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Welcome to Phoenix, Arizona! The city is known for its warm weather, stunning desert landscapes, and vibrant culture. If you’re visiting for the first time, there’s plenty to see and do. From hiking and outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and delicious food, Phoenix has something for everyone. In this travel guide, we’ll explore some of the top attractions and hidden gems in Phoenix to help you plan an unforgettable trip.
My niece and I had an amazing time exploring Phoenix on our first visit. I would definitely recommend Arizona to outdoor enthusiasts who don’t mind braving the heatwave while on vacation! Let’s get started!
Things to Know Before Visiting Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona and a popular destination for travelers looking to experience the beauty of the Southwest. With its warm climate, scenic desert landscape, and thriving art and culture scene, Phoenix has something for everyone. Before embarking on your trip, it’s always helpful to learn some fun facts and insider tips to enhance your experience. From its unique history to its stunning natural wonders, here are some things to know about Phoenix before visiting.
Here are some things to keep in mind before visiting Phoenix:
The weather can be hot: Phoenix is located in the Sonoran Desert, so temperatures can reach over 100°F (38°C) in the summer. Make sure to stay hydrated and plan outdoor activities for early mornings or evenings.
Phoenix is a sprawling city: Phoenix is a large city, with many suburbs and surrounding communities. Make sure to plan your transportation accordingly.
Phoenix is home to diverse natural beauty: Phoenix boasts a variety of natural attractions, from the Grand Canyon to Camelback Mountain. Take time to explore the desert landscape and appreciate its beauty.
Phoenix is a sports town: Phoenix has a number of sports teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks (baseball), Phoenix Suns (basketball), and Arizona Cardinals (football). If you’re a sports fan, catch a game while you’re in town.
Phoenix has a rich history: Phoenix has a vibrant history, with Native American, Hispanic, and pioneer influences. Learn about the city’s past by visiting historic sites like the Pueblo Grande Museum or the Rosson House Museum.
5 Must-Do Activities in Phoenix, Arizona
OK – so you’ve nailed down when you’re going to travel to Phoenix and how, so what about when you arrive? How are you going to fill your days in Phoenix? Here’s a look at some personal faves of mine of things to see and do in town!
1. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Rainbow Ryders is a premier hot air balloon company operating in Phoenix, Arizona. The company offers a unique and unforgettable experience of soaring through the sky in a hot air balloon, taking in the stunning desert landscapes and scenic views of the city.
Rainbow Ryders offers a variety of hot air balloon ride options, including sunrise, sunset, and private charter flights. Each flight is led by an experienced and knowledgeable pilot, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all passengers.
The company’s hot air balloons are among the largest and most colorful in the world, featuring vibrant designs and patterns that are a sight to behold. The balloons are also equipped with the latest safety features, including state-of-the-art avionics and safety systems, providing peace of mind to passengers throughout their flight.
In addition to the hot air balloon rides, Rainbow Ryders also offers various other services, such as tethered hot air balloon rides, corporate and special event services, and professional photography packages.
Rainbow Ryders is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a unique and thrilling experience in Phoenix, Arizona. With its top-notch safety record, professional staff, and breathtaking views, Rainbow Ryders is a must-try for anyone visiting the area.
2. Visit the Botanical Gardens
The Desert Botanical Garden is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and plant enthusiasts in Phoenix, Arizona. The garden spans over 140 acres and features more than 50,000 plants, including over 4,000 species of desert plants from around the world.
Visitors to the Desert Botanical Garden can take a leisurely stroll through various walking paths that wind through the desert landscape, experiencing the unique beauty and diversity of desert flora. The garden offers a range of exhibits and events throughout the year, including seasonal plant displays, art exhibits, and live music performances.
One of the highlights of the garden is the impressive collection of cacti and succulents, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. The garden also features a butterfly pavilion, where visitors can observe hundreds of butterflies and moths in a tranquil indoor setting.
The Desert Botanical Garden is dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship and conservation, with a focus on sustainability and desert plant research. The garden is also home to a research library and herbarium, which provide valuable resources for scholars and researchers interested in the study of desert plants.
Overall, the Desert Botanical Garden is a unique and fascinating attraction in Phoenix, Arizona, offering a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors of all ages. With its diverse plant life, stunning desert landscapes, and commitment to conservation and education, the garden is a must-see for anyone interested in the natural beauty of the desert.
Hole-in-the-Rock is a natural geological formation located within Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona. The park covers over 1,200 acres and is home to several notable geological features, including sandstone buttes and rock formations.
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Hole-in-the-Rock is a popular attraction within the park, offering a unique hiking experience that leads visitors to a natural opening in the rock formation. The hike to Hole-in-the-Rock is short and easy, with a well-marked trail that is accessible to visitors of all ages and abilities.
Once visitors reach the top of the trail, they are greeted with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape, including the city skyline in the distance. The natural opening in the rock formation provides a unique frame for these views, creating a perfect spot for photos and selfies.
In addition to its scenic beauty, Hole-in-the-Rock is also a popular spot for local events, such as weddings and other special celebrations. The natural acoustics of the formation make it an ideal location for musical performances, and the unique setting adds a special touch to any event.
Overall, Hole-in-the-Rock is a must-see attraction in Phoenix, Arizona, offering a unique and memorable experience for visitors of all ages. With its stunning views, easy accessibility, and unique natural features, it’s no wonder why this attraction is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
4. Get a Customized Aura Reading
An aura reading at Phoenix Rising Now is a unique and intriguing experience that offers insight into one’s energy and aura. During an aura reading, a trained practitioner will use their skills to read and interpret the energy field that surrounds a person’s body, known as their aura.
The aura reading begins with a brief consultation with the practitioner, who will explain the process and answer any questions you may have. During the reading, the practitioner may use a variety of techniques to explore your aura, such as visual observation or the use of specialized tools and equipment.
As the aura reading progresses, the practitioner will interpret the colors, patterns, and vibrations present in your aura, providing insight into your emotional, physical, and spiritual state. The reading may also offer guidance on ways to balance and harmonize your energy, helping you to achieve greater overall well-being.
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One of the unique aspects of an aura reading at Phoenix Rising Now is the personalized and compassionate approach taken by the practitioners. They are committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment that promotes healing and self-discovery, helping clients to feel empowered and inspired by the experience.
Overall, an aura reading at Phoenix Rising Now is a fascinating and enlightening experience that offers a unique perspective on one’s energy and well-being. Whether you are seeking guidance, inspiration, or simply a deeper understanding of yourself, an aura reading can provide a valuable and rewarding experience.
5. Visit Lylo Swim club
Lylo Swim Club is a trendy and upscale swimming spot in Phoenix, Arizona that offers a unique and memorable experience. The club boasts a sophisticated and stylish atmosphere, with a focus on modern design and luxury.
Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by the chic decor and relaxed ambiance of the club. The main attraction is the stunning pool, surrounded by comfortable loungers, cabanas, and chic outdoor seating. The pool features crystal-clear water, perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot day.
Lylo Swim Club also offers a range of amenities, including a poolside bar and restaurant, where guests can enjoy delicious cocktails and gourmet cuisine while taking in the beautiful surroundings. The club also hosts a range of events, such as live music performances, pool parties, and social gatherings, providing an opportunity to meet new people and make lasting memories.
Overall, an experience at Lylo Swim Club is a must-do for anyone looking for a luxurious and unforgettable swimming experience in Phoenix. Whether you are a local or a visitor, Lylo Swim Club offers a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that is sure to impress.
5-Star Hotels for Your Phoenix Getaway
Looking for a luxurious stay in Phoenix, Arizona? Consider one of the many 5-star hotels in the area, which offer top-notch amenities and exceptional service. From elegant spas to fine dining restaurants, these hotels provide everything you need for a comfortable and memorable stay in the Valley of the Sun. With their prime locations and stunning views, these hotels provide the perfect home base for exploring all that Phoenix has to offer.
Arizona Biltmore by Waldorf
The Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, is a luxurious 5-star hotel located in the heart of Phoenix. Known as the “Jewel of the Desert,” this historic property has been a favorite among celebrities, politicians, and other distinguished guests for nearly a century. The hotel boasts elegant rooms and suites with plush bedding, marble bathrooms, and stunning views of the surrounding desert and mountains. The resort also features eight swimming pools, seven tennis courts, two championship golf courses, and a full-service spa for those looking to relax and unwind. Dine at one of the hotel’s multiple restaurants or indulge in a cocktail at one of the property’s stylish bars. Whether you’re looking to explore the city or simply unwind in a luxurious setting, the Arizona Biltmore provides the ultimate in comfort and sophistication.
Royal Palms Resort & Spa
The Royal Palms Resort and Spa is a luxurious 5-star hotel located at the foot of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. The resort is a stunning example of Spanish Colonial architecture, featuring manicured gardens, fountains, and courtyards that transport guests to a bygone era. The Royal Palms offers elegantly appointed rooms and suites with modern amenities, all featuring plush bedding, spacious bathrooms, and stylish decor.
Enjoy a range of recreational activities including golf, swimming, and tennis, or take advantage of the hotel’s luxurious spa with its indulgent treatments and relaxing atmosphere. Savor exquisite cuisine at the award-winning on-site restaurant, T. Cook’s, which offers Mediterranean-inspired dishes using locally-sourced ingredients. For an unforgettable stay in Phoenix, the Royal Palms Resort and Spa offers the ultimate in luxury and relaxation.
Places to Dine & Drink in Phoenix
Explore the diverse culinary scene in Phoenix, Arizona with my guide to the top places I checked out eat. From classic Southwestern cuisine to contemporary and international flavors, discover the city’s best restaurants, cafes, and bars. Indulge in locally-sourced ingredients and farm-to-table dishes, or savor authentic Mexican and Native American flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining or casual eats, Phoenix offers something for everyone. Experience culinary delight with my quick guide to the top places to eat in Phoenix.
1. Kura Sushi
Kura Sushi is a popular Japanese restaurant in Phoenix that offers an extensive menu of delicious and authentic Japanese cuisine. The restaurant’s signature dishes include a variety of sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri made from the freshest and highest-quality ingredients.
Guests can enjoy classic rolls such as California roll, tuna roll, and spicy tuna roll, as well as innovative creations like the rainbow roll and spider roll. Kura Sushi also offers a range of hot and cold appetizers, including edamame, gyoza, and tempura. The restaurant’s beverage menu features a variety of Japanese beer, sake, and other traditional Japanese drinks to complement your meal.
The restaurant’s modern and welcoming atmosphere, combined with their delicious menu and excellent service, make Kura Sushi a must-visit spot for any sushi lover in Phoenix.
2. The Yard Milkshake Bar
The Yard Milkshake Bar is a popular dessert spot located in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in creating over-the-top, Instagram-worthy milkshakes that are piled high with creative toppings and drizzles. The menu features a wide range of creative and indulgent milkshakes, including classic flavors like chocolate and vanilla, as well as more unique flavors like Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and S’mores.
The menu also features vegan and gluten-free options, as well as seasonal and limited-time flavors to keep things fresh and exciting. Guests can customize their milkshakes with a variety of toppings, such as whipped cream, sprinkles, candy, and even entire slices of cake or donuts.
The Yard Milkshake Bar also offers a selection of specialty drinks, such as coffee and tea, and a variety of baked goods, including cookies and brownies. Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat to cool off on a hot day or a unique dessert experience with friends, The Yard Milkshake Bar is a must-visit spot.
Palma is a trendy, modern restaurant located in midtown Phoenix, Arizona, that specializes in contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The menu features a variety of small plates, entrees, and desserts that showcase the flavors and techniques of the Mediterranean region, as well as dishes inspired by the chef’s travels and culinary experiences around the world.
Starters on the menu include dishes like crispy Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze and hazelnuts, charred octopus with harissa and preserved lemon, and homemade hummus with pita bread. For entrees, guests can choose from a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, such as grilled lamb chops with chimichurri sauce, seared scallops with chorizo and saffron risotto, and roasted cauliflower with almond pesto and quinoa. The menu also features a selection of house-made pastas and wood-fired pizzas, as well as daily specials that change based on seasonal ingredients and availability.
The dessert menu at Palma features a variety of sweet and savory options, including a honeycomb cake with citrus syrup, a chocolate mousse with hazelnuts and sea salt, and a cheese plate with local Arizona cheeses, nuts, and fruit. The restaurant also offers an extensive wine list with a variety of wines from around the world, as well as signature cocktails and craft beers. With its fresh, flavorful cuisine and chic, contemporary ambiance, Palma is a must-visit spot for foodies and anyone looking for a memorable dining experience in Phoenix.
4. Century Grand
Century Grand in Phoenix is a unique cocktail bar and restaurant that takes you back in time to the Prohibition era. The menu features a selection of handcrafted cocktails, rare and vintage spirits, and carefully curated small plates. The cocktails are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients and are inspired by classic drinks from the 1920s and 1930s.
The food menu includes a variety of small plates, including caviar, oysters, cheese and charcuterie boards, and other elevated bar snacks. The restaurant also features an extensive wine list and a selection of craft beers. The atmosphere at Century Grand is sophisticated and refined, with elegant decor and a cozy ambiance that transports you to a different time and place.
5. From the Rooftop
From the Rooftop is a trendy rooftop bar located in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The menu features a variety of creative cocktails, craft beers, and wines by the glass or bottle. The cocktail menu features unique blends like the “Cherry Limeade Margarita” and “Cucumber-Jalapeño Margarita”, along with classic drinks such as the “Old Fashioned” and “Moscow Mule”.
The food menu features small plates and shareable appetizers like the “Charcuterie Board” and “Fried Avocado Bites” as well as salads, sandwiches, and desserts. The atmosphere at From the Rooftop is lively and sophisticated, with stunning views of the city skyline and an outdoor seating area that creates a relaxed and fun ambiance.
Final Thoughts On Phoenix, Arizona
Overall, Phoenix offers a fantastic mix of activities and experiences, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, great food, or luxurious accommodations, Phoenix has it all.