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Best things to do in Phoenix

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Where in the world: USA  /  Arizona  /  Phoenix & Central Arizona  /  Phoenix
Things to do in Phoenix range from hot air balloon rides over the desert to practicing your swing at one of the area's many golf courses. Recognized as a "Phoenix Point of Pride," Heard Museum is a good place to explore the history of the city. Housing over 15,000 musical instruments--including those played by music icons like John Lennon and Elvis Presley--Musical Instrument Museum is a must for music lovers. When traveling with kids, include strolling around Desert Botanical Garden or trekking the themed trails at Phoenix Zoo in your itinerary.

Phoenix is best known for its Gardens, Specialty Museums, and Art Museums.

Top 15 things to do in Phoenix

1. Off-Road Tours

Suggested duration: 3 hours
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2. Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden covers an area of 57 hectares (140 acres) and shelters more than 21,000 plants, including 139 rare and endangered species. Nearly a third of the garden's plant collection is native to this desert area, especially noted for its richness in agave and cacti species. The garden protects vegetation from less extreme climates under its "shadehouses," which contain vast collections of Australian, South American, and Californian plants. As you walk through the garden, try to spot the differences between the mesquite bosque, semi-desert grassland, and upland chaparral ecosystems. Check online for current events and special exhibits, and choose a guided tour suitable to your interests and time constraints.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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3. Musical Instrument Museum

The largest museum of its type in the world, Musical Instrument Museum has a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects, and displays around 6,000 at a time. You can see instruments collected from almost 200 countries, and witness many being played in their original context via high-resolution videos. The artist gallery is home to instruments played by world-famous music icons, including John Lennon, Elvis Presley, and Taylor Swift. You can experiment with a wide array of instruments in the experience gallery, such as a harp or piano. Grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafe, which serves dishes made from fresh, local ingredients.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. Balloon Rides

Absorb the panoramic views of Arizona' landscape from a bird's-eye perspective as your hot air balloon floats like a cloud above Phoenix. Your helpful pilot will draw your attention to important landmarks and geological features, as well as share some interesting facts about the area's wildlife. Depending on the chosen route, you will get to see populations of cacti, verdant hills and river valleys, magnificent rock formations, and oddly shaped mountains resembling the back of a camel. Takeoffs are scheduled at either sunset or sunrise to ensure optimal viewing conditions.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Horseback Riding Tours

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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7. Arizona Scenic Tours - Day Tours

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Off-Road Tours, Scottsdale

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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9. Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, Scottsdale

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) offers a home for life in our accredited wildlife sanctuary, the largest sanctuary for animals native to the southwest in the United States. SWCC is the only sanctuary in Arizona capable of caring for large mammals such as black bears, mountain lions, and Mexican gray wolves. As an accredited sanctuary, SWCC must operate under strict and rigorous guidelines with respect to animal management and care.

SWCC is funded through donations and grants and we appreciate on the hard work of countless volunteers.

Policy Regarding Comments on SWCC’s Facebook Page:

SWCC welcomes open dialogue on our Facebook page, and respectful interaction is encouraged. However, any inappropriate, inaccurate, profane or disrespectful dialogue will be removed. SWCC maintains that any dialogue on its Facebook page is the opinion of the writer and not necessarily that of SWCC, its employees or board of directors.

Please also note: Anyone who bullies other people on our page will be deleted and banned. This Facebook page is our own personal page and the laws of "free speech" do not apply to a personal Facebook page, despite so many who think they can post and say anything they want to and we have to leave it. That is NOT the case. They get deleted and banned without explanation.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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10. Helicopter Tours

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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11. Old Town Scottsdale, Scottsdale

Get your fix of shopping, food, nightlife, and culture with an Old West feel at Old Town Scottsdale. This historical, bustling district is home to some of the city's oldest buildings, with several over 100 years old. Avid shoppers should make a beeline for the area's popular boutiques. Many sell typical Western clothes and trinkets, as well as Native American crafts. Many of Old Town's art galleries feature a cowboy theme. Dining options include Mexican, Japanese, and American fare.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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12. Phoenix Zoo

With over 1,400 animals and 4 km (2.5 mi) of trails, Phoenix Zoo is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. Since it opened in 1962, the zoo has prided itself on its commitment to conservation and is beloved for its four themed trails. Explore the Arizona Trail, Africa Trail, Tropics Trail, and Discovery/Children’s Trail to experience the various wildlife associated with each theme. This zoo offers a number of animal encounters, such as Monkey Village, along with a water play area for children and an adventure area called Enchanted Forest, complete with its own tree house.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Red Rock Scenic Byway (SR 179), Village of Oak Creek

Designated as Arizona's first All-American Road, Red Rock Scenic Byway (SR 179) runs through Red Rock Country. Along the road, you'll be dwarfed by the ancient red rocks that tower overhead. You'll also drive through pine forests in the Coconino National Forest. The byway is less than 16 km (10 mi), but multiple scenic pull-off points along the way make it worth taking your time. Visit the Forest Visitor Center for maps of hiking and biking trails that cut through the area.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. South Mountain Park

Preserved in its natural mountainous state with native desert vegetation, South Mountain Park represents the largest municipal park in America. The park offers 82 km (51 mi) of primary trails for cycling, hiking, and horseback riding. Head to Dobbins Lookout, 9 km (5.5 mi) from the park's main entrance to see desert vistas and views of the valley. The park is home to a wide range of impressive plant and animal life; watch for chuckwalla, a large-bodied lizard. There are an average of 65 of them per 1 hectare (2 acre) in the park. You can visit the Environmental Education Center for trail maps and hiking advice. A small museum housed inside the center also gives information on the Sonoran Desert and its ecosystems.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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