If you’ve never traveled to Phoenix, Arizona before, you might think that the city is surrounded by endless desert and that it’s excruciatingly hot there. The truth is, Phoenix is a beautiful city located in one of the most visually stunning parts of the country. Sure, it is hot, but it’s a “dry” hot, so it doesn’t feel as hot as the thermostat says it is.
With so much to see and do in Phoenix, you’ll no doubt find yourself booking an extended stay because you won’t want to leave. In this guide, you’ll find things to do in Phoenix to help you enjoy your extended stay to the fullest.
You’ll find no shortage of tempting delights all throughout the Phoenix metro area
Located in Old town Scottsdale, Diego Pops is one of the area’s hottest new Mexican restaurants. This trendy restaurant is a favorite among Instagrammers and food bloggers, in part because the dishes are so beautiful that they just have to be shared online, and because the food here is simply out of this world. Brussels sprouts nachos topped with a fried egg, anyone? Diego Pops, with its bright colors, retro signs, and cool wallpaper is a particular favorite among the night owl crowd when the restaurant’s menu turns into a la carte tacos. And on really hot days, nothing cools you off better than a Diego Pops snow cone margarita!
4338 N Scottsdale Rd.
Little Miss BBQ
Phoenix is probably the last city to come to mind when you think about great BBQ cities, but Little Miss BBQ might start changing those opinions. Located on East University Dr. and just a few short miles from Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, this little joint churns out Texas-style BBQ that’s cooked using genuine Arizona oak and pecan wood. It’s only open Tuesdays through Saturdays until 4 pm, but a word to the wise – it rarely stays open until 4 pm, so get there early because once the BBQ runs out, that’s when the restaurant closes.
4301 E University Dr.
Buck & Rider
Located in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood, Buck & Rider is the place to go when you’re craving oysters and seafood. The restaurant is owned by LGO Hospitality, who has also given Phoenix the La Grande Orange Pizzeria and Chelsea’s Kitchen. But at Buck & Rider, it’s all about the seafood. Stone crab claws, freshwater blue prawns, Prince Edward Island mussels, snapper ceviche, halibut, oysters, and much more are flown in fresh daily. And don’t worry if you have a friend or a date who doesn’t like seafood because the restaurant also serves New York strip steaks and other proteins, as well as an impressive cocktail menu.
4225 E. Camelback Rd.
Tratto is owned by chef Chris Bianco, the man responsible for Arizona’s best pizza restaurant, Pizzeria Bianco, which also includes local favorites Pane Bianco and Bar Bianco built-in. At Tratto, the specialty of the house is pasta of every variety imaginable. Tratto can be difficult to get a table at because it only has 35 seats in the entire place, but if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be in for a pasta experience unlike any other. True to the Bianco brand, Tratto is a winner.
4743 N. 20th St.
If you’re looking for quick eats but not from the usual chain establishments, then take a ride to nearby Mesa, Arizona and visit República Empanada. When you arrive, you’ll be delighted by the restaurant’s diverse menu of empanadas, which runs the gamut from hearty to sweet. You can enjoy a delicious empanada made from locally sourced figs (Dizzy Fig), or you can fill your belly with the massive empanada full of ground beef, potatoes, and a boiled egg (El Capitan). At República Empanada, if you can dream it, odds are they have it on their menu. And while you’re at it, make sure you try the cassava fries (they’re covered in a sumptuous cilantro jalapeño ranch sauce).
204 East 1st Ave.
From the Old West to modern art, Phoenix bridges history with excitement and the arts
Hot Air Balloons
As beautiful as Phoenix is from the ground, it pales compared to seeing Phoenix from the air. This is why hot air balloon rides are easily one of the most popular attractions in the area. At Arizona Balloons, Inc., you’ll float high above the Sonoran Valley where you’ll be able to see and photograph Arizona’s stunning topography from a wildly different perspective.
21705 N 19th Ave.
Superstition Mountain Museum
Just a short half-hour drive east of Phoenix, you’ll come across Apache Junction, the home of the Superstition Mountains and its Museum. Here, you can take a horse ride or hike the rugged terrain, which has been shrouded in mystery for generations. The Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum, which sits in the shadow of the mountain, curates many of the true and mystical tales of the people and events that have taken place in the region over the years. Apache Junction was also once home to the Apacheland Movie Ranch and some of its structures are still standing, including the Elvis Chapel and the Apacheland Barn.
4087 N Apache Trail
The Heard Museum encapsulates the history, culture, and traditions of the 22 regional Native American tribes. Located in Downtown Phoenix, the Heard Museum “provides Indian artists with a wonderful home that will excite and inspire visitors from around the world.” The museum also contains 11 exhibit galleries and beautiful outdoor courtyards where visitors can marvel at outstanding traditional and contemporary American Indian art displays. The museum also has a gift shop where you can purchase authentic Native American art and a café.
2301 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix Art Museum
Just a short drive from the Heard Museum is the Phoenix Art Museum, the American Southwest’s largest fine art museum. It houses an incredible collection of contemporary work and masterpieces from Asia, America, Europe, and beyond. Throughout the year, the museum presents dozens of lectures, films, and educational programs designed to enlighten, entertain, and stimulate visitors. Also on site is a beautifully landscaped Dorrance Sculpture Garden; a restaurant, Palette; and The Museum Store.
1625 N. Central Ave.
Taliesin West once served as Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home. Today, tours of the National Historic Landmark provide some insight on how the famous architect was inspired by his desert surroundings. During your visit, you’ll be able to walk through the house’s many rooms, roam its gardens and walkways, and visit Wright’s spacious entertainment pavilion while learning about his architectural vision. The summer is especially a good time to visit Taliesin West, as it hosts its popular Night Lights Tour during that time.
12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd.
Grab your hiking gear and get ready for some incredible exploration
With so many mountains surrounding Phoenix, the city is heaven for hiking and climbing buffs, and it also has trails for every type of hiker – from the beginner to the expert. For instance, those new to hiking will be better off sticking to easier trails, like the trails at South Mountain Park and Preserve, North Mountain Park, Trail #8 at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, or the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. Expert hikers and climbers will find Camelback Mountain, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and the Siphon Draw Trail at Lost Dutchman State Park on the Superstition Mountains more to their liking.
Paddleboard on the Salt River
This calm and peaceful guided paddleboard cruise down the Salt River brings you up close and personal with Arizona’s amazing wildlife. During your cruise, it is not uncommon to see bald eagles, blue herons, deer, foxes, and even wild mustangs (especially in the spring and summer). This is a wonderful way to enjoy a relaxing half-day adventure, seeing some of the most stunning sights in all of Arizona.
16447 N. 91st Street, Suite 101
Arizona ATV Adventure Tours
If you’re feeling the need for some excitement, then Arizona ATV Adventure Tours have exactly what you’re aching for. Try booking the Phoenix Tucson Box Canyon Tour for a memorable drive through the Pinal Mountains. During the 3.25-hour tour, you’ll see ancient Indian petroglyphs, the building that served as the way station for the Butterfield Overland Stage Coach Company during the 1860’s, and the incredible scenery of Box Canyon.
195 Devils Kitchen.
The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is home to some of the very best golf courses in the country. With 330 days of sunshine annually, it’s not hard to understand why Arizona sports such a legendary golfing history. You’ll find some of the best golf at Troon North, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Southern Dunes Golf Club, and The Boulders, just to name a few. If you don’t like what you find at these courses, don’t worry, the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area has more than 200 other courses to choose from.
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