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16 Fun Things to Do in Phoenix

Here's a list of top Phoenix attractions, based on what locals like to do.

things to do in Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona, downtown cityscape at dusk

The extraordinary city of Phoenix, Arizona is truly a desert paradise. The Sonoran Desert is home to the saguaro cactus which can grow over 40 feet tall and live more than 150 years. And Greater Phoenix is one of the world’s top golf destinations. The city is known for its abundance of other outdoor activities to enjoy as well.

Popular outdoor activities include horseback riding, biking and hiking. But beware of the high temps. Pretty much every day from May to October is hot, so you’ll want to avoid this time of year for hiking. November to April is the best time of year for hiking to avoid dangerously high temperatures. However, any day can get hot, so always check the temperature for that day. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the desert heat, which can prove fatal. Always be prepared before setting out on your hike as heat stroke and dehydration can be extremely dangerous.

Phoenix is a place that’s full of life, culture and diversity. Whether you set your sights outdoors or indoors, there are so many wonderful things to do here. We’ve put together a list of top places to visit in Phoenix based on what locals like to do.

How We Chose the Top 15

We asked our team members who live in the Phoenix area what their favorite places to visit are. And we narrowed down the list by looking at online reviews and fact-checking. Now it’s time to go make some amazing memories!

16 Fun Things to Do in Phoenix:

Related: Top 22 Places to Eat in Phoenix

things to do in Phoenix
Сacti in Arizona

Things to Do in Phoenix with Kids

Enchanted Island Amusement Park

This is one of the Valley’s top places to take the family. It’s located in the heart of scenic Encanto Park, named one of the Top 12 Best City Parks in America by Forbes. Enchanted Island offers eleven rides and attractions geared especially toward children ages 1-10. You can enjoy the beautiful views by touring the grounds on the C.P. Huntington Train, pedal-boat across fish-filled lagoons, canoe, or ride the historic Encanto Carousel.

The Enchanted Island Amusement Park has something for everyone. More adventurous riders might be interested in the Parachute Tower, Bumper Boats, and maneuvering their own airplane on the popular Red Baron ride.

1202 W Encanto Blvd
602-254-1200

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The Rush Fun Park

The Rush Fun Park is Arizona’s newest indoor fun park with unique attractions to keep kids of all ages entertained for hours. It’s full of big spaces with plenty of playgrounds and games. There’s a climbing area, soft play structure, toddler’s corner, dodgeball zone, an obstacle course, an arcade, super racing slides, flying hoops, a snack shack and more.

Parents love it here too because they’ve got massage chairs. The Rush Fun Park is open 7 days a week. There’s so much to do here that you’ll probably want to come back a second time during your stay in Phoenix.

3865 E Thomas Rd
623-243-9900

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One of the Best Phoenix Outdoor Activities

Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is one of the most fun things to do in Phoenix. Home to 55 acres of thousands of species of cactus, trees and flowers from around the world, the garden is gorgeous all year but especially around the holidays because of the beautiful lights.

The Desert Botanical Garden is one of only 24 botanical gardens accredited by the American Alliance of Musuems. The garden is always evolving. There are 50,000 plant displays showcased in outdoor exhibits. And there are 4,482 species in the living collection and 485 rare and endangered species in care at the garden. Here you’ll learn about and appreciate the true beauty of the desert.

1201 N Galvin Parkway
480-941-1225

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Best Museums in Phoenix

Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum is considered the largest art museum in the southwestern United States with over 60 years of offering world-class exhibitions and comprehensive collections to visitors.

The museum is home to a collection of more than 20,000 objects and engages more than 300,000 guests every year, both within the museum and through their community programs. Their mission is to spark imagination, create connections, and serve as a destination for anyone who wants to experience the transformative power of art.

1625 N Central Ave
602-257-1880

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Children’s Museum of Phoenix

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is filled with interactive fun for kids and is one of the top three children’s museums in the nation, having won many awards. Three floors of hands-on exhibits provide imagination, inspiration and creativity. The museum is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix in the historic Monroe School Building.

Designed for children ages birth to 10, there’s over 48,000 square feet of space with more than 300 play experiences. Additionally, they offer classes and programs, from music and yoga to math and science. And their art studio is phenomenal.

215 N 7th St
602-253-0501

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Places to Go in Phoenix Without Kids

Linger Longer Lounge

This dive bar in uptown Phoenix is a favorite among locals for outstanding food, drinks, games and live music. The vibe here is always on point. There are two indoor hangouts, one with Skee-Ball, darts, pool, and the other with a DJ booth and an outdoor patio between them.

They have trivia night, karaoke and more. The staff is always super friendly. The service is prompt and prices are reasonable. This is the perfect spot to relax, listen to talented musicians and order a delicious meal and drink that’s sure to put a smile on your face.

6522 N 16th St
602-694-0342

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Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse

The Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse has been a part of Cave Creek near Phoenix since 1951. There’s bull riding on Wednesday and Friday nights. You can listen to live music and even take dance lessons. And their Texas style barbeque on the menu is highly recommended.

Larry Wendt was the owner of The Buffalo Chip Saloon since 1998. Back in the day, it was a feed and bait shop for folks on the way to Bartlett and Horseshoe Lakes. Larry passed away in 2021 and is greatly missed by the Cave Creek community. His children Travis and Tifani are continuing his amazing work.

The Buffalo Chip Saloon is an all-ages venue, but anyone under 21 must have a parent or guardian present.

6823 E Cave Creek Rd
Cave Creek, AZ
480-488-9118

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Best Hikes in Phoenix

Sedona

* November to April is the best time of year for hiking to avoid dangerously high temperatures although any day can get hot, so always check the temperature for that day. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the desert heat, which can prove fatal. Always be prepared before setting out on your hike.

Sedona is sacred to the local Yavapai Apache tribe, who still conducts events and ceremonies on the sacred ground in Boynton Canyon. Sedona is one of the best places for hiking near Phoenix. The drive is worth it to see the trails, showcasing the beauty of the Red Rocks. There are different types of hiking trails in Sedona – easy, moderate and difficult, depending on your level of experience. Make sure your checklist for the trail includes the appropriate items before you head out.

It is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced staff member at The Hike House beforehand. They will share best practices and tips for your safety before you set out on your fun adventure. For more things to do in Sedona, go to visitsedona.com.

431 State Route 179
Sedona, AZ
928-282-5820

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Pinnacle Peak Trail

* November to April is the best time of year for hiking to avoid dangerously high temperatures although any day can get hot, so always check the temperature for that day. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the desert heat, which can prove fatal. Always be prepared before setting out on your hike.

Pinnacle Peak Trail is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life where you can enjoy the wonders of nature. This four-mile, out-and-back trail located near Phoenix in Scottsdale’s Pinnacle Peak Park, features Sonoran Desert wildlife, climbing opportunities and scenic views. The majestic Saguaro cactus will be prevalent throughout your journey.

This route is generally considered to be moderately challenging and takes an average of 2 hr. 14 min. to complete. It is most popular for birding, hiking, and rock climbing, so you’ll probably see plenty of other people exploring along the way. However, dogs are not allowed on the trail.

26802 N 102nd Way
Scottsdale, AZ 85262
480-312-0990

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Brown’s Ranch

* November to April is the best time of year for hiking to avoid dangerously high temperatures although any day can get hot, so always check the temperature for that day. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the desert heat, which can prove fatal. Always be prepared before setting out on your hike.

Brown’s Ranch is only a mile and a half from Pinnacle Peak, and it’s part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. There’s a wide variety of trails here with beautiful desert views for equestrians, biking and hiking, ranging from short and easy to more challenging.

The Brown’s Ranch Trailhead offers exhibits about the human history of the Preserve, and it provides access to Granite Mountain, Cholla Mountain, Brown’s Mountain and Cathedral Rock. The terrain of Brown’s Ranch is crushed granite with mostly smooth, rolling trails along with historic ranching era artifacts. And more good news…dogs are allowed at Brown’s Ranch. 

30301 N. Alma School Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85262

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One of the Most Unique Things to Do in Phoenix

Humboldt Mountain

* November to April is the best time of year for hiking to avoid dangerously high temperatures although any day can get hot, so always check the temperature for that day. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the desert heat, which can prove fatal. Always be prepared before setting out on your hike.

Explore part or all of this 7.5-mile out-and-back trail near Phoenix in Scottsdale, AZ. The trail is generally considered a moderately challenging route, taking an average of 3 hr. 53 min. to complete. Great for hiking, road biking, and walking, take in beautiful views, especially at sunrise or sunset. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash.

Park your vehicle anywhere you can find a good pullout along either FR24 or FR562. And start walking up the paved road towards the FAA radar that looks like a big white ball. The road is in good shape for walking but poor shape for driving. At the top, you’ll get breathtaking views of Horseshoe Lake and the Verde River Valley. The FAA radar station is very interesting to view close up. There’s also a fire lookout and some cellular towers.

E State Hwy 562
Scottsdale, AZ
602-364-3700

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Day Trip from Phoenix

Mogollon Rim

* November to April is the best time of year for hiking to avoid dangerously high November to April is the best time of year for hiking to avoid dangerously high temperatures although any day can get hot, so always check the temperature for that day. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the desert heat, which can prove fatal. Always be prepared before setting out on your hike.

Stretching 200 miles from Yavapai County to New Mexico, the Mogollon Rim offers exceptional views and outdoor recreation including, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, boating, biking, rock-climbing and hiking. Take in some of the most far-reaching scenery in Arizona by standing atop a 2,000-foot drop.

The rim is a geological wonder with sedimentary, volcanic and metamorphic rock dating back to the Precambrian era. Enjoy relaxation at its finest by birdwatching and stargazing. The rim has camping, and there are cabin options surrounding lakes and nestled within pine trees.

Mogollon Rim Ranger Station
8738 Ranger Rd
Happy Jack, AZ
928-477-2255

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Phoenix Theater

ASU Gammage

This architectural landmark presents the best of Broadway along with an array of artists from around the world. Even though ASU Gammage is part of Arizona State University, ninety percent of its funding comes from its Broadway series and ten percent comes from philanthropy.

ASU Gammage brings the best of the performing arts to the state of Arizona but also produces new works, artist residencies and educational programs, making it part of the cultural landscape of the Valley. Be sure to go see one of the top-notch shows performed here in Tempe, just a short drive from Phoenix. There’s not a bad seat in the house at ASU Gammage. And the acoustics are state-of-the-art.

1200 S Forest Ave
Tempe, AZ
480-965-3434

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Phoenix Live Music Venue

CB Live

Copper Blues (CB) Live, is a full-scale restaurant and comedy club located in Desert Ridge Marketplace. Their rock pub concept delivers delicious food and quality entertainment to guests. The restaurant and bar serve over 30 draft beers from local breweries. While guests dine, they can listen to local acoustic bands playing cover music or original creations.

There’s karaoke on Wednesdays. DJs spin on Fridays and Saturdays, and an adults-only brunch party with a different theme each week is hosted on Sundays. Ticketed shows have welcomed comedians like Jeremy Piven and Damon Wayans. Other shows such as musical parodies, cabaret, and vaudeville are performed.

21001 N Tatum Blvd
602-910-5161

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Phoenix Shopping

Scottsdale Quarter

Scottsdale Quarter offers unique shopping, dining, and entertainment where city life meets the blue skies of the desert. Located near Phoenix in Scottsdale, AZ, the Quarter is an eclectic mix of modern building design with urban-contemporary architecture and lush desert landscaping, creating a vibrant, urban destination.

Here you’ll find wonderful restaurants, entertainment, and a mix of national and locally owned specialty shops. There’s a wide variety of things to do at the center for both visitors and locals alike. The Quarter is also home to the park-like gathering space, The Quad, which features the largest pop-jet fountain in the region.

15059 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ
480-270-8123

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Perfect Spot for Photos

Sunset Point Rest Stop

There are many beautiful places to take photos in Greater Phoenix. But if you happen to be traveling to Sedona or Flagstaff, Sunset Point Rest Area is approximately an hour north of Phoenix and has incredible open canyon views, especially at, well, sunset. It’s located near mile marker 252 on Interstate 17 and can be accessed from either side of the interstate. It is Arizona’s most popular rest stop because of the remarkable views, making it the perfect place for a photo opp.

Sunset Point sits along the edge of a valley, giving you a clear view of the Bradshaw Mountains. The rest stop also provides clean restroom facilities, picnic tables, drinking fountains, vending machines, and pet exercise areas. And of course, it’s a truck-friendly rest stop with designated truck parking.

Black Canyon City, AZ

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