Tools and Education

101 Things to Do in the Valley

Fun Things to Do in the Valley

Here are some of our favorite must-do things:

Heard Museum

Every major city, and most minor ones, have museums. The Heard Museum is unique, however, not only in the exhibits that are displayed, but the style and grace with which it displays them. I never tire of visiting the Heard Museum, with its more than 32,000 pieces of cultural and fine art. There are permanent exhibits, like the famous Barry Goldwater collection of Kachina Dolls, as well as special exhibit year-round. Some of the special annual events include the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest which is held each February, and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market each March. There's a METRO light rail station nearby.

Chase Field

Chase Field was the first baseball facility in the world to combine a retractable roof, air conditioning, and a natural turf field. Chase Field's retractable roof can be closed in less than 5 minutes, in case we get one of those rare days of inclement weather. If you are a baseball fan, a visit to this state-of-art facility will be a special treat. There are also trade show, religious events and concerts held at Chase Field. If you aren't that interested in going to a game, or when isn't scheduled when you'll be in town, you can still see it. Just go to lunch or dinner at Friday's Front Row Sports Grill. It is located in the left-field corner of the Ballpark. Friday's Front Row is open 363 days a year. If the Arizona Diamondbacks are playing that day, you have to call them to buy tickets to eat there. Fifty percent of the ticket price is credited to your food and beverage bill. Chase Field is located in downtown Phoenix. There's a METRO light rail station nearby.

Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden has one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. It is one of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. At the Desert Botanical Garden you will find 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits. Home to 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world, there is no finer place to enjoy desert beauty than the Desert Botanical Garden. The Garden is located in Papago Park in Central Phoenix.

Climb Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain

Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Peak, is part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. The elevation of Piestewa Peak is 2,608 feet; the total elevation gain for the Summit Trail is 1,190 feet. That might not sound high, but hikers of all levels can get a great workout climbing this mountain, and get a great view of the city when they get to the top. If you decide to hike the Summit Trail, though, you won't be alone. According to the City of Phoenix. it is one of the most heavily used trails in the nation with 4,000 to 10,000 hikers per week. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted on the Summit Trail. Camelback Mountain has two major trails. Neither one is especially long, but they are considered moderate to difficult hikes. Echo Canyon is the most popular, and is steeper. Cholla Trail is not as steep, but rockier.

Scottsdale Art Walk

There are more than 100 art galleries in Scottsdale. You can enjoy Scottsdale ArtWalks every Thursday evening, year-round (except on Thanksgiving) from 7 - 9 p.m. Each week, Scottsdale Gallery Association members host special exhibits - many with artist receptions - and join together for an informal come-and-go “open house” throughout the district. Casual and eclectic, it’s a great time to visit the galleries and learn about featured artists. Several times per year, the Scottsdale Gallery Association holds Special Event ArtWalks with live music along the streets and special themed events.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum brings together plants from the Earth's many and varied deserts and dry lands. Approximately 3,200 different desert plants can be found within the arboretum, and most of them can be seen along the 1.5 mile main trail. During wildflower season, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is especially beautiful, displaying all the wonderful colors of the desert. Are you a bird lover? More than 250 species of birds have been recorded at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse Rawhide has got to be the best place to take kids from back east that want to be cowboys and cowgirls. At Rawhide you can experience gunfights, stunt shows, stagecoach rides, desert train rides, enjoy the petting ranch, bull riding, gold panning, camel rides, see a working blacksmith, shop in western shops, play games, and go horseback riding. Many of the activities at Rawhide require an admission fee of between $2 and $5. There are also plenty of holiday western-themed events here. Of course, you could just go to Rawhide for the dinner and show, and leave the kids at home.

Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo is one of the younger zoos in the country. Not only is it a successful zoo, but it is a privately owned, nonprofit zoo. That means that it operates strictly without any government funding. The Phoenix Zoo is totally supported by donors and private organizations. Recognizing the important role that zoos must play, the Phoenix Zoo has been very active in wildlife conservation programs. The Phoenix Zoo is open every single day of the year, including December 25th. In the summer it is advisable to get there as early as possible, since many animals head for shade and hide during the heat of the day.

Drive Apache Trail

The Apache Trail will be one of the most memorable drives you'll ever take. Your adventure will begin in Apache Junction, about 25 miles east of downtown Phoenix. The 46 miles between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Lake provides not only the most scenic part of the trip but also the most challenging driving. Please don't close your eyes! Along the way, you'll pass (or you can stop) at the Lost Dutchman State Park, Goldfield Ghost Town, Saguaro Lake, the Canyon Lake Recreation Area, the Theodore Roosevelt Dam site, and the Tonto National Monument. The Apache Trail has been designated a USFS Scenic Byway by the U.S. Forest Service, as well as an Arizona Scenic Historic Byway. It's a great day trip! Seriously -- if you are a nervous driver or passenger, this drive might not be for you.

South Mountain Park

At over 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park and Preserve often is considered the largest municipal park in the country. There are more than 50 miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. Dobbins Lookout, at 2,330 feet, is the highest point in the park accessible by trail. If you aren't into hiking, biking or riding, you can simply drive to Dobbins Point to get a fantastic view of the Valley of the Sun. It's just over 5 miles from Central Avenue to Dobbins Lookout.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

A few miles northeast of Scottsdale, Arizona there is a living memorial to a great American architect. Nestled in the foothills of the rugged McDowell Mountains and surrounded by the spectacular Sonoran Desert lays a sprawling complex called Taliesin West. It was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Taliesin West today houses The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, The Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Foundation, and The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. To get the full impact and understanding of the project and the man, I recommend you take one of the tours.

Whether you are traveling to the Phoenix area for a vacation, relocating to Arizona, or are a native of Arizona and are just looking for something new to do this weekend, we hope you enjoy the list of 101 Things to Do in the Phoenix, Arizona Area:

AMC (Movie) Theatres (Teleticket): 602-956-4262

U.S. Airways Center: 602-379-7800

Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce: 480-982-3141

Arizona Cardinals: 602-379-0102

Arizona Center: 602-949-4353

Arizona Diamondbacks: 602-514-8400

Arizona Hall of Fame Museum: 602-255-2110

Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park: 480-929-0292

Arizona Mills Mall: 480-491-9700

Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum: 602-255-3791

Arizona Office of Tourism: 800-842-8257

Arizona Opera: 602-266-7464

Arizona Rattlers: 602-514-8300

Arizona Salt River Tubing: 602-271-4000

Arizona Science Center: 602-716-2000

Arizona State Fairground: 602-252-6771

Arizona State Parks: 520-542-4174

Arizona State University Art Museum: 480-956-2787

Arizona Theatre Company: 602-256-6899

Arrowhead Towne Center: 623-979-7575

Arizona State University Sun Devils: 480-965-2381

Ballet Arizona: 602-381-0184

Bartlett Reservoir: 480-981-8911

Biltmore Fashion Park: 602-955-8400

Black Theatre Troupe: 602-258-8128

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: 520-689-2811

Celebrity Theatre: 602-267-1600

Champlin Fighter Aircraft Museum: 480-830-4540

Chandler Center for the Arts: 480-782-2680

Chase Field: 602-514-8400

Childsplay: 480-350-8101

Cliff Castle Casino: 520-567-3753

Cricket Pavilion: 602-254-7200

Department of Game & Fish: 602-942-3000

Desert Botanical Garden: 480-941-1225

Dodge Theatre: 602-379-2800

Fiesta Bowl: 480-350-0900

Fiesta Mall: 480-833-4121

Firebird International Raceway: 602-268-0200

First Fridays: 602-256-7539

Fort McDowell Gaming Center: 602-837-4797

Fountain Hills Community Theatre: 480-837-9661

Gila River Casino: 602-796-5100

Gilbert Parks & Recreation: 480-503-6200

Glendale Parks & Recreation: 623-930-2820

Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium: 480-965-3434

Harkins Theatres: 602-222-4275

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino: 602-802-5119

Heard Museum: 602-252-8848

Herberger Theatre Center: 602-254-7399

Historic Downtown Glendale: 623-435-0556

Historic Heritage Square: 602-262-5071

Historic Old Town Scottsdale: 480-945-4499

IMAX Theatres: 480-945-4629 Arena: 623-772-3200

Lake Pleasant: 623-780-9875

Manzanita Speedway: 602-276-7575

Maricopa County Parks & Recreation: 602-506-2930

Marquee Theatre & Luckyman Concerts: 480-829-0607

Mazatzal Hotel & Casino: 800-777-7523

Mesa Parks & Recreation: 480-644-2351

Metrocenter Mall: 602-997-2641

Orpheum Theatre: 602-252-9678

Out of Africa Wildlife Park: 928-567-2840

Paradise Valley Mall: 602-953-2959

Phoenix Art Museum: 602-257-1222

Phoenix Coyotes: 480-473-5600

Phoenix Greyhound Park: 602-273-7181

Phoenix International Raceway: 602-252-3833

Phoenix Mercury: 602-252-9622

Phoenix Museum of History: 602-253-2734

Phoenix Parks & Recreation: 602-262-6862

Phoenix Suns: 602-379-7900

Phoenix Symphony Hall: 602-262-7272

Phoenix Zoo: 602-273-1341

Prime Outlets at New River: 623-465-9500

Rawhide Wild West Town: 480-502-1880

Red River Music Hall: 480-829-6779

Roosevelt Lake: 520-467-2245

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts: 480-994-2787

Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall: 480-941-2140

Scottsdale Historical Museum: 480-945-4499

Scottsdale Parks & Recreation: 480-312-2722

Sedona-Oak Creek Chamber of Commerce: 800-288-7336

Sun Devil Stadium: 480-965-2381

Superstition Springs Center Mall: 480-396-2570

Tempe Center for the Arts: 480-350-2822

Tempe Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre: 480-921-9877

Tempe Parks & Recreation: 480-350-5200

The Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar: 480-557-5595

The Borgata of Scottsdale: 480-998-1822

Third Street Theatre: 602-262-4627

Tournament Players Club Scottsdale: 480-585-4334

Tucson Convention & Visitor’s Bureau: 520-624-1817

Turf Paradise Race Course: 602-942-1101

U.S. National Park Service: 520-640-5250

Valley Youth Theatre: 602-253-8188

Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce: 520-684-5479

Wigwam Outlet Stores: 623-935-9733

Wildlife World Zoo: 623-935-9453

Wrigley Mansion: 602-955-4079