The vast, golden deserts of Arizona provide more than a breathtaking backdrop to the thriving metropolis of Phoenix. The mountains are within easy reach for hiking, ballooning, and cultural activities, and every corner of the sprawling city, the fifth largest in the United States, has an abundance of options for off-the-clock enjoyment.
For a true taste of the region’s roots, the Heard Museum of Native Culture and Arts offers exhibits that feature the artifacts of Native American tribes, particularly those of the Southwest, as well as contemporary artwork inspired by this heritage.
Marvel at the surreal desert at the Desert Botanical Garden while strolling the cactus-lined and sun-soaked trails and viewing the indigenous plants and spectacular scenery.
The desert eventually dries the palate, warranting fine food and drink. The renowned FnB restaurant puts an elegant twist on local southwestern comfort food and features local wines. For a more authentic southwestern feel, The Roaring Fork features wood-fired, hearty fare straight out of the Wild West.
The options for postdining drinks are endless. Jade Bar Sanctuary has a more sophisticated list of cocktails than many local watering holes. The menu is so creative that the bar gives classes in mixology. For cool drinks and smooth jams, try Bobby Cís Lounge & Grill, widely considered the best jazz bar in town.
For competitive pastimes, there are major sports facilities where popcorn and beer abound. The Arizona Diamondbacks, the MLB team, swing at Chase Field, while the Phoenix Suns of the NBA dribble at the U.S. Airways Center. The Coyotes and the Cardinals play at the University of Phoenix Stadium, making this a popular sports destination for NHL and NFL fans.
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is a one-of-a-kind venue with interactive exhibits and history for aficionados of various music genres. Artists perform at the MIM Music Theater, showcasing a diverse line-up. You can watch mainstream artists perform in the open-air Mesa Amphitheater, where some of music’s hottest names make for a night of dancing under the desert moon. To get the view from above, Hot Air Expeditions takes guests aloft in hot air balloons for an unparalleled sight of the booming city and the surrounding desert.
Witness how renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright mastered the art of integrating his signature architectural style with the Sonoran Desert at Taliesin West.
If you long for a shopping spree, head to Old Town Scottsdale for a mix of high-end boutiques and southwestern art and gear. Or you can visit Scottsdale Fashion Square or Biltmore Fashion Park for the region’s best mall experiences. DW
The Roaring Fork
4800 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 1700
Bobby C’s Lounge & Grill
1140 East Washington Street
Jade Bar Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
5700 East McDonald Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ
7133 E. Stetson Drive