Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by locals who love Phoenix
Why We Love Phoenix: Warm weather, popular attractions, famous arts and culture, and top-rated restaurants and bars. What more could you ask for? We love Phoenix because you can never run out of exciting things to do.
From thrilling outdoor activities to relaxing spa days and everything in between, there’s something for everyone in Phoenix. And it’s centrally located close to so many other Arizona attractions, so day trips are a breeze. You simply can’t go wrong with a trip to Phoenix.
Best of Pheonix
There’s no shortage of entertainment in Phoenix, so it can be hard to decide what to do. Get an authentic taste of Phoenix with these must-do activities:
- Hike Camelback Mountain – This iconic mountain is a great place to start your Arizona hiking endeavors as it’s not too challenging.
- Tube the Salt River – There’s nothing better than a day of floating down a lazy river through the Arizona wilderness.
- Drink local beers – Phoenix has a fantastic brewing scene, so make sure to go on a brewery crawl if you love craft beer.
- Go shopping in Scottsdale – One of the most fashionable cities in the US, this is the spot to buy the brand names you love.
- See a Diamondbacks game – Even if you aren’t crazy about baseball, Chase Field is beautiful and so much fun
👉 Explore all things to do in Phoenix.
Phoenix is made up of several neighborhoods, each with its own unique reasons to visit. Let’s dive into the area that best fits your Phoenix itinerary:
- Scottsdale – If you’re looking for luxury, Scottsdale has a resort and spa just for you!
- Downtown – Close to a myriad of major attractions, you can pack your trip itinerary when you stay here.
- Tempe – Visiting an ASU student? Tempe is home to this state college, and it’s full of exciting things to do.
👉 Read the complete guide to where to stay in Phoenix.
🛎️ Best Hotels
You can stay in a high-rise downtown or be tucked away in a desert resort. No matter where you stay, you’ll be living in style:
- Arizona Biltmore – A renowned resort designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
- The Phoenician – Your relaxation destination. You’ve never seen a spa like this.
- Rise Uptown Hotel – Stay right in the heart of the downtown action in a boutique setting.
Prepare for some of the best Mexican food of your life! Phoenix is home to some of the most highly-rated restaurants in Arizona:
- Kai – Native American food in a luxury resort setting. You’ve never had dinner like this.
- LoLo’s Chicken & Waffles – Who doesn’t love perfectly seasoned fried chicken atop fluffy waffles? Pairs perfectly with the house Koolaid.
- Rusconi’s American Kitchen – A high-end meal before or after an exciting baseball game sounds good to us.
- Tacos Chiwas – Mouthwatering Mexican food inspired by the state of Chihuahua. This is to die for.
- The Capital Grille – Fancy steak dinner for two? Prepare for the tastiest date night of your life.
👉 See the full list of best restaurants in Phoenix.
- Sedona – A magical little town of hiking, spirituality, and red rock scenery galore.
- Scottsdale – A shopper’s paradise! Be a fashionista and live the luxury life for a day.
- Lake Pleasant – Everyone loves a day at the lake. Get outside and enjoy the water on a hot day.
- Saguaro National Park – The Saguaro cactus is a sight to behold, especially when you’re surrounded by thousands of them!
- Jerome – A ghost town built into the side of a mountain? Sign us up! This is a blast from the past.
👉 Explore all day trips from Phoenix.
- Downtown Phoenix – Everything you could want within a square mile – museums, shops, sports, restaurants, and bars!
- Scottsdale – Relax at a high-end resort with a prickly pear cocktail in hand… stores and nightclubs abound.
- Tempe – Home of the ASU Sun Devils, this is college central. Check out the campus and town lake!
- Mesa – Ancient culture, historic bars, and a beautiful mountain backdrop. Need we say more?
- Glendale – Catch a Cardinals football game, hit the slots at the casino, or go antiquing in old Catlin Court.
👉 Check out the full list of best neighborhoods in Phoenix.
- Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour – Sip on a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted cocktail in a red leather upholstered booth.
- Garden Bar – A low-key atmosphere amid the hustle and bustle of downtown. Fantastic cocktail menu!
- Boycott Bar – The best LGBTQ+ bar in the greater Phoenix area where the hospitality is unmatched!
- Coach House – This is where Phoenicians go for cheap drinks and good times under a ceiling of holiday lights.
- Sazerac – Enjoy a swanky cocktail in a dimly lit piano bar. Nothing is better.
- Arizona Wilderness DTPHX – Not only are the beers fantastic, but the feel of this place is beyond inviting.
- Wren House – I’ve never had a beer from Wren House that I didn’t like. They don’t brew anything short of delicious.
- Four Peaks – A famous Arizona brewery, don’t leave without snagging some awesome merch from the gift shop.
- Simple Machine – It’s simple: this place brews some of the best beer in the state! Try them out for yourself.
- Greenwood – If you’re looking for a great beer on a misted patio, this is where to go. The ambiance is unparalleled.
Phoenix Travel Advice
🗓️ Best Time to Visit
Phoenix is one of the hottest cities in the United States, so it’s no wonder the summer is the slow season. Winter is the best time to visit weather-wise, but prices are super cheap in the summer.
- ❄️ Winter – Cool but not cold, you can still sit poolside while the rest of the country shovels snow.
- 🍂 Fall – The crisp air is fantastic after the long, hot summer. Pumpkin patches and haunted attractions abound!
- 🌼 Spring – Glorious weather, but beware of severe allergies. The blooming Palo Verde trees have no mercy on the sinuses.
- 🌞 Summer – Prices are beyond cheap, but you pay the price another way. It’s hot hot hot in the summertime!
🚌 Getting Around
Phoenix isn’t the friendliest when it comes to public transportation. However, it’s not hard to get around if you have wheels.
- 🚶♀️ Walking – Most areas are not walkable, but if you stick to one neighborhood, you can get around okay.
- 🚗 Driving – A car is definitely recommended for this spread-out city.
- 🚇 Public Transit – The light rail downtown is efficient, but all other public transit is not recommended.
- 📲 Ride Share – Ubers and Lyfts are typically cheap when prices aren’t surging.
- 🚴♀️ Biking – The outskirts of the city are fantastic for biking, but don’t try the city streets.
- 🛴 Scooters – You’ll find these on the main drag downtown, in Scottsdale, and in Tempe.
👉 Tips & Things to Know
- 🥵 – It’s a dry heat – As you probably know, Phoenix is hot. Take care of yourself while exploring the city and take it easy.
- 🚗 – Have a car – Phoenix is very hard to navigate without wheels. It would be wise to have a car to get around with ease.
- 🧴 – Wear sunscreen – I can’t emphasize this enough. Put on sunscreen in the morning and reapply throughout the day!
- 🏀 – Be aware of sporting events – Sports are huge in Phoenix (hello Suns and Diamondbacks). The games are super fun, but city congestion is not.
- 🏞️ – Get outside – From desert mountains to forested lakes, Phoenix is surrounded by incredible scenery. Go see the beauty!
🧳 What to Pack
- 💧 – Water bottle – Drink water until you run out and then fill up and drink more water. All. Day. Long.
- 😎 – Sunglasses – Arizona’s hot sun is bright! Protect your fragile eyeballs with a good pair of sunnies.
- 🧴 – Sunscreen – As mentioned before, this is imperative to keeping your precious skin from getting crispy.
- 👙 – Bathing Suit – Nearly every hotel in Phoenix has a pool. Break out the swimsuit and take a dive!
- 👡 – Sandals – Sandals were made for Phoenix. Relaxed footwear is calling your name.
🤓 Facts & Info
- Census Population (2020) – 1,608,139 people (city), 4,845,832 people (metro area)
- Time Zone – Mountain Standard Time (GMT-7)
- Area Codes – (602) & (480)
- Airports – Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA)
- Nickname – The Valley
- Demonynm – Phoenician
- State – Arizona
- Country – United States of America
💵 Costs & Budgeting
- 3 Star Hotel Room – $60-$120/night
- 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $80-$150/night
- Rental Car – $20-$100/day
- Public Transit Ticket – ~$3 ($10 to airport from center)
- RideShare from Downtown to Airport – $10-$30
- Take Out Meal for Two – $20-$30
- Sit Down Dinner for Two – $30-$80
- Draft Beer – $5-$9
FAQs About Visiting Phoenix
Is Phoenix safe for tourists?
Phoenix is generally safe for tourists, but there certainly are some questionable areas, especially near downtown. However, the less safe spots offer little reason to wander for tourists, so visitors likely won’t find themselves in these areas.
What is the best month to visit Phoenix?
The best month to visit Phoenix is October. The weather is finally cooling down then, and there are tons of fun seasonal activities to explore around the city. You’ll be able to do plenty of indoor and outdoor things at this ideal time.
Is Phoenix worth visiting?
Phoenix is worth visiting, as there’s something for everyone in this bustling city. Enjoy incredible attractions, superior sports teams, highly-rated restaurants, fantastic weather, and more.
How many days is enough to visit Phoenix?
Five days is enough to visit Phoenix, but ideally, I would recommend a week or two. This way, you can really get a variety of desert activities on your itinerary. But you can still fit plenty of noteworthy sights and attractions into less than a week.
Meet Our Phoenix Travel Expert
Betty Hurd is a flight attendant from Tucson, Arizona with a degree in Journalism from the University of Arizona. Her love for travel led her to exciting careers in aviation and writing. She’s visited 37 countries and hopes to inspire others to see the world by chronicling her adventures in her blog, Have You Hurd.
Visiting other areas of the great state of Arizona? With so many popular attractions and hidden gems in the Grand Canyon State, we’ll help make your trip planning a little easier:
- 11 Best Arizona State Parks in 2023 (By a Local)
- 8 Best Phoenix Neighborhoods (for 2023)
- 8 Best Tucson Neighborhoods for 2023 (By a Local)
- 27 Best Things to Do in Tucson in 2023 (By a Local)
- 25 Best Things to Do in Sedona (in 2023)
- Grand Canyon Packing List (25 Things You Should Bring)
- 19 Best Places to Go Camping in Arizona (By a Local)
- 17 Best Lakes in Arizona for 2023 (By a Local)
- 31 Best Tucson Restaurants (Where to Eat in 2023)
- 22 Best Day Trips from Tucson (By a Local)
- Where to Stay in Tucson (Best Places & Areas, By a Local)
- 29 Best Phoenix Restaurants (Where to Eat in 2023)
- 27 Places to Visit in Arizona in 2023 (By a Local)
- 32 Best Things to Do in Phoenix (in 2023)
- Where to Stay in Phoenix (Best Places & Areas in 2023)
- 21 Best Day Trips from Phoenix (in 2023)