top of page

Fun Things to do in Phoenix


Search activities


city guide

Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona and is located in the central region of the state. People may know it for its year-round sun, desert beauty, and world-class resorts and golf, but as the fifth-largest city in the U.S., it also offers sophisticated urbanscapes, southwest culture and lots of outdoor adventure.

The "Valley of the Sun" as Phoenicians refer to it, is surrounded by mountain parks in fact, South Mountain Park and Preserve is the largest municipal park in the U.S. so it's easy to get out and enjoy the flora, fauna and some incredible views (and sunsets). And, although Phoenix is in the Sonoran Desert, there are six lakes in close proximity where water lovers can kayak, paddleboard, Jetski, waterski, boat, fish or just lounge on the shore.


Best time to go

The best time to visit Phoenix is November through April, when you'll see blue skies with highs in the upper 60s, 70s and low 80s. But whenever you visit, keep in mind this desert city's seasons are hard to determine. The leaves don't change colors in fall, nor will flowers blossom in the spring.


Fun city facts and activities

    There are tons of cool places in Phoenix, meaning theres something awesome to do pretty much at any given time. No matter where your interests lie, you can always find fun in the Valley. The best things to do in Phoenix lean heavily on the arts, but youll find history, nature, food and educational activities too.

    Looking for culture? From The Hive, a central collective that highlights visual and performing arts purveyors, to the Heard Museum, dedicated to all things American Indian art, the capital of Arizona is filled with attractions that are sure to inspire you.

    For foodie types, you've come to the right place because there are tons of amazing restaurants in Phoenix that highlight the city's rich and diverse culinary landscape, including hole-in-the-wall family joints and James Beard-award winning localesand we suggest you try them all.

    The music scene in Phoenix thrives on sounds old and new, with venues featuring local and touring acts almost every night of the week. Local comedic talents and theatre offerings are other notable offerings.

    For a dose of fresh desert air after all that activity, Phoenix has a fab botanical garden as well as opportunities for hiking. So get exploring, because the best things to do in Phoenix are sure to entertain.
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    North Tempe
    North Central Phoenix

Food Specialties

    What makes the best restaurants in Phoenix truly great is their scope: from ethnic treasures to James Beard award-winning spots, hole-in-the-wall family joints and fancy hotel eateries, the capital of Arizona is home to a food scene that is, to put it simply, very underrated.

    Speaking of Arizona: the state is known for churning out some of the top burritos, chimichangas (deep-fried burrito) and fried bread across the country, so make sure to taste it all while in town.

    Fair warning, though: you'll be so full after, you might have to spend the rest of your day convalescing in your hotel room or walking the deliciousness off (in preparation for your next meal, of course) while browsing through our list of best things to do in Phoenix and the most amazing local attractions.

Phoenix Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride: Enjoy the stunning views of the Phoenix skyline and desert landscape from the sky.

2. Visit the Musical Instrument Museum: Explore the world's largest collection of instruments and learn the stories behind them.

3. Take a Ghost Tour: Explore the haunted history of the city with a guided tour.

4. Catch a Movie at the Drive-In: Enjoy a classic night at the movies with a drive-in theater experience.

5. Attend a Local Sports Game: Cheer on the local sports teams with a game at one of the city's stadiums.

6. Explore the Desert Scenery: Take a hike or drive out to the desert and explore the amazing scenery.

7. Take a Helicopter Tour: Enjoy a unique view of the city with a helicopter tour.

8. Visit the Butterfly Wonderland: Get up close and personal with butterflies in this interactive museum.


Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona
Located at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe, LEGOLAND Discovery Center welcomes master builders of all shapes and sizes. Ride Kingdom Quest and Merlin's Apprentice, catch a show at Lego 4D Cinema, explore the miniature replica of Phoenix made entirely of LEGO bricks, climb the huge jungle gym, and lose yourselves in a ton of LEGO bricks. Tickets often sell out in advance, so best to buy tickets ahead of time online.

2. SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium
Next door to LEGOLAND is the SEA LIFE Aquarium, which is every bit as thrilling. Home to more than 250 species of marine animals in 10 themed zones, this hands-on aquarium has 30 exhibits including interactive Touch Tidepools, 7 species of shark (warm up that song!), and Arizona's only 360 degree ocean tunnel. Try to catch a critter feeding or an educational talkand see how many LEGO models you can spot in the tanks! Combination tickets are available to both attractions.

3. Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center, located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, has many permanent, hands-on exhibits that entertain children of all ages. Save some time to explore the CREATE maker space and Forces of Nature. The center features a planetarium and is always adding interesting new exhibits.

4. Great Arizona Puppet Theater
Enjoy a puppet show at this Phoenix landmark! Great Arizona Puppet Theater is open year-round and is a great place to cool off in the summer months. Recent shows have included Cinderella and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

5. Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs
Become a paleontologist at this interactive dinosaur attraction, which is housed at the OdySea Complex. Meet more than 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and check out 10 interactive stations, including a fossil dig, an excavation, and a Dino-Kart ride. It's a must-stop for any adventure-seeking, dinosaur-obsessed kid. Ages 2 and under are admitted free. While you're there, plan a stop at the OdySea two-million gallon aquarium to visit the sharks and otters. And then on to...

6. Butterfly Wonderland
Next door to Pangaea and OdySea, Butterfly Wonderland is the largest indoor rainforest conservatory in the United Statesright here in the desert. Kids will be amazed to meet more than 3,000 butterflies from around the world, as well as other bugs and reptiles. With a little patience and a lot of perseverance, they might even be able to convince one of the winged creatures to land on them. Get your cameras ready!

7. Childsplay
This theater for families has been around since I was a kid and it's still a great source of entertainment for children. Upcoming shows include The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and School House Rock Live! Many performances come with a backstage-tour option if you reserve it in advance.

8. Castles N Coasters
Little adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers will love Castles N Coasters, which offers an upside-down roller coaster, a multi-sensory interactive attraction, a massive arcade, a log ride, bumper boats, miniature golf, and a ton more. Food is available for purchase.

9. Childrens Museum of Phoenix
The Children's Museum of Phoenix offers so much to do in an innovative way. There's an art studio, block building, a pretend grocery store, a fort-building section, Noodle Forest, an indoor climbing center, and more. Families with multiple-age kids will appreciate the dedicated baby zones in each of the exhibits, as well as the toddler-size furniture and bathroom fixtures. Review the tip sheets on the website to guarantee a good time for everyone.

10. Hall of Flame Fire Museum
This museum houses a massive collection dedicated to all things firefighting. Bring your aspiring firefighters to the fantastic childrens room with its fire pole and a child-sized fire engine, complete with uniforms and other protective gear. All ages will enjoy checking out the many retro fire trucks the museum houses, too.

Anchor 1
Best Parks

City data and FAQ 

What is Phoenix most known for?

Snow Birds arriving in the Fall, before Winter, and returning in the Spring. We actually have several communities around the Valley of the Sun that cater to the Snow Birds with beautiful Winter homes, and world class golf courses. This annual migration of the Northern Midwest States residents has been going on for many decades.
John Eugene Bennett Lives in Phoenix, AZ

Do you need a car to visit Phoenix?

It all depends on what you want to do and when you visit. You could stay downtown for museums, baseball, Suns basketball, comedy clubs, music venues and more. You could probably book an excursion to the Grand Canyon. If youre thinking of Super Bowl, thats in Glendale, quite a ways from downtown. There is a whole entertainment complex there. I think most residents would say Yes, you need a car. But I like to travel without one, especially now that rentals are so expensive. Most cities Ive visited on foot. Enjoy!
Becky Burkhart Lives in Phoenix, AZ
I believe you dont really have to have a car to visit Phoenix but I do advise you rent one to be able to get to the many places that we have in Phoenix to visit. Although we have a bus system it is not the best and depending on what time of the year you visit, you may not wanna have to stand out in the heat waiting for a bus.

Wendy Roman Lives in Phoenix, AZ

Are two days enough to visit Phoenix?

It depends on what you are doing. If you are just going to hike, 2 days is more than enough. However, if you are going to museums, you should take 3 days for that.
Alex Lives in Phoenis, AZ (2010 Present)
I would advise you to stay a little bit longer than two days. Phoenix has so much to offer. The surrounding cities like Scottsdale, Chandler, Peoria, and Glendale are very close to Phoenix and they also offer many enjoyable things that tourists would love to do. If you do come to Arizona I hope you have a great time!

Wendy Roman Lives in Phoenix, AZ

Search activities

bottom of page