Welcome to MetroGuide Networks' overview of Phoenix-area attractions. The Greater Phoenix
area is full of attractions for all ages. Phoenix, garnering praise as one of the world's top five golf destinations,
ranks as the sixth-largest city in the United States, with nearly 1.3 million residents and a multitude of cultural and recreational activities.
Among more than 200 courses in Arizona, more than 120 are in Greater Phoenix, leaving plenty of opportunity to play during some 300 days of annual sunshine.
Outstanding museums, galleries, performing arts, fine dining, horseback riding and cowboy shoot-outs are part of the entertainment mix,
and the climate makes outdoor activities from desert touring to hot-air ballooning, and water recreation a way of life.
Phoenix also serves as a springboard for day-trips to other major Arizona magnets like the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
Below is a list of some suggested things to do in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area,
with links to more details when available.
- American Park N' Swap
- This festive indoor marketplace has more than 1,200 bargain stalls and outlets, covered walkways, entertainment and ethnic fare.
Southwest corner of 40th and Washington Streets. (602) 273-1250
- Arcosanti, The Cosanti Foundation
Paolo Soleri's architecture project is an “urban laboratory” in progress. Tours include the Soleri bronze-bell foundry, gift gallery, bakery and more. In 1970, the Cosanti Foundation launched Arcosanti, an experimental town in the high desert, 70 miles north of Phoenix. When complete, Arcosanti will house 5,000, demonstrating how to improve urban conditions and reduce destructive impact on the earth. Large, compact structures and solar greenhouses occupy only 25 acres of a 4,060 acre preserve, keeping the natural countryside close to urban dwellers. Arcosanti can be experienced in stays of a few hours or a few days, and there are programs for longer-term experiences.
1-17 at Cordes Junction, Exit 262. (602) 254-5309
- Arizona Ducks
Amphibious Duck vehicles tour the Sonoran Desert, then splash down from one of the Marina docks, and can be booked for custom group tours, or enjoyed any day of the week.
Lake Pleasant Marina, 40202 North 87th Avenue. (877) 293-8571
- Barrett-Jackson Auction Co., LLC
Under sun-soaked Sonoran Desert skies, the collector car world gathers each January for the four-day Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, modestly described by promoters as one of the most spectacular, eclectic classic car auctions on the planet. The 32-year-old auction has indeed evolved into an incomparable lifestyle event for seasoned collectors, first-time buyers, passionate automotive aficionados and spectators eager to witness auction of classic, sports, exotic, muscle cars and hot rods. In 2003, a 1957 Jaguar XK-SS Roadster was knocked down for $1,100,000.
3020 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. (480) 421-6694
- Biltmore Visitor Center
Get grounded at the visitor information center at the Biltmore Fashion Park between Macy's and Pavilion Christofle.
2404 Camelback Road.
- Castles N' Coasters
The Desert Storm double loop coaster with vertical drops, spins and flips stars among more than a dozen rides and attractions at this park accommodating 5,000 and also featuring miniature golf, a castle with a magic carpet ride, and a carrousel with more than 60 hand-painted steeds.
9445 Metro Parkway, East. (602) 678-6620
- Celebration of Fine Art
More than 100 artists work on-site in preparation for the annual fine arts show in a tented facility, January-March.
Loop 101 at Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. (480) 443-7695
- Cerreta Candy Co., Inc.
- Tantalizing aromas and seductive samples highlight tours at this family-owned factory, founded by Jim Cerreta, Sr., who learned candy-making in his father-in-law's Ohio plant. Now four of Jim's sons are in the sugary thick of it, with Jim Jr. running the caramel operation, Joe overseeing cream center production, Jerry as the chocolate man, and Joner doing sales and marketing. Joe's wife Marcia conducts daily 30-minute tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and self-guided video tours are on tap during factory hours, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sweets range from Arizona Shapes in cactus, cowboy hats and boots to Picosa Hot Peanut Brittle Jalapenos.
5345 West Glendale Avenue, Glendale. (623) 930-1000
- Cracker Jack Family Fun and Sports Park
Enjoy an automated driving range, pro shop, miniature golf, go-carts, bumper boats, volleyball, an arcade and more.
16001 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. (480) 998-2800
- Desert Botanical Garden
Not your garden-variety garden, the Desert Botanical Garden, with some 50,000 plants including 139 rare, threatened or endangered species, is tucked amid the red buttes of Papago Park. Showcased are 50 acres of outdoor exhibits. The Desert Discovery Trail, featuring the garden's oldest plantings, is a 1/3 mile trail with a rich variety of displays and exhibits leading to all trailheads and facilities.
1201 North Galvin Parkway. (480) 941-8124
- Downtown Phoenix Visitor Center
Learn about Phoenix and get a sense of attractions in surrounding areas as well.
50 North Second Street. (602) 452-6282
- Fiddlesticks Scottsdale
Thrills include laser go-carts, mini-golf, bumper boats, batting cages, Himilaya, and five-ride kiddie land.
8800 East Indian Bend Road. (480) 951-4065
- Historic Downtown Glendale
With more than 90 antique stores, specialty shops, musums and restaurants, Historic Downtown Glendale is a destination of its own within Greater Phoenix.
- Historic Heritage Square
Historic Heritage Square, inside Heritage & Science Park in Phoenix's downtown Copper Square, contains several artfully restored turn of the 20th-century homes (including the 1895 Rosson House at 113 North Sixth Street) and buildings situated on what was part of the original late 1800s Phoenix townsite.
Historic Heritage Square. (602) 262-5071
- Mesa Market Place Swap Meet
Located beneath the Superstition Mountains, this 55-acre, 1,600-booth facility is the largest open air market under one roof in Arizona, with free parking, free admission and a family atmosphere. For summer comfort, a mister system runs throughout the facility. Miles of used and brand new items at rock bottom prices include furnishings, clothing, jewelry, toys, and food from fruits to nuts and chili.
10550 East Baseline Road, Mesa. (480) 380-SHOP
- Mystery Castle
Following Einstein's observation that “imagination is more important than knowledge,” Mystery Castle builder Boyd Gulley provides free-spirited testament. In 1927, Gulley left his Seattle office for a doctor's appointment and never returned – not to work, nor home to his wife and daughter. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, he vanished, showing up three years later in the hill country south of Phoenix. He devoted his final 15 years to creating an 18-room castle with crenellated parapets, turrets and a tower from native stone, adobe, and auto parts including wheels of his Stutz Bearcat, held together by a mortar of sand, cement, calcium and goat's milk. Depression glass dishes form doorway transoms and an inverted bathtub doubles as a kitchen stove exhaust vent. Out back from the unplumbed fantasy abode is the Pink Privy, a two-holer with a shocking pink interior. After he died in 1945, a lawyer contacted his widow and grown daughter to inform them Gulley had built his once 4-year-old princess the castle he had
promised. His daughter Mary Lou Gulley conducts tours. Closed July-September.
800 Mineral Road. (602) 268-1581
- Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Neither a circus, nor zoo, Out of Africa Wildlife Park lets visitors observe big cats and other animals following their instincts and doing their thing in a garden-like setting. In Tiger Splash, the park's most popular show, tigers chase after staff, who dive in a giant pool with animals in hot pursuit, demonstrating primal behavior in which humans are prey.
9736 North Ft. McDowell Road. (480) 837-7379
- Phoenix Greyhound Park
Greyhound racing combines with fine dining at this 40-year-old landmark, open all year. Pari-mutuel wagering on live action starts at 7:30 nightly, with daily simulcast wagering from racetracks elsewhere starting at about 4:30 p.m. By definition, the term "pari-mutuel" tells bettors this is a place for betting among each other, not against the house. The track makes the same percentage whether bettors win or lose. The wagering menu includes win, place, show, exacta, quiniela, trifecta and superfecta, as well as twin-trifecta and tri-super wagering.
3801 East Washington Street. (602) 273-7181
- Phoenix Zoo
More than 1,300 animals are on exhibit throughout five individual trails. On Easter Sunday, 2003, the zoo announced birth of a seven-pound female baby gerenuk, a member of the gazelle group of antelopes, and only the third such calf born at the Zoo since 1995.
455 Galvin Parkway, Papago Park. (602) 273-1341
- Pinnacle Peak Patio
What began as a weekend cookout a few decades back mushroomed into the world's largest western steakhouse, seating 1,800 inside and 2,000 outside for mesquite broiled steaks in a casual atmosphere with a serious “no necktie” policy. That started when the original owner told a disbelieving Phoenix executive "either you take that tie off, or I'll cut it off," after which a butcher knife was produced to snip off the offending cravat. It was stapled to the rafters along with a tell-tale business card, to be followed by a million-plus more from overdressed patrons. To washing down steaks and baby backs, brewery specials include Cowgirl Blonde Ale and Barbed Wire Brown.
10426 East Jomax Road, Scottsdale. (480) 615-1113
- Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum
Stretching out over 95 acres north of downtown Phoenix is an 1800's town with 29 historic buildings, no cars or smog, and townspeople including cowboys, lawmen, and Victorian ladies in period dress. Visitors can see the Opera House where Lilly Langtry sang; look through a rifle port in the actual cabin that survived Arizona's bloodiest range war; laugh through a melodrama; or browse through an 1890's dress shop and more including a blacksmith shop, sheriff's office and jail.
3901 West Pioneer Road. (623) 465-1052
- Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass
With gunslingers on the street, and panhandlers hankering for gold, Arizona's largest western-theme attraction -- a two-block replica of a western town -- has a steakhouse, 20 specialty shops, rides, a petting ranch, country music and more. There is no admission to Rawhide, although packages allow visitors access to the Six Gun Theater, the Rainmaker Comedy Show, the Native American Theater and the Desert Train Ride. Also included is a ride on the steam-driven Rawhide carousel, one of only 10 remaining in the world. Beyond Rawhide in the wild desert are haywagon rides, stagecoach journeys or burro rides. At the handy town jail, the sheriff will arrest anyone for a fee, higher if you want a picture of the criminal behind bars. There is salsa dancing in summer and a ghost town during eerie October. Rodeos and live music are frequently part of the experience.
5700 North Loop Road, Chandler. (480) 502-5600
- Rockin' R Ranch Chuckwagon Dinner Theater
Not contrived to merely look authentic, the Rockin' R is a rootin-tootin' genuine historic Arizona ranch that greets visitors entering through “Dutchman's Cave” with hot, dutchoven biscuits. Gunfights, gold-panning, wagon rides are standard fare at this wild west stronghold featuring medicine man shows, western comedy and musical stage shows along with a barbecue buffet and opportunity to belly up to the saloon bar.
6136 East Baseline, Mesa. (480) 832-1539
- Sedona Cultural Park
This 50-acre preserve combines Sedona's natural beauty with the Georgia Frontiere Performing Arts Pavilion for concerts, plays and other cultural events. The Pavilion, named for park benefactor Georgia Frontiere, is a 5,500 seat amphitheatre with spectacular views of red rock formations. Sedona Cultural Park contains a trailhead for Girdner Trail, one of the area's most striking forest service trails and a relatively easy hike. Non-hikers are invited to bring a lunch for taking in gorgeous views from picnic facilities, free to the public year-round. Among juniper-lined trails, a series of sculptor John Waddell's acclaimed human figures are integrated into the landscape.
Sedona. (928) 282-0747
- Stuffington Bear Factory
While touring a working factory, visitors can stuff their own teddy bears while learning about the history and art of Teddy Bear manufacturing.
2302 East Thomas Road. (602) 225-9513
- Taliesin West
Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright started Taliesin West in 1937 to serve as his home, studio and architectural laboratory. Taliesin West (pronounced Tally EHS'sen) is a small community of about 70 students, architects, and administrators studying and perpetuating his bold, distinctive concepts. Located 13 miles north of Scottsdale, facilities include theaters for film and the performing arts, pools, gardens, and terraces as well as living quarters for residents and a workshop and studios of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Personal group tours of the site are led by guides explaining how the architecture relates to the natural desert.
Cactus Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. (480) 502-5600