The panoramic view from the "hump" of this iconic landmark, named for its resemblance to a kneeling camel, is worth scaling its two tricky trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla.
Hikers gain 1,200 feet in elevation to the summit, which looks out over the city and Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Camelback is one of the most popular urban hiking spots in Phoenix, so expect trail traffic and consider hiking on weekdays. During hot-weather months, hike in the early morning and drink plenty of water. See our outdoor safety tips page for more info before you head out.
See, hear and even play instruments from every corner of the world in a one-of-a-kind collection.
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) tunes you into thousands of instrument sounds with a headset that syncs seamlessly as you move through its galleries. Take a world tour of cultural instruments and pop culture artists, and return for a live music experience at MIM Music Theater, a year-round concert series hosting more than 200 international acts.
Just minutes from downtown is iconic Papago Park, home to red rock buttes looped with trails, a scenic view from hikeable Hole-in-the-Rock, and top attractions like the Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo.
The winding paths of this 50-acre desert garden showcase a fantastic variety of arid plants, from towering saguaros to delicate blooms.
This beautiful landscape is also the backdrop for the garden’s seasonal events. During the winter months, thousands of luminaria bags and twinkling lights transform the garden for Las Noches de Las Luminarias, a holiday tradition. The garden also features art installations intertwined with the flora each year.
Tours of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home, offer insight on how the masterful architect was inspired by the desert surroundings. Visitors walk through rooms, gardens, walkways and Wright's entertainment pavilion on the grounds while learning about his organic architecture. Taliesin West was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 7, 2019, after being submitted for nomination by the National Park Service in November 2018. Find out more here.
One of the nation's largest nonprofit zoos is home to more than 1,400 animals. See Sumatran tigers roam the savanna, feed giraffes in an up-close encounter and discover the local flora, fauna and critters of the Sonoran Desert on the zoo's Arizona Trail.
The park is also a popular hub of recreation, including fishing in seven acres of stocked lagoons and scenic Papago Golf Course, set at the base of Papago’s buttes.
The tradition, culture and history of 22 regional American Indian tribes converge in the Heard Museum's immersive exhibits and authentic art shop, as well as annual events like the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest.
Through art and cultural objects, the museum’s ongoing exhibits tell the stories of native people of the Southwest, from early history to powerful memories of boarding schools.
The creative beat of the city's urban heart is in Roosevelt Row, home to galleries, mural-splashed business walls and a monthly art walk. This arts district is a prominent stop for visitors and the downtown community along the First Friday self-guided art tour.
Boasting 50 miles of trails through 16,000 acres of the Sonoran Desert, this municipal park is perfectly suited for outdoor adventure just minutes from the city.
The skyline views and Sonoran Desert flora aren't the park's only perks. Keep a lookout for ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks (we've got details in this blog post on petroglyphs in Phoenix). If you'd rather drive than hike, bike or hoof it up the trails, hop on the 5.5-mile Summit Road up to Dobbins Lookout, the highest accessible point in the preserve.
The Southwest's largest fine art museum features a collection of contemporary work and global masterpieces.
Complementing the museum's galleries of fine art and objects from Asia, America, Europe and beyond are rotating exhibitions. Want to see the permanent collections for free (and the special exhibitions at a discount)? Visit Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. during voluntary donation time, or the second Sunday of the month from noon to 5 p.m. for Free Family Sundays.
Southwestern arts and hip eateries line the streets of Old Town, a popular destination for Greater Phoenix shopping and nightlife.
If you're hunting for a souvenir, you'll find your fill of old-fashioned flair (think cowboy hats and turquoise jewelry) alongside upscale art galleries and trendy boutiques in the Fifth Avenue district. The area is also a hot spot for after-dark dancing, lounging and libations.
Like the 19th-century homes nearby, the restaurants in downtown's Heritage Square are making history: both Pizzeria Bianco (heralded as the best pizza in the nation) and Nobuo at Teeter House (sophisticated Japanese offered tapas-style) are James Beard Award winners. The area is also home to the Arizona Science Center, featuring more than 350 hands-on exhibits.