Experience the “Jewel of the Desert” – The Biltmore Shopping Park District
In Phoenix, things to do abound. Whether your passion lies in the city’s urban landscapes or the outlying deserts, it is here that you can explore the soul of the American Southwest and experience world-renowned attractions, inspiring museums, breathtaking canyons and majestic mountains. A year-round haven for outdoor adventures and leisurely indoor activities, Phoenix is a perennial favorite.
The luxury Phoenix hotel’s location in Arizona’s Biltmore District makes it ideal for high-end shopping and award-winning restaurants
. Called the “jewel of the desert,” the Arizona Biltmore District is 39-acres of stunning architecture, gardens, shopping, restaurants and hotels. Our concierge will assist you in planning a magnificent outing around the Biltmore Shopping Park in Phoenix.
Built in 1932 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., the mansion sits atop a 100-foot knoll with commanding views of the mountains and the city below. Embracing elements of Spanish, California Monterey and Mediterranean architecture, the mansion stands as a monument to an elegance and opulence.
Architect Earl Heitschmidt of Los Angeles designed the home at a cost of $1.2 million, in a combination of styles including Spanish Colonial. It has 24 rooms, 12 bathrooms, and over 16,000 square feet. Much of the extensive tilework was shipped to Phoenix from Wrigley's own factory in Catalina, hauled by mule to the site.
In July 1992, Geordie Hormel bought the mansion and made it available for meetings, conventions and similar functions. It has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.
In late 1937 Wright purchased land in northeast Scottsdale, Arizona, where he and his young apprentices took on the task of building Taliesin West as a winter "camp." The complex of buildings included residential spaces, theaters, a shop, and an architectural studio and drafting room.
From its inception, the buildings at Taliesin West astounded architectural critics with their beauty and unusual form. In it 1956 report Architectural Record called a visit to Taliesin West "an experience in color, light, and time . . .
Most of all, the building is an experience in time: approach terraces, the steps, the long walk under the pergola, the penetration into the heart of the building itself: all these form a subtle sequence of varied spaces, scales, and shapes . . .
Perhaps never since the baroque period has the element of time been used so skillfully in realizing the enchantment of an intricate work of art."
Japanese Friendship Garden - Ro Ho En
The essence of the Japanese culture is brought to the desert through the three and a half-acre authentic Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix.
The garden and teahouse celebrate the spirit of understanding and promote educational and cultural awareness between the East and West. The garden features more than 50 varieties of plants, flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall and a Koi pond. The garden is a joint project between Phoenix and its sister city of Himeji, Japan.
Desert Botanical Gardens
Nestled amid the red buttes of Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden hosts one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. One of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums, this one-of-a-kind museum showcases 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits. Home to 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the
world, the Garden offers interesting and inspiring experiences to more than 300,000 visitors each year. In 1938 a small group of Valley citizens gathered in Papago Park to create a botanical garden whose precepts would encourage an understanding, appreciation and promotion of the uniqueness of the world's deserts, particularly the Sonoran Desert. They foresaw the Valley's potential and unique identity, envisioning the need to conserve their beautiful desert environment. The Desert Botanical Garden, since its inception in 1939, continues to be a testament to their vision. A charter member of the Museum Association of Arizona and National Center for Plant Conservation, the Garden is fully accredited with the American Association of Museums and American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.
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.
Tovrea Castle and Carraro Cactus Garden
Another familiar Phoenix landmark, Tovrea Castle sits atop a cactus-covered hill like a giant tiered wedding cake. This one-of-a-kind castle was built in the 1920s by Alessio Carraro and sold shortly thereafter to cattle baron Edward Tovrea.
The castle reflects the rustic elegance of 1900s Arizona. Now owned by the city of Phoenix, the castle is an historic preservation project of the Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and the Parks and Recreation Department. The city has completed a garden restoration project on the grounds.
The castle, currently under restoration, will be open to the public on a limited basis upon completion.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
Pueblo Grande is the only National Historic Landmark in the city. The park includes a 1,500-year-old Hohokam culture ruin along an interpretive trail as well as an onsite museum with three exhibit galleries and a theater featuring exhibits of the Hohokam and other cultures of the Southwest. The site also includes some of the last remaining intact Hohokam irrigation canals. Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of southwest cultures, past and present.
Museum Mission: Pueblo Grande Museum will collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit materials from the site of Pueblo Grande as well as archaeological and ethnographic material from the Greater Southwest. The Museum is dedicated to enhancing the knowledge of prehistory, history, and ethnology of Native Americans and inhabitants of the Southwest, and promoting a greater understanding of other cultures past and present. Pueblo Grande Museum is located at a 1,500 year-old Hohokam village ruins in modern day Phoenix. For over 70 years the museum has been dedicated to the study and interpretation of the Hohokam culture. On the 102 acre park grounds, visitors explore the ruin of an 800 year-old platform mound possibly used by the Hohokam for ceremonies or as an administrative center. An excavated ballcourt, and to full-scale reproductions of prehistoric Hohokam homes can be viewed along the ruin trail. The site also includes some of the last remaining intact Hohokam irrigation canals.
The Hohokam Culture: The prehistoric Hohokam people lived in central and southern Arizona from about AD 1 to 1450. They were expert farmers, growing crops such as corn, beans, squash, and cotton. They used adobe to construct their villages, often centered around platform mounds and ballcourts, and engineered hundreds of miles of canals to irrigate their fields. Distinguished by their red-on-buff pottery, the Hohokam wove beautiful textiles and made jewelry from shell obtained from the Gulf of California. Drought, floods and perhaps internal strife, forced the Hohokam to abandon the Salt River Valley in the fifteenth century. When Spanish explorers arrived in the sixteenth century, they found the Hohokam villages in ruins. However, they also found thriving villages of Akimel O'odham (Pima) natives, who claim to be descendents of the Hohokam. Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Southwest, past and present.
Don't forget to stop in at the Museum Store operated by the Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary. It's a great place to find that one-of-a-kind gift or personal item. Located off of the museum lobby you will find a wide variety of books, American Indian jewelry and pottery, games and books for kids, shirts, compact discs, cassette tapes and lots of other interesting items.
Montezuma Castle & Tuzigoot
About one and a half hours north of Phoenix are two National Monuments that are well worth a day trip from the Phoenix area. Montezuma Castle stands in a cliff recess a hundred feet above the Verde Valley. It was five-story a 20-room dwelling built by the peaceful Sinagua farmers in the 12th century. This area overlooked fertile fields where they grew corn, beans squash and cotton. Nearby, a creek provided them with a reliable source of water. This location also provided some safety from potentially dangerous visitors.
Montezuma Castle was so securely built that it is now one of the best-preserved prehistoric structures in the Southwest. Nearby one can also see some of the remaining ruins from an additional six-story 45-room dwelling which was built at the base of the cliff. Tuzigoot is an Apache word meaning "crooked water." Tuzigoot is a remnant of a Sinaguan village built above the Verde Valley before 1400. It is thought that the population here, and the building of additional rooms as a consequence, was comprised of farmers leaving the drought in outlying areas. Visitors are invited to walk in and around Tuzigoot to try to imagine the daily life of the Sinagua who farmed, hunted and created pottery and artwork in this area hundreds of years ago.
In addition to Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot, Montezuma Well is open to the public for visits. The well is a limestone sink formed hundreds of years ago. The local inhabitants of the era used the waters from the well to irrigate their crops. Remains of pithouses are here, as well as petroglyphs which can be viewed only certain days of the week. Contact the National Park Service for the schedule.
Both Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot are managed by the National Park Service, and there is small fee for entry. The museum at Montezuma Castle provides good information, but needs a bit of refurbishment. The Visitor Center at Tuzigoot, however, is very well done. Both monuments are very interesting, but for the younger crowd Tuzigoot will be the more popular of the two since you can actually walk up, in and around the structure. No food is available at any of these locations, so bring some sandwiches and fruit and drinks. There is a picnic area at Montezuma Castle. If visiting in the spring and summer, make sure to bring a hat and suncreeen, since there is little protection from the sun.
Voted one of the nation’s top 5 zoos for kids!!!
How big is the Zoo? We have 125 acres of land including exhibit, non-exhibit and operations areas. How long do we need to see the entire Zoo? We have approximately 2.5 miles of walking trails. The Zoo has been divided into four different trails; usually the Africa and Tropics Trails take about an hour each and the Arizona and Children’s Trails take about a half hour each. We recommend approximately 2 and a half to 3 hours to see the Zoo, depending on the size and ages of your group, and how fast you walk. Because we create exhibits that replicate the natural habitats of our collection, some animals can be difficult to see and visitors may be required to spend more time in observation.
How many animals do you have in your collection? We have approximately 1,200 animals on exhibit at our Zoo, including our collections of mammals, fish, invertebrates, birds, and reptiles.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum brings together plants from the Earth's many and varied deserts and dry lands. Approximately 3,200 different desert plants can be found within the arboretum, and most of them can be seen along the 1.5 mile main trail. During wildflower season, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is especially beautiful, displaying all the wonderful colors of the desert.
Are you a bird lover? More than 250 species of birds have been recorded at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. The Arboretum brings together plants from the Earth's many and varied deserts and dry lands and displays them alongside unspoiled examples of the native Sonoran Desert vegetation. No matter what the season, you will enjoy a moving and memorable experience of the beauty, majesty, and mystery of arid land plants.
You will also enjoy the many natural communities that form the arid land environment. Memorable experiences await you as you walk the Main Trail; you will see enthralling, otherworldly shapes and forms in the Cactus Garden. You will also find peaceful reflection in the cool shade of towering trees in Queen Creek Canyon; and intellectual stimulation in the many and varied displays at the Smith Interpretive Center. You may enjoy a quiet and intimate time at the Wing Memorial Garden; as well as inspiration for home or business landscapes at the Demonstration Gardens of Low Water-demanding Plants. You will see expansive southwestern vistas visible from the High Trail. There are many gardens here; so find your special places among them.
Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Camp Verde, AZ – Approximately 90 miles from Phoenix - View Website
Just recently celebrated its 2nd anniversary in its new home in Camp Verde, Arizona…Out of Africa Wildlife Park was founded in 1988 by Dean and Prayeri Harrison and is home to 400 animals who occupy a 104-acre preserve. The park was created for wild animals to live in a setting simulating their native environment. The animals enjoy natural, spacious habitats and share close relationships with their caregivers. The founders of the park have developed unique features and interactive ways in which the public can share in one-of-a-kind wildlife experiences: the Serengeti Safari, the Wildlife Preserve, the Giant Snake Show, and the Predator Feed. The location in Camp Verde has greatly expanded habitats for its large African animals including giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, sables, rhinoceros, lions, leopards, hyena, and other exotic creatures from around the world. At 3,400 feel elevation, the facility also enjoys cooler temperatures year round and offers a high desert environment similar to the Masai region of Africa.
Future Plans: Tiger Splash Arena: Due to much rain, and delays in construction, the building of the arena and all that is needed for the Tiger Splash Show at Out of Africa Wildlife Park is taking longer than anticipated.
So far, the arena has seats, the pool is in and green grass surrounds the pool area. The Park is now constructing Tiger safe walkways and new visitor restrooms. Out of Africa Wildlife Park is very excited about the completion of Tiger Splash and being able to share the Tiger Splash show with visitors. We are targeting the completion of the Tiger Splash area for early 2007. Reptile Village: A reptile village is currently being constructed for the cold blooded creatures: giant pythons, anacondas, iguanas, monitor lizards and cobras. When completed, you’ll be able to see different species living together in temperature controlled solariums and outside gardens.
Wildlife World Zoo
Home of new baby tigers – “Nash” & “Raja” – named after 2 of the Phoenix Suns Basketball players.
At the Wildlife World Zoo, we strive to achieve the highest standards for our animals, our customers, and ourselves. Since 1984 one of the Wildlife World Zoo's primary goals has been to educate Arizonians about the importance of conserving of all species of animals and the places they call home. Our Mission: We will endeavor to be recognized locally and nationally as an excellent zoological park exhibiting and explaining the wonders of the natural world. The four key purposes of the Wildlife World Zoo are; conservation, recreation, education, and non-invasive scientific studies.
Zoo Profile: At 22 years old and growing stronger, Wildlife World Zoo has Arizona's largest collection of exotic animals, totaling over 2400 individual animals representing nearly 400 species. Wildlife World Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). It is one of a few nationally accredited privately owned zoos in the United States. In 2004, the zoo was also inducted into the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). Only about one quarter of AZA's 200 plus member institutions are currently selected for membership in WAZA. Wildlife World Zoo brings together over 2400 individual animals representing more than 350 different species. In our exhibits you will see endangered hoofed animals in grassy pastures, rare birds in flight in their naturalistic aviaries, remarkable reptiles, fascinating fish and mazing small mammals. Through this living environment over three million visitors have passed, explored and learned.
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.
Interstate 17 @ Cordes Junction Exit #262 (North of Phoenix) - View Website
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.
Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Art Museum has become a popular Valley oasis, a retreat from the desert and the traditional outdoor activities. The Museum is always 72˚ with 50% humidity, which not only protects the art from environmental damage but also makes the Museum the perfect attraction for the entire family all year long. And, with the completion of a stunning $50 million expansion in 2006, it is a "must see." With popular and unique exhibitions of the world’s best art, casual and fun events and activities, Movies at the Museum, Music at the Museum, great shopping and dining, and many comfortable architectural niches where one can just relax and rejuvenate, Phoenix Art Museum truly means “cool art, in a cool place.” Who needs the mall? Imagine spending an afternoon with Monet, Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe, then shopping in The Museum Store for that perfect gift, and topping it off with lunch or a pastry in Art Museum Café. There’s fun for the whole family in the interactive ArtWorks Gallery, and imaginations run wild in the historic interiors of the Thorne miniature rooms. With a collection of over 17,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary, Western American art, and fashion design, there’s something for every taste at Phoenix Art Museum. You can even match your fashion sense with that of the great designers in the Museum’s fashion design gallery, featuring today’s hip styles and those spanning the past four centuries from the Museum’s collection.
Phoenix Art Museum opened in 1959. Its founding and development into the leading art museum in the American Southwest reflects the constant commitment from the community and mirrors the growth of Phoenix from a small desert town to the sixth largest city in the United States. Now, the classically progressive look of its 203,000-square-foot building is a work of art in itself. Designed by New York architects Tod Williams/Billie Tsien & Associates in the mid-1990s and expanded by them in 2006, it integrates art and architecture with the southwestern landscape and provides sweeping interior spaces. Phoenix Art Museum is proud to greet visitors from all corners of the community and the world, and from all walks of life. It is a place with something for everyone, where all are welcome, a place to experience the world’s greatest art, a place where imaginations and spirits soar.
Art Museum Café by Arcadia Farms - Located inside the Museum, Art Museum Café by Arcadia Farms offers casual dining featuring delicious sandwiches, fresh salads, luscious desserts, and children's menu. Museum members receive a discount when they present a current membership card. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm (kitchen closes at 3p; pastries, desserts and drinks available until 5p) - Phone: (602) 257-2191
The Museum Store features a wide range of handcrafted jewelry, books, posters, cards, apparel and handbags, unique mobiles, Soleri bells, Yixing teapots, contemporary glass, children's toys and activity sets, exhibition-related items, and decorative housewares and gift items that include sophisticated German china giftware by Rosenthal, Ittala’s modern Swedish designs, and the Danish 20th century design classics of Stelton - all reflecting the diversity of the Museum's collection and exhibitions. It is now open in its new, greatly expanded space, with a huge selection of new and familiar products. Gift certificates are available, too! Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm (Tuesdays, 10am to 9pm)
Accessible Services - Complimentary wheelchairs are available in the Museum's lobby, on a first-come, first-served basis. Infrared Assisted-Listening Systems for the Lecture Hall are available at the Admissions Desk. TTY/TDD telephone is available outside of the Steele Gallery. Handicapped parking available in all lots, and ramp access is provided.
Heard Museum (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise)
Heard Museum (Downtown) - 2301 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
Heard Museum North Scottsdale - The Summit at Scottsdale - 32633 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ
Heard Museum West - 16126 N. Civic Center Plaza, Surprise, AZ
The mission of the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art is to educate the public about the heritage and living cultures and arts of Native peoples, with an emphasis on the peoples of the Southwest.
Since its founding by Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard in 1929 - as a small museum in a small southwestern town - the Heard has grown in size and stature - to where now it is recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, its educational programming and its festivals - and Phoenix has grown along with it. The Heard is a living museum - giving voice to a uniquely American people.
- Heard Museum (Downtown) - 2301 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
(Convenient, alternate access via 3rd Street & Monte Vista during light rail construction.) Since its founding by Dwight & Maie Heard in 1929, the Heard Museum has grown in size and stature, to where now it is recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, its educational programming and its festivals. Today, the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art is a must-see Arizona landmark -- a place of learning, discovery and an opportunity to share Native traditions that will touch your heart. With exhibitions of cultural objects and fine art to jewelry and fashion, the Heard Museum offers the best in traditional and contemporary American Indian art. Year after year, the Heard continues to build upon its commitment to exhibit the finest works from its permanent collection as well as top-notch traveling exhibits and the best in emerging contemporary art from the museum’s permanent collection and beyond. All combine to make our exhibitions part of a living institution that embraces diversity.
Heard Museum North Scottsdale debuts in a brand new facility featuring two exhibit galleries, a new Shop and a delightful garden cafe! As it has done for the past 11 years as part of the Northeast Valley, the new location of Heard Museum North will continue to present outstanding exhibitions featuring the renowned collections of the Heard Museum.
Welcome to the new Heard Museum West! Thanks to a generous partnership with the City of Surprise, this new community location brings the Heard Museum's renowned permanent collection and incredible programming to the West Valley. Heard Museum West offers an exhibition gallery showcasing more than 400 works of art from the Heard's permanent collection as well as a changing exhibition space. The location also provides classroom spaces for lectures, films and discussions. Be sure to visit the new Heard West Shop!
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Overview - Founded in 1999, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art [SMoCA] is the only museum in Arizona devoted to the art, architecture and design of our time. Global in its focus, the Museum is a unique and vital cultural resource for the Southwest, serving local audiences as well as visitors from throughout the United States and abroad. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA's minimalist building (an ingenious renovation of a former movie theater) has five galleries for showcasing changing exhibitions and works from the Museum's growing permanent collection. SMoCA also features an outdoor sculpture garden housing James Turrell's Knight Rise, one of the renowned artist's few public skyspaces, and Scrim Wall, a monumental curtain of prismatic glass by James Carpenter Design Associates. The Museum presents a wide variety of educational programs and special events for adults and families, including lectures, docent-led tours, workshops and classes.
The Store @ SMoCA offers classic design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry, art and architecture books and imaginative gifts for all occasions. The Store @ SMoCA - A unique shopping experience for a gift that is the very substance of style! The Store @ SMoCA (the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art) is very proud to bring you a refreshing shopping experience quite different from your average trip to the mall! The Store @ SMoCA features a variety of gifts full of artistic flair & high-design sure to express your stylish taste and individuality. SMoCA's gift store is the place to find beautiful art books that would make any coffee table envious. Stocked with books on contemporary art, photography, architecture, design, pop culture and much more--with publications that can often only be found at SMoCA. Plenty of other signature merchandise abounds--whether you're looking for smart, modern home decor pieces, clever design accoutrements for your office space (or any space!), richly patterned stationery sets & postcards or one-of-a-kind jewelry, handbags and scarves--these pieces let you wear your artistic sensibilities on your sleeve.
SMoCA's young@art gallery is located within the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, immediately adjacent to SMoCA, at 7380 East Second Street.
Scottsdale Art Walk
Scottsdale ArtWalk is much like a large, easy-going open house for the Scottsdale Arts District located primarily along Main Street and Marshall Way in Scottsdale Downtown. “America’s Original ArtWalk,” this weekly gathering takes place every Thursday evening (year-round, except Thanksgiving) between 7 and 9 pm. That’s when all member galleries belonging to the Scottsdale Gallery Association (SGA) open their doors to the public and show off the work of the Southwest’s outstanding artists.
A 30-year tradition, the ArtWalk process is simple — proceed at your own pace, wander into galleries that capture your fancy, stroll around a delightful area punctuated by dramatic statues, bubbling fountains, tree-covered courtyards, famed restaurants and more. Horse-drawn carriage rides and trolley rides are often available from plentiful free parking areas nearby. People love the fabulous weather and Scottsdale Downtown ambiance, and they often plan an entire evening that combines ArtWalk with a foray for drinks, dining or the theater. Be prepared to be surprised by the wide array of artistic styles that are represented by Scottsdale galleries, from Western traditional to cutting-edge contemporary, from Southwest landscapes and Native American subjects to Russian Impressionism and more. Scottsdale ArtWalk keeps you on your cultural toes!
Scottsdale ArtWalk is also a great place to “people watch.” Sure, famed artists may be guested at individual gallery receptions, or even demonstrating their work, but the art-walking public itself offers up a wide slice of life, a mix of locals and tourists of all kinds.
Heritage & Science Park
Heritage & Science Park includes the following:
- Historic Heritage Square - 115 N. Sixth Street, Phoenix, AZ - View Website
- Arizona Science Center - 600 East Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ - View Website
- The Phoenix Museum of History - 105 North 5th Street, Phoenix, AZ - View Website
- Rosson House Museum - 113 N. 6th Street, Phoenix, AZ - View Website
Historic Heritage Square
Historic Heritage Square is a striking remnant of Phoenix’s Victorian past. The Rosson House is the cornerstone of a city block dating from the late 1800s. Museums, shops and restaurants now inhabit the block, which encompasses the only remaining group of residential structures from the original townsite of Phoenix. Historic Heritage Square is a part of Heritage & Science Park that includes the Arizona Science Center (602-716-2000), Phoenix Museum of History(602-253-2734), restaurants and a parking garage. The park is operated by the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the Rosson House-Heritage Square Foundation.
Arizona Science Center
Members of the Junior League of Phoenix opened a small "pilot" science center called the Arizona Museum of Science and Technology in 1984. Offering educational opportunities that complement the schools, this facility provided "hands-on" science learning to more than 750,000 children and adults during its 13-year history. The Arizona Science Center, with the assistance of a distinguished Education Advisory Committee that included representatives from the State's universities, school systems, businesses, and community groups, performed a needs assessment for science learning in Arizona. The findings were incorporated into the selection of exhibits, year-one programmatic offerings, and strategies to reach key segments of the public: youth, adolescents, parents, and teachers. The new Arizona Science Center opened to the public in April 1997. A new, voter-approved expansion opened in October 2004, including additional classroom and gallery space. Current facilities include more than 40,000 square-feet of gallery space containing more than 300 hands-on exhibits; an IMAX Theater seating 285; a multi-media Dorrance Planetarium seating 200; a suite of classrooms; amenities including a gift shop, food service and lunchroom; and support facilities.
The Phoenix Museum of History
The Phoenix Museum of History is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the early history of Phoenix. Visitors of all ages enjoy interactive and educational exhibits showcasing Phoenix’s metamorphosis from a dusty desert town to a modern metropolis. Now in its seventh decade, the museum continues to receive recognition and appreciation for its contribution to the cultural life of Phoenix. Come discover how time and place have influenced modern Phoenix, and the stories of the city's exciting and colorful past.
Rosson House Museum
Historic Heritage Square located inside Heritage & Science Park, is comprised of several beautifully restored turn of the 20th century homes (including the 1895 Rosson House) and buildings located on what was part of the original Phoenix townsite during the late 1800s. Today, the park itself is part of Phoenix’s downtown Copper Square. The Rosson House - Heritage Square Foundation & Guild, a non-profit organization, provides docents/volunteers, educational programs, special events and historical activities for visitors of all ages at Historic Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix. Our mission: To serve as a window in time through which present and future generations experience the culture and history of Phoenix through participation and education while acting as stewards of Historic Heritage Square.
Shemer Art Center and Museum
The Shemer Art Center and Museum is located in an historic home built in 1919. Nestled in Arcadia, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Phoenix, Shemer boasts a panoramic view of Camelback Mountain with a touch of nostalgia.
The property was originally part of 640 acres owned by a group of investors who had visions of selling home sites. They named the area “Arcadia,” founded the Arcadia Water Company and began drilling wells. In 1919 a small house was built for the workman in charge of the project. It was the first house in Arcadia. A small portion at the far east end of the present house is presumed to have been a part of that original structure. In 1927 the 40 acres containing the house was sold to the Suhr family from Oil City, Pennsylvania, who were purchasing it for a winter home. Another building project was begun to enlarge the garage (now the studio), add two more bedrooms and a bathroom, enclose the porch, enlarge the kitchen and stucco the outside to hide the many additions. This resulted in the house as you see it today. Finally, in 1984, the house was put on the market once again. Martha Shemer, a longtime Phoenix resident, looked at the house in July of ’84 and was so struck by the nostalgia of the house and the picturesque view of Camelback Mountain that she contacted Mayor Terry Goddard’s office and asked if she purchased the property would the City operate and maintain the facility. After due deliberations the City Council accepted the generous offer and at great expense to herself, with no tax advantages, Martha Shemer made the property available – at no cost – to the City of Phoenix.
In October 1984 Shemer Art Center was born. Mrs. Shemer had two dreams: one to preserve a bit of Phoenix history and another to provide to the citizens of Phoenix an art education facility. In 1986 SACAMA (Shemer Art Center and Museum Association)* was formed to provide support and input into the operation of the art center. The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department is pleased to join forces with SACAMA to support and preserve this very special cultural and historical amenity for Phoenix.
Arizona Capitol Museum
Dedicated as our capitol in 1901, the copper-domed building has witnessed many landmarks in Arizona history.
Our state constitution was composed here in 1910 and it became our State Capitol in 1912 with Arizona's admission to the union. Social changes in the state, such as a commitment to fiscal conservatism and rapid population growth after World War II are reflected in the very construction of the Capitol building and its additions.
The governor's office, both houses of the legislature, and the Arizona Supreme Court all occupied the building together at one time. The historic Capitol building, now the Arizona Capitol Museum, continues to watch our state's political story unfold with its central position between the governor's office and the state legislature. It remains the primary symbol of democracy in Arizona.
Arizona Historical Society Museum in Papago Park
The Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park collects, preserves, and interprets central Arizona’s history with special emphasis on the 20th century. This is one of four museum divisions of the statewide Arizona Historical Society.
Visit the museum to see exhibits related to the impact of water in the desert, the development of agriculture, and transportation, and the Home Front during World War II. Other galleries focus on urban growth and change, prominent individuals who shaped Arizona, and the Wallace and Ladmo Show, one of the longest-running TV shows in history.
Videos, interactive displays, and activities for children make this museum enjoyable for the entire family. Group tours must be scheduled in advance. Researchers can use the library, archives, and collections to learn more about the history and material culture of central Arizona. The archives contain a rich oral history and film collection, as well as thousands of photos and documents, including maps and architectural drawings.
Prominent collections present the history of Valley National Bank, Phoenix Little Theatre, Bayless stores, and household food preparation and kitchen ware. Artifact collections related to farming, World War II, and clothing depict the changing material culture of this area from the late-19th century to the present. Volunteers are an important part of the museum team. The museum provides a variety of experiences for volunteers, from leading tours to working with collections.
Pioneer Living History Village & 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.
In 1956, plans for a living history museum began with a group of Arizona history enthusiasts. Many landmarks of Arizona history were being destroyed by what many called progress. These enthusiasts formed the "Pioneer Arizona Foundation, Inc" Founders of Pioneer Arizona Foundation, Inc. include: Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lockett (who donated the state land lease to the museum) - Paul Fannin, Governor of Arizona in the early 1960s. – Senator Barry Goldwater – Senator Carl Hayden – Governor Wesley Bolin - George Babbit, Jr. - JoAnn Schmitt Graham, a journalist - Robert R. Weaver, a Phoenix attorney
The museum celebrated it's Grand Opening on February 15, 1969, with Phase 1 of the Living History Village. The Pioneer Living History Village you visit today is still in Phase 1. Over time and with contributions from the public, this Village hopes to one day complete the original founders' dreams so that our Western heritage here in Arizona is preserved for future generations to see. The village houses 30 historic buildings from the 1880s to the turn of the century. Most of them can be viewed and experienced by the public. We welcome field trips from schools, home schools, tour agents, destination planners and communities - The Village is a "Classroom Without Walls".
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting
The Hall of Flame Fire Museum and the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, located in Phoenix, Arizona, has almost an acre of fire history exhibits, with over 90 fully restored pieces of fire apparatus on display, dating from 1725 to 1969. Most of the exhibits are American, but we also have pieces from England, France, Austria, Germany, and Japan. The Hall of Flame sponsors the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, which honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty or who have been decorated for heroism.
George F. Getz, Jr. founded the Hall of Flame in 1961. He organized the National Historical Fire Foundation as a 501(c)(3) non profit organization to promote the programs of a museum which he named the Hall of Flame. Mr. Getz began to collect fire apparatus after the Christmas 1955 present of a 1924 American la France fire engine from his wife, Olive Atwater Getz. The couple were fascinated by the rig, and Mr. Getz began to collect apparatus of all types from all over the world. In 1961 the collection was large enough for exhibit in a small museum in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, near the Getz summer home.
A few years later the Hall of Flame moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where it remained until 1970. In that year the Getz family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, and Mr. Getz decided to move the Hall of Flame as well. In 1974 the Hall of Flame opened its present building in Phoenix's Papago Park, adjacent to the Phoenix Zoo and Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The Hall has grown from its original single gallery to six exhibit galleries, a library, store, theater, restoration shop, darkroom, storage galleries, and administrative offices. The Hall's present size is 50,000 square feet, with 35,000 square feet of exhibit galleries. The collection has grown to over 130 wheeled pieces, thousands of smaller artifacts, and a library with over 6,000 holdings and over 50,000 graphics.
Mr. Getz died in 1992. His grandson, George F. Getz, was elected to the presidency of the foundation. Mr. Getz' son Bert, his grandson Bert, and his granddaughter Lynn are also members of the foundation's board of trustees. The Getz family strongly supports the goals of the Foundation, which are three: The collection, preservation and exhibit of objects relating to the history of firefighting; fire safety education; and the recognition of firefighters who have died in the line of duty or who have been recognized for acts of heroism.
The galleries contain a wide variety of exhibits, including fire apparatus, artwork, uniforms and equipment, firemarks, alarm room equipment, and a large fire safety exhibit which includes a two room safety house, a mini-theater, and many hands-on exhibits for children. The museum has a theater with seating for 40 visitors that is equipped with a multi-media projector and stereo sound. Visitors can see videos relating to firefighting. The museum has created a ten-minute video that introduces visitors to the exhibits. In 1998 the museum opened a new gallery titled the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes. In this gallery we honor American firefighters who have received a national award for heroism, and we also recognize American firefighters who have died in the line of duty. The gallery contains a variety of exhibits which describe the social history of firefighting -- the volunteers, career firefighters, wild land firefighters, and paramedics. For more information on the Hall of Heroes, see our Hall of Heroes page. By the end of 2002, we will be opening a new 2,000 square foot gallery that will tell the story of wild land firefighting. The exhibit will include a fire lookout and exhibits related to the smokejumpers, helitacks, hot shots and Class I crews that make up modern wild land firefighting crews in the United States.
Mesa Southwest Museum
Beginning as a 3,000-square-foot room full of Arizona artifacts in May, 1977, the Mesa Southwest Museum is now an 80,000-square-foot facility with a budget of over $1 million. The museum features a multitude of exhibits representing southwestern natural and cultural history. Although the museum continued to grow throughout the years, the latest and grandest expansion thus far resulted from a 1996 City of Mesa bond election that approved $4.5 million for museum construction. This project was completed in May, 2000, and doubled the museum’s previous display area.
Exhibits for the expansion were funded by the Mesa Southwest Museum Foundation, which raised an additional $4.5 million, and by the Southwest Archaeology Team, the Mesa Southwest Museum Guild and the Southwest Paleontological Society, all museum associate organizations. In-house teams planned for, designed and facilitated the construction of new exhibits, providing a sense of pride and ownership for museum employees. The museum is now recognized as one of the largest “dinosaur” museums in the Southwest.
Education and research are high priorities for the museum. Many educational opportunities are available to museum patrons of all ages through classes, workshops, labs, lectures and other activities. A rapidly expanding collections area is currently responsible for approximately 48,000 objects accessioned by the museum. Visitors to the Mesa Southwest Museum experience an incredible journey through Prehistoric Arizona that begins with the formation of the solar system itself. Other attractions include the awe-inspiring three-story Dinosaur Mountain, Dinosaur Hall, Discovery Resource Center, Native Peoples gallery, Art of the Ancient Americas, a Spanish mission replica, Territorial Jail Cells, Arizona and the Movies, turn-of-the-century Mesa, the Arizona Highways Magazine gallery and more.
Two changing galleries—Galeria Baja and Galeria Alta—provide the venue for blockbuster changing exhibits from around the world. Other facilities operated by the Mesa Southwest Museum include the Sirrine House Museum, and the Mesa Grande ruins. The Sirrine House was built in 1896. This distinctive Queen Anne style home was deeded to the City of Mesa in 1980 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mesa Grande ruins consist of an ancient Hohokam platform mound that was utilized around AD 1000-1400. It is located less than two miles from the Mesa Southwest Museum and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Deer Valley Rock Art Center
The Deer Valley Rock Art Center, a 47-acre nature preserve that contains more than 1,500 petroglyphs, merges past, present and future.
Managed by Arizona State University's Department of Anthropology, the center features petroglyphs left on more than 500 boulders throughout the Hedgpeth Hills, a sacred Indian site. In the visitor's center, designed by famed Southwest architect Will Bruder, interpretive displays examine the process of petroglyph production, preservation and interpretation.
The Glyph Shop offers a variety of items relating to rock art including books, clothing and jewelry. The site opened to the public in 1994 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guided tours along the quarter-mile trail are available for school and adult groups or visitors may stroll along on their own.
Phoenix Symphony Hall
In the heart of downtown Phoenix, Symphony Hall sits as the cultural centerpiece of the Valley's vibrant arts community. Major upgrades and improvements from a voter-approved $18.5 million renovation included new electrical and sound systems, new floor configuration for better sightlines to the stage, new seats, extra elevators, upgraded restrooms, an expanded lobby and easier box office access. Since the doors to Symphony Hall first opened in 1972, millions of people have crossed the venue's welcoming threshold into a cultural and performance icon integral to the Valley's arts landscape. It's now a new era for this very-popular venue with the recent completion of an extensive $18.5 million renovation and expansion.
The multi-purpose Symphony Hall, home to The Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona. is also the site for Broadway touring companies, a variety of dance productions, and appearances by popular entertainers, as well as the location for business seminars, and convention general sessions.
Seating - Symphony Hall now features 2,387 chairs with wood bases for better acoustics. Reconfigured main-floor cross aisles, additional elevators and a new wheelchair seating section greatly improve accessibility for patrons with disabilities and updates compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Stage and Sound - There is a 60 foot x 100 foot stage area, high technology acoustical, lighting, rigging and sound systems, a Green Room, rehearsal hall and star, chorus and musicians dressing rooms. Other Special Features - Symphony Hall now includes a 2,652 square foot lobby expansion; new, larger ticket office and new lobby entrances for easier auditorium access. New elevators on each side of the lobby make access easier as well. New, lighter wood panels of ash, read oak, European ash and European steamed birch are featured through the venue, along with new carpeting, custom-designed for Symphony Hall. Art Collection Symphony Hall's intimate art collection is of international significance. The pieces are all gifts from interested and generous residents of Phoenix and include, among others: Venetian Light Sculputres - Hand-blown glass chandeliers designed by Robert Weymers of Beverly Hills, California and created by Barovier and Toso on the Venetian island of Murano. Four Tapestries - Each 20 feet long and 8 feet wide, hung on angular walls in each corner of the lobby. Designed by David Chethlahe Paladin of Prescott, Arizona and modeled after Navajo sand paintings. Woven of Argentine wool by artisans at Teji dos Artisticos in Mexico City, representing a renewal of understanding of the interlocking elements of two cultures. The Grand Drape - The largest piece of machine-made embroidery in the world. Designed by Jack Lenor Larsen, considered the dean of modern fabric design, the warm, striking colors symbolize rebirth, an appropriate description of the renovated Symphony Hall.
Herberger Theater Center
The Herberger Theater Center was conceived as a pivotal piece in the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown Phoenix. Build in 1989 to support and foster the growth of performing arts in Phoenix as a performance venue and arts incubator, the Herberger Theater Center has contributed to the cultural and educational development of the Valley. Since that time, more than two million patrons, including 300,000 school-aged children have shared the unique experience of live performing arts. Three theaters are located at the center including Center Stage seating 800, Stage West seating 325 and the Performing Outreach theater seating 110.
Mission Statement: To support and foster the growth of performing arts in Phoenix as the premier performance venue, arts incubator and advocate.
The Herberger Theater Center is proud to be home to four resident companies:
- Actors Theatre
- Arizona Theatre Company
- Center Dance Ensemble
Other companies who use the Herberger:
- The Black Theatre Troupe
- Valley Youth Theatre
- iTheatre Collaborative
- Theater League
Youth Outreach Programs - The Herberger Theater Center has made a strong commitment to develop and expand programs and initiatives for children, providing them an opportunity to experience the beauty and magic of the theater. Many children each year experience live performances of drama and dance for the first time at the Herberger Theater Center.
The completely different Dodge Theatre promises to change the way you think about live entertainment. It's as large as you need but as intimate as you want. The Dodge Theatre is a state of the art entertainment venue designed specifically for concerts, Broadway shows, family stage shows, boxing, and convention meetings. Our seating can vary from 1,900 to 5,000 for concerts, 5,500 for sporting or corporate events, and with innovative moving sidewalls, provides an intimate setting for proscenium events.
The Dodge Theatre marries the classic, fully rigged Broadway stage house, with the pulsating excitement of modern arena technologies. State-of-the-art music sound systems and premier patron comforts usher in a new era in performance venue evolution.
The once magnificent Orpheum Theatre, built in an elaborate Spanish Baroque style in 1929, was underused and in serious disrepair when the city of Phoenix purchased it in 1984. Shortly thereafter, the Junior League of Phoenix spearheaded a community effort to retain the architectural and historical integrity of the last historic theater in downtown Phoenix and helped place the Orpheum on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
An $11.4 million restoration, funded through city bond funds authorized by Phoenix voters in 1988 and private sector donations, transformed the theater into a technically modern, but architecturally and historically preserved, 1,400-seat venue for performing arts, community and civic events as well as a location for visitor and convention use in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Reopened in January 1997, the Orpheum can accommodate local, regional and national touring productions, performance companies and nonprofit performing arts groups.
Intersting Facts about the Orpheum Theatre:
Built in 1929 in a style known as Spanish Baroque Revival at a cost of $750,000, by J.E. Rickards and Harry Nace for movies and vaudeville. Purchased by the Paramount movie chain in 1949, its name changed to Paramount. Sold to James Nederlander in 1968 for live stage productions and named changed to Palace West. The city of Phoenix purchased the Orpheum Theatre in 1984. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The Orpheum is the last remaining example of theatre palace architecture in Phoenix and is the only theatre designated historic in the Valley.
The city of Phoenix 1988 citizens bond election authorized $7 million for Orpheum restoration. The Phoenix Civic Plaza Building Corporation authorized additional funding. Supported and organized by the Junior League of Phoenix, the Orpheum Theatre Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1989 to raise private sector funds to supplement the publicly authorized funds for a full restoration. Restoration construction was completed in four phases at a total cost of more than $14 million. Van Dijk, Pace Westlake Architects was the restoration architect. Huntcor was the general contractor on phases 1 and 2; Joe E. Woods, Inc. was the general contractor on phase 3 --the historic interior restoration. Kitchell CEM was the development manager for the city. Conrad Schmitt Studios did decorative interior painting and mural restoration. In recognition of their leadership and significant contribution to the Capital Campaign, the auditorium has been named the Lewis Auditorium, dedicated to Delbert and Jewell Lewis and family.
The Orpheum re-opened on January 28, 1997 with Carol Channing in "Hello Dolly!"
The 1,364 seat auditorium (1,062 seats on orchestra level; 302 in balcony) complements the other venues in the Valley and joins the larger capacity Symphony Hall and the more intimate auditoriums at the Herberger Theater Center to create a downtown theatre district. The City of Phoenix Civic Plaza Department operates, books, rents, staffs, programs and manages the Orpheum Theatre as well as Symphony Hall. The Friends of the Orpheum provides volunteer support and community education activities, and supports the theatre's special needs through fund-raising activities and other public events.
Cricket Wireless Pavilion
This 20,000 seat open-air amphitheater (8,000 under pavilion roof & 12,000 on hillsides behind stands), which opened in 1990 as Desert Sky Pavilion, presents the top names in contemporary music to more than 300,000 fans annually.
Considered to be among the finest outdoor entertainment venues anywhere, it is the only building of its size in the Valley designed specifically for musical performances. The facility has hosted most of the nation's top entertainers, it features superior sight lines, 40-foot big screens, unsurpassed acoustics and a permanent stage capable of handling the most sophisticated production.
Encanto Park is a 222-acre oasis with:
- Picnic Areas
- Boat House
- Swimming Pool
- Nature Trail
- Enchanted Island Amusement Park
- Urban Fishing
- Two Golf Courses
The park is an emerald-like jewel just a few blocks from the busy central corridor. The municipal golf courses offer modest fees and are busy all year long. The lagoon offers paddle boats and canoes as well as fishing and an opportunity to observe ducks and other waterfowl. The facility also features a softball diamond, and basketball and tennis courts. Encanto (Spanish for "enchanted") Park is a favorite Valley spot for weekend picnics and cookouts.
Patriots Square Park
Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, Patriots Square Park features two-and-a-half acres of open space with grass, trees, benches, an outdoor performing arts stage and two food kiosks.
The park often is a site for community celebrations, and serves as a decorative "cover" for a large underground parking garage. It’s also one of Phoenix’s Point of Pride Locations.
Galvin Parkway and Van Buren Street, Phoenix, AZ – View Website
This park located on 1,200 acres of rolling desert hills and rugged mountains, features a golf course, museums, picnic areas, fishing lagoons (urban fishing license required), hiking trails and the Hole-In-The-Rock landmark.
It’s also one of Phoenix’s Point of Pride, located near Phoenix Zoo & Desert Botanical Gardens.
South Mountain Park
As on of Phoenix’s Point of Pride, South Mountain Park Preserve serves as the "exclamation point" of pride; South Mountain is the largest municipal park in the world.
The 16,500-acre park is home to more than 300 specimens of plant life and a wide variety of fauna, including rabbits, foxes, coyotes, snakes, lizards and birds.
The park features picnic areas and ramadas, hiking trails and spectacular lookouts. South Mountain Park is the home of the 10,907-square-foot South Mountain Environmental Education Center.
No matter what time of year you visit Phoenix, you'll find plenty to do.
The Great Sonoran Desert activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning and water adventure.
Hiking and biking, and horseback riding are rituals for guests and locals.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or are simply looking for a pleasant escape, the Phoenix Metropolitan Area has the perfect trail for you.
Guests also enjoy floating high above the desert terrain in a hot-air balloon or glider or buckling into the seat of a Jeep or Hummer tour for Sonoran Desert tour.
Water recreation is another big favorite here, as seven large lakes are all within a leisurely drive of Phoenix.
With so any adventurous options, it’s no wonder why the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area is one of the top locations for outdoor recreation.
Please Contact our Concierge for assistance or more information
Whether it's a full day or 1/2 day tour - there are several tours of Phoenix and surrounding areas that can enhance your trip to Arizona
Vaughn's Southwest Tours
Phoenix/Scottsdale Tour - The Phoenix city tours depart at the following times: Sundays and Mondays Afternoon tour departing 11:00-12:00 Approx: 4 1/2 hrs. Tuesday through Saturday Morning tour departing 8:00-9:00 Approx: 4 1/2 hrs. So ... are you new in town and need to find your way around? This nice, short tour will give you an excellent and enlightening impression of Phoenix, also known as "The Valley of the Sun".
Apache Trail Tour - This road, following ancient Salado foot paths, was carved through awe inspiring canyons and rock to provide access for the construction of Roosevelt Dam at the turn of the century. Teddy Roosevelt called this canyon "one of the most spectacular and best-worth-seeing sights of the world". Bring your shovel, pick, and sense of adventure. On Tuesdays and Fridays of any week Southwest Custom Tours picks up passengers at most hotels in Phoenix and Scottsdale at approximately 8:30- 9:30am. The entire trip takes about seven hours, but we are sure you will remember your adventure for years to come. The Apache Trail tour returns to your hotel between 4:30 - 5:30pm.
Mexico Tour - On Wednesdays and Fridays of any week Southwest Custom Tours picks up passengers at most hotels in Phoenix and Scottsdale at approximately 6:30- 7:30am for this tour. If you enjoy the fun of dickering over prices and like to browse the shops searching for the unique and different, you will love this tour. During the cooler months of the year, we take you to Los Algodones, Mexico, located just across the Colorado River outside of Yuma, Arizona. From Sombreros to leather goods, pottery, Mexican glassware and pharmacies, for the lowest prices and a truly friendly atmosphere, Los Algodones is the place to go for an authentic and enjoyable Mexican shopping expedition. Worried you won't have time to satisfy your inner shopper? No need for concern. Throughout the day, you will have ample time to shop and browse. In addition, your guide will be available to point you in the right direction to find the items you are looking for.
U.S. and Canadian citizens need only their driver's license or picture ID to ensure hassle-free passage over the border. If you are from a foreign country, you will need your green card (if you have one), or all of the documents you originally entered the U.S. with to come back across the border from Mexico. (I.e. Passport, Visa, I-94) If you are searching for a fun, relaxed, and enjoyable day of incredible shopping opportunities, look no further. This is the tour for you. The Mexico shopping tour returns to your hotel between 6:30 - 7:30pm.
Open Road Tours
Scottsdale Shop & Play - Departs Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday approximately 9am - Approximately 6 hours
Whether you are a serious shopper, love to browse the galleries, dine in a fine restaurant or unique al fresco cafe or just enjoy people watching, this is the trip for you! Spend the day at three of the area's hottest spots for shopping, arts and dining.
Evening Dine & Play - Departs Thursday & Saturday approximately 5pm - Approximately 5 hours
Spend the evening enjoying some of the area's best restaurants and unique shops. Choose from Scottsdale's downtown/waterfront district, Tempe's eclectic Mill Avenue or both! From Irish pubs to Irish coffee and Southwestern fare to Asian Fusion, you'll find many great dining spots and great local entertainment. Our Thursday night departure is perfect for those who want to browse the famous Scottsdale Art Walk and any time is great for strolling along Tempe Town Lake.
Phoenix/Valley Area Highlights - Departs daily (afternoon) at approximately 12:15pm - Approximately 4 hours
An excellent introduction to the Valley of the Sun! This tour provides views of Phoenix/Scottsdale including historic sights, the state capitol, Camelback Mountain, Wrigley Mansion, and Scottsdale's Fifth Avenue/Old Town district. Also included is an hour at leisure to browse the shops and galleries of Old Town Scottsdale.
Verde Canyon Train & Historic Jerome - Wednesdays and Sundays only - Departure: 8:30am depending on other pick-up locations approximately 10 hours - Approx. Return: 6:30-7:30 PM
Start your day with a fully-narrated tour of the Sonoran Desert heading northwest to the town of Clarkdale. Along the way, you'll visit the historic copper mining town of Jerome with its quaint shops and rich history. Next, you'll arrive at the Verde Canyon Train Depot where you can enjoy lunch at the Copper Spike Cafe (not included) plus visit exhibits on the train's history. Your four-hour round-trip train ride will bring you through panoramic Verde River Canyon, which is only accessible only by train. The train trip also features strolling musicians and informative narration. Included in the fare is transportation, professional guide service and round-trip coach ticket on the Verde Train. Meals and gratuities are not included
Sonoran Safari - Departs Sundays at 9am - Approximately 9 hours
Join us for a "wild" day of adventure at Out of Africa wildlife preserve where animals from around the world have natural, spacious habitats and share relationships with their caregivers. Often you will see staff inside the habitats interacting and answering questions about the animals. It's like seeing them in the wild! The highlight is a Serengeti Safari on board special Unimog vehicles with expert guides. You will experience personal encounters with giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and more. You'll also have time to view and photograph lions, tigers, panthers and other animals in their habitats.
Best of Tucson Day Tour - Friday - Departure: 7:30 AM depending on other pick-up locations. Approximately 10 hours - Return to Phoenix about 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Explore Tucson, the "Old Pueblo," with a rest break at Picacho Peak. Next, it's on to Saguaro National Park for a spectacular desert photo opportunity -- you'll see saguaros for as far as the eye can see! After the park, we'll visit a Tucson highlight, the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum where you'll encounter the plants, animals and reptiles of the Sonoran desert in their natural habitat. You'll have time to enjoy the exhibits and lunch on your own at their cafe. In the early afternoon, enjoy a scenic overlook of Tucson, followed by time for browsing at Old Town Artisans in the city's historic district. Meals and gratuities not included.
Down Mexico Way - Departs Tuesdays: 7:30AM, approximately 10 hours - Return: Approximately 6PM
Explore the rich Spanish history of Arizona on this day tour. You’ll visit San Xavier del Bac Mission (known as the "White Dove of the Desert") constructed in the 1700’s. The beautiful architecture and art are captivating as you leisurely walk the grounds. Then travel south of the border to our Sonoran neighbor, Nogales, Mexico. This quaint border town boasts bargains galore (be sure to polish your price negotiating skills!) including leather goods, pottery, jewelry, rugs and much.
For more information and assistance, please contact our concierge.
Whether on foot, mountain bike or horseback, the tens of thousands of acres of the Phoenix mountain and desert preserves offer everything from busy, arduous summit climbs to meandering valley walks that provide a secluded escape.
View Website - The Website is setup by the City of Phoenix and includes the following about hiking in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area:
- Trail Information/Maps & Fire Restrictions
- South Mountain Park/Preserve
- North Mountain Area
- Papago Park
- Camelback Mountain
- Piestewa Peak/Dreamy Draw
- Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
- Reach 11 Recreation Area
Ice Skating & In-Line Skating
Yes, you can Ice Skate and In-Line Skate in the “Valley of the Sun” – here are some suggestions (courtesy of the Phoenix Coyotes NHL Team).
- Arcadia Ice Arena – 3853 E Thomas Road – View Website
- Polar Ice Chandler – 7225 W Harrison St – Chandler, AZ - View Website
- Polar Ice Peoria – 15829 N 83rd Ave – Peoria, AZ – View Website
- Alltel Ice Den – 9375 E Bell Road – Scottsdale, AZ - View Website
Biltmore Fashion Park
.02 / 1 minutes
602-955-8400 / Website
Located on 24th Street and Camelback, Biltmore Fashion Park features more than 70 fine shops and restaurants with a romantic open-air park setting of brick walkways, verdant landscaping and hacienda fountains.
6.8miles / 11 minutes
602-271-4000 / Website
Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Arizona Center is an open-air oasis of dining, shopping, ponds and gardens in a unique urban setting. Centrally located to downtown hotels and the Phoenix Civic Plaza, and within walking distance of all major downtown attractions, Arizona Center is where Phoenix comes to life.
Scottsdale Fashion Square
6 miles / 13 minutes
480-990-7800 / Website
Scottsdale Fashion Square is the Arizona’s distinctive address for premiere shopping, dining and entertainment. The Square offers a compelling retail experience in the heart of the country’s fastest growing metropolitan area. At Scottsdale Fashion Square, elite brands beckon at every turn.
7 miles / 16 minutes
602-953-6311 / Website
The Brogata is a shopping experience featuring many local and national specialty shops and restaurants. In a setting straight from the Tuscan Village of San Gimignano, The Brogata comes complete with cobblestone walkways and fountains offering residents and visitors a bit of Renaissance Italy in the sunny Southwest.
The Phoenix Metropolitan Area has many sports franchises to entertain the even the novice sports fan
Sports Teams and Events
Below are a Listing of Sport Teams & Events that in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area
- Phoenix Suns (National Basketball Association)
- Phoenix Mercury (Women’s National Basketball Association)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (Major League Baseball)
- Arizona Cardinals (National Football League)
- Arizona Rattlers (Arena Football League)
- Phoenix Coyotes (National Hockey League)
- Phoenix Roadrunners (ECHL – Hockey League)
- Arizona Sting (National Lacrosse League)
- Cactus League (Major League Baseball Spring Training – March/April)
- NASCAR/Indy Car Racing – Phoenix International Raceway
The College enthusiasts have:
- Arizona State University (Tempe)
- University of Arizona (Tucson)
- University of Northern Arizona (Flagstaff)
- Grand Canyon University (Phoenix)
- Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (College Football)
- Insight Bowl (College Football)
US Airways Center
US Airways Center – 201 E Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ - View Website
Airways Center, formerly known as the America West Arena; with soaring glass walls, a 12x20 foot video screen and over 14,000 square feet of indoor space, the new Pavilion creates a grand entrance to the "all-new" US Airways Center that leaves a lasting impression on all guests.
A uniquely flexible indoor/outdoor venue, the PASEO features state-of-the-art sound and projection systems, as well as a stylish bar area and facilities for full stage shows.
US Airways Center is the home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, AFL’s Arizona Rattlers and ECHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners.
From its signature swimming pool to its retractable roof, Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark or BOB) has become one of the game's most recognizable landmarks in just a few seasons. Since the air- conditioned facility first opened its doors to a regular-season game on March 31, 1998, nearly 15 million baseball fans have enjoyed the opportunity to watch the Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks without worrying about Phoenix's summer heat or monsoon storms.
With an elevation of approximately 1,100 feet above sea level, Chase Field is the second-highest facility in the major leagues, trailing only Coors Field in Denver. Scientists have estimated that a fly ball will travel seven feet farther for every 1,000 feet of altitude.
University of Phoenix Stadium
University of Phoenix Stadium - 1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale, AZ – View Website
University of Phoenix Stadium is a multipurpose stadium located in Glendale, Arizona. Its primary tenants are the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (College Football). The University of Phoenix, a for-profit university specializing in adult education, acquired the naming rights in September 2006, shortly after the stadium had opened under the name Cardinals Stadium.
The 63,400-seat stadium (expandable to 73,000) opened on August 1, 2006 after three years of construction. The stadium is considered an architectural icon for the region. It was named by Business Week Magazine as one of the 10 “most impressive” sports facilities on the globe due to the combination of its retractable roof and roll-in natural grass field. It is the only North American facility on the list.
Jobing.com Arena - 9400 W Maryland Avenue, Glendale, AZ - View Website
Jobing.com Arena (formerly Glendale Arena) is an arena located in Glendale, Arizona. It is home to the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League and Arizona Sting of the National Lacrosse League. Completed in 2003, the arena cost $180 million. It seats 17,500 for hockey & lacrosse. Jobing.com Arena also hosts events such as Professional Bull Riders Association Event and Nationwide Touring Concert Acts. Jobing.com Arena sits across the street from University of Phoenix Stadium.
ASU's Sun Devil Stadium
Sun Devil Stadium, Frank Kush Field is located on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe. It is home to the Arizona State Sun Devils college football team and was the home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals from 1988 to 2005.
Built in 1958, the stadium now seats 73,379. The original seating capacity was 30,000 in 1958. The first addition in 1976 raised capacity to 57,722. Seating was added to the south end of the stadium, along with press and sky boxes. A year later, in 1977, the upper tier was completed to bring seating to 70,491. In 1988, 1,700 more seats were added to bring the facility to the current capacity. During that time the Carson Student Athlete Center was added to the south end. The building is the home of the ASU Athletic Department. On September 21, 1996, the playing surface was named in honor of former ASU football coaching great Frank Kush, and the name of the stadium was changed from Sun Devil Stadium to Sun Devil Stadium, Frank Kush Field. The first game to be played at the stadium was on October 4, 1958. Arizona State defeated West Texas State 16-13. Sun Devil Stadium hosted college football's Fiesta Bowl from 1971 to 2006. The largest crowd ever seated for a college football game at the stadium was 74,963 for an Arizona State-California-Berkeley college football game won by the Sun Devils, 35-7 on November 9, 1996. This college football facility became an NFL stadium in 1988, when the St. Louis (football) Cardinals moved to Arizona and became the Phoenix Cardinals (renamed Arizona Cardinals in 1994). The stadium hosted Super Bowl XXX in 1996 as the Dallas Cowboys won their fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17 in front of the all-time stadium record of 76,347 spectators.
The first pro game played in the stadium was a pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings in 1975. In 2006, the Cardinals moved from Sun Devil Stadium to University of Phoenix Stadium in another Phoenix suburb, Glendale. The new stadium will also host the Fiesta Bowl, and the first stand-alone Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game in 2007 as well as Super Bowl XLII in 2008. ASU continues to use Sun Devil Stadium, which will now host the Insight Bowl, moving from Chase Field, the home field of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Satellite image in 2002Sun Devil Stadium has been the setting for several movies over the years. Some of them include Cameron Crowe's 1996 blockbuster film, Jerry Maguire; U2's 1988 rockumentary Rattle and Hum, the Rolling Stone's 1983 concert film Let's Spend the Night Together, and the Coen Brothers 1987 film Raising Arizona.