Things to do in Phoenix-Scottsdale

Top Things to Do in the Phoenix Area

The classics, the must-sees, the intellectual and quirky places found only in the Valley of the Sun.

Phoenix for History Buffs

Phoenix's top historical sites: Explore Victorian America, brush up on Arizona history, experience the Wild West and visit Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home.

Phoenix for Sports Enthusiasts

See a game, tour a college football museum and dine in a sports bar owned by a former NBA great.

Top Shopping Destinations Around Phoenix and Scottsdale

From upscale malls to outlet destinations, the Valley of the Sun has many locations to shop 'til you drop.

About Phoenix-Scottsdale

Welcome to the Phoenix-Scottsdale metropolitan area. Here you’ll find stunning landscapes of blue skies, gorgeous mountains, towering cacti and palm trees, and expanses of open desert mixed with urban areas—all offering a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. Phoenix itself is the sixth largest city in the United States (as well as the capital of Arizona), while the term “Metro Phoenix” includes many other cities and towns, such as the City of Scottsdale. Nicknamed “The Valley of the Sun,” “The Valley” refers to the landscape—a large valley surrounded by mountains—and “the Sun” refers to the almost 300 days of sunshine the area sees yearly. Although sunshine is almost always guaranteed, peak visitor times are fall and spring due to the near-perfect temperatures (70s-80s). Winter can sometimes bring rain, while summers typically see 100-plus-degree weather.

The City’s Culture

The area preserves its Southwestern and Native American roots in architecture, Old West-inspired destinations and archaeological sites while still striving to be at the forefront of innovation. Top-notch and diverse culinary experiences, shopping destinations and entertainment options are plentiful; technology startups are flocking to establish roots; and world-renowned golf courses, spas and resorts draw visitors from across the globe. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed—shorts, sundresses and flip-flops are accepted almost everywhere—yet the area is also a fashion hot spot, with two fashion weeks being held annually.

Essential Experiences

Whether you are looking for relaxation or adventure, you’ll find it in the Phoenix area. Grab your golf clubs and hit one of the courses, or slather on sunscreen and pack some water and hike one of the local mountains (Camelback, Pinnacle Peak and Piestewa Peak are always good options). Stop by Kierland Commons, Scottsdale Quarter, Scottsdale Fashion Square for some shopping, including flagship designer destinations. Sports are big here as well, so make time for an MLB, NHL or NFL game while you’re in town. Browse the foliage at the Desert Botanical Garden, or take the kids to the Phoenix Zoo, Butterfly Wonderland or Arizona Science Center. The Musical Instrument Museum is a nationally known trove of musical exhibits and experiences, while the Heard Museum showcases the American Indian tribes and cultures of the Southwest. Phoenix Art museum is the largest art museum in the Southwest.

Where to Explore

Popular Valley areas include Old Town Scottsdale, rich with shops, restaurants, art galleries and Western influences; North Scottsdale with its sprawling homes and expanses of desert; Cave Creek/Carefree for the small-town and authentic West atmospheres; Biltmore/Arcadia, with Biltmore Fashion Park and Camelback corridor’s main street along Camelback Road; and Downtown Phoenix, with its restaurants, shops, art galleries and performing arts destinations.

Latest Phoenix-Scottsdale travel ideas & articles

On the Scene: New or Renovated Resorts Around Phoenix and Scottsdale

The latest on the Phoenix-Scottsdale hotel and resort scene.

Wine and Dine in Phoenix: 7 Food Festivals in April

Food and beverage festivals include Cajun fare, fine dining bites, wine and craft spirits.

Dine Inside These 7 Historic Homes in Phoenix

From Japanese cuisine inside an 1899 bungalow in Phoenix’s Heritage Square to oysters in a 1910 haunted home in Tempe.

Golfers: 10 Phoenix Play Days You’ll Love

The Valley’s award-winning golf courses, plus therapeutic massages for the golfer.

Baseball Banter: Get the Scoop With MLB's David Peralta

The Arizona Diamondbacks player talks about the upcoming season, the team, and what he loves about the Valley.

Great Sips: 9 Spots For Teatime in Phoenix

High tea, tea-tastings and specialty tea shops around the Valley of the Sun.

LPGA's Cheyenne Woods Talks Phoenix, Golf And Travel

Plus, her appearance on a recent episode of "Breaking Par."

Challenging Phoenix-Area Hikes With Spectacular Views

These hikes aren’t for the weary, but the scenic rewards are worth the workout.

The Most Scenic Golf Courses Around Phoenix

Swing through these greens and enjoy the magnificent views.

The Most Unique, Unusual and Over-the-top Foods in Phoenix

Lamb heart, pig ears, rattlesnake and more make for memorable food adventures.