Things To Do In Phoenix | A Travel Guide
Things To Do – Overview
Phoenix is the capital of the State of Arizona and also the sixth most populous city in the country. It was incorporated as a city in the year 1881. It has a very interesting history which is visible in the architecture of the late 19th century buildings in the city. It has grown a lot over the years and currently has a population of over 1.4 million.
Most of the people reach Phoenix from the Sky Harbor International airport, which is one of the busiest airports in the country. It serves approximately 40 million people every year. The air connectivity is good as Sky Harbor airport connects directly to more than 100 cities.
Phoenix enjoys sunshine for over 300 days in the year and this warm weather has led to development of numerous resorts around the city. There are also a huge number of golf courses in and around the Phoenix area. The tourist industry is one of the top industries in Phoenix and it consistently ranks among the top tourist destinations which has the highest number of five-star resorts.
However, there is lot more to Phoenix than just golf courses and sunny weather. It has emerged as one of the most modern and exciting cities in the southwest USA.
Phoenix is not complete without its suburbs. Scottsdale is the most famous suburb of Phoenix. The nightlife scene in Scottsdale is amazing. There is also Tempe in the East. Tempe is known for the Arizona State University which happens to be the largest public university in the country. The student population has also led to a growth of bars, shopping areas and restaurants in this area.
Even though most of the new development is taking place in the suburbs of Phoenix, the downtown Phoenix is still growing. There are a lot of new bars, hotels, shopping venues and nightlife venues being built in the downturn area. The downtown area also houses a lot of theatres. There are a lot of new coffee houses and jazz clubs and a lot of food trucks in the downtown area.
The downtown is full of museums and other cultural attractions. These museums and other cultural attractions have been made more accessible with the start of the Metro light rail transit line in the year 2008. The rail transit line also brings the sports fans into the stadiums from the suburbs, whenever the local Diamondbacks team is playing.
The hot summer months have also led to some innovative business initiatives. There are some courses which offer moonlight golf which is played with a glowing ball under lights. There is also an adventure tour operated by Desert Wolf Tour which lets you drive the Tomcar in the desert at night with LED lights. The night vision makes the drive a fun filled adventure.
The natural attractions in and around Phoenix make the area worth exploring. There is scope for a lot of outdoor activities in the desert area. The Salt river provides excellent venue for river rafting in addition to quite tubing at some places. The Camelback Mountain is the most recognizable natural landmark in Phoenix. There are a lot of trails on Camelback Mountain and it is a very popular rock climbing spot and hiking spot for the locals as well as tourists.
There are close to 200 golf courses in and around Phoenix. Some of the golf courses are famous all over the country and people arrive from all over the country to play golf at one of the venues. Due to such huge number of golf courses, there is a wide variety in terms of design. Phoenix is also known as Heaven for golf lovers.
In terms of choices for shopping and dining, Phoenix is not behind any other city in the country. There is a very large flea market in Phoenix where one can buy almost anything from hundreds of vendors. There are also many shopping malls which house almost all of the top fashion brands in the world. So, whether you are looking for something trendy and upscale or a cheap souvenir to take back home, you won’t be disappointed by the choices available in Phoenix.
As far as sightseeing and nightlife scene is concerned, there are plenty of places to enjoy an evening in Phoenix. There are a lot of museums here, some of which are unique to Phoenix. The Musical Instruments Museum is one of its kind in the whole country. There are a wide range of nightclubs and bars in downtown Phoenix as well as in the suburbs and you can find trendy, young and affluent crowd to mingle with.
In the upcoming sections, there is a whole section devoted to the best nightclubs in Phoenix.
When it comes to outdoor activities, nothing can beat the vast deserts of Phoenix. There are many options such as hot air balloons and para gliding available in the desert. However, the real fun is in having an guided ATV tour adventure in the desert with an experienced guide.
The Desert Wolf Tour offers a few types of ATV tours which can make your experience unique. The thrill of driving a powerful Tomcar military-grade ATV in the night in the desert is nothing less than amazing. The BOOM! Shooting Adventure has no competition all over the country. You just cannot get this experience anywhere else. The Desert Wolf Tour starts from RoadRunner Restaurant and Saloon in New River, AZ. More details on this adventure tour are available in the next section.
This guide is divided into six further sections for easy reading. In the next section, you will get to know the best outdoor activities to do in Phoenix. This guide also has a section on the best golf courses in Phoenix. The Shopping and Dining sections list various venues which offer the most upscale as well as the most value for money products and food respectively. The Sightseeing and Nightlife section lists the various must see and hip places in Phoenix respectively.
This is a complete guide to Phoenix. Keep it handy whenever you plan your visit to Phoenix.
Let The Adventure Begin!
Things to Do – Outdoor Activities
Phoenix has a lot to offer when it comes to outdoor activities. The area is surrounded by mountains and the desert and three digit temperatures are not uncommon in the summer months. When you head out in
summer, drink a lot of water and always keep yourself hydrated. Also,
apply copious amount of sunscreen. Do not leave your hotel/house without hat and sunglasses.
Humidity can be low in summer months and high temperature coupled with dehydration can raise your body temperature very quickly. A good rule of thumb is to carry one liter water for each hour of outside activity. If possible, enjoy the outdoor activities in early morning or after sunset. There are some parks which offer guided moonlight hikes and golf games after the sunset.
Desert Botanical Garden
Desert botanical Garden is one of the most well known attractions in Phoenix. Spread over 50 acres, this garden is home to over 21,000 plants and has been in operation since the year 1939. There are six major trails to enjoy here. There is the main trail aka Desert discovery which has desert plants from all around the world. The desert wildflower trail has colorful desert wildflowers, hummingbirds and bees. There is also a herb garden. The kids love the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Butterfly Pavilion where there are hundreds of North American butterflies. Guided tours are also available for the botanical garden.
Adjacent to the Desert botanical Garden is the zoo. If you are going to the botanical garden, it is recommended to do the zoo also at the same time. In the summers, both the botanical garden and the zoo are open for members from 7 AM.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Do you want to fly? Literally!
Well, how about flying in a hot air balloon. Rainbow Riders is one of the most well known hot air balloon operator in Phoenix. They offer sunset balloon flight, sunrise hot air balloon ride and private balloon ride from various launch pads in the desert. They have also been voted one of the top 5 places to propose in the world. If paragliding gives you goose bumps, you can indulge in this adrenaline pumping hobby on the South Mountain Park.
South Mountain Park
The South Mountain Park is the biggest urban park in the country. It covers an area of approximately 16,000 acres. In the mountain park, you have the option to choose from over 60 miles of trails to cover. If you feel like floating in water, summer months are perfect for tubing in Salt River. You can rent the float, sit back and relax as current takes you down the river.
White Water Rafting & Horseback Riding
You also have the option of the river rafting in the wild Verde River. There is a 60 mile section in the 200 mile long river, perfect for river rafting. There are also a number of horse ranches around Phoenix which offer full some cowboy experience to guests.
The most enjoyable space around Phoenix is its vast desert. And, one of the ways to get out and export the amazing Sonoran desert is to rent a quad or a side by side ATV. There are numerous companies that offer
ATV rentals in Phoenix. This can be a lot of fun. But, it can also be dangerous for those that overestimate their off-road driving abilities. The desert has some amazing trails and terrain. But, it’s also a very challenging off-road environment. You not only have to navigate your own ATV rental vehicle. You have to watch out for other ATV rental vehicles. Many trails are narrow and you never know when someone else will be coming at you in their ATV rental. And, the ATV trails can start to look alike. Many an ATV enthusiast has become disoriented and lost in the desert. Another thing to be aware of is that ATV rental insurance in Phoenix is expensive. And, it usually carries a big deductible along with it. You will be financially responsible for your Phoenix ATV rental, so be sure to drive carefully.
ATV Guided Tours
Many visitors find that there is no better way to enjoy the desert than having a guided tour in a military-grade ATV with some local folks who know the trails, history and culture of the desert. It carries all the off-road fun that Phoenix has to offer, but you have your own experienced guide to ensure everything goes as planned!
Imagine you sitting in a military vehicle such as a Tomcar and driving through the Sonoran desert. Your drive takes you through the river crossings, Indian ruins, freshwater oasis and many other such attractions in the desert.
Desert Wolf Tours makes it possible. Desert Wolf Tours offer a wide variety of adventure tours. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that it has been awarded 5 star service certificate of excellent for the past 6 years continuously and it has been inducted into the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame. It has also been awarded the best off property excursion in the world by TravelGolf.com. It has also been featured on The Golf Channel as one of the best things to do in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
The 3.5 hour long Tomcar Driving Adventure starts at 8:30 am and 2:00 pm on a daily basis. You get to drive the Tomcar which is military-grade all terrain vehicle (ATV). Driving such a powerful beast is an experience to remember. You will be accompanied by a trained tour guide who is well aware of the local trails and all the other attractions in the desert.
Want to get your adrenaline pumped? Get on the Tomcar “Scorpion Hunt” Sunset adventure. The Tomcar Sunset adventure is the only night time self-drive desert atv adventure available in the Phoenix area. Experience the thrill of driving the powerful Tomcar in the desert with brilliant LED lights on the vehicle. This is an experience you will never forget. Since temperature drops by around 20 to 30 degrees in the night, this adventure is very comfortable and very exciting. They offer this Sunset adventure only from June through September.
Shooting in the Arizona Desert
Do you like to shoot sniper rifles and blow things up? This is your chance.
The Desert Wolf Tours also organizes a BOOM! Shooting Adventure where you get to fire sniper rifles under the supervision of NRA certified firearms instructors who accompany you to the desert shooting range. You get to fire numerous rounds through each of the rifles in situations mimicking real life. You also learn how to safely mix your own explosive and then blow it up by shooting it. The duration of the BOOM! Adventure is approximately 1.5 hours and anyone above 8 years is welcome to join the adventure.
These Desert Wolf guys also offer group adventures. One of the more popular group adventures is the GPS treasure hunt where the purpose of the team is to find out the hidden treasures with the help of GPS. The hunt is done in a Tomcar and is an excellent group adventure experience.
You can book any of the above adventures from their website at http://www.desertwolftours.com. You can also call at 877-613-9653 to book an adventure tour.
Things to Do – Golf, Golf and More Golf
There are approximately 200 golf courses in the greater Phoenix area. When you look down from the window of your plane landing on the Sky Harbor international airport, you will find golf courses after golf courses on the western fringes of the city. Most of the golf courses are just 10 to 20 minutes drive away from the Sky Harbor airport.
Abundant sunshine throughout the year makes playing golf in the beautiful Sonoran desert an experience in itself. People also book special holidays just to play golf at one of the many famous golf courses in and around Phoenix.
Phoenix has a golf course to suit every pocket. There is Troon North Golf Club which has two courses and it charges a per day fee of $240 in the peak winter months and there is Karsten Golf Course which costs less than $70 on a weekday for a full day of golf. The rates are highest in the winters and go down in the summers. One can enjoy a full day of golf at the above mentioned Troon North Golf Club for just $75 in summers; the only thing to worry is the three digit temperature in daytime in summer months.
If you like resort courses, Phoenix has plenty of them. The Phoenician has three nine hole layouts and the Adobe course at Arizona Biltmore is tailor made for someone who like an easy layout to enjoy their game.
If you are stuck in downtown Phoenix, there are plenty of golf courses available there too. There is the Encanto Park golf course which is just 3 miles away from the convention center area. If you want a really good golf course, you can drive down to the Raven at South Mountain, which is only 15 minutes away from the convention center area. There are many other golf courses such as Papago golf course and Arizona grand golf course nearby.
So, you do not need to leave downtown just for playing golf. However, there are many other attractions for which you should definitely leave downtown to experience the real desert surrounding Phoenix.
There are some golf courses here which are the first choice of avid golfers as well as many tourists who like to play at one of the famous golf course. The most popular golf courses in Phoenix include Troon North golf club, Grayhawk golf club, Camelback golf resort, Wildfire golf club, Sunridge Canyon, We-Ko-Pa and Talking Stick golf club.
The Grayhawk golf club has two courses and is famous for the experience of desert style target play golf in addition to the traditional golf. Phil Mickelson had Grayhawk as his home course for a long time. It costs approximately $200 in winters and $50 in summers for a full day of golf here.
The Camelback golf resort also has two courses. It has been recently renovated. The fees on the golf course are up to $145 in winters and start from $40 in summers. The Wildfire golf club has been designed by Arnold Palmer. It also has a second course designed by Nick Faldo. It costs from $130 in winters to $50 in summers. The Sunridge canyon golf course presents a rugged mountain layout which fits its name. The cost for a full day of golf ranges from $40-$170 in different seasons.
All of the above golf courses mentioned above cost a minimum of $130 in the winter months. But this does not mean that there are no cheaper alternatives available in the Valley of the Sun. There are a lot of golf courses where you can enjoy 18 holes of golf in winter months for less than $100. The Karsten golf course is 7,026 yards long and comes with five sets of tees. You can enjoy a full day of golf here for less than $70 on a weekday.
The Eagle Mountain golf club sits in the middle of mountains and desert valleys. In the past, this golf course has been ranked as one of the top 100 golf courses in the country. One full day of golf on this golf course will set you back by about $100. There is also the orange tree golf resort which has a length of 6,775 yards from the back tees. It costs approximately $99 on weekdays to play golf here.
There is also the Whirlwind golf club at Chandler which costs less than $100 for a full day and one can also choose to go to Wildfire golf club designed by Arnold Palmer for less than $100 for a day of golf on a weekday. There are many other golf courses available at cheaper prices in the winter months. You can check the local forums on internet to get advice from other golfers.
For the best discounts and prices, it is better to check GolfNow.com. This website has a lot of discounts for winter months. It is also recommended to check the local newspaper such as Arizona Republic for advertisements by various golf clubs in the region.
There is a lot more to explore in Phoenix than just enjoying golf in the sunshine. There is a lot of desert around Phoenix and there is nothing better than a desert tour to get an amazing once in a lifetime experience.
Desert Wolf Tours specializes in providing desert tours around Phoenix and they provide an amazing desert experience. Their tour starts at the New Rivers and they have local guides who keep updating you with the local history, culture, animals and plant life in the desert. This tour is not your normal desert tour. They use military ATVs such as a Tomcar to drive you through the desert. Anyone 18 and over may drive the ATV, provided you have a valid driving license.
Things to Do – Shopping
Phoenix is a shopper’s paradise. Whether you’re interested in high-end fashion or cheap items in a flea market, Phoenix has it all. There are a lot of shopping malls and outlet stores which carry all the big brands. There is also a special mall for antique items.
Biltmore Fashion Park
The Biltmore fashion park is where people prefer to go for high end fashion from Escada, Ralph Lauren, Macy’s, Waterworks and other high end designers. It is a treat to visit even if you are not in the mood for shopping. There are a lot of restaurants and other casual eateries in the park.
The latest addition of Union Biltmore has added 18 new boutiques to the fashion park. It is one of the oldest shopping destinations in central phoenix. This open air fashion park is loved equally by locals as well as tourists. If you are short of time and cannot visit multiple places, Biltmore Fashion Park is a place you do not want to miss.
Phoenix Premium Outlet
The Phoenix premium outlet is one of the latest additions to the growing list of high end shopping destinations in Phoenix area. This premium shopping area is just a few minutes away from the Sky Harbor international airport. It houses many national and international brands such as Armani, DKNY, Columbia sportswear, Calvin Klein and many others. You can also book guided group tours for this place.
Chandler Fashion Centre
One other main attraction of Phoenix is the Chandler Fashion Centre. This is an upscale and family friendly shopping centre which also comes with a conference room and valet parking. There are more than 180 stores in this fashion Centre. Top fashion brands such as Coldwater Creek, Abercrombie and Fitch, Harry and David, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma have a presence at the center anchored by Macy’s, Sears and Nordstrom.
When you get hungry and you will get hungry, after a whirlwind shopping tour, you can enjoy meals in a relaxed environment at the Cold Stone Creamery, McDonald’s, P.F.Changs and many other eateries nearby.
For antique lovers, there is not one but two Brass Armadillo Antique Malls in Phoenix. There is a large collection of military memorabilia and rare items from Civil War as well as World War I and World War II here. It is a nice place to visit. You can buy a lot of antique items and get to meet other collectors in the area who frequent the mall.
If you are in downtown Phoenix and do not want to drive to other places just for shopping, you can enjoy shopping at Arizona Centre. It is an open air oasis located in the heart of downtown Phoenix. This open air shopping centre has shops from specialty retailers, beautiful gardens, ponds and a lot of places to wine and dine.
One of the attractions of Phoenix is the gigantic flea market also known as America’s park and swap. This open-air flea market is spread over 50 acres and there are hundreds of vendors selling a wide variety of things. This market started in the 1960s. It is open on Wednesdays from 4 PM to 10 PM, on Fridays from 6 AM to 12 PM and on weekends from 6 AM to 4 PM. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, you will enjoy a leisurely stroll through the market.
If you’re looking for an indoor flea market, there is also the indoor swap mart. This swap mart opens from Friday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM and has over 600 booths.
Metrocentre Shopping Mall
The Metrocentre shopping mall used to be very popular in its heydays but has lost favor amongst the locals lately. Good thing is that there are still more than 100 stores in this shopping mall and they offer a lot of deals as they try to bring back shoppers to their stores. You can find Sears, JCPenney and Macy’s in this shopping mall. . It also has a food court and a theatre.
Paradise Valley Shopping Mall
One of the more popular family shopping destinations in Phoenix is the Paradise Valley shopping mall. This shopping mall is huge and it has almost every single brand you can think of. There is JCPenney, Sears, Macy’s, Dillard’s and Robinsons May amongst many other chains.
Desert Ridge Marketplace
If you are looking for a whole entertainment package in an outdoor setting, there is nothing better than the Desert Ridge marketplace. There are a lot of hotels nearby and a lot of places to shop and eat. If you like movies, there are a number of theatres in this area. It has over one million sq. feet of retail space. In terms of retailers, there is Target, Kohl’s, Old Navy and American Eagle outfitters amongst others. This place offers a unique shopping experience which should not be missed.
If you’re interested in Western Wear clothing, you will find everything at Sheplers. This place has been selling Western Wear for over 100 years and it is said that if you’re not able to find any Western Wear clothing at this place than it just does not exist. There is also Cowtown boots. They make very high quality cowboy boots and use the finest materials available. Each Cowtown boat is made by hand from start to finish.
Outlets at Anthem
If you are interested in outlet shopping, then Outlets at Anthem has everything you may need. There are stores ranging from high-end outlets to standard stores. This place has five different sections of stores and you will run out of time before you run out of an outlet to explore.
This open-air complex is located 25 miles of downtown Phoenix. Mostly known for its bargain priced merchandise, there are also more than 60 high-end brand shops in this area. You can enjoy free Wi-Fi while munching on food in the food court or playing in the playground.
For outdoor shopping, there is also Kierland commons which is frequented by people for its dancing fountains and quality ice creams.
In addition to big name chains, Phoenix also has many small boutiques which carry handpicked items from various fashion lines. Bunky Boutique and Frances are two of such boutiques which carry designs from a lot of local designers as well as hard to find national brands.
Things to Do – Dining
Phoenix is heaven for foodies. Whether you want to try Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese or the delicious local delicacies, there are a number of restaurants serving various cuisines. There are also a growing number of restaurants serving ethnic delights such as Ethiopian, Salvadoran and many others for fine dining or quick snacks. Gorgeous warm weather all year round also gives you the option of enjoying food under the stars all year long.
Matt’s Big Breakfast
When it comes to breakfast, Matt’s big breakfast is the favorite of locals as well as tourists. It is run by Matt Pool and his wife Erenia and serves excellent home style breakfast. The staff is nice and the food is beyond great. They make a great cheese omelet with ham and grilled onions. They also serve home fries cooked with rosemary and the crispy hash browns fried in butter are out of this world.
They get a lot of patrons on weekends so you need to plan well in advance. If you can’t get in on a weekend, try it on a weekday but don’t miss it, if you want an authentic Phoenix food experience.
When it comes to value meals, Phoenix has a ton of places to have your fill without breaking the bank. There is Cornish Pasty, Gallo Blanco, Mellow Mushroom and Tacos Atoyac serving delicious food at great prices. There is Maizies on Central and Camelback with specials on most weekdays. Via de Los Sanos on Central & Hatcher is a family run place which serves great Mexican food for cheap. This place also has great choices for vegetarians.
The Angel’s Trumpet in downtown Phoenix serves dinner for $10 per person on Tuesdays. This place has excellent choice of beer and awesome food. For burger lovers, the burgers from Paradise city Burger is a dream come true. They also have weekly Burger specials. If you want to have pizza with beer, you can’t go wrong with the Pizza and beer selection at Papago Brewery.
There are also a lot of options for fine dining here. One of the best fine dining restaurants is Quiessence. It can be a bit pricey at around $100 for two but you will never forget the food. There is also Sassi, Durants, Different Point of View, Compass Arizona Grill and Pane Bianco.
Pizzerria Bianco is perhaps the most well known restaurant in Phoenix. It has been featured in Oprah numerous times and is part of all the Phoenix city guides published nationally. It is located in downtown Phoenix and serves the most amazing food. Be prepared to wait for at least 2 to 3 hours before they let you in. They also have live music on weekends. Pro Tip: You can put in your name and get some drinks and appetizers nearby while you wait for them to call your name. They will keep a table for you. Do not miss it.
The Main Ingredient Ale House and Cafe is the perfect place to enjoy lunch on a lazy afternoon. They serve great salads and sandwiches.
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Chino Bandito is one of the most well known restaurants in Phoenix. There are two locations but the one on greenway and 19th avenue is the original Chino and serves great food. Their food is a fusion of Chinese and Mexican with influence of Cuba and Caribbean. Their signature dishes are Jade Red Chicken and Chile Relleno Burrito.
In the mood for Italian, the Trattoria run by Chris Bianco and his brother serves simple pastas and pizzas, which are prepared in house. The dinner has option to choose from lambs, goats and pigs rose locally. The Nobu at Teeter House in downtown Phoenix is famous for its Japanese food.
French & Swiss Cuisine
If you are in the mood for some French or Swiss cuisine, there is an amazing place on 57th Avenue and Bell called Le Chalet. They prepare great Fondue and their dessert crepe is out of this world. Looking for an ethnic cuisine, the Cafe Lalibela at 623 E Adams St is one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in Phoenix.
Asian & Mexican Food
When you are in Phoenix North, check out the Siamese Kitchen, AA Wok, Sakana and Kabuki Japanese restaurant for some Asian cuisine. For traditional Mexican food, the Los Dos Molinos is one of the best kept secrets in town.
Three Pits Again on 55th avenue and Bell Road is the place to be for BBQ lovers. Their pulled porks and hotlinks are worth dying for.
For chicken wing lovers, Long Wong is heaven. There is also Oregano and The Works Wings at JTs on 48th and Indian School. Teakwoods is another great place for chicken wings. Pullanos on Thunderbird serves amazing wings which are neither too crispy nor too soft.
Want to enjoy a great steak in Phoenix area, the Roadrunner steakhouse and saloon in New River is where you want to be headed. It is a rustic saloon which serves cold beer and great food. The Desert Wolf tour starts from here. Enjoy the perfect salmon or chicken fingers in between your Tomcar atv tour and the BOOM! Shooting Adventure.
Every city has its own signature dishes and Phoenix has them too. The wait for green chili burrito at Rito’s can stretch into hours depending on the day. It is located near the 12th street and Roosevelt and there is no sign for you to look at. But you will still be able to locate it as there will be a long line outside the place with folks dressed in full business attire waiting to get in. Rito’s only serves lunch.
Other Great Places
The family run Beaver Choice serves a fusion of Swedish, Polish and Canadian food with a lot more Swedish than Polish. The beans and cheese burrito at Casa Reynoso can’t be found anywhere else in the whole world. This place has been run by the Reynoso family since 1984.
There are also a lot of themed restaurants in Phoenix. The Lucky Strike Lanes will change your notion of bowling. Enjoy some great food at the hippest bowling alley in Phoenix. There is also The Duce in downtown Phoenix if you want to have a couple of fighting rounds with your friends while enjoying country style eats and cocktails.
The Rustler’s Rooste is meant for families. It is family owned and operated since 1971. There is a big metal slide for the kids to enjoy while you sip on your margaritas. This two story steakhouse is located in the Arizona Grand resort.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, have some gelato from The Arlecchino Gelateria. There are a variety of flavors on offer but the pistachio gelato is the one you want to have.
Want to try out new places for excellent food and drinks for cheap in phoenix, check out this website – http://hhphx.com. It lists almost all the restaurants in the region offering happy hours, their timings, their specialty and the prices.
Things to Do – Sightseeing
Though Phoenix is mostly known for its golf courses and excellent weather, there are a number of museums and other attractions here which make the trip to Phoenix a unique experience. These attractions are perfect when you want to relax after adrenaline pumping Tomcar ATV tour and the BOOM! adventure. There are a few places which are frequented by locals as well as tourists.
Arizona Science Center
Whether you have kids accompanying you or not, you will enjoy spending the afternoon in Arizona science Centre in downtown Phoenix. The Science Centre is packed with exhibitions and offers a lot of interactive activities to keep the visitors occupied. There are a lot of interactive sports, games and science experiments going on in the science centre at all times. There is also a Dorrance planetarium and a five story IMAX theatre with 200 seats. There is always some event going on in the science centre. You can get further information on events on their website.
Pro Sports – Diamondbacks and Cardinals
One other major attraction in the city of Phoenix is the Chase field and University of Phoenix Stadium. The Chase field is also known as the first baseball facility in the world to have a retractable roof and air conditioning. It takes less than 5 minutes to close the retractable roof of the Chase field. It does not matter whether you are a baseball fan or not, you will enjoy the visit to this state of the art facility.
Depending on time of the year, you may also catch a Diamondbacks game. Even if the game is not on, you can always have lunch or dinner at the front Row sports Grill which is open throughout the year. There is also the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale where the Arizona Cardinals play NFL football. Both of these places are big and any tour to Phoenix is not complete without a visit to these places.
Musical Instrument Museum
There are a lot of museums in Phoenix. However the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix is one of its kind in the whole world. There is an impressive collection of musical instruments from all over the world. Everyone, regardless of their age, will find something to enjoy in the museum. There is also a concert hall where performers from all over the world come to perform all year round.
Continuing on our museum journey, the Heard Museum in Phoenix boasts a collection of more than 32,000 pieces of fine art. There are some special exhibits going on all year round. The famous Barry Goldwater collection is a permanent exhibit at the museum. The month of February brings the world championship hope dance contest to the Heard Museum. There is Native American jewelry, sculptures, textiles, photographs and painting on display. You can also indulge in stress busting activities such as pottery, weaving and basketry in the museum. It is easy to reach the museum from the Metro light rail station nearby.
Phoenix Art Museum
If you love independent art films and live performances, then you are in for a treat at Phoenix Art Museum. There is a lot to do and see at this museum. There is a special interactive gallery for kids and a lot of photographic exhibitions. This museum has over 16,000 works of European, Asian, American, contemporary and western American Art.
Hall of Flame Fire Museum
If you want to visit more museums, there is the Hall of Flame Fire Museum in Phoenix. There are a number of exhibits here, the oldest of which dates back to the year 1725. There are almost all types of fire extinguishers and old fire engines on display. In addition to the American history of firefighting, the museum also houses exhibits from Japan and Europe.
Historic Heritage Square
The historic Heritage Square in Phoenix preserves the history of Arizona as it was in the late 19th century. There are a lot of interesting sites in the Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix. The famous Pizzeria Bianco and Nobuo at Teeter House are also just around the corner. The Arizona Science center lies next to it and there is also the Arizona doll and toy museum here. The buildings here include the Victorian Rosson House, Carriage House and Teeter House tea room.
Outside of Phoenix is the Papago Park which is a municipal park of Phoenix and Tempe. This park houses the Desert Botanical Garden. It also has the famous hole in the rock, which is a series of openings in a small hill. The holes provide a good view of the Phoenix city.
Japanese Friendship Garden
There is also a Japanese stroll garden in Phoenix which is known by the name of Japanese friendship garden of Phoenix. Its official name is Ro Ho En. You can enjoy a 12 foot waterfall, flowing streams and a Koi pond with more than 300 colorful Koi Fish. The main attraction here is the Japanese tea house which has the big Koi pond covering an area of 5/8 acres.
You can also enjoy your day in the Encanto park. This 222 acres property is a public park in central Phoenix. It houses golf courses, a boathouse, swimming pool, a lagoon and several picnic areas. It also houses the well known amusement park, Enchanted Island. This amusement park has a miniature train ride, many games and concessions.
The Phoenix Symphony is Arizona’s one and only full-time and professional orchestra. The orchestra performs classical, Campbell, family programs from the month of September through May at the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Centre. The Comerica theatre in downtown Phoenix is a 5000 seat venue for performers who do not need bigger sports stadiums. There is also the Phoenix Theatre within the same complex as Phoenix Art Museum. It is a nice place to visit when you are taking a tour of the Phoenix Art Museum.
The Phoenix zoo is an enjoyable place for kids and adults alike. It is adjacent to the Desert botanical garden and is home to the over 200 endangered birds, mammals and reptiles from around the world. Overall, this zoo houses more than 1300 animals. It is also one of the largest privately run, non-profit zoos in the country. It’s open throughout the year including Christmas. It is better to get in as early as possible in the zoo as you may not be able to see many animals during the afternoon. During summer months, the zoo opens at 6 AM for members.
Things to Do – Entertainment/Nightlife
There is no shortage of bars, nightclubs and restaurants in Phoenix. There was a time when the downtown Phoenix wore a deserted look after office hours but it is no longer true. The nightlife scene in downtown Phoenix has revived after the construction of many new bars, restaurants and nightclubs here. As discussed in the sightseeing section, Symphony Hall, Chase field and other large performing venues have events scheduled throughout the year. Scottsdale is a nightlife hot spot. Tempe also has a very busy nightlife scene.
Popular Night Spots
One of the most popular nightlife spots in downtown Phoenix is the Bar Smith. This rooftop bar has a great view of the city. Copper blues at cityscape is known for its comedy, craft beer and live music. Filmbar is an art house cinema lounge and has become one of the new favorites of the local crowd in downtown Phoenix.
The Gypsy Bar is a sprawling nightclub in downtown Phoenix with over 10,000 ft.² of area to drink, meet, roam and be happy. The island bar at this place is surrounded by plush lounge sofa sectionals on three sides where the bartenders serve handcrafted specialty cocktails. The dance floor also comes with confetti cannons, neon lights and CO2 blasts. There are also live go go dancers. If you are in the mood for a videogame, there is a game lounge with more than 40 arcade games. The casual upscale dance club atmosphere makes this nightclub one of the favorites of locals and tourists alike. You will always find lively crowd here.
The Copper Blues nightclub is located at the cityscape entertainment and shopping complex in downtown Phoenix. The popular comedy club, Stand-up Live, is adjacent to this part club, part restaurant and part bar. There is a full bar with 60 seats and also a patio bar which overlooks the downtown lights. The locals here frequent this bar to grab a beer from the local breweries in Arizona. It is a nice place to meet new people and relax after a hard day.
The Bar Smith nightclub in downtown Phoenix has a relatively small but very busy dance floor. It is just few steps away from Chase Field and US Airways Centre. There are swanky couches and a very friendly bar staff. This is also a rooftop bar which provides excellent views of the city.
The Crescent ball room is one of the latest additions to the list of hot spots in Phoenix. It also has a concert venue in addition to a bar and gourmet kitchen. The ballroom hosts some of the top performers from all over the country and it is known as one of the most exciting music venues in Phoenix. You will always find excellent crowd here.
The Sidebar in downtown Phoenix is a casual upscale lounge famous for it’s over 40 different types of wines and more than 45 types of beer. There are numerous handcrafted cocktails in the menu. Remember, there is no kitchen here but you can order food from one of the eateries downstairs.
If you like to enjoy your sports in a bar with a drink or two, you have a lot of options in Phoenix. One of the better known sports bar in Phoenix is the Majerle’s Sports Grill. It serves hamburgers and hot dogs late in the night. The 22″ HD TVs attract the sports fanatics to this place.
Another famous sports bar here is Alice Cooperstown, famous for being owned by the rock legend Alice Cooper, who is a Phoenix native. The menu has a bit of everything. There is live music and sports lovers can catch their favorite games on one of the many plasma TVs.
When it comes to locally brewed beers, Phoenix is not behind any other city in the country. The most well-known place for high quality beer is the Papago Brewery. They also serve great pizza; some say the best pizza in the town. The staff is very knowledgeable about beer. Another well kept local secret is The Vine, also known as the El Veen-ay. It is a sports bar with cheap bear and amazing chicken wings. The Wednesday nights here are always crowded.
In Central Phoenix, there is Hazelwood bar. The specialty of this bar is the metal strip running through the bar which keeps your beer cold at all times. Another well known bar in central Phoenix is The Rosie McCaffrey. It has great atmosphere and awesome drinks. The food is also good. There are also The Rose & Crown, The Lost Leaf and Angels Trumpet Ale House.
If you are a jazz lover, you are in for a treat. The Nash is a live music venue and the only live music venue dedicated to jazz in Phoenix. This is a BYOB place, so you bring whatever you like to enjoy the music. This venue is owned and operated by a nonprofit that is committed to raise the profile of jazz music in Phoenix. So, enjoy the music, drink some beer and help revive jazz, all at the same time. There is no other place on earth which lets you do that.
Char’s Has the Blues is a live music venue known for it’s good music. The food is basic and not much to talk about but music lovers and couples love to come here to enjoy the live music and shake the body on the dance floor.
There are also a lot of dive bars in Phoenix. One of the more interesting sports bar is the Monkey Pants. The interesting thing is that it has a deal which is called the one dollar shirtless shot at 1 AM. So, whoever takes off their shirt, male or female, at 1 AM, gets a shot for one dollar. If you are looking for an old West experience, the Dirtwater Springs is the right dive bar for you. There is cheap beer and delicious chicken fried steak on the menu. They serve fish fry on Friday.
The Roadrunner Restaurant and Saloon in New River, AZ organizes weekly events such as Live bull riding and karaoke. You can also practice bull riding after your Tomcar ATV sunset adventure tour. They serve cold beer and great tasting food which refreshes you after an adrenaline pumping bull ride.