What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone talks about Phoenix or Arizona? Before going there for the very first time, for me, it was definitely the intense heat and the endless deserts. When I visited for the first time, I definitely discovered a ton of activities that I did not suspect that I could do in this city located in the southwestern part of the United States. Here are the activities that definitely caught my attention when I was in Phoenix. Keep in mind that it is always hot in Phoenix, wear bright clothing, good sunscreen, a hat and drink as much water as possible during your activities.
Visit the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix
The very first activity I had the chance to do when arriving in Phoenix was to visit the Desert Botanical Garden. It is an open-air botanical garden where you will have the chance to discover more about all different plant and animal species found in the Sonoran Desert. Plan enough water and sunscreen — you will definitely need it even if it’s a rather chill activity.
Fill up on culture in Phoenix
With all the intense heat of Phoenix, you’ll definitely enjoy some cool and fresh air in one of these museums. Here are the 4 cultural locations that I particularly liked to visit.
Explore Native American culture and art at Heard Museum in Phoenix
The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Native American culture and art. This world-renowned museum showcases the diverse heritage and traditions of Native American tribes through its extensive collection of artifacts, jewelry, textiles, pottery, and fine art. With interactive exhibits, cultural demonstrations, and special events, visitors can delve deeper into the rich history of the indigenous people of the Southwest. It is the perfect activity if you’re a history buff or simply looking for a unique cultural experience.
Free visit of the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix
A visit to the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix is a unique and enriching experience for all ages. This state-of-the-art library features a grand atrium with natural light, comfortable seating and AC, making it an ideal place to relax, read, or work. The library boasts an extensive collection of books, magazines, newspapers, and multimedia resources, as well as access to cutting-edge technology, including computers, printers, and Wi-Fi. In addition to the traditional library offerings, Burton Barr also hosts a variety of events and workshops, including author talks, book clubs, and classes on topics such as technology and entrepreneurship.
Discover a world-class museum at Phoenix Art Museum
Visiting the Phoenix Art Museum is a feast for the senses, offering a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional art from around the world. is a feast for the senses and a cultural highlight of any trip to the city. This world-class museum showcases an impressive collection of over 18,000 works of art, including American and European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, photography, and fashion design. The museum’s spacious galleries provide a serene and inspiring environment for visitors to explore and appreciate the works of renowned artists and emerging talent.
Contemporary art at Scottsdale Museum Of Contemporary Art
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Phoenix and looking for a unique cultural experience. This innovative museum showcases a diverse range of contemporary art and design, including painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media. SMoCA is known for its thought-provoking exhibitions, which explore important social, cultural, and environmental issues of our time. Fans of Arizona-based artist James Turrell will be happy to know one of his Skyspaces “Knight Rise” is located outside of the museum, in the courtyard.
A day at the spa in Phoenix
Phoenix differs from other US cities in the quantity and quality of its spas and wellness centers. Almost every hotel and resort offers this type of service, however, you can still enjoy it whether you stay there or not. I particularly enjoyed the pool atmosphere at the Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale and had a real crush on the skincare I received at Spa Avania.
Well & Being Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
An experience at Well & Being Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is a journey to relaxation and rejuvenation. This luxurious spa offers a wide range of treatments, from massages and body wraps to facials and acupuncture, designed to help guests unwind and rejuvenate. The spa’s serene and peaceful atmosphere, complete with private outdoor relaxation areas, heated pools, and tranquil gardens, creates the perfect environment for relaxation. Whether you’re looking for a spa day with friends, a romantic couple’s retreat, or a solo escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Well & Being Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.
Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa At Gainey Ranch
Adventure in the great outdoors near Phoenix
Whether you are a sportsman or not, a multitude of activities are offered so you can spend some time outdoors. In order to access these activities, you’ll have to get out of the city center, but believe me, it’s worth it. It was my first time paddle boarding and I can not wait to do it again.
Paddleboarding with No Snow Stand Up Paddleboards
Paddleboarding in the beautiful desert scenery of Arizona at Saguaro Lake is an unforgettable experience. With its clear, calm waters, surrounded by stunning red rock formations, cacti, and desert wildlife, this activity offers an immersive desert adventure. Rent a paddleboard with No Snow SUP and spend an hour or an entire day exploring the lake and its surrounding landscape at your leisure. As you glide over the water, the peaceful stillness of the lake and the tranquil sounds of nature provide a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of city life
Hiking near Phoenix at Usery Mountain Regional Park
A hike at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa is a nature-lover’s dream come true. Located just outside of Phoenix, this 3,000-acre park offers miles of scenic trails, each showcasing the unique beauty of the Sonoran Desert. From gentle, easy hikes through stunning saguaro cactus forests to challenging mountain climbs with breathtaking views, there’s something for everyone at Usery Mountain Regional Park. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a peaceful escape from the city, this park provides a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the desert. Along the way, keep an eye out for the park’s diverse wildlife, including rattlesnakes, jackrabbits, and roadrunners. With its stunning scenery and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, a hike at Usery Mountain Regional Park is a must-do for anyone visiting the Phoenix area.
Stargazing in Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona is known for its clear, dry air and low light pollution, making it an ideal location for stargazing. The city is surrounded by dark skies, offering unobstructed views of the night sky. Additionally, the city is home to various stargazing locations and observatories, such as the South Mountain Park, the Lowell Observatory, and the Phoenix Astronomical Society, offering opportunities for both amateur and professional astronomers.
Sunrise hot air balloon ride with Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix
An hot air balloon ride with Hot Air Expeditions in Arizona is a unique and breathtaking experience. Of all the activities I could do in Phoenix, this one was the most incredible, without a doubt. The ride typically starts early in the morning, when the air is calm and the winds are light, offering the best conditions for a smooth flight. Passengers board the hot air balloon and take off, floating gently above the stunning desert landscape. As the sun rises, the changing light creates a magical and colorful atmosphere. The experienced pilot provides interesting information about the local flora and fauna, as well as the history of the area. The flight lasts about an hour and ends with a champagne toast and a certificate of flight. Do not forget your camera, you will definitely want to capture the moment.
Colourful stroll at Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market & Roosevelt Row Arts District
If you are in Phoenix during the weekend, I recommend pairing these two activities that are not too far from each other. At the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, you will have access to a multitude of local producers and traders who come to sell their products and you can then admire the urban art of Roosevelt Row Arts District where several murals are present.
Tipsy Tea at The Bees Knees inside The Camby Hotel
To end your stay in beauty, here is an activity that seems rather simple at the base: an alcoholic afternoon tea! I love to have afternoon tea, I found the idea to be very original!