10 Places to Visit in Phoenix, AZ That Locals Rave About

Updated on August 10th, 2023

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Phoenix, Arizona is a city with a rich culture and history, surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes that attract millions of tourists every year. Whether you are looking for an adventure in the great outdoors, a peaceful retreat, or a cultural experience, Phoenix has something for everyone. So whether you’re a recent transplant renting an apartment in Phoenix or you’re looking for homes for sale in the area, there are many beautiful places to visit in Phoenix.  

Bryan Maltais, Wilderness Shots Photography

“Phoenix is a beautiful contradiction; a sprawling metropolis surrounded by the stark wilderness of the Sonora desert. Just minutes beyond city limits you’re surrounded by saguaro cacti and dark skies. I love to visit the the rugged Superstition Mountains for excellent hiking, photography and wildlife viewing that makes me feel secluded from the bustle of a big city.”  –Bryan Maltais, Wilderness Shots Photography

1. Camelback Mountain

One of the most iconic landmarks in Phoenix is Camelback Mountain, named after its resemblance to a resting camel. Camelback Mountain is a challenging hike that rewards you with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. It is a popular destination for both tourists and locals and is especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset.

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2. Piestewa Peak 

Piestewa Peak is a prominent mountain located in Phoenix, Arizona. It was formerly known as Squaw Peak but was renamed in honor of Lori Piestewa, a Hopi tribal member who was the first Native American woman to die in combat while serving in the U.S. military. The peak stands at 2,610 feet and offers a challenging hike to the summit, with panoramic views of the city and surrounding desert landscape. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers in the Phoenix area.

Dave Hatton Photography

“To truly love Phoenix is to love a walk in the desert, which is never more than a 15-minute drive from anywhere in the city. A popular spot is Piestewa Peak, which is a city park located in the heart of Phoenix – a short hike and the city disappears behind you.” –Dave Hatton Photography

3. Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in the Southwest, with over 20,000 works of art from around the world. The museum’s collections include contemporary art, American art, and fashion design, among others. The building itself is a work of art, with its modern design and expansive galleries.

4. Papago Park

Papago Park is a picturesque desert park located near the heart of Phoenix. It’s home to many unique geological formations, including the famous Hole-in-the-Rock, which offers breathtaking views of the city. The park is also home to the Desert Botanical Garden, a popular attraction that features over 50,000 plants, including rare and endangered species.

Lily LaPrada Photography

Not only is Papago Park one of my favorite sites to take photographs of my clients, it’s also a great location to watch the beautiful Arizona sunset. A short hike to The Hole in the Rock will give the best front row view of the purple, red and orange hues.” –Lily LaPrada Photography

5. South Mountain Park

South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the United States and offers some of the most stunning views of Phoenix. The park boasts over 16,000 acres of desert landscape, including hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic drives. One of the park’s most popular attractions is Dobbins Lookout, which offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.

6. Skyline Regional Park 

Skyline Regional Park is a beautiful natural park located in Buckeye, Arizona. The park features over 8,000 acres of rugged desert terrain, including numerous hiking trails and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse ecosystem, which includes several species of cacti, desert shrubs, and wildlife, such as coyotes, rabbits, and birds of prey.  One of the highlights of the park is the Summit Trail, a challenging hike to the top of a mountain that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Cactus Photography

“Skyline Regional Park is an incredible place to find perfect desert views from sunrise to sunset. No matter what season you decide to visit Phoenix, the park is full of beautiful desert flowers and cacti, incredible wildlife and friendly faces, followed by a stunning sunset. With hiking suitable for the whole family, from beginner to expert, it’s a must-explore sight-seeing stop.” -Amber Herrera, Cactus Photography

7. Jewel of the Creek Preserve

The Jewel of the Creek Preserve is a picturesque nature preserve. The preserve encompasses 34 acres of pristine desert habitat, featuring a scenic creek, towering saguaro cacti, and diverse wildlife, such as coyotes, javelina, and various bird species. Visitors can enjoy hiking on several well-maintained trails, including the aptly named “Jewel of the Creek” trail, which follows the meandering creek and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The preserve also features several educational exhibits and informative signage, highlighting the area’s unique geology, flora, and fauna.

Liz Drennan Photography

“One of my favorite places to visit in Phoenix is the Jewel of the Creek Preserve, located in Cave Creek, AZ.  It is a sweet spot filled with Saguaro cactus, mountains and wildlife. My favorite time of the day to visit is right before sunset where the sky is painted with purples, pinks, reds and oranges and tucked nicely behind layers of mountains.  Jewel of the Creek has a nice two-mile trail that offers plenty of spots for pictures and the hike is easy for children and pets.” –Liz Drennan Photography

8. Desert Botanical Gardens 

The Desert Botanical Garden is a 140-acre botanical garden located in Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona. The garden is dedicated to the preservation, display, and education of desert plant life from around the world. It features over 50,000 plant displays representing more than 4,000 species, including cacti, succulents, wildflowers, and trees. In addition to the plant collections, the garden also includes several hiking trails, art exhibits, and seasonal events.

Sandi Shipley Photography

“Desert Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite places in Phoenix.  There is a lush natural setting that showcases the brilliance of the desert in unexpected ways. There are wildflower fields, a cactus forest and an edible garden to experience. The lighting is just beautiful and the grounds make it such a beautiful place to visit. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the desert. The Desert Botanical Gardens hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as concerts, festivals, and educational programs, it’s a fun and beautiful place to visit.” -Sandi Shipley Photography 

9. Heritage District of Downtown Gilbert 

The Heritage District is the charming historic downtown area of Gilbert, Arizona. This walkable neighborhood is home to a variety of locally-owned shops, restaurants, and businesses, all housed in unique and beautifully restored buildings. You can can explore the district’s many art galleries, antique shops, and boutique stores, as well as enjoy the numerous dining options, from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants.

Magical Memories by Michelle

“Metro Phoenix is so spread out and has a wide variety of fun places to visit. One of my favorites is the Heritage District of Downtown Gilbert. With both urban color and rustic scenes, it’s a charming area to grab a bite to eat, check out colorful murals, do some shopping, and enjoy the beautiful Arizona weather. There is truly something for everyone. You can catch a show at the Hale Center Theatre, enjoy the country bar scene at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, and don’t forget to visit Petersen’s Ice Cream or Rocket Fizz for a fun treat. The best part? It’s all within walking distance!” –Michelle Robertson, Magical Memories by Michelle

10. Taliesin West

Taliesin West is a stunning architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building served as Wright’s winter home and studio, and is now home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and School of Architecture. The building’s unique design and integration into the surrounding desert landscape make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in architecture or design.

Phoenix is a beautiful city that offers a wide variety of beautiful places to visit and enjoy. From stunning natural landscapes to world-class museums and cultural experiences, there is something for everyone in Phoenix. Whether you are a nature lover, an art enthusiast, or a history buff, you are sure to find something to inspire you.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Lexi Klinkenberg

Lexi is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home would be a contemporary home with an open floor plan, lots of windows, and a waterfront view.

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