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Things To Do in Phoenix

With a little help from our friends at VisitPhoenix, we've come up with several top reasons to visit Phoenix for this year's Annual Symposium.

Phoenix is Arizona's cultural and economic powerhouse, a thriving desert metropolis boasting some of the best Southwestern and Mexican food you'll find anywhere. And with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, exploring the 'Valley of the Sun' is a must. Phoenix combines high-end shopping, a flourishing restaurant scene and resort life in the Sonoran Desert. You'll enjoy vibrant red mountains and cacti-lined boulevards. Phoenix's setting is so attractive that the one-time ranch town has morphed into the fifth most populated city in the U.S.

So make plans to extend your trip with a day or two for site-seeing before or after the Symposium.

Click here for coupons on things to do and try in Phoenix!

Top 15 Visitor's Attractions

1. Camelback Mountain
The panoramic view from the "hump" of this iconic landmark, named for its resemblance to a kneeling camel, is worth scaling its two tricky trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla. Hikers gain 1,200 feet in elevation to the summit, which looks out over the city and Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Camelback is one of the most popular urban hiking spots in Phoenix, so expect trail traffic and consider hiking on weekdays. Learn more and view hiking trails.
 

2. Musical Instrument Museum
See, hear and even play instruments from every corner of the world in a one-of-a-kind collection. The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) tunes you into thousands of instrument sounds with a headset that syncs seamlessly as you move through its galleries. Take a world tour of cultural instruments and pop culture artists, and return for a live music experience at MIM Music Theater, a year-round concert series hosting more than 200 international acts.  Learn more.

 
3. Papago Park
Just minutes from downtown is iconic Papago Park, home to red rock buttes looped with trails, a scenic view from hikeable Hole-in-the-Rock.  View hiking trail information.

 
4. Desert Botanical Garden
The winding paths of this 50-acre desert garden showcase a fantastic variety of arid plants, from towering saguaros to delicate blooms.  View the current exhibits and hours.

 
5. Phoenix Zoo
One of the nation's largest non-profit zoos is home to more than 1,400 animals. See Sumatran tigers roam the savanna, feed giraffes in an up-close encounter and discover the local flora, fauna and critters of the Sonoran Desert on the zoo's Arizona Trail.  View the current exhibits and hours.
 

6. Heard Museum
The tradition, culture and history of 22 regional American Indian tribes converge in the Heard Museum's immersive exhibits and authentic art shop.  View the current exhibits and hours.

 

7. Roosevelt Row
The creative beat of the city's urban heart is in Roosevelt Row, home to galleries, mural-splashed business walls and a monthly art walk.  Learn what events are taking place.

 

8. South Mountain Park and Preserve
Boasting 50 miles of trails through 16,000 acres of the Sonoran Desert, this municipal park is perfectly suited for outdoor adventure just minutes from the city.  View hiking trail information.

 
9. Phoenix Art Museum
The Southwest's largest fine art museum features a collection of contemporary work and global masterpieces.  Complementing the museum's galleries of fine art and objects from Asia, America, Europe and beyond are rotating exhibitions.  View the current exhibits and hours.

 
10. Heritage Square Dining
Like the 19th-century homes nearby, the restaurants in downtown's Heritage Square are making history: Both Pizzeria Bianco (heralded as the best pizza in the nation) and Nobuo at Teeter House (sophisticated Japanese offered tapas-style) are James Beard Award winners.  View restaurant list.

 

11. Old Town Scottsdale
Southwestern arts and hip eateries line the streets of Old Town, a popular destination for Greater Phoenix shopping and nightlife. If you're hunting for a souvenir, you'll find your fill of old-fashioned flair (think cowboy hats and turquoise jewelry) alongside upscale art galleries and trendy boutiques in the Fifth Avenue district. The area is also a hot spot for after-dark dancing, lounging and libations.  View more information.

 

12. Taliesin West
Tours of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home, give insight on how the masterful architect was inspired by the desert surroundings. Visitors walk through rooms, gardens, walkways and Wright's entertainment pavilion on the grounds while learning about his organic architecture.  View more information.

 

13. Downtown Phoenix
This is where you’ll find sports arenas, live music, rooftop lounges, museums, theaters, art galleries and more than 100 restaurants. And it’s all served by one of the newest light rail systems in the nation.  View downtown map.

 

14. CityScape
A two-block concentration of restaurants, bars, and fashion retailers, is home to an urban-chic bowling alley, a dance club and arcade, a live-music venue with 60 beers on tap, and a comedy theater and supper club with rentable meeting space. Click for more information.

 

15. See a Sporting Event
There’s almost always a game happening in Phoenix. The city fields teams in all four major professional sports leagues:  The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, NBA's Phoenix Suns, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL's Arizona Coyotes. Downtown’s Talking Stick Resort Arena is also home to the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and the Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers and USL's Phoenix Rising FC. View the Diamondback's schedule.

Best Day Trips

Decided to spend an extra few days in Arizona before or after the Symposium... Don't miss the adventures that await only a few hours outside of the Phoenix area!

 

  1. Grand Canyon - One of the world’s seven natural wonders, the Grand Canyon offers spectacular vistas of canyon walls that have been sculpted from the earth over the millennia by the mighty Colorado River.  If you have time for only one day trip from Phoenix, make it a journey to here. Even though the drive is four hours each way, a few hours at the South Rim is enough time to stop at the scenic overlooks and explore a few of the visitor centers and museums there. View more information.
  2. Sedona - Both art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Sedona is a gateway to all things beauty. Surrounded by the towering red sandstone cliffs of Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona’s deep red-rock buttes provide a beautiful backdrop to boutiques and art galleries selling authentic Native American and Southwestern arts and crafts.  Learn more.
  3. Montezuma Castle Monument - An impressive ancient Native American cliff dwelling is nestled high above Beaver Creek and is more than six centuries old. Built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD.  View more information.
  4. Tucson - Amid rolling foothill terrain, is Tucson, affectionately known as the “Old Pueblo.” Visitors are welcome to explore this remarkable blend of architectural styles that is considered one of the finest Spanish colonial structures in the United States. View things to do details.
  5. Tombstone - The legendary town is a day trip you won’t want to miss, especially if you love the Old West. Many of the buildings, including the Bird Cage Theater and Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, date back to the days of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.  Learn more.
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