Things to Do in Phoenix
Valley of the Sun
There’s a good reason why Phoenix is often called the ‘Valley of the Sun’– situated in the unique Sonoran Desert, the city receives more than 300 days of sunshine in the year and is also well-known for its residents’ sunny disposition. Phoenix is also the capital city of the state of Arizona and the most populous in the South-west. In recent times, Phoenix has emerged as a thriving cultural hub, and has an outstanding opera and an acclaimed symphony, in addition to several theatres and museums. If you’re planning a trip to this vivacious, dynamic city, avoid the summer months of June to August, where the hot desert sun gets the mercury soaring. However, do make sure to take a look at our list of the best things to do in Phoenix, in order to make the most of your stay.
Founded in the year 1929 by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard, this museum is dedicated to history and culture of the Native tribes of the American South-west. However, the museum refuses to identify as a history museum but rather calls itself a living museum with contemporary art and artifacts. A significant portion of the museum’s collection comes from the ‘La Ciudad Indian’ ruin. The museum is now internationally recognized for its comprehensive and insightful collections, which comprise of more than 40,000 items. Don’t miss the ‘Mareen Allen Nichols’ Collection that has 260 pieces of jewelry or the ‘437 Hopi kachina dolls’. The Heard Museum also hosts several festivals through the year, the most famous of which is the annual ‘El Mercado de Las Artes’ that features artwork by Hispanic artists and Mariachi singers. February sees the annual ‘World Championship Hoop Dance Contest’, while March is dedicated to the ‘Indian Fair and Market’ – make sure to check the festival calendar while planning your visit to the museum.
Desert Botanical Garden
Succulents-enthusiasts will appreciate this 140 acre garden, which is located in The Papago Park. The garden is home to 21,000 plants, including 139 rare and endangered species. In addition to native specimens, the garden also has plants adapted to desert conditions from across the globe. Expect to see Australian, Baja California and South American collections, as well as diverse ecosystems including a mesquite bosque, a grassland and a chaparral. The garden is a 'Phoenix Place of Pride' and receives many visitors during spring, when most of the plants are in bloom. Reconnecting with nature at this glorious Phoenix staple is definitely one of the best things to do in Phoenix.
Musical Instrument Museum
The world's largest museum of its type, 'The Musical Instrument Museum' is (as its name suggests) a museum that showcases more than 15,000 musical instruments. The museum's exhibits span across all inhabited continents and hail from over 200 countries and territories. The museum was founded by Robert J. Ulrich - the former CEO and Chairperson of Target. It occupies an area of 200,000 sq. ft. and two floors of galleries. While viewing the exhibits pertaining to specific countries, visitors may also view high-resolution performances by local musicians. The music continues all the way to the museum's theater that hosts after-hours concerts, which have featured several famous names including Wanda Jackson, Jordin Sparks and George Benson. A day at the museum is definitely one of the best things to do in Phoenix for music lovers.
Arizona Museum of Natural History
The only natural history museum in the greater Phoenix area- 'The Arizona Museum of Natural History' was founded in the year 1977. Today, the museum occupies an area of 74,000 sq ft. and is home to a comprehensive collection of 60,000 objects pertaining to natural history, anthropology, history and art. One of its most popular exhibitions is the waterfall-themed, three-storey 'Dinosaur Mountain', which is sure to be a hit with young visitors. Also stop by the territorial jail exhibit and 'The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine diorama', as well as the recreated 'Hohokam Village'. A day at the museum is a day well spent, especially if you're travelling with children who like to get their hands dirty while learning about the many marvels of our planet.
The former gallery, studio and residence of the acclaimed architect - Paolo Soleri, 'Cosanti' looks every bit the architectural masterpiece you'd expect it to be. Located in Paradise Valley, Cosanti is known for its landscaped terraces, innovative earth-formed concrete structures and wind bells. An Arizona Historic Site, 'Cosanti' is home to the partially submerged Earth House, a performance space and outdoor studios. The site's various structures are strategically placed so as to offer natural insulation, and to optimize the naturally available light and solar energy.
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