Whether you’re planning a trip to Phoenix or are local, you’ll never tire out of things to do in Phoenix. Our beautiful city has plenty of attractions suited for anyone of any age who is visiting any time of the year. You will find this comprehensive list as a mixture of activities that are kid-friendly as well.
Home to one of the most successful world wildlife conservation programs, the Phoenix Zoo offers daily activities featuring various animals of the zoo. The zoo also offers “after dark” events and during the Winter the infamous ZOO Lights displays. Visit their website to learn more.
The Desert Botanical Garden is a unique desert landscape experience. Walk garden paths of both plant and art exhibits. Visit their website to learn more details about when to visit. The parking area is also shared with Papago Park where you can take a quick climb through uniquely shaped red rock patterns.
About 1-hour east of the Phoenix city center, you’ll find the oldest and largest botanical garden in Arizona– Boyce Thompson Arboretum. The arboretum hosts walks, tours, classes, and programs featuring birds, geology, gardening, and more!
Take a stroll through the relaxing Japanese Friendship Garden, or RoHoEn. The garden is a sister to the city of Himeji, Japan offering peace and tranquility with cultural exploration. Visit their website to learn more about events and features of the garden.
The Odysea Aquarium is located in Scottsdale, AZ just off the 101 E. The aquarium is the largest in the Southwest. They have over 62 exhibits as well as interactive experiences. Budget tip: wait until later in the day before closing to save on your ticket. Learn more details by visiting their website.
Next door to the Odsyea Aquarium, you’ll find The Butterly Wonderland(save when you buy tickets to both attractions). Step into a magical rainforest full of butterflies and learn about their transformative lives. Plan your visit here.
Located in Downtown Phoenix, The Heard Museum celebrates the history and preservation of American Indian Art. Their exhibits feature art from Indigenous communities in the Southwest.
The largest art museum in the Southwest, the Phoenix Art Museum offers an enriching experience. Their collection includes pieces from cultures all around the world. You can find up-to-date exhibits by visiting their website.
Located in Old Town Downtown Scottsdale, AZ, SMoCA features contemporary art, architecture, and design. You can find hours and directions here.
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a fun, explorative place to take your children while visiting. This museum is said to be one of the best children’s museums in the U.S. Enjoy 3-floors of hands-on and interactive activities for children aged up to 10 years old. Plan your visit to this Downtown Phoenix location.
The Arizona Science Center features hands-on activities exploring STEM subjects. It is home to the Dorrance Planetarium where you can go on a visual rollercoaster ride of the solar system. Check out their calendar of events to plan your visit.
A.K.A “The Dinosaur Museum,” according to my preschool-aged daughter, is located just east of Phoenix city center in Mesa, AZ. This museum showcases life-sized Dinosaurs and exhibits sharing the natural history of Arizona and the Southwest.
Located in North Phoenix, the Musical Instrument Museum has a collection of over 15,000 instruments from around the world and various centuries. The museum hosts concerts, activities for Seniors, and an early childhood “music makers” class. Find more information about your musical adventure here.
The Salt River is a quick and close getaway to have fun on the water kayaking, swimming, SUP, tubing, and more. There are also several secluded spots where you can choose to splash in the water without a big crowd.
*Seasonal note- Salt River tubing is only open around April/May-Septermber each year.
About an hour Northwest, you’ll find Lake Pleasant where you can boat or hang out on the edges of the lake for a splash day.
Each mountain has a wide variety of trails with varying degrees of hardness and distance. I suggest downloading the All Trails App to further research exact trail options. There are many tips you should know before hiking that depend on the severity of the hike. But, here are a few basic hiking tips for even easy trails.
Many of the below-mentioned parks offer nature walks and learning programs. Popular programs are bird-watching, stargazing, focus on geology, and so much more! The options for learning programs are endless and constantly rotating. Be sure to check each park’s website to get more information about special events and activities.
Home to Lost Dutchman State Park, the Superstitions are an iconic feature of the Phoenix Valley and the Sonoran Desert. There are trails for everyone here and activities such as bird watching, full moon hikes, star parties, and learning about the unique geology in this area. In early Spring, gorgeous wildflowers pop up, as long as there has been enough rain. Camping & RVs are welcome here. Learn more by visiting the Lost Dutchman Park website.
At the heart of the Phoenix Metro is South Mountain, one of the largest parks in the U.S. You can go horseback riding or take a scenic drive to the top to view the city lights at Dusk.
Camelback Mountain is located near Old Town Scottsdale. At the summit the views of the Phoenix Valley are breathtaking! Echo Canyon Trailhead at Camelback Mountain is quite the climb with an elevation of 2,704 feet and is meant for more experienced hikers. Please take caution, especially during the Summer months!
McDowell Mountain is located just West of Scottsdale and North of Fountain Hills. This large park range offers biking, hiking, camping, stargazing, horseback riding, and picnicking. And, don’t forget about those gorgeous desert views.
Arizona is known for its luxurious spas and retreats for peace and serenity. Take a break from your itinerary and spend a day relaxing while being pampered. I’ve written a thorough post about some of The Best Spas In Phoenix & Scottsdale areas.
Phoenix is home to several major league sports teams. Catch NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury for basketball games at the Footprint Center. MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. If you’re hearing during early Spring, watch players from multiple teams at the Spring Training Cactus League. NFL football fans can watch the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in West Phoenix. Arizona Coyotes NHL games can be watched at the new Tempe Coyotes Arena. We also have an American Professional Soccer Team- Phoenix Rising Football Club. Every February, golf fans can enjoy the Waste Management Phoenix Open. However, Golf Clubs are aplenty and scattered around the Valley.
Amongst the things to do in Phoenix, don’t forget to schedule family photos in our luscious desert landscape. You won’t have to worry about packing extra clothing as I offer a client closet and provide heirloom artwork that will last for generations to come. You can connect with me by visiting my website to set up a consultation. We’ll go over all that you envision for your family photos!
Are you traveling to Phoenix while pregnant? Read my journal entry about planning a Scottsdale Babymoon.
As part of my weekly feature, this week a sweet friend and fellow Motherhood Photographer Julianna Corbo shares Sarasota Photographer | Maternity Beach Photos. Go view her gorgeous Florida maternity session.