The Valley of the Sun — including Phoenix, Scottsdale and the greater metropolitan area — have more to offer than 300-plus days of sunshine annually. The region is a vibrant mix of cultures and history, beginning with the Hohokam people (whose ancient canals became the basis for the city today) and continuing with Spanish, Mexican and European settlers who came later.
More recently, Asians, Middle Easterners and others from around the world have moved to Phoenix, making it the fifth largest city in the United States. They, too, have brought their unique cultures.
The Valley is one of the few places where you can shop for Native American arts and crafts in the morning, attend a Greek festival, buy spices at an Asian market, and end a day with a chuck wagon dinner under the stars.
The Valley boasts several excellent museums, including the Heard Museum, one of the best Native American art museums in the world, and the internationally-acclaimed Musical Instrument Museum. You can also visit Taliesin West, renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school of architecture.
If you’re traveling with kids, head to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Arizona Science Center, or LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Or, get a little wild at the Phoenix Zoo, Wildlife World Zoo, Odysea Aquarium, or Butterfly Wonderland.
Want to experience the Old West? Spend the day at Goldfield Ghost Town, or watch gunfighters shoot it out at Rawhide. Or, saddle up for a horseback ride through the Sonoran Desert. Several museums tell the story of what it was like for early settlers, including the new Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.
Of course, if you want to take advantage of all of those days of sunshine, there are plenty of options. Grab your clubs and test your skills on the Valley’s more than 200 golf courses. Or, catch a Cactus League baseball game during spring training.
You can also hike or mountain bike without leaving the city. National Geographic named Phoenix one of the top 10 hiking cities in the country, specifically citing South Mountain Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the world.
There’s no reason to let summer slow you down. When temperatures reach triple digits, take a dip in a resort or community pool, cool off in a local splash pad, or get a thrill at one of several waterparks, such as Wet ‘n’ Wild.
Or, take it easy and relax. Some of the best resorts in the Southwest can be found in Phoenix and Scottsdale, including the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, and Sanctuary Camelback Mountain. Lounge by the pool, indulge in a signature spa treatment, or savor the tastes of the Southwest.
The Valley has so much to offer, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do, see or enjoy. Here are a few ideas in Phoenix in 48 Hours to get you started.