Phoenix Visitor Guide 2023: Everything you need to know
Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is aptly named. In only 50 years, the city swelled from a small town of a few thousand people to a metropolis with a population of over 1.5 million. Now, it's the fifth most populous city in the entire United States. And as a big city, Phoenix has all the amenities and attractions you would expect. Fine dining. Cultural institutions. Tons of fun activities. Whatever you're looking for, chances are good you'll find it here.
But Phoenix is also a city that embraces the outdoors. Arizona's arid climate means the desert is never far away, and the stark beauty of the landscape draws millions of visitors to the state every year. After all, Phoenix is the nearest major city to the Grand Canyon. And with virtually limitless sunshine, Phoenix is a city that invites visitors to get out and explore. So drop off your bags at a Phoenix suitcase storage service and see the place for yourself.
A weekend in Phoenix
A couple of days in Phoenix will only scratch the surface of all there is to do in the city. If all you have is a weekend, it may be better to think of it as a kind of taste of what the city has to offer. Still, you should be able to get to some of the most impressive attractions the city has to offer.
- Experience the desert at Camelback Mountain. This peak rises above the city and provides incredible views over Phoenix - if you’re fit enough to make it to the top. The mountain trails lead through groves of mesquite and cactus, and the area is also home to many species of desert wildlife.
- Visit one of the country's best museums of indigenous art at the Heard Museum. Founded in 1929, the museum is famous for its collection of Native American artifacts and art and provides excellent insight into the native culture of the area.
- Play a round on one of the approximately 200 golf courses in the Phoenix area. Almost every day in the city is a sunny one, making it the ideal place for golfing. Courses range from simple and basic to famous resorts where celebrities and presidents play, so you're bound to find one for you.
As a city that embraces the outdoors, Phoenix guarantees you will be doing plenty of walking. Make things easier on yourself – drop off your heavy bags at a luggage storage service in Phoenix so you're not carrying more than you need to. Explore both city and desert in comfort while your belongings are safely looked after.
Off the beaten path in Phoenix
With 19 million visitors descending on Phoenix every year, it may seem you're doomed to big crowds. But that's not necessarily true. As popular as Phoenix is, you can still find some lesser-known attractions in the sunny city.
- Ponder the story behind the Mystery Castle. This striking mansion was built over 15 years by an eccentric man with a mysterious past. Fashioned from stone, adobe, and even salvaged automobile parts, the building is truly unique. Guided tours will immerse you in the mystery behind this unusual structure.
- See a stunning natural phenomenon inside the city at the Phoenix Batcave. This is not really a cave at all, but is actually a flood control tunnel. That makes no difference to the 20,000 Mexican free-tailed bats that call it home during the summer. Visit at dusk to see the incredible spectacle of tens of thousands of bats leaving the cave and taking to the sky.
- Step back in time at MacAlpine soda fountain. This restaurant was first opened in 1938, and hasn’t changed much over the years. The soda fountain, the malt machine, and the vintage counter are all original. Play some rock ‘n’ roll on one of the jukeboxes and immerse yourself in the pastimes of a bygone era.
What to do alone in Phoenix
With so much to keep you occupied, Phoenix is a great city to explore by yourself. But whether you come to the city for vacation or for business, you'll find plenty to do and see. Drop off your heavy bags at a luggage locker in Phoenix and enjoy what the city offers on a solo trip.
- Arizona looks like the kind of place you can imagine dinosaurs roaming, so it's no surprise to find that the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Phoenix has an impressive collection of these prehistoric animals. There are also displays on all the animals that currently call Arizona home, and exhibits about the native cultures of the area.
- Papago Park is one of the city's top recreation areas, containing golf courses, hiking trails, fishing ponds, and sandstone formations. Check out Hole In The Rock, a sandstone hill riddled with caves, for some incredible photo opportunities.
- Phoenix claims to be home to the best Mexican restaurant in the United States. Whether that’s true or not, it’s a testament to the thriving culinary scene in Arizona’s capital. Explore some of the best places to eat in Phoenix on a food tour, where you can meet other travelers and sample what Phoenix has to offer.
The best souvenirs in Phoenix
What could be more Arizona than some prickly pear cactus candy? Or perhaps a cactus-shaped golf tee is more your style. You can pick up these and other Arizona souvenirs at Sibleys. Alternatively, you can get some real desert plants at the Desert Botanical Garden gift shop. Of course, Phoenix is very much a Western city, and you can pick up all kinds of cowboy-themed items at Rawhide Western Town, where you can even have your photo taken in 1880s style. And if you're looking for something more modern, Arizona's many sports arenas sell merchandise relating to the city's famous sports franchises such as the Arizona Cardinals and the Phoenix Suns.