Things to Do in Arizona - page 4
From national monuments to parks and historical sites, the Navajo Nation—a United States Indian Reservation—rewards visitors with one a kind scenery and history.
A variety of outdoor activities are available, from hiking to horseback riding, fishing and camping. Tours are offered to teach visitors about Navajo culture and history. There are also more than half a dozen museums.
You can easily spend more than just a day. Along with hotels, a bed and breakfast, camping and RV facilities you can also stay in a traditional eight sided one room home called a Hogan. It’s considered a sacred dwelling and furnishings are sparse. There’s no electricity, running water or flush toilet, so it’s not for everyone, but it is a one-of-a-kind authentic Navajo experience.
Make your way to Phoenix’s Papago Park to find one of the largest and most unique collections of desert plant life in the world. Stretching over 140 acres (57 hectares), the Desert Botanical Garden is home to hundreds of rare and endangered plant species from around the globe.
Mystery Castle is located in South Phoenix, in the foothills of South Mountain Park. Boyce Luther Gulley, who moved to the southwest to treat his tuberculosis, built the castle in the 1930s for his daughter, Mary Lou. Today, it is considered a Phoenix Point of Pride, one of 33 attractions representing the best of Phoenix.
Phoenix Zoo was founded by Robert E. Maytag (yes, like the appliances!) in 1962 and is the largest non-profit zoo in the United States. It is considered a "Phoenix Point of Pride," one of 33 attractions that are supposed to represent the best of the city. The zoo stretches over 125 acres (50.6 hectares) and displays over 1,300 animals. It is divided up into four walking trails: Africa, the Tropics, Arizona and Discovery. The 2.5 mi (4 km) connected trail is easy to walk and offers numerous exhibits along the way. In addition to standard zoo animals, such as zebras, elephants, and giraffes, the Phoenix Zoo features Stingray Bay, a guided Safari Train, carousel, petting zoo, and camel rides.
The zoo focuses on animal preservation and youth education, hosting numerous community events to help encourage, educate, and inspire. The Discovery trail is specifically designed for children, featuring elaborate play areas. Youth Camps and other programs are hosted regularly as well as numerous private events such as concerts and even weddings.
Views like those from Toroweap Point in the North Rim are a big part of what draws travelers from around the globe to the Grand Canyon. The vantage point here is 3000 feet above the Colorado River and sheer red cliffs look out over incredible canyon views, ancient lava flows and vast open skies. Though a popular spot for photos, hiking and picnics visitors often find themselves alone atop this awesome and remote destination. That’s partly because these spectacular panoramas come with some difficulty. Toroweap is accessible by car, but the rustic a nature of this incredible overlook means roadways are typically primitive and can be rather demanding for a novice to navigate.
One of the most remote hotels in the Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch serves as a rustic, idyllic respite adventures who visit the bottom of the canyon. Even getting here is one of the purest ways to experience the canyon: the ranch is only accessible by floating down the Colorado River, by hiking, or by riding a mule.
Phantom Ranch offers nine, simple, stone-walled cabins, all of them air conditioned. This is truly Canyon living: the inside of each cabin as a concrete floor, desk, a toilet, sink, and bunk beds. Outside the cabins, picnic tables sit under cottonwood trees. It’s the only park lodging below the rim. The location is perfect, especially if you’re exploring Ribbon Falls and the River Trail, or if you just want to relax and read. The canteen is a popular spot for hotel guests as well as from the nearby Bright Angel Campground.
This 4.5-mile round-trip hike is a favorite among locals and travelers because of its incredible red rock views, challenging terrain and easy access from Sedona’s main roads. But visitors warn its popularity means the trail is usually crowded with hikers, bikers and 4x4s. While the moderate climb is a good option for fit travelers, those who fear descending the Devil’s Staircase can opt for one of the area’s off-road Jeep tours.
This full-day hike is ripe with stunning views, rare wildflowers, impressive scenery and rugged trails that are perfect for intrepid travelers. Visitors say thick forests, vast views and a memorable Sedona overlook make this climb worth the effort. Varied terrain will keep even the most expert outdoorsman interested and steep ascents of approximately 2,000 vertical feet will challenge the fittest of travelers.
If you gaze at Snoopy Rock from the right angle, the red rock formation resembles the famousPeanuts dog lying on his back with Woodstock on his nose. This rock—one of the most famous in Sedona—can be spotted from a number of viewpoints, such as Marg’s Draw Trail, and the shops, restaurants, galleries, and cafés of uptown.
A recreation mecca outside Phoenix, Saguaro Lake provides boating, fishing, camping, and picnicking opportunities in a setting surrounded by groves of saguaro cacti. The lake was formed by the Stewart Mountain Dam, creating an oasis in the desert. Cool off in the water, enjoy a lakeside meal, and partake in activities at the marina.
More Things to Do in Arizona
Respecting wildlife and conserving its habitat is what the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center strives to teach its guests with every visit.
The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) rescues native wild animals and whenever possible rehabilitates and releases them back into the wild. No animal is turned away. Animals that can no longer live in the wild stay at the Conservation Center Sanctuary. SWCC has rehabilitated thousands of animals and more than 70 percent have been successfully released back into the wild.
Guided tours offer visitors a chance to learn about and get an up-close view of some of the permanent residents. Along with Mountain lions, bobcats and black bears, you might also see porcupines, Great horned owls or even catch a rare glimpse of an endangered Mexican gray wolf.
Birdwatching, hiking and Hopi history brings visitors to Homolovi State Park. More than 300 archaeological sites are located in the area, and the visitor center features historical exhibits and interpretative programs year round.
With more than 4,000 acres, and an elevation of close to 5,000 feet, Homolovi is known as an excellent spot for birdwatching. Some of the birds visitors may see include the northern harrier, redtail hawks, golden eagles, kestrals, horned larks, roadrunners, ravens and burrowing owls. Hiking trails in the park are short, the longest being 1.5 miles, but many allow hikers access to archaeological sites.
Set in the arid landscape just outside Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum showcases the desert’s flora, fauna, and history through live-animal and multimedia exhibits. The museum spreads across 98 acres (39.7 hectares) of natural desert landscape and contains more than 230 species of animals and 1,200 kinds of plants.
Sabino Canyon is in southern Arizona, not far from Tucson, and draws visitors for its outdoor recreational opportunities and natural beauty. Sabino Canyon is part of the Coronado National Forest, and an incredibly popular recreation spot. Activities in the area include hiking, horseback riding, cycling, birding, and more. There's no access for private vehicles, but there are canyon tours in a tram for people who can't or don't have time to do much hiking.
There are campgrounds, camping areas, RV camps, and cabins for rent near Sabino Canyon if you're interested in a longer stay, but Sabino Canyon is for day use only. Be on the lookout for native species such as gila monsters, bobcats, and javelinas – a small pig-like mammal.
A popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, Beaver Street Brewery is an easy-going bar and restaurant like you hope to find in any town that prides itself on the adventurous nature of its surroundings. During the summers, it’s a hub of river guides, mountain bikers, and road trippers cruising Route 66. Under the warm sunshine, crowds gather in the outdoor beer garden to eat and drink against a great view of the San Francisco Peaks. Come winter, the ski crowd piles inside for burgers, pizzas and fondue alongside bold, award-winning beers like Big Rapid Red and Hopshot IPA.
A trip to Tucson Old Town Artisans offers a great opportunity to shop for iconic Southwest handcrafts, like Native American and Mexican pottery, jewelry and textiles. This collection of six shops from local artisans occupies a historic complex of authentic adobe buildings from 1850s. Native American handcrafts are the specialty at La Zia, which sells Navajo rugs and Kachina dolls, while Shelago's Artwerks USA has Southwest inspired pieces from a wide range of artists. And The Gypsy’s Emporium is the perfect spot to treasure hunt for vintage, kitschy gifts and souvenirs. Old Town Artisans is home to restaurant La Cocina, where shoppers grab a bite in the shaded outdoor courtyard.
From the 1796 oil-painted image of George Washington by Gilbert Stewart featured on the dollar bill, to modern couture fashion, ancient Japanese samurai armor-wear and even works by Monet or special exhibits featuring drawings by the likes of Michelangelo, the Phoenix Art Museum is vast and varied in its collections. The 285,000-square-foot space spans four floors and has grown to become the largest art museum in the southwestern United States and a top Phoenix visitor destination since its 1959 opening. Days could be spent examining the 18,000 pieces of contemporary, fashion, modern and photographic art as well as traditional American, Asian, European and Latin American art in its regular collections. Out of state visitors will appreciate the region-evoking Western American collection in the upper level’s north wing.
Live performances, festivals, lectures, independent art films shown in its 300-seat theater and the PhxArtKids Gallery—which encourages families to think creatively and make art onsite—make this an interactive, conversation-evoking space. The first Friday of each month, the museum stays open til 10 p.m. and a trolley connects it with other art and culture destinations downtown. The onsite Palette restaurant serves modern lunch and snack options featuring locally-sourced produce alongside Arizona-made wine and beer.
The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the largest non-government aerospace museums in the world. Spread across 80 acres (32 hectares) and five indoor hangars, the grounds display some 125,000 artifacts and 300 aircraft, including the world’s smallest biplane, presidential planes, MiGs, a German buzz bomb, and an SR-71A Blackbird.
Enjoy an evening of improv comedy and laughter at the National Comedy Theatre (NCT) in Phoenix. Inspired by the hit television showWhose Line Is It Anyway, the NCT offers a spontaneous comedy show with plenty of audience interaction. See two teams of professional comedians perform scenes and compete to be the winner of the show.
Enjoy an action-packed day at Castles N’ Coasters in Phoenix. Spanning 10 acres (four hectares), the theme park offers a wide range of attractions that appeal to the young and old, including roller coasters, a carousel, mini-golf courses, go-kart, bumper cars and boats, an arcade, ziplines, an obstacle course, and more.
Though typically the home of Tucson's Scottish Rite—a Masonic organization—the Scottish Rite Grand Parlour is also a sizable venue, hosting everything from private events and weddings to illusionist shows, which are ticketed events. It features a stage, piano, and capacity topping 500 guests.
Pueblo Grande Museum is an archaeological park located on the ruins of a 1,500 year-old Native American village. Located in the heart of the Phoenix Metropolitan, this amazingly well-preserved landmark reveals the story of the Hohokam people, an entire culture that has now vanished. Through various exhibits and activities, the Pueblo Grande Museum aims to preserve, learn, and educate people about the life and culture of this prehistoric community.
The Museum features three main sections and is a fascinating experience for the whole family. First, there is an interior gallery which showcases various artifacts from the Hohokam people, including pottery, tools, jewelry, and more. The gallery includes a wide array of history about the Hohokam people as well as hands-on tools to help you interact and imagine life during that time. Next, there are the outdoor trails where you can walk through the ruins of the actual Hohokam village. See full adobe compounds, a ball court, gardens, and more. Finally, there is the children’s “Dig It” portion of the museum. Here, learn about the archeology behind the Hohokam ruins by identifying artifacts, studying clues, and more. Or even build your own miniature Hohokam village!
Named for the now empty Hayden Flour Mill at the northern end of the strip, Mill Avenue is a magnet for bar-hoppers and night owls. Its position near Arizona State University in downtown Tempe ensures a constant stream of lively fun-seekers and a somewhat bohemian atmosphere, complete with shops, restaurants, bars, and festivals.
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