Whether you're looking to squeeze in some R&R between sessions or have a full day to explore before or after your conference, we've got itineraries below to help you experience downtown and beyond.
If you're downtown, take a stroll down Roosevelt Row, where artwork abounds—both in galleries such as Modified Arts, MADE Art Boutique, and monOrcid; and on building walls and alleyways in the form of murals creates by the city's talented street artists.
While in the area, grab a drink at popular spots such as Angels Trumpet Ale House, Cobra Arcade Bar, and Mother Bunch Brewing, or dine at locally-owned favorites such as Carly's Bistro, Phoenix Public Market Cafe, The Dressing Room, DeSoto Central Market or one of downtown's renowned pizzerias.
If your downtown stay has you here on a Saturday, rise early and join Arizona ING Tours for their PHX Historic Walking Tour or Street Art and Market Tour (both are available select Saturdays).
If staying east of downtown, take in a quick, easy hike along the red sandstone buttes at Papago Park.
Hop on the light rail or take a quick car ride up Central Avenue to two of the city's most popular cultural attractions: Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum. Give yourself a couple hours time at either spot. Art fans will also find the Lisa Sette Gallery a short walk from the Central Avenue and Thomas Road light rail stop.
Central Avenue is brimming with restaurants in a myriad of cuisines. Check out our Central Phoenix dining blog post for recommendations. Also in Central Phoenix is a number of eat/drink/shop gathering spots. Get the details on the area's 'microhoods'. Want to imbibe at a few spots? Let this five-stop light rail pub crawl be your guide.
With so many of the city's desert preserves located right in the city, four hours gives you plenty of time to get in a full hike. Get the details on South Mountain Park and Preserve, Camelback Mountain, Phoenix Mountains Preserve—which includes Piestewa Peak— and Papago Park.
Our four-day trip guides offer custom tips for visitors seeking outdoor exploration, relaxing spa days, free and cheap things to do, luxury experiences and more. Find a guide that suits your style and pick and choose activities to fill your day.
A full day of freedom allows visitors to explore more than just one trail in our desert preserves. Let a local tour company and their knowledgeable guides take you through the desert via jeep, raft, hot air balloon, and more.
With your extra free time, head to north Phoenix and the renowned Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). The one-of-a-kind museum showcases instruments, costumes and more from around world. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours to fully experience it.
With an extra day added on, you can use Phoenix as a hub to explore some of the state’s best sights—namely the red rocks of Sedona (2-hour drive) or our famous Grand Canyon (3.5-hour drive): See our Day Trips page for ideas. But if you didn’t get a chance to sight-see around town with the suggestions in the 2, 4 or 8-hour itineraries, we’d recommend this full day in Phoenix:
Phoenix is a mecca for urban hiking, and you can hit any of these top trails for amazing views and pristine Sonoran Desert scenery just a short drive from where you’re staying.
Or, roll down the windows for a scenic drive in the city.
Or, take the opportunity to explore communities nearby. Drive or take the light rail toward Papago Park to walk around the red buttes, and stop into the nearby Desert Botanical Garden or Phoenix Zoo. From there, head into Tempe to explore Tempe Town Lake and Mill Ave, or up into Scottsdale for a look around Old Town’s shops and eateries.
See what’s on stage at downtown’s Valley Bar, Crescent Ballroom, The Van Buren, The Nash, or another live music venue in the metro area.
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