Things to Do in Arizona - page 2
One of the sites most visitors encounter when they enter the South Rim is Mather Point. It’s an astonishing, breathtaking glimpse into the Grand Canyon. Best of all, you’re a short walk to the Canyon View Information Plaza, where you can pick up park information and begin your journey into the Canyon.
Mather Point has quite an extensive viewing area, set as it is on the south side of the Colorado River. Two narrow, railed overlooks, built on projecting rocks, provide views along the rim in both directions. The panorama extends from the lower end of Garden Creek, taking in some of the Bright Angel Trail, and a spectacular view over the deep canyon of Pipe Creek. To the west, you can jump on the Rim Trail, which offers more scenic vistas on its way to Yavapai Point. You can also see Bright Angel Creek, on the North Rim, between a collection of red buttes and ravines. A stop here is an excellent introduction to the Grand Canyon.
Located in the southernmost point on the Grand Canyon’s south rim, Grandview Point is accessible via a one-mile side road off of East Rim Drive. Travelers agree the panoramic views from this famous vista are some of the park’s most impressive. Easy hiking trails wind through narrow ridges and well-preserved nature, giving travelers the opportunity to stretch their legs while driving the popular pass along Highway 64. But it’s the epic views and scenic landscape that make Grandview Point a quintessential Grand Canyon stop.
A collection of once violent volcanoes dots the rugged high desert north of Flagstaff. Collectively called the San Francisco Peaks, or just ‘The Peaks’ by locals, today they sit dormant, offering a wilderness playground for adventurous visitors keen to hike, climb, bike or ski. The tallest is Humphrey’s Peak towering 12,633 feet, where hearty hikers can tackle a nine-mile, round-trip hike to its top. For wildlife spotting, lower elevation trails like Little Bear Trail wind through ponderosa pine, oak, and aspen forests, and the Lava River Cave offers great views and an exciting walk through a lava tube. The 44-mile Peaks Loop road is perfect for car-based sightseeing, while winter visitors can hit the slopes at Wing Mountain or the Snowbowl Ski Area.
A visit to Tusayan Ruins and Museum provides a glimpse into the life of the Hopi tribe and the Ancestral Puebloan people who inhabited the region 800 years ago. Inside the museum, there are artfully displayed exhibits on various aspects of life in the village including pottery, arrowheads, and other household artifacts. The museum also features some of the original 2,000–4,000 year old split-twig figurines, which are made in the shape of deer or bighorn sheep, sometimes with horns or antlers.
The Tusayan Ruins and Museum is part of the Grand Canyon South Rim’s Desert View Drive. The trail itself holds a variety of attractions including Desert View, the breathtaking scenery unfolding from Desert View Watchtower, Navajo Point, where you can see the Colorado River and Escalante Butte, and Lipan Point, where you can see several stretches of the Colorado River. Also here is Moran Point, where you can see a layer of red shale in the canyon walls.
As a non-profit organization, the Arizona Science Center‘s main goal is to entertain and educate people of all ages about science. They opened in 1984 as a small, 10,000 square feet (3,048 square meters) museum featuring select hands-on exhibits. Since its humble beginning, the Arizona Science Center has quickly grown into one of the most popular local attractions in Arizona. Today the Arizona Science Center stretches over 120,000 square feet (36,576 square meters) and is one of the most high-tech museums in the world. With over 40,000 square feet (12,912 square meters) of gallery space, they currently feature over 300 hands-on exhibits in five different themed galleries. There are daily shows in their multi-media Dorrance Planetarium as well as in the giant, five-story IMAX Theater.
The Arizona Science Center is designed around the concept of making learning fun. Exhibits are created to be interactive, encouraging visitors to learn from doing.
Designed as a 50th anniversary present for his wife, the Wrigley Mansion was constructed in 1932 by enterprising gum salesman William Wrigley Jr.
The mansion sits atop a hill, providing scenic views of the mountains and Phoenix landscape below. The Wrigley family sold the property in the early 1970s. After changing ownership several times, it looked as though the mansion was going to be demolished in 1992, until the Hormel family purchased the Mansion and restored it with the intention of sharing it with the public. The on-site restaurant is a popular spot to grab a bite to eat or celebrate a special occasion.
Guided tours of the Wrigley Mansion provide details about its history and fun tidbits like ghost stories that have been told over the years. Some tours include lunch at the Wrigley Mansion as well.
To sample some of Flagstaff’s best craft beers, head to Mother Road Brewing Company. Named after Historic Route 66, which was nicknamed the Mother Road in its heyday, the brewery sits just a couple blocks from the iconic highway that runs through the center of town. The brewery is located in the Milum Building, a former commercial laundromat that has been repurposed in an ideal spot to grab a pint after a day of adventuring in the surrounding mountains and high desert. Their artfully crafted beers include complex flavors like the mesquite honey and British hops of the English Barleywine-style 4th Anniversary Ale or the coffee and orange notes of the popular chocolate stout Lost Highway.
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A popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, Beaver Street Brewery is an easy-going bar and restaurant like you hope to find in any town that prides itself on the adventurous nature of its surroundings. During the summers, it’s a hub of river guides, mountain bikers, and road trippers cruising Route 66. Under the warm sunshine, crowds gather in the outdoor beer garden to eat and drink against a great view of the San Francisco Peaks. Come winter, the ski crowd piles inside for burgers, pizzas and fondue alongside bold, award-winning beers like Big Rapid Red and Hopshot IPA.
Step back into the gunslingin’ Old West at Old Tucson, a movie studio and theme park located near the Tucson Mountains and Saguaro National Park in Arizona. Visitors to Old Tucson might think, ‘Hey! This place looks familiar!’ And that’s because this ‘town’ has been made famous as the location for more than 300 movies and television shows. From living history presentations to historic tours to shows and special events, Old Tucson really ‘brings it’ with the Western experience.
Whether you’re a fan of drama, comedy, or music, the gunfights and stunt shows based on traditional Western themes will fit the bill. There’s even a can-can musical in the saloon, featuring ‘Lady Vivian and her girls.’ Be sure to watch out for a traveling salesman who might try to pitch you a great deal on snake oil.
You could think of Phoenix’s South Mountain Park as a large outdoor playground. Actually, a very large outdoor playground. With more than 16,000 acres to explore, according to the Trust for Public Land, South Mountain Park is one of the largest municipally operated parks in the United States.
With more than 50 miles of trails, South Mountain Park is a favorite among horseback riders, hikers and mountain bikers. But drivers can take in the scenery too. A little more than five miles up the Summit Road, there are Valley wide views to be had at Dobbins Lookout. If you’re inspired, keep going to the Gila Lookout for a view of the Gila River Valley. The drive is scenic, so take it slow to safely enjoy the view. There are many steep sections and blind curves and cars share the road with bikers and hikers.
Mystery Castle is located in South Phoenix, in the foothills of South Mountain Park. The “Castle” was built in the 1930s by Boyce Luther Gulley for his daughter Mary Lou Gulley. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis, Gulley unexpectedly left his wife and daughter and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. There, he began building a home to give to his daughter. He lived much longer than expected and spent 15 years building the 8,000 square foot (743 squared meters), 3-story ‘castle’. In 1945, Bruce Gully passed away and left the house to his teenage daughter, Mary Lou, and her mother. They both moved in shortly after and Mary Lou still lives there today. The real story however, is not why Boyce Gulley built the house, but how! The Mystery Castle is made entirely of found and inexpensive materials, featuring everything from automobile parts, to telephone poles, to rail tracks.
Pueblo Grande Museum is an archaeological park located on the ruins of a 1,500 year-old Native American village. Located in the heart of the Phoenix Metropolitan, this amazingly well-preserved landmark reveals the story of the Hohokam people, an entire culture that has now vanished. Through various exhibits and activities, the Pueblo Grande Museum aims to preserve, learn, and educate people about the life and culture of this prehistoric community.
The Museum features three main sections and is a fascinating experience for the whole family. First, there is an interior gallery which showcases various artifacts from the Hohokam people, including pottery, tools, jewelry, and more. The gallery includes a wide array of history about the Hohokam people as well as hands-on tools to help you interact and imagine life during that time. Next, there are the outdoor trails where you can walk through the ruins of the actual Hohokam village.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum wears a lot of hats; it's a museum, zoo, aquarium and publishing house. Just outside Tucson, the museum is one of the area's most popular attractions. The facility is dedicated to showcasing the flora, fauna, and history of the Sonoran Desert, with more than 230 species of animals and 1,200 kinds of plants spread throughout the 98 acres of the property. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was founded in 1952, and expanded from its original focus of simply plants and animals native to the region to include an aquarium which opened in 2013. There is a walk-in aviary, a hummingbird aviary, and a desert garden. In addition to the many exhibits, there is a half-mile-long trail that visitors can explore, periodic birds-of-prey demonstrations, and presentations about the area's venomous creatures. There is also an art gallery that showcases local and national artists and a publishing company that produces books and guidebooks for adults and children.
A trip to Tucson Old Town Artisans offers a great opportunity to shop for iconic Southwest handcrafts, like Native American and Mexican pottery, jewelry and textiles. This collection of six shops from local artisans occupies a historic complex of authentic adobe buildings from 1850s. Native American handcrafts are the specialty at La Zia, which sells Navajo rugs and Kachina dolls, while Shelago's Artwerks USA has Southwest inspired pieces from a wide range of artists. And The Gypsy’s Emporium is the perfect spot to treasure hunt for vintage, kitschy gifts and souvenirs. Old Town Artisans is home to restaurant La Cocina, where shoppers grab a bite in the shaded outdoor courtyard.
Things to do near Arizona
- Things to do in Sedona
- Things to do in Phoenix
- Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park
- Things to do in Flagstaff
- Things to do in Scottsdale
- Things to do in Utah
- Things to do in Baja California
- Things to do in New Mexico
- Things to do in Monument Valley
- Things to do in Las Vegas
- Things to do in Palm Springs
- Things to do in Nevada
- Things to do in California
- Things to do in Colorado
- Things to do in Wyoming