The Arizona capital was established in the south-central region of the state when President Ulysses S. Grant obtained the first land patent in the early 1870s. Within the next decade, the Phoenix community began to grow. Today, the Salt River Valley destination has nearly 1.5 million residents. The scenic location is largely surrounded by mountain ranges and the metropolis boasts a wide range of attractions that appeal to a wide selection of interests. If you are planning an upcoming trip to Phoenix, below are a few suggestions of things you can do while you are in town.

Phoenix Outdoor Recreation

Unless you are a fan of sweltering summer desert temperatures, spring is the ideal time to visit. While many states are experiencing cold and snow, the daytime temperature in Phoenix ranges between 71 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit from February through April. Take a stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden in Papago Park and enjoy the blooming cacti. The 50-acre location cares for hundreds of plants that thrive in the Arizona region. The park also features a number of hiking trails and picnic spots among the unique red rock buttes. Anglers may enjoy the seven acres of lagoons that are popular fishing destinations for young and old alike. Golfers will also enjoy spending time on the Papago Golf Course.

Hikers have no shortage of options when exploring the Cholla and Echo Canyon trails of Camelback Mountain. The frequented destination provides the challenge of gaining 1,200 feet in elevation. South Mountain Park and Preserve covers 16,000 square acres and has approximately 50 miles of trails for hiking, cycling or horseback riding. The Hidden Valley, Holbert and Telegraph trails are easy to navigate and provide the chance to see ancient petroglyphs. Go kayaking down the Salt River or camping at the Seven Springs Recreation area in the Tonto National Forest.

Phoenix Museums

The Heard Museum provides a glimpse into the history, culture and traditions of the area’s 22 Native American tribes. Indoor exhibits include basketwork, jewelry, kachina dolls, pottery and textiles. The outdoor courtyard features traditional and contemporary Native American artworks.

The 203,000-square-foot Phoenix Art Museum houses a vast collection of Baroque, European Renaissance, Asian and American Western art. Exhibits also include contemporary and modern pieces along with fashion designs.

The Musical Instrument Museum enables visitors to see and hear the amazing sounds created by thousands of fascinating instruments from around the world. The venue also regularly hosts live concerts.

For anyone who enjoys the weird and wacky, the Mystery Castle is worth a visit. The unique home lies close to the South Mountain Park entrance and was created by Boyce Luther Gulley in 1945. The facility offers tours from October through May and was constructed at the request of his daughter. Gulley used recycled materials to build the home that features 18 rooms, 13 fireplaces along with a variety of parapets, nooks and crannies. He then furnished the eccentric home with antiques he obtained from the area.

Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo is also found in Papago Park and cares for more than 1,400 animals of domestic and exotic origin. The expansive site features the Children’s Trail, the Africa Trail, the Arizona Trail and the Tropics Trail, which are lavishly landscaped in addition to providing a home to the many species of animals that live here. Unique exhibits include the chance to ride a camel, pet stingrays and meet the animals up close in the petting zoo. The park also hosts a number of daily live animal demonstrations and shows.

Phoenix Sports

Regardless of what time of year visitors decide to visit Phoenix, there is always a sporting event taking place. Catch an Arizona Diamondbacks professional baseball game. The Phoenix Suns represent the city in the National Basketball Association. In the fall, the NFL Arizona Cardinals take to the field and the NHL Arizona Coyotes skate in the winter. The Talking Stick Resort Arena situated downtown serves as home court to the Phoenix Mercury basketball team, the Arizona Rattlers football team and the Phoenix Rising FC soccer team.

The metropolis regularly hosts other sporting events each year. NASCAR races take place in the spring and fall. The Cactus League Spring Training venue allows fans to watch their favorite professional teams prepare for the baseball season. On the college level, Phoenix hosts the Cactus Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. Golfers may also enjoy the Waste Management Phoenix Open of the PGA Tour.

Phoenix Dining Options

Italian food lovers must make a point of dining at Cibo. The venue was established in a historic early 20th-century bungalow in the downtown region. The cozy interior features brick walls, a stained-glass window and a roaring fireplace. The informal setting welcomes guests to enjoy a variety of salads, antipasto, Neapolitan-style pizza and meals created with freshly made pasta.

Bobby-Q is the place to go when in the mood for barbecue. The restaurant is famous for its steaks, fork-tender brisket, pulled pork, smoked sausage and fall-off-the-bone tender ribs. The family-friendly restaurant also features made-to-order salads and sandwiches. Groups also have the chance to order and share BBQ platters.

We hope these recommendations help make for a fun filled trip to Phoenix, Arizona. Have a favorite local activity or establishment in Phoenix that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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