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16 Must-Visit Fun Spots in Phoenix for Epic YOLO Moments with Friends

16 Must-Visit Fun Spots in Phoenix for Epic YOLO Moments with Friends

As a fan of the “Friends” TV series, I can’t help but think of how Chandler, Joey, Monica, Rachel, Ross, and Phoebe would have a blast exploring this vibrant city together.

From museums that would make Joey say, “How you doin’?” to malls where you can channel your inner Central Perk vibes while shopping, Phoenix offers a mix of entertainment and relaxation that’s perfect for a memorable trip with your pals.

So pack your sense of adventure and let’s dive into the coolest spots to make memories with your friends in the Valley of the Sun!

1. Phoenix Raceway

Address: 7602 Jimmie Johnson Dr, Avondale, AZ 85323


Contact Details: +1 623-463-5400, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 8 AM–5 PM, Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Phoenix Raceway, a premier motorsports venue since 1964, is a top fun place to visit in Phoenix with friends. It hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually, along with various events like corporate meetings, charity gatherings, and driving schools.

Adrenaline junkies will love the NASCAR events year-round and can even enjoy VIP experiences with paddock tours and gourmet lunches with racing legends. For those seeking hands-on excitement, there are go-karts and hot lap driving available.

As the host of the 2024 NASCAR Championship Weekend, Phoenix Raceway boasts a thrilling lineup of NASCAR events. These include the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and ARCA Menards Series.

Pro tip:
You may consider camping in the GEICO Gecko Campgrounds for a unique experience. Here, you can pitch tents, gather around bonfires, and swap race stories with fellow fans under the stars.

2. Castles N’ Coasters

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


Contact Details: +1 602-997-7575, [email protected]

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

Castles ‘N Coasters is an Arizona gem, boasting over 20 rides, 4 mini-golf courses, 150 arcade games, and 5 snack bars. It’s the ultimate destination for thrill-seekers and fun-lovers, with attractions like Desert Storm roller coaster and Splashdown water ride.

This amusement park offers something for everyone, whether you’re craving high-speed roller coasters or rounds of mini-golf. It’s the perfect spot to spend a sunny day with friends, enjoying adrenaline-pumping rides and exploring the miniature golf courses.

From Patriot and Desert Storm roller coasters to the log flume ride and Skywire zipline, it promises non-stop excitement and adventure. With options for unlimited rides, mini-golf, and arcade games, there’s plenty of fun to be had for all ages and interests.

Pro tip:
Before purchasing tickets, check out the park’s website for any ongoing promotions. You might find seasonal offers, group discounts, or packages that include admission, unlimited rides, mini-golf, and arcade credits.

3. Desert Botanical Garden

Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008


Contact Details: +1 480-941-1225, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8 AM–8 PM

The Desert Botanical Garden showcases an impressive collection of arid plants from deserts worldwide across its sprawling 100-acre landscape. Here, you can wander through five thematic trails, each offering unique insights into desert ecosystems.

You can immerse yourself in the beauty of cacti, succulents, wildflowers, and trees as you explore the garden’s diverse displays. You’ll also discover more about desert landscaping, nature art, and wellness through workshops offered throughout the year.

Beyond the botanical wonders, the garden hosts special events, concerts, family activities, and dining options, making it an ideal place to spend a day with friends. Convenient access via the Metro Light Rail ensures easy transportation to this spot.

Pro tip:
For a delightful culinary experience, consider treating yourself to a meal or snack at Gertrude’s restaurant. It’s known for its innovative dishes featuring local ingredients and flavors.

4. 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

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is a must-visit spot for friends seeking a unique and enjoyable experience. As the only musical instrument museum globally, MIM boasts an extensive collection of over 15,000 instruments, exhibits, and artifacts.

Visitors to MIM can immerse themselves in interactive activities, exploring instruments displayed in modern, high-tech cases equipped with video and audio features. This allows guests to hear the authentic sounds of each instrument.

One of the highlights of MIM is its collection of instruments owned by famous musicians like John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Taylor Swift, Carlos Santana, and Johnny Cash. Additionally, guests can discover folk, ethnic, and tribal instruments.

Pro tip:
Grab a headset as soon as you enter. These headsets are your key to fully immersing yourself in the museum’s exhibits as you move through different rooms representing continents and musical cultures.

5. Mesa Arts Center

Address: 1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201


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

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 12–5 PM, Monday & Sunday: Closed

Mesa Arts Center is a vibrant hub for art and entertainment. This award-winning venue boasts four state-of-the-art theaters and outdoor spaces that host a range of performances by national and international artists.

At the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, visitors can explore 15 exhibitions annually across five galleries, showcasing diverse works by Arizona artists. The artist’s cooperative gallery, The Store, offers unique art pieces for purchase.

In addition to its artistic offerings, the Mesa Arts Center hosts four free community festivals each year, providing an engaging experience for all. With nearly 1000 classes available, from performing arts to visual arts, there’s something to suit every interest.

Pro tip:
If you’re attending a performance at one of the theaters, arrive early to grab a drink or snack at the concession stands. It’s a great way to enhance your overall experience.

6. Roosevelt Row Arts District

Location: 918 N 2nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-829-5659, [email protected]

Roosevelt Row is a vibrant arts district boasting an eclectic mix of art galleries, eateries, bars, and unique shops. It comes alive with events like the monthly First Fridays Art Walk and annual festivals such as the M3F Music Festival and Phoestivus.

As you stroll through Roosevelt Row, you can take in the colorful murals adorning buildings and the sculptures lining the streets. You can also explore the geometric benches and other artistic installations that add to the district’s creative flair.

The open-air market showcases local artisanal goods, while live performances and cultural events add to the district’s vibrant atmosphere. What makes Roosevelt Row special is its bohemian charm and historic character, with quaint bungalow-style homes.

Pro tip:
Support local artists and businesses by shopping for unique souvenirs and gifts. You’ll find handmade crafts, jewelry, and artwork aplenty.

7. SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium

Address: 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir Suite 145, Tempe, AZ 85282


Contact Details: +1 480-565-7072, [email protected]

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

One of the highlights at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium is encountering Mochi, the impressive 7-foot zebra shark, or relaxing in the company of the chilled-out desert tortoises. These unique and captivating creatures offer opportunities for up-close exploration and discovery.

The aquarium has thousands of amazing sea creatures, allowing you and your friends to marvel at the beauty and diversity of marine ecosystems. There’s also a 360-degree ocean tunnel, where you can walk surrounded by majestic sea creatures.

For an extra dose of excitement, don’t miss the Colorado River Adventure. This innovative attraction lets you twist, turn, and control the water path of the Colorado River, starting from the Rocky Mountains and ending at the Sea of Cortez.

Pro tip:
Check the schedule for feeding sessions of various marine animals like sharks, rays, and sea turtles. It’s a fascinating sight and offers insights into their behavior.

8. Orpheum Theater

Address: 203 W Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85003


Contact Details: +1 602-262-6225

The Orpheum Theatre is a timeless gem, captivating visitors with its rich history and diverse entertainment offerings. Constructed in 1929, this Spanish Baroque-style masterpiece has evolved into a hub of cultural vibrancy and entertainment experiences.

As you step into the Orpheum Theatre, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of classic cinema and theatrical grandeur. Its 1,364-seat auditorium exudes an old-world charm that sets the stage for a variety of captivating performances.

From modern movies to silent films accompanied by the iconic Wurlitzer organ, every show promises an immersive experience. One of the highlights of visiting this theater is the opportunity to witness a piece of history come alive through its architectural marvels.

Pro tip:
Check the theater’s schedule for live music performances. The acoustics in the auditorium are phenomenal, making every musical performance an absolute treat for the ears.

9. Rosson House Museum

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


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

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:   Closed
  • Tuesday:  Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 10 AM–12 PM, 1–4 PM
  • Friday:      10 AM–12 PM, 1–3 PM
  • Saturday:  10 AM–12 PM, 1–4 PM
  • Sunday:    12–4 PM

The Rosson House Museum offers a glimpse into the city’s history, all within the walls of a fully restored 1895 Queen Anne Victorian home. Dr. Roland Rosson, a prominent figure in Phoenix’s early days, owned this house, and it offers a journey through time.

What makes this museum a top choice for friends visiting Phoenix is its guided tours. Led by knowledgeable guides, these hour-long tours dive deep into the life and times of Dr. Rosson, the architectural marvel of the house, and its rich cultural heritage.

As you explore each room, from the parlors to the bedrooms, you’ll encounter authentic 18th-century furniture. You’ll find things like ornate wallpaper, intricate woodwork, and exquisite decorative art, letting you experience the elegance of Victorian-era Phoenix.

Pro tip:
The tours at the Rosson House start at specific times, so arriving a little early ensures you don’t miss the beginning and can take your time exploring each room.

10. Chase Field

Address: 401 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Contact Details: +1 602-514-8400, [email protected]

Chase Field is Phoenix’s beloved stadium that’s more than just a sports venue – it’s a hub of fun and excitement for friends looking for a good time in the city. Home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, it’s an ideal spot for diehard baseball enthusiasts.

But whether you’re a sports fanatic or simply seeking an outing with friends, Chase Field offers a range of activities to suit every taste. Its retractable roof ensures that the game goes on regardless of the scorching desert sun or unexpected summer showers.

For those warm summer nights, the stadium boasts a unique swimming pool and hot tub just 415 feet away from home plate. This enables you to watch a game while taking a refreshing dip or relaxing in a cozy hot tub – a truly one-of-a-kind experience!

Pro tip:
You can take advantage of the stadium’s Wi-Fi to share your experience in real time with friends and family who couldn’t make it. It’s also handy for checking game stats and updates during breaks.

11. Curious Nature

Address: 4346 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013


Contact Details: +1 602-314-4346, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 11 AM–6 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 11 AM–5 PM

For those intrigued by the peculiar and the extraordinary, Curious Nature is a treasure trove of curiosities waiting to be explored. From intricately preserved skulls and bones to captivating museum-quality specimens, the store offers an ever-changing array of items.

Set against the backdrop of Arizona’s arid deserts, their offerings showcase the fascinating diversity of the region’s wildlife and natural wonders. From taxidermied creatures to exotic plant specimens, each item tells a story of the intricate beauty.

Yet, the store’s allure extends beyond its collection of curiosities. It also offers immersive classes where enthusiasts can delve into the art of taxidermy and the preservation of wet specimens, providing an educational and engaging experience for curious minds.

Pro tip:
Curious Nature is a great place to find one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family. You may consider purchasing unique gifts, from quirky jewelry to unusual home decor items.

12. Enchanted Island Amusement Park

Address: 1202 W Encanto Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85007


Contact Details: +1 602-254-1200, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday:   Closed
  • Tuesday:  Closed
  • Wednesday: 11 AM–4 PM
  • Thursday: 11 AM–4 PM
  • Friday:      10 AM–8 PM
  • Saturday:  10 AM–8 PM
  • Sunday:    12–8 PM

Enchanted Island Amusement Park has a delightful mix of family-friendly attractions and nostalgic fun. Nestled within Encanto Park, this amusement park is home to the iconic Encanto Carousel, a cherished landmark that adds a touch of whimsy to the experience.

One of the park’s standout features is its serene lagoon, perfect for a paddleboat ride or simply soaking in the tranquil ambiance. For those seeking a respite from the sun, the splash zone offers a refreshing escape during the hot summer months.

Exploring the arcade and sampling the array of snacks and treats also adds an extra layer of fun to your visit. What sets Enchanted Island apart is its welcoming atmosphere and affordable pricing, with admission being completely free.

Pro tip:
Consider bringing a picnic basket with snacks and drinks. There are designated picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal amidst the park’s charming surroundings.

13. Biltmore Fashion Park

Address: 2502 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016


Contact Details: +1 602-955-8400

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 AM–8 PM, Sunday: 12–6 PM

Biltmore Fashion Park has a rich history and a blend of upscale shopping and leisure. Established in 1963, this mall was not just a retail hub but also a hotspot for celebrity sightings, with luminaries like John Wayne and Princess Grace gracing its halls.

Despite its vintage, the mall has maintained its upscale allure. It evolved into a verdant oasis with the addition of lush trees, manicured lawns, and elegant fountains during the 1990s.

Here, visitors are treated to a shopper’s paradise. You’ll find renowned brands such as Ralph Lauren, L’Occitane, and Sephora coexist harmoniously, ensuring a delightful shopping experience.

Biltmore Fashion Park isn’t just about shopping; it’s also a haven for gastronomic delights. From The Capital Grille and ZinBurger to Blanco Tacos + Tequila and True Food Kitchen, there’s a culinary adventure waiting for every palate.

Pro tip:
Keep an eye on the mall’s event calendar. From seasonal festivals to live music performances, there’s always something happening at Biltmore Fashion Park that can add an extra layer of enjoyment to your visit.

14. South Mountain Park and Preserve

Media: slaydiesmtbskills

Address: 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042


Contact Details: +1 602-495-5458

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

South Mountain Park and Preserve is an expansive urban retreat, offering a blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities. As Phoenix’s designated Point of Pride, it boasts a rich history dating back to the 1920s, when its development first began.

Spanning over 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park and Preserve is a sprawling expanse of diverse desert landscapes. It features an extensive network of 60 trails that wind through its rugged terrain.

This park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, providing ample opportunities for biking, horseback riding, and hiking adventures. With this, South Mountain Park and Preserve is undeniably one of the top fun places to visit in Phoenix with friends.

Pro tip:
Take advantage of the park’s “Silent Sunday” observance if you prefer a quieter and car-free experience. This is a great opportunity to explore the park on foot or bike without the usual traffic.

15. Desert Ridge Marketplace

Address: 21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050


Contact Details: +1 480-513-7586, [email protected]

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

This mall elevates shopping to a whole new level. You’ll find premier brands like H&M, PINK by Victoria’s Secret, and Barnes & Noble, along with a culinary journey featuring Barrio Queen, Breakfast Kitchen Bar, and Thirsty Lion, to name a few.

Nestled among shady palm trees, this outdoor mall isn’t just about shopping; it’s a hub of entertainment and dining experiences. After a shopping spree, you can dive into the 18-screen cinema or explore the 30-plus dining options sprinkled throughout the mall.

Weekends here are vibrant with street performances adding to the lively atmosphere. But the fun doesn’t stop there–as the sun sets, Desert Ridge Marketplace transforms into a lively nightlife destination.

Pro tip:
After a day of shopping and exploring, unwind at one of the marketplace’s outdoor seating areas. Enjoy the serene ambiance, catch up with friends, and savor the experience.

16. Tempe Beach Park

Media: Arizona Aloha Festivals, Inc.

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


Contact Details: +1 480-350-5200

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

Tempe Beach Park is one of the top destinations in Phoenix for a fun-filled day with friends. Nestled along the picturesque Tempe Town Lake, this expansive park spans 25 acres, offering a delightful blend of recreational activities and natural beauty.

One of the prime attractions at Tempe Beach Park is its stunning sunset views, casting a magical ambiance over the entire area. As you soak in the scenic beauty, you’ll find an array of exciting options to make your visit memorable.

You can rent watercraft like paddleboards, kayaks, rowboats, or pedal-boats to explore the tranquil waters of Tempe Town Lake. Alternatively, you can opt for scooters or bikes to venture along the five-mile trail, immersing yourself in the serene surroundings.

Pro tip:
Many times, the park offers guided nature walks led by knowledgeable guides. You can join one of these walks to learn more about the park’s flora, fauna, and conservation efforts.
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