Arizona’s capital, Phoenix, is a fabulous place to visit, and while winter’s crisp, clean skies are a great time to visit, Phoenix is buzzing all year round. In early summer you’ve the run-off from the surrounding watersheds, which makes for superb rafting on the local rivers. If you’re a foodie, you’ll especially love the restaurants in downtown Phoenix.
In town, there are a slew of attractions and activities that make a trip to Phoenix very worthwhile indeed. Whether you’re stuck in freezing Montana with snow drifts blowing under your cabin door, or looking for a heart-warming summer trip engaging with pre-Columbian archaeology, Phoenix is a brilliant choice for a quick getaway.
Here’s what we reckon. It’s a list of the choicest destinations to visit while you’re in the city. We’re recommending things that are unique to Phoenix, AZ including things to do in Phoenix with kids.
Wherever you’re flying or driving from, right here are some activities which are unique to this desert oasis.
Three very different things to do in Phoenix, Arizona
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Frank Lloyd Wright may not mean much to you, but when it comes to architects he was pretty much up there at the top of his game. Probably America’s best-known designer of buildings and constructed space, Lloyd Wright created an incredible complex at Taliesin West that is now a National Historic Landmark.
Famed for architectural designs that effortlessly blend his buildings into the surrounding natural space, Taliesin West is probably one of Lloyd Wright’s most incredible achievements. It’s just to the northeast of Scottsdale.
Seemingly spread like butter onto the foothills of the beautiful McDowell range, and with spectacular views of the surrounding Sonoran Desert, Taliesin West was built as a combined home, workplace, and learning institution for Lloyd Wright’s students. Lucky them!
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Featuring the architects’ trademark cantilevered supports, and a surrounding landscape that’s sculpted practically inch-by-inch to please the eye, the complex inspires through its sensitivity to its surroundings. These days, it’s an archive, school, and residence, housing the Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Foundation, with its archives of his work.
Also on site are the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and the Taliesin Association of Artists. The latter is a group of architects whose aim is to keep alive the ideas and precepts of Lloyd Wright.
Activities at the site include a range of guided tours (you’ll need to choose one of these to gain access to the complex). However, these include one-hour and three-hour tours, as well as a ‘desert walk’ that takes you into the surrounding landscape. You’ll be able to look back and admire Taliesin West in all its glory.
You can also find out about the architect’s local projects, which include the local state university’s stadium.
You can find more information and book tours at the Foundation’s website.
This activity gives you the best of both worlds. It’s a great hike with fabulous views, yet it’s relatively short, and very close to the city of Phoenix itself. The mountain, with a 2700-foot elevation, is slap in the middle of the Phoenix Valley, which means that within a couple of hours you’re gazing around at the amazing panorama.
The best guided hiking tour providers get you up to speed on the awesome fauna and flora found in this uniquely American landscape. As you’re walking you can feast your eyes on some of the local native species, including the saguaro cactus, which is only found in the Sonora Desert. You might also encounter the amazing Palo Verde tree, whose bark is green with chlorophyll, enabling it to photosynthesize without the need for leaves.
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