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Escape the Sun! Discover Phoenix’s Top 21 Coolest Indoor Experiences

Has the Phoenix summer got you feeling like a melted popsicle? But just because the sun is a fiery beast doesn’t mean your summer fun must go on a permanent siesta. 

The great thing about this city is that it’s packed with awesome indoor experiences that are perfect for escaping the heat. We’re talking about mind-blowing museums, heart-pounding thrills, and activities that will keep you cool and entertained for hours.  

In this article, we’ve rounded up 21 of the coolest indoor experiences in Phoenix to help you beat the heat or try something new. So, grab your shades and get ready for an epic adventure in Phoenix’s indoor wonderland!

1. Unleash Your Inner Artist 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

Hailed as the largest art museum in the southwestern United States, the Phoenix Art Museum is a vibrant cultural hub in the heart of Phoenix. Since its opening in 1959, it has housed over 20,000 works of art encompassing various cultures and periods. 

Beyond its permanent collection, the Phoenix Art Museum is known for hosting various nationally and internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions. The museum also boasts The Dorrance Sculpture Garden, a great place to relax and enjoy the Arizona sunshine.

Pro tip:
Take some time to explore the Dorrance Sculpture Garden. It features a variety of sculptures from around the world and is a great place to take a break from the museum’s hustle and bustle.

2. Explore the World of Atoms 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

The Arizona Science Center was founded 1984 as the Arizona Museum of Science & Technology. The museum has four levels of hands-on exhibits, a state-of-the-art planetarium, and a five-story IMAX theater. 

The museum’s exhibits are designed to be interactive, so visitors can learn by doing. For example, visitors can climb into a giant heart to learn how it works or build a robot to learn about engineering.

Pro tip:
Visit the Dorrance Planetarium, which features shows on space exploration, the night sky, and more. The giant-screen IMAX Theater is another must-see for films about science and nature.

3. Learn about American Indian Art 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 Phoenix art museum that focuses on the art and culture of the American Indian tribes of the Southwest. It is one of the most respected institutions in the country for the study and exhibition of American Indian art.

The Heard Museum’s collection includes over 40,000 objects spanning centuries and cultures. Its permanent collection includes textiles, pottery, basketry, jewelry, and paintings from tribes across North America, with a particular focus on the Southwest. 

Pro tip:
Take advantage of the opportunity to explore the museum’s Heardlings Family Activity Room. This interactive space allows families to learn about American Indian culture through hands-on activities.

4. Explore the World of Music at the Musical Instrument Museum


Address: 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050, United States

Contact details: +14804786000

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

The Musical Instrument Museum is a world-renowned museum that houses a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments and objects from nearly 200 countries and territories. It’s the largest museum of its kind in the world.

The MIM’s galleries are designed to be interactive, with many exhibits featuring playable instruments. One of the MIM’s most popular exhibits is the Artist Gallery, which features instruments played by some of the world’s most famous musicians. 

Pro tip:
Take advantage of the MIM’s free docent tours. These tours are a great way to learn more about the museum’s collection and exhibits and are available daily at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

5. Go on a Shopping Spree at Scottsdale Fashion Square 


Address: 7014 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States

Contact details: +14809412140

Operating hours: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Scottsdale Fashion Square is the largest mall in Arizona and features high-end stores like Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. You can also catch a movie at the Harkins Theatres or enjoy a delicious meal at restaurants like Nobu or Ocean 44.

It also features high-end department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Dillard’s. For entertainment, there’s a 14-screen Harkins Theatre complex.

Pro tip:
While you are at Scottsdale Fashion Square, be sure to check out the Harkins Theatres. This state-of-the-art theater complex features comfy seating, reserved recliner chairs, and an IMAX screen. 

6. Indulge in a Delicious Meal at Kona Grill


Address: 21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050, United States

Contact details: +14805074121

Operating hours: 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Kona Grill is a polished casual restaurant serving American cuisine, sushi, and steaks. Its globally inspired menu features American favorites alongside delectable sushi and award-winning margaritas.

You can enjoy a juicy steak, fresh sushi rolls, or a classic American dish all under one roof. They are also passionate about quality and exceptional service, ensuring a delightful dining experience.

Pro tip:
Kona Grill offers a happy hour with $3, $6, and $9 options on weekdays and a new weekend brunch menu. If you want to save money or try a wider variety of dishes, this is the perfect time to go!

7. Spend an Afternoon Building at Legoland Discovery Center


Address: 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir STE 135, Tempe, AZ 85282, United States

Contact details: +14805657072

Operating hours: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Phoenix is a wonderland for LEGO fans of all ages. Kids can race through LEGO City Driving School, blast skeletons on a Kingdom Quest ride adventure, and see their favorite characters come to life in a 4D movie theater. 

One of the things that makes LEGOLAND Discovery Center Phoenix so unique is Miniland, a miniature replica of Phoenix built entirely out of LEGO bricks. It’s a great way to see the city’s most famous landmarks recreated in miniature.

Pro tip:
Consider purchasing a combo ticket that includes admission to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Phoenix and SEA LIFE Arizona, which are located next door. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of walking and climbing involved.

8. Walk Underwater at the Odysea Aquarium 


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

Contact details: +14802918000

Operating hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

The OdySea Aquarium is the largest in the Southwest United States, with over 370 species and 6,000 animals.  Guests can get up close and personal with the underwater world through the SeaTREK® underwater ocean walking experience.  

The aquarium also features the world’s only rotating aquarium, the OdySea Voyager. Visitors can participate in the penguin interaction program, where they can learn about these charismatic birds and even touch them.

Pro tip:
Visit the aquarium’s touch pools, where you can get up close and personal with various sea creatures, such as stingrays, sharks, and tide pool animals. This is a great way to learn more about these animals’ different textures and adaptations.

9. Stroll with Thousands of Butterflies at Butterfly Wonderland


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

Contact details: +14808003000

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

Butterfly Wonderland transports visitors of all ages to a rainforest paradise. Upon entering, you’ll be captivated by a 3D movie showcasing the awe-inspiring migration of the Monarch butterfly. 

Next, the Emergence Gallery allows a close-up look at the magical metamorphosis from chrysalis to butterfly. The main event is the expansive conservatory, meticulously designed to replicate a tropical rainforest ecosystem. 

Pro tip:
Dress comfortably in shoes suitable for walking uneven paths, and bring your camera to capture stunning close-up photos of the butterflies. Move slowly and observe the butterflies’ delicate movements and unique colors. 

10. Enjoy a Baseball Game at Chase Field


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

Contact details: +16025148400

Chase Field is a Major League Baseball stadium with a retractable roof that keeps the desert heat at bay. It also boasts a swimming pool in the right field, although access is limited to those renting out the luxury suite area.  

Head to the Sandlot on the 300 level in left field for families with young children. This special area features a miniature Chase Field where kids can play with a wiffle ball, a playground to burn off energy, and batting cages to practice their swings.

Pro tip:
While Chase Field offers year-round baseball thanks to the retractable roof, aim for a game during the hotter months (May-October) to experience the comfort of watching a play in air conditioning.

11. Learn about Firefighting History at the Hall of Flame 


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

Contact details: +16022753473

Operating hours: Tuesday to Saturday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

The Hall of Flame is a world-renowned museum with the most extensive collection of firefighting artifacts anywhere. It showcases the evolution of fire prevention and control, from the hand-pumped engines of the 18th century to modern fire trucks.  

You’ll see beautifully restored fire apparatus from around the globe. It also honors fallen firefighters with a special exhibit and offers a children’s play area to spark an interest in fire safety from a young age.

Pro tip:
While the fire trucks are the main attraction, take advantage of the extensive collection of firefighter memorabilia, including uniforms, firehouse tools, and historical photographs that bring the firefighting story to life.

12. Unleash Your Child’s Curiosity 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

One of the top children’s museums in the country, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a wonderland designed to spark imagination and love for learning through play. This unique museum boasts over 300 interactive exhibits spread across 48,000 square feet.

From climbing adventures in the Climber to navigating the colorful twists and turns of the Noodle Forest, children can unleash their energy and curiosity while exploring various themes, such as science, art, and community.

Pro tip:
Weekdays are less crowded than weekends, so plan your visit for a more relaxed experience. Don’t miss the Building Big exhibit, where little architects can construct their dream creations using giant blocks and other building materials.

13. Attend a Live Performance at the Historic Orpheum Theatre


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

Contact details: +16022626225

The Orpheum Theatre is a stunning 1,364-seat venue that opened in 1929. Today, the Orpheum continues to captivate audiences with Broadway musicals, concerts, performances by Ballet Arizona, and even the occasional rock band. 

The venue’s interior combines Spanish Colonial Revival and Baroque Revival architecture, featuring intricate plasterwork, ornate balconies, and a crystal chandelier. 

Pro tip:
Arrive early for a guided tour of the theater. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the Orpheum’s rich history and architectural gems, like the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, a marvel of musical engineering.

14. Step Back in Time and Explore 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 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

The Rosson House Museum, located in Heritage Square, boasts the final design by San Francisco architect A.P. Petit before his death. It’s a meticulously restored example of Stick-Eastlake and Queen Anne-style Victorian architecture.  

The intricate details throughout the house transport visitors to a bygone era, while the guided tours offer a glimpse into the lives of the prominent Phoenix family who once called it home.

Pro tip:
Tickets are available online and in person, but tours are limited to 12 people and fill up fast. Be sure to ask your guide about the architectural details –  the intricate woodwork and unique features.

15. Curl Up with a Book at the Burton Barr Central Library


Address: 1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16022624636

Operating hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

The Burton Barr Central Library is the crown jewel of the Phoenix Public Library system. This architectural marvel boasts a five-story design with a stunning central atrium featuring a crystal canyon staircase culminating in a vast, naturally lit reading room.  The library offers a treasure trove of knowledge with over 1 million volumes, catering to all interests. Special collections like the Arizona Room, dedicated to Phoenix’s history and culture, provide a fascinating glimpse into the region’s past.

Pro tip:
Don’t miss the breathtaking views from the top floor of the grand reading room. Soak in the natural light and feel inspired by the sheer volume of knowledge surrounding you.

16. Admire Religious Art and Architecture at St. Mary’s Basilica


Address: 231 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Contact details: +16023542100

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

St. Mary’s Basilica is the oldest Catholic parish in Phoenix and the only basilica in Arizona. Construction began in 1902 and was completed in 1914, showcasing a beautiful blend of Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival architectural styles.  

The stained-glass windows bathe the interior in a warm, colorful light while intricate murals and frescoes adorn the walls and ceilings. The basilica also features several statues and religious artifacts, each with a unique story.

Pro tip:
If you plan on attending a service, dress modestly and respect those there to pray. Take some time to admire the details of the architecture and artwork.  

17. Immerse in a Classical Performance by the Phoenix Symphony


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

Contact details: +16022626225

The Phoenix Symphony, founded in 1947, is a cultural cornerstone of Arizona. With Tito Muñoz at the helm as Music Director, the symphony presents a captivating season from September to June, featuring both classical and pop concerts. 

Their primary venue is the stunning Phoenix Symphony Hall. They’re also dedicated to nurturing the next generation of music lovers through various educational and youth engagement programs, reaching over 125,000 students and children annually.

Pro tip:
For the best seats and prices, consider becoming a series subscriber. This allows you to enjoy both classical and pop concerts at a discount.

18. Explore Arizona’s History at the Arizona Capitol Museum


Address: 1700 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007, United States

Contact details: +16029263620

Operating hours: Monday to Saturday – 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Once the center of Arizona’s territorial government and the state’s first capitol building, the Arizona Capitol Museum now stands as a monument to the state’s rich history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the iconic copper dome is a prominent feature of the Phoenix skyline. 

Inside, visitors can delve into Arizona’s political, social, cultural, and economic journey through engaging exhibits that showcase historic artifacts from territorial times to the present day.

Pro tip:
Take advantage of the museum’s free guided tours to gain deeper insights into the exhibits and the building’s history. Don’t miss the chance to see the Arizona State Senate Chamber, preserved in its original territorial form.

19. Go Treasure Hunting at the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall


Address: 12419 N 28th Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85029, United States

Contact details: +16029420030

Operating hours: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall is a one-stop shop for all things vintage. It boasts over 375 vendors selling various antiques and collectibles, from antique furniture and mid-century modern décor to vintage clothing and one-of-a-kind jewelry. 

The individual vendor booths create a treasure trove atmosphere, where you never know what hidden gem you might uncover. Additionally, the knowledgeable vendors are often happy to chat about their wares and answer any questions you may have.

Pro tip:
Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll likely be walking to explore all the different booths. Strike up a conversation with a vendor; they can point you toward a specific item you’re looking for or share interesting tidbits about them.

20. Explore Law Enforcement History at the Phoenix Police Museum


Address: Historic City Hall, 17 S 2nd Ave 1st Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States

Contact details: +16025347278

Operating hours: Monday to Thursday – 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM

Housed within the historic Phoenix City Hall, the Phoenix Police Museum offers a unique perspective on policing. Opened in 1995, the museum is a labor of love by volunteers and funded by donations, making it an accessible community resource. 

Here, you can explore exhibits that range from a mock 1910s city street to a touching tribute to fallen officers. You can also learn about the role of the Phoenix Police in the landmark Miranda case, which established the rights of criminal suspects.

Pro tip:
Don’t miss the “Fallen Comrades” room, a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by police officers in the line of duty. While there, consider leaving a donation to support this free museum.

21. Cheer on the Phoenix Suns at the Footprint Center


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

Contact details: +16023797800

Opened in 1992, the Footprint Center is now a modern space that complements the energy of the Phoenix Suns’ signature purple seats, affectionately nicknamed the “Purple Palace” by fans.  

The arena boasts state-of-the-art technology and a variety of concession options, ensuring an unforgettable experience for every visitor. The venue comes alive with concerts, family shows, and other special events.

Pro tip:
Arrive early to explore the surrounding area and grab a bite at one of the many restaurants within walking distance. Savor the electric atmosphere by joining the crowd in a Suns chant.
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