Best things to do in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona and the Valley of the Sun is a desert destination full of fun things to do. Here are some of the best things to do and see in the Phoenix area.

Chihuly Sculptures at the Desert Botanical Garden

Chihuly sculptures at the Desert Botanical Garden as you enter.

Desert Botanical Garden – The garden is a beautifully landscaped collection of cacti and desert plants, some local and some from around the world. You’ll enjoy towering Saguaro cacti, specialty gardens, sculpture,  art and displays for children.

Visitors will enjoy such events as music in the garden, butterfly exhibits, holiday luminarias and so much more. When you are finished enjoying your day in this special desert paradise, stop by the well-stocked gift shop for a desert souvenir or book. More on the Desert Botanical Garden

Phoenix Zoo – Not far from the Desert Botanical Garden in Papago Park is the Phoenix Zoo.  There are animals, creepy, crawly things, a merry-go-round and much more at the Phoenix Zoo. You can have a special party at the zoo or participate in a special event with your children. More on the Phoenix Zoo.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West – You’ll want to include Taliesin West in your list of things to do while in the Phoenix valley. Located in Scottsdale,  Taliesin West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school of architecture in the desert from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. You’ll be able to tour the buildings and the grounds and will come away with a deep appreciation for Frank Lloyd Wright’s creativity and foresight. For more information, and current tours, visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation website.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park – You’ll find this regional park in the west valley of Phoenix. You’ll see tall Saguaro

Hiking at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park

Hiking at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park

cacti, a variety of local desert plants, some Hohokam petroglyphs and find trails to walk, hike and bike. During rainy times, there is even a waterfall to enjoy. A new addition to the park is a library and nature center at the entrance. More on White Tank Mountain Regional Park

Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills Mall – Especially in the heat of summer, this is a great experience. The aquarium is fairly new

Tempe Aquarium - Ray

Tempe Aquarium - Ray "flying" overhead.

and is located in Tempe. I enjoyed seeing children getting up close and personal with the sea life, becoming a bit apprehensive as they watched sharks circle above and yelling with glee as the large rays passed right in front of the viewing window. More on  Sea Life Aquarium

Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat Tour – Take a guided tour or drive yourself east of Phoenix out the historic Apache Trail. Just off the trail at Canyon Lake you can take an enjoyable steamboat ride into the deep canyons of the lake. Be sure and have lunch at Tortilla Flats. You’ll have a fun excursion back in time to the old mining days of Arizona. More on the Apache Trail tours.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose