Face masks must be worn publicly throughout Maricopa County. Many businesses are requiring face masks within their establishments as well. Also, please note that some businesses and public spaces are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, so be sure to verify hours of operation before visiting.
Need story inspiration? Peruse the following story teasers below, and let us know if something piques your interest. Phoenix has many stories to tell, and we’re happy to assist with developing yours.
For additional inspiration, see our Phoenix trip ideas for itineraries tailored for outdoor adventurers, sports lovers, fun-seeking families and more.
Nestled in the lush Sonoran Desert, Greater Phoenix is home to beautiful landscapes and breathtaking sunsets, with endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors just beyond the attractions of the city. North of downtown, the Phoenix Mountains Preserve is home to two of our most iconic peaks: Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak, both of which offer a unique vantage point of the Southwest’s flora and fauna that Phoenicians know and love. The red buttes of Papago Park are also a short drive from the downtown core and offer all the elements that make this region unique. Venture further east and Lost Dutchman State Park, named after the fabled lost gold mine, adds an air of mystery to the serene desert. While many Phoenix’s trails are located within city limits, South Mountain Park and Preserve is located just 6 miles south of downtown. As one of the largest municipal parks in the country, it offers 51 miles of trails winding across its 16,000-acres landscape. Hike the Holbert Trail (3.8 miles out and back) or drive up to Dobbins Lookout for exquisite views of the city’s skyline.
Exploring the natural beauty goes well beyond the famous hiking trails. Phoenix has many options for off-the-beaten path experiences as well. Cloth & Flame offers a unique, fine-dining experience where guests are invited to mingle and enjoy a multicourse meal outdoors, set against an iconic Southwestern backdrop. Looking for an elevated point of view? Take to the sky with Hot Air Expeditions or Rainbow Ryders and soar high above the Sonoran Desert in the basket of a hot air balloon.
The food culture of Greater Phoenix is full of diversity in flavors and cultures. With an emphasis on locally grown, many restaurants have taken on initiatives to keep their restaurants focused on the unique community and travelers they serve. This recipe for excellence has earned many different styles of restaurants and chefs James Beard Foundation recognition over the years. Chef and co-owner of Scottsdale's FnB restaurant, Charleen Badman, was the James Beard winner for Best Chef: Southwest in 2019. Badman is also at the forefront of the Blue Watermelon Project, an initiative to improve access to healthy food for children in Arizona. Furthermore, 22 chefs and restaurants from throughout Arizona were named semifinalists for 2020, including Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta in Phoenix. Jones’ farm-to-table restaurant adds soul food to downtown Phoenix’s eclectic food scene. With such plates as the Hoppin’ John, made with heirloom rice and Sea Island field peas, Jones executes culinary perfection by paying homage to the Southern foodways while intersecting with the local ingredients. Among 2020’s finalists, is Phoenix’s renowned chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, who has flexed her Best Chef: Southwest prowess at Barrio Café since 2002. Silvana's flagship project has received national recognition for its authentic Mexican cuisine, which is served with a side of local art and social justice.
Additionally, restaurants across the Greater Phoenix area are earning top honors from AAA, Forbes and others. Kai at the Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass, Arizona’s Five Diamond Award-winning restaurant, is widely acclaimed for incorporating the essence of local Native American history and culture into the menu. The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, is home to AAA Four Diamond Award-recipient J&G Steakhouse, which offers a sophisticated and locally sourced fine-dining experience in the foothills of Camelback Mountain.
Greater Phoenix is home to both natural and historic landmarks that serve as modern-day must-sees, while offering a glimpse into the region’s past. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is an incredible story of architecture that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Camelback Mountain is a Phoenix staple. Seasoned hikers can choose from two challenging trails that ascend 1,420 feet to the summit, which offers 360-degree views of the surrounding city. Sunset is the perfect time for the Instagram-worthy desert shots.
Another landmark is Hole-in-the-Rock Trail at Papago Park, which climbs 200 feet in 1/10 of a mile to an intriguing formation that is thought to have been used by the ancient Hohokam civilization to track the position of the sun through a hole in the "ceiling." And the park’s 2.3-mile Double Butte Loop for those who want a deeper exploration of the desert. Experienced hikers can also venture on the Holbert Trail at South Mountain Park and Preserve for petroglyph sightings and to connect to Dobbins Lookout, a popular spot for panoramic views of the city.
Known for its collection of luxurious resorts and spas, Greater Phoenix has an experience to fit any style of pampering and relaxation. While each location offers the classic options, it’s the unique treatments that set these spas apart. Visit Aji Spa at the Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass to explore the traditions of two Native cultures — the Pima and Maricopa tribes — with treatments that utilize such local ingredients as red clay from the Gila River and the Cholla cactus bud to help purify and rejuvenate the body. For a transformative day of self-care, visit the Joya Spa at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, where guests are invited to participate in an entrance ceremony and place their hands on the spa’s 55-pound quartz crystal to purify and open the mind and body ahead of their treatment. The Phoenician Spa specializes in the nurturing of guests’ individual spirits by indulging in services that provide nourishment and overall well-being. This isn’t like any spa treatment as guests will further engage with their inner nature, channeling peace, purity and strength beyond anything they’ve experienced before. The Phoenician Spa was recently renovated from the ground up and transformed into a three-story facility with a rooftop pool that overlooks the city’s skyline.
Though it was the last territory in the continental U.S. to gain its statehood, Arizona is home to many national treasures. The long history from before statehood can best be captured at Heard Museum, an internationally recognized collection dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art in all forms, including dance, pottery and paintings. The Heard Museum also features an exhibit called “Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories,” which captures the often-untold stories of the American Indians and their experiences during the assimilation period, beginning in the 1870s.
The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is home to more than 50,000 species of cactuses, trees and flowers from throughout the region and deserts around the world, all on display throughout its 140 acres (55 of which are cultivated).
For lovers of live music, instrument aficionados and ethnography buffs of all ages and levels of interest, the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix is a bucket list-worthy stop. With more than 7,000 instruments on display (and some that visitors can play themselves), it’s easy to while a day away here — the only museum of its kind in the world.
The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River is a newer addition to the Greater Phoenix area. The memorial honors the brave individuals that served aboard the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in history with self-guided tours through the gardens, which feature columns representing those were aboard the ship during the attack. in a formation that represents the ships actual size. The memorial also offers narrated tours for those seeking a more in-depth and enriching experience.