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.
This beautiful landscape is also the backdrop for the garden’s seasonal events. During the winter months, thousands of luminaria bags and twinkling lights transform the garden for Las Noches de Las Luminarias, a holiday tradition.
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 1200 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.
One of the nation's largest non-profit zoos is home to more than 1400 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.
The park is also a popular hub of recreation, including fishing in seven acres of stocked lagoons and scenic Papago Golf Course, set at the base of Papago’s buttes.
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.
The skyline views and Sonoran Desert flora aren't the park's only perks. Keep a lookout for ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks. If you'd rather drive than hike, bike or hoof it up the trails, hop on the 5.5-mile Summit Road up to Dobbins Lookout, the highest accessible point in the preserve.
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.
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 jewellery) 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.