Desert Delights: Things to Do in Phoenix, Arizona on Vacation

Phoenix, AZ, enchants visitors with its blend of urban sophistication and scenic desert landscapes, promising a distinctive escape. The city’s sunny disposition guarantees delightful weather for those looking to bask in year-round warmth. As night falls, the desert sky transforms into a canvas of stars, offering a tranquil end to vibrant days spent in Arizona’s urban heart.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Phoenix, AZ Hot Air Balloons
Photo Credit: [@adogslifephoto/DepositPhotos]

If you want a truly unforgettable experience, you can’t go wrong with a hot air balloon ride in Phoenix, Arizona. This vibrant desert city is the perfect setting for an aerial adventure, as its rugged desert landscape and clear blue skies provide the ideal backdrop for a scenic flight.

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ
Photo Credit: [@rose.mosteller/DepositPhotos]

In the heart of the Sonoran Desert, the Desert Botanical Garden is a lush oasis showcasing the diverse flora that thrives in arid climates. With over 50,000 plant displays artfully arranged across 140 acres, the garden celebrates the beauty and adaptability of desert vegetation. Visitors can wander along its numerous trails, encountering a stunning array of cacti, wildflowers, and trees, all while learning about this unique environment’s delicate ecosystem and conservation efforts.

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix
Photo Credit: [@idubert/DepositPhotos]

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix offers a serene retreat with its meticulously designed landscapes embody traditional Japanese gardens’ elegance and tranquility. Strolling through this peaceful haven, visitors can appreciate the harmonious blend of stone, water, and plants, all carefully arranged to inspire calm and reflection.

Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ
Photo Credit: [@AVFC/DepositPhotos]

Camelback Mountain beckons adventurers in Phoenix with its iconic red sandstone formations and challenging trails that promise rewarding panoramic city views. The steep and rigorous ascent is a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts seeking the exhilaration of Phoenix’s outdoor landscapes.

Dobbins Lookout

Dobbins Lookout in Phoenix, AZ
Photo Credit [@f11photo/DepositPhotos]

Dobbins Lookout, perched atop South Mountain in Phoenix, is the city’s premier vantage point for breathtaking, panoramic views of the metropolitan area and beyond. The journey to the lookout is an adventure, with scenic drives and hiking trails that wind through the rugged desert landscape. Once at the summit, visitors are rewarded with a tranquil space to absorb the grandeur of the Valley of the Sun.

Hole in the Rock

Hole in the Rock in Phoenix, AZ
Photo Credit: [@AVFC/DepositPhotos]

Visiting the Hole in the Rock, a natural geological formation in Phoenix’s Papago Park, offers a unique glimpse into the ancient erosional forces of nature. With its smoothly worn trails, this simple yet striking attraction leads to a viewpoint where visitors can savor panoramic views of the sprawling desert landscape and city skyline.

S’edav Va’aki Museum

S'edav Va'aki Museum in Phoenix, AZ
Photo Credit: [@Steve Cukrov/Shutterstock]

The S’edav Va’aki Museum serves as a cultural repository for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, sharing the rich heritage and traditions of the Native American tribes of the region. The museum offers insights into the community’s history, art, and the ongoing preservation of their cultural identity.

Heard Museum

Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ
Photo Credit: [@Quasarphotos/DepositPhotos]

The Heard Museum is dedicated to advancing American Indian art, offering visitors a deep and engaging perspective on Native cultures and artistry. Its exhibits range from traditional to contemporary works, highlighting the rich tapestry of Native American history and its vibrant present.

Arizona Capitol Museum

Arizona Capitol Museum in Phoenix, AZ
Photo Credit: [@Mliss/DepositPhotos]

The Arizona Capitol Museum in Phoenix is a bastion of the state’s rich history, inviting visitors to delve into the stories and artifacts that shaped Arizona. Within its storied walls, the museum offers a journey through time, featuring exhibits that range from the territorial days to the present.

Phoenix Zoo

Phoenix Zoo in Arizona
Photo Credit: [@adogslifephoto/DepositPhotos]

The Phoenix Zoo is an expansive and engaging wildlife sanctuary where visitors can encounter animals from around the world. As one of the nation’s largest privately owned zoos, it offers educational programs and interactive experiences that foster a connection with nature and wildlife conservation.

Enchanted Island Amusement Park

Enchanted Island Amusement Park in Phoenix, AZ
Photo Credit: [@neilld/DepositPhotos]

Enchanted Island Amusement Park offers a delightful escape with classic and nostalgic rides suited for young children and the entire family. Nestled within the historic Encanto Park, the amusement park features a vintage carousel, bumper boats, and a mini-train that tours the scenic lagoon.

Photo Credit: [@sepavone/DepositPhotos]


Alexandrea Sumuel - Groves is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. Her work has appeared on MSN, YAHOO!, Euronews, and FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates across the United States. 

Alex travels to experience, eat, explore, and occasionally escape! She collaborates with destinations, vacation property management companies, and hospitality technology firms to provide her readers with exclusive insights and information.