With a population of over 1,600,000 people, Phoenix is officially the 5th largest metropolitan areas in the nation.The Greater Phoenix area is comprised of several neighboring cities, including the well known cities of Scottsdale, Tempe, and Glendale. Visitors can find plenty of things to do, sights to see, and people to meet in a number of great attractions throughout Phoenix. Whether you’re next in the Valley for work or to look for a new home, be sure to set some time aside to enjoy these top 15 things to do in the Greater Phoenix area.
No trip to Phoenix would be complete without taking advantage of the many hiking trails conveniently located throughout the city. Some of the more challenging climbs can be found on Camelback Mountain. This iconic Phoenix fixture got its name from the its shape - locals swear it look like a kneeling camel. Be sure to schedule your hiking times in the early mornings or late evenings to be sure to catch a breathtaking view of the sunrise or sunset over the expansive valley.
Another great place to hike is found on the Southern border of Phoenix, South Mountain. The large mountain chain separates much of the greater Phoenix area from the East Valley, where Ahwatukee, Gilbert, and Chandler can be found. Not only does the view from the top offer some of the most gorgeous views of the area, the mountain has plenty of unique attractions. Visitors can ride horses, picnic, and see first hand the ancient petroglyphs left from the ancient natives that once lived in the area.
TPC Scottsdale Golfing
One of the most popular pastimes in the Scottsdale area is golf. Although there are plenty of beautiful golf courses throughout the valley, the most famous is the TPC SCottsdale golf club. Named “One of America’s Best Courses” by Golfweek Magazine, TPC is home to the legendary Waste Management Phoenix Open, held every January.
Musical Instruments Museum
One of the most unique museums found in Scottsdale is the Musical Instruments Museum. With over 6,800 different instruments, multiple galleries, and a variety of changing exhibits, the MIM is a music lover’s dream. Learn about music from all over the world by using the strategically placed headphones throughout the museum. Later in the evening, be sure to buy tickets to one of their concerts to see some amazing performances.
Another great specialty museum in Downtown Phoenix is the Heard Museum. This museum was built with the mission of “Advancing American Indian Art.” With exhibits focusing on the history and culture of Native American told through the eyes of Native American artists and storytellers, visitors are sure to learn the value and beauty of cultures they may never have been able to experience anywhere else. Be sure to check their calendar to learn about some of the great events held throughout the year, including traditional hoop dances and lectures.
Of course, no trip to the Grand Canyon state would be complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon. Consider renting a comfortable SUV for the 4 hour drive up the I-17 to see one of the World’s 8 Natural Wonders. Stand at the end of one of the most breathtaking views and snap a few pictures to show your friends. Nothing completes a trip like checking a bucket list item off the list.
On the way to the Grand Canyon, stop in the little town of Sedona to view the famous red rocks. This quaint little town is world-renown for its "vortexes", or spirling centers of energy that some believe to have healing properties. After a nice lunch on one of the local shops, hop in a Pink Jeep tour and see all the sites around the picturesque town.
Those looking for a more “wild west” trip should head to Wickenburg, just northwest of the Greater Phoenix area. Take a tour of an old gold mine and check out local Southwestern arts at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. Or, for a more expansive look, take a walking historical tour or a ghost tour to see all the best local sights on foot.
Old Town Scottsdale
Looking for some fun just inside town? Head to Old Town Scottsdale, home to a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries. This downtown area of Scottsdale is a popular place for those interested in a night out, with plenty of clubs and fine dining options. Be sure to check out Sugarbowl, one of the oldest and most famous ice cream parlors in the Valley.
For those more interested in the art side of Phoenix, check out Roosevelt Row. Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix on Roosevelt Street, this strip of galleries, shops, and restaurants is one of the most popular areas in the city. The colorful and vibrant murals all over the area have been named one of the “Most Instagrammed Art Spaces” by the Creators Project in 2016. Roosevelt Row is also the place to be on the first Friday of every month for the First Friday artwalk. Check out local artists and performers nestled throughout this recently remodeled historic neighborhood.
Looking for a more relaxed day of shopping and entertainment? The enormous outdoor mall, Tempe Marketplace, is a great place to hang out. With a variety of retail options, several unique restaurants, and one of the city’s largest movie theaters, Tempe Marketplace is perfect for a shop therapy filled afternoon. Check out their live music calendar to learn about the free concerts held in the District Stage, just outside of the Dave and Busters.
Still unsure about how to spend your trip? Download the Vacation Insider Guide here for even more great ideas!