You might be searching for things to do in Phoenix because you have a convention or business trip scheduled. Perhaps you’re planning your next family vacation. Whatever your reasons for asking, you’ll find the answers here.
Population-wise, Phoenix is the 6th largest city in the U.S. with over 1.4 million people. The metro area is also one of the largest in the country and includes numerous cities and communities, such as Scottsdale, famous for its golf courses and Fountain Hills, famous for its manmade fountain that shoots water more than 500 feet into the air on an hourly basis.
The city itself covers almost 518 square miles and is mostly flat except for the mountains that you’ll see as soon as you fly in. The mountains appear to have been dropped down onto the flat desert floor and create dramatic changes in elevation, rather than a gradual ascent. Many of the outdoor things to do in Phoenix are in the mountain parks.
The generally flat terrain allowed the city planners to lay out the streets on a precise grid-work pattern. Because of that, even the crowded downtown area is easy to navigate. The streets are wide and open-spaced. Parking is relatively easy.
Best Times to Visit
The location is the Valley of the Sun, an accurate name as the sun shines on the Phoenix area 85% of the time. The climate is subtropical, which means that the winters are mild, but the summers are very hot.
Most people agree that the best time to visit for fun is in the late fall, winter or very early spring. Spring is very nice because of the desert wildflowers. The cacti bloom and the variety of colors is breathtaking.
By late May, the temperature reaches or exceeds 100 degrees on more days than not. The heat usually lasts until early September. By contrast, the temperatures in January, February and March range from the mid 50’s to the high 70’s and the nighttime low rarely dips below 35 degrees. It’s great weather for golfing!
It is the climate and the scenery that attracts many visitors to the area. The numerous golf courses are also major attractions. The Phoenix Open is held annually in the area, but is actually in Scottsdale, a city that borders Phoenix to the east. If you’re interested in having a little tournament of your own, check out the AZ Skins Golf Tour while you’re in town. The company organizes golf competitions for amateurs.
Things to do in Phoenix: Attractions, Tours and Adventures
You can figure out what to do in Phoenix regardless of when your trip is scheduled. There are hundreds of attractions, tours and adventures going on year round. Here’s a look at some of your best choices.
One of the Phoenix tours should definitely be on your itinerary. The Legacy Tour is beautiful and unforgettable. The tour takes you through numerous homes designed by world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The homes were designed to take full advantage of the beautiful desert scenery.
The Legacy Tour “Under the Stars” is an evening visit to Wright’s winter home, Taliesin West, one of the major tourist attractions in the area. The tour experience is enchanting as the pool reflects the lights of the home and the twinkle of the evening stars. The extensive sky lights in the home give you a view of the desert sky that you won’t forget.
Of course, the canyons are the main attraction in the area. Canyoneering tours have become a popular choice for people who like adventure. If you sign up for a tour, you’ll find yourself hiking, wading, swimming and rappelling through the nearby canyons. This is one of the adventures that you can schedule year-round.
Another cool thing to do in Phoenix is skydiving. If you are up for adventure, skydiving can give you the thrill of a lifetime. You can skydive on your trip even if you’ve never done it before. Phoenix Area Skydiving specializes in first-timers by putting safety first. In case skydiving is something you have done before, the company offers jumps for all skill levels.
If you want to take flight, but prefer a more relaxing adventure, you can take a hot air balloon ride over Phoenix. You can float calmly through the air for an hour, anytime of year, assuming the weather cooperates.
The Sonoran Desert surrounding the valley of the sun is a must stop during a visit to Phoenix. There is no better way to experience the natural desert than by joining an off-road tour in Phoenix.
Where to Stay
As you are deciding what to do in Phoenix, you might also think about where to stay. There are hundreds of hotels and numerous resorts in the vicinity. These three are award-winning, comfortable and get good reviews from former guests.
- JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa
This resort is a major convention center and a popular choice for family vacations, partly because of the acres of pools on the grounds. Located in northern Phoenix, the resort has numerous amenities including a full-service spa, multiple tennis courts and a variety of restaurants. Rooms are comfortable and all have private balconies or patios.
- Hotel Palomar Phoenix
The Palomar is located downtown right in the middle of everything. It is considered a “boutique” hotel; small enough for the staff to give you personalized service. It is the home of the Blue Hound Kitchen, one of the restaurants featured in the places to eat section below.
- Arizona Grand Resort
One of the things to do in Phoenix to stay cool is located at the Arizona Grand: the Oasis Water Park. The park covers 7 acres of the grounds and is fun for people of all ages. The water park is only one of the attractions at the Grand. There are hiking trails and an 18-hole golf course with well-maintained greens and beautiful views of the desert.
Where to Eat
Figuring out what to do in Phoenix can make you hungry. Everyone has to eat and there are hundreds of places to choose from in the area. These are three of the more “unique” choices.
- Pizzeria Bianco
Foodies agree that one of the things to do in Phoenix is to eat at the Bianco. This is not a chain and it’s not your ordinary pizzeria. It is gourmet pizza at its best. Chef Chris Bianco is a James Beard award winner. One of his popular creations is called the Wiseguy. It is a white pizza made with fennel sausage, covered with slices of roasted onion and topped with house-smoked mozzarella cheese. The Bianco is located on Adams Street in Phoenix.
- Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails
Located at the Hotel Palomar on Jefferson Street, the Blue Hound has a variety of unique menu items to choose from. If you are in the mood for something different, you might order the Kentucky fried quail over foie gras, the duck flatbread with pickled kumquat or the monkfish schnitzel.
- The Breadfruit
The warm tropical weather could put you in the mood for Caribbean food. The Breadfruit on Pierce Street is the place to go for Caribbean fare. The menu features items like rum-laced smoked mussels, jerk chicken and guava-glazed pork belly. The entrees are typically served with grilled corn on the cob and sliced pineapple. Unlike some of the restaurants in town, prices at the Breadfruit are reasonable.
Hopefully, you have some ideas now about where to eat, where to stay and what to do in Phoenix. You’re sure to have an unforgettable adventure!
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