcase the market’s fresh ingredients.

Pro tip:
Arrive early for the best selection of produce, especially during peak season. Many vendors offer online ordering for convenient pick-up at the market.

8. Dance to Your Favorite Tunes at the M3F Festival


Address: 67 W Culver St, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States

Contact details: +16025342406

Operating hours: 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM

Margaret T. Hance Park transforms into a vibrant music haven during the annual M3F festival. This two-day extravaganza celebrates a unique trifecta: community, culture, and charity. 

With all proceeds donated to local Arizona non-profits, M3F goes beyond entertainment, fostering a spirit of giving back. The festival boasts an eclectic lineup of established and up-and-coming artists across various genres. 

Pro tip:
Purchase your tickets in advance, especially if you’re eyeing spots close to the stage. Sample the delectable offerings from the local food trucks and support the vibrant Phoenix culinary scene.

9. Enjoy Craft Beers at the Real Wild and Woody Beer Festival

Address: 429e E Monroe St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

The Real Wild and Woody Beer Festival is a haven for craft beer enthusiasts. Its unique focus is on showcasing the innovation and passion of Arizona’s craft brewers. 

Beyond the beer itself, Real Wild and Woody play a significant role in supporting the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. By attending the festival, you’re not just treating yourself to delicious brews; you’re also contributing to the growth of Arizona’s craft beer scene.

Pro tip:
Consider sharing some samples with friends to expand your tasting experience without overdoing it. Many breweries have representatives to answer your questions and share their passion for the craft. 

10. Catch a Live Music Performance at the Van Buren


Address: 401 W Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States

Contact details: +14806591641

Operating hours: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Initially built in 1939 as a showroom for the Phoenix Motor Company, The Van Buren has been transformed into a vibrant music scene destination. The venue boasts a rich history, with its exposed wood rafters and original brickwork.

The Van Buren offers a versatile space accommodating up to 1,900 guests. There’s also a full bar at the entrance, an exclusive VIP lounge for a more luxurious experience, and artist dressing rooms designed with today’s performers in mind.

Pro tip:
Arrive early to explore the venue and soak up the historic ambiance.  The Van Buren’s unique blend of history and modern music makes it an extraordinary place to experience live entertainment in Downtown Phoenix.

11. Dive into Valley Bar for a Night of Live Music


Address: 130 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16023683121

Operating hours: 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Valley Bar is a three-in-one venue housed in a historic basement. It boasts an intimate, almost private music hall, even for sold-out shows.  

Step into the Rose Room for a relaxed atmosphere and conversation without a cover charge, or challenge your friends to classic arcade games in the Game Room – all under one roof.

Pro tip:
Start with a pre-show drink in the Rose Room, then head to the music hall for the main event.  After the show, unwind and challenge your friends to some classic arcade games!

12. Watch World-Class Entertainment at Arizona Financial Theatre


Address: 400 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States

Contact details: +16023792800

The Arizona Financial Theatre is a 5,000-seat venue. This multi-use theatre offers a unique versatility that caters to various events, from captivating musical performances and side-splitting comedy shows to high-octane boxing matches.

The state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems create an immersive atmosphere, while the expansive stage provides for elaborate productions. Movable walls and comfortable seating allow for flexible configurations, ensuring an optimal experience for every guest. 

Pro tip:
For an exclusive and unforgettable experience, consider booking a VIP suite. These private enclaves offer premium viewing, in-suite catering, and access to private restrooms, creating a luxurious atmosphere in which to enjoy the show.

13. Indulge in the Smooth Sounds of Jazz at the Nash


Address: 110 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16027950464

The Nash is a vibrant hub for the jazz community. Named after Phoenix native and acclaimed drummer Lewis Nash, the venue embodies the city’s rich jazz heritage while fostering its future.  

DownBeat magazine has recognized The Nash as one of the top jazz venues in the country. The magazine credits Nash’s dedication to world-class performances and nurturing upcoming talents.

Pro tip:
 Grab a drink from the bar, find a comfortable seat, and let the music wash over you.  The Nash is all about appreciating the art of jazz, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

14. Catch a Captivating Musical at the Orpheum Theatre


Address: 203 W Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States

Contact details: +16022626225

The Orpheum Theatre, a dazzling landmark in Downtown Phoenix, boasts a rich history dating back to 1929.  Originally a vaudeville stage, it has transformed into a versatile venue hosting everything from Broadway productions and classical concerts to ballets and local acts.  

This 1,364-seat theater is the sole surviving historic theater in the Valley, and its elegance extends beyond its impressive Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Dress up for a night of sophistication, or come as you are to soak in the historic charm.  

Pro tip:
For an exceptional experience, consider splurging on a box seat.  These offer the best views of the stage and a touch of luxury, with plush seating and in-seat wait service.

15. Marvel at the Architectural Details of Phoenix Symphony Hall


Address: 75 N 2nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16022626225

Phoenix Symphony Hall is the proud home of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Arizona’s only full-time professional symphony. This esteemed group graces the stage with a vast repertoire, from classical masterpieces to captivating contemporary works. 

It’s a versatile venue that hosts a wide range of artistic endeavors, from Arizona Opera’s elegant productions to Ballet Arizona’s graceful movements. The spacious lobby also provides a stunning backdrop for pre-show mingling. 

Pro tip:
For a truly unforgettable evening, consider splurging on a pre-fixe dinner at one of the many acclaimed restaurants within walking distance of Symphony Hall. A delicious meal will set the perfect mood for an evening of artistic immersion.

16. Enjoy Live Performances at the Herberger Theater Center


Address: 222 E Monroe St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16022547399

The Herberger Theater Center is a vibrant hub for the performing arts in Downtown Phoenix.  This unique complex isn’t just a single stage but boasts three distinct theaters: the intimate Kax Stage, the flexible Stage West, and the grand Center Stage. 

This variety allows the Herberger Theater Center to showcase various productions, from captivating plays and heart-stopping musicals to innovative dance pieces and thought-provoking performance art.

Pro tip:
The Herberger Theater Center offers various audience engagement programs, including post-show talks and backstage tours. These programs help audiences better understand the productions and connect with the artists.

17. Sink into a Plush Red Seat at the Phoenix Theatre


Address: 1825 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16022542151

The Phoenix Theatre is renowned for its commitment to artistic excellence. The stage has come alive with productions by some of the greatest playwrights ever, from Noël Coward and Tennessee Williams to Stephen Sondheim. 

The theatre consistently produces diverse shows, from classic dramas and heart-wrenching comedies to innovative contemporary works and captivating musicals.

The theatre offers a robust program of educational initiatives and outreach programs. 

Pro tip:
To enhance your experience, consider arriving early to explore the theatre’s beautiful lobby and admire the architectural details. You can also browse the program booklet to learn more about the production and the artists involved.

18. Watch Talented Actors from the Valley Youth Theatre


Address: 525 N 1st St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16022538188

Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) is a haven for aspiring performers and theater enthusiasts. Established in 1989, this non-profit organization has blossomed into a renowned theater company, nurturing young talent through exceptional productions.

Valley Youth Theatre stages a captivating six-show season annually. Two of these productions grace the prestigious Herberger Theater Center, offering a professional experience for the young actors and the audience.

Pro tip:
Arrive a little early before the show to soak in the atmosphere of the theater lobby. There are displays showcasing the set design and costumes, offering a glimpse into the creative process behind the production.

19. Cheer on the Phoenix Suns at the Footprint Center


Address: 201 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16023797900

Operating hours: Monday to Friday – 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Footprint Center pulsates with energy, serving as the vibrant home court for the Phoenix Suns. This technologically advanced arena is a melting pot of entertainment with a retractable roof that allows you to soak in the Arizona sunshine or the desert night sky.

The venue features artwork by Phoenix-based creators, showcasing the city’s distinct culture. Instead of the usual stadium fare, Footprint Center offers a curated selection from local restaurants, ensuring an authentic taste of Phoenix.

Pro tip:
Arrive early to explore the surrounding area. Downtown Phoenix offers many restaurants and bars, perfect for grabbing a pre-game bite or celebratory drink after the Suns’ victory.

20. Watch the Phoenix Mercury at the Footprint Center


Address: 201 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16022529622

The Footprint Center is a bustling arena in downtown Phoenix, home to the Phoenix Mercury basketball team. The arena is alive with energy as fans dressed in the team’s signature orange and purple enthusiastically cheer on their favorite players. 

The arena also features interactive exhibits highlighting the team’s history, including displays dedicated to the team’s legendary players and championship victories.

Pro tip:
Only leave with trying a Sonoran hot dog, a Phoenix staple. These grilled dogs have flavorful toppings like pinto beans, diced tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos.

21. Enjoy a Live Action Game of the Arizona Diamondbacks 


Address: 401 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16025148400

Chase Field is a state-of-the-art retractable roof stadium that transforms the atmosphere depending on the weather. Fans decked out in the Diamondbacks’ teal and copper colors surround you, creating a sea of vibrant energy. 

The stadium boasts a unique architectural design. Its retractable mesh wall in the outfield opens to reveal stunning views of the Phoenix skyline, which is exceptionally breathtaking during a sunset game.

Pro tip:
Check the Chase Field website for special promotions and themed nights throughout the season. You might catch a game with fireworks, discounted concessions, or even a bobblehead giveaway.
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