What to do in Arizona? Each to do spot on this site has been hand picked as a favorite. You can find fun things to do around every corner from the desert to the mountaintop, to the nightspot to the ancient. Arizona is home to landscapes and nightlife. Whether you’re looking for big attractions in Phoenix, cool things to do in Scottsdale, or funky things to do in Tucson, we're here to help!
...Also see our top picks in TUCSON
Carnival of Illusion

#1  CARNIVAL OF ILLUSION

Laugh, have fun and celebrate with an evening of worldly magical delights! CARNIVAL OF ILLUSION presents national quality magic in an old-world setting, bringing you mystery and OOOH LA LA! You will be absolutely delighted with Roland and Susan as they perform a blend of magic, theater and comedic interplay between themselves and the audience. Whether you leave with a treat for helping them awe and amaze everyone, or bring home wonderful memories of sharing a special time with family and friends, you'll have seen something unique, upfront and personal in this charming world of magic. What to do if you want to impress your date? Book front row seats and sit just a few feet away from all the fun. Check out CARNIVAL OF ILLUSION, the best show in Arizona!

Japanese Friendship Garden

#2  JAPANESE FRIENDSHIP GARDEN

If serene and beautiful is appealing to you, then a visit to this 3 1/2 acre garden should be on your what to do list. Complete with tea garden, tea house and traditional koi pond, you will find this a tranquil and artistic space. Designed with the help of over 50 architects from Himeji Japan, there is something pleasing to the eye and the heart everywhere you look. The Japanese name for the garden, Ro Ho En, is a combination of three words meaning, heron, phoenix and garden. The heron is the symbol bird for the garden's sister city, Himeji. A must when deciding what to do at the gardens...pay a visit to the Japanese Tea House, imagining the whole time that you are in an exotic far away land.

Skyzone Trampoline Park

#3  SKYZONE TRAMPOLINE PARK

Do you have children that have so much energy they bounce off the walls? Well here is a place where they literally can! Put together a sea of trampolines, some angled against the walls and you have the ingredients for a whole lot of jumping, bouncing, high energy movement and fun. This place will definitely tire those little tikes out. Open to all ages, shapes and sizes, you'll find open jump courts as well as a dodgeball court and skyrobics fitness classes. You'll be asked to sign a waiver and rent special jumping shoes, then you can head to the jump courts. What to do if you are trying to get in shape? According to a Nasa study, jumping on a trampoline for 10 minutes is equivalent to a 30-minute run!

Le Grande Orange

#4  LE GRANDE ORANGE

Local, fun and healthy, this organic coffee house and breakfast bar is a lovely way to start your day. Also onsite are a cafe, pizzeria and retail grocery shop, with some really interesting finds. Come here for simple, clean food where the chefs pride themselves on dishes with no hidden ingredients. With the words “food is love” emblazoned across the cafe archway, you will discover why this place is so popular with the locals. It's a great place to just hang out and share a fresh baked scone while having your morning coffee. What to do when visiting La Grande Orange...make sure you have plenty of time to spend out under the trees, relaxing with the locals.

Arizona Science Center

#5  ARIZONA SCIENCE CENTER

Inquisitive minds always want to know, and the best place to find the answers is at the Arizona Science Center. There are exhibits galore and lessons to be learned, including an IMAX Theater and a planetarium. Make sure you put the Arizona Science Center on your list of the best science things to do in Phoenix. What to do tip...if you get hungry while experiencing the science center, stop by their restaurant as the food is great too!

Mystery Castle

#6  THE MYSTERY CASTLE

Built in the 1930's, this “castle” was a loving homage from a father to his daughter. Learning he had tuberculosis, Boyce Luther Gulley moved from Seattle to Phoenix and began secretly building this sprawling 18 room, 3-story castle. His family had no idea where he had gone or why. When Gulley died in 1945, his daughter (Mary Lou) and wife were informed that they had inherited this striking home. The castle is built from found and inexpensive objects and materials, and even features a dungeon. It has been open for tours since 1948, and continues to give tours between October and June. What to do when visiting the castle...ask about the trap-door that was forbidden to be opened until January 1st, 1948, and find out what was inside.

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Desert Botanical Gardens

#7  DESERT BOTANICAL GARDENS

This wonderful garden has approximately 50 acres under cultivation, and features desert plants from around the world. There is always something blooming in the garden, but even better, there are plenty of exhibits and performances to attend as well. Art, music, dance...there is always something new at the gardens to see, and what better environment to see it in. Are you a struggling desert gardener? The staff is always happy to help you with your landscaping questions, or maybe you might be interested in one of their many classes or trips for adults and children. What to do if you just can't get enough of those desert landscapes? Inquire while you are there about joining one of their field trips.

Musical Insturment Museum

#8  MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM

Imagine being introduced to the music of over 200 countries in just one afternoon of exploration, at one of the most unique museums in the world. This extraordinary museum showcases musical instruments from around the world, and through the experience of well crafted displays, wireless hot spots, and muliple videos, you become immersed in each culture through their music. Other exibits showcase artists and musical styles in relation to their instruments. Or try an exotic instrument for yourself in their experience gallery, whether it be gamelan or harp. What to do to put the icing on the cake? Stay for one of the many concerts at their world class amphitheatre.

That's Amore Gelato

#9  THAT'S AMORE GELATO

When it's just too hot to think of anything else but something cold, then head over to That's Amore for an amazing selection of gelato. This authentic italian iced dessert is heavenly on a hot day. That's Amore is owned and operated by Cristina and Paola from Milano, where they learned all the best kept secrets of making a great gelato while working in a large gelateria. With flavors like chocolate chili pepper and whisky cream, you will soon be in gelato heaven. Or have a coffee, sandwich, or pastry instead. What to do if you can't just pick one flavor? Get up to 3 flavors when you order a medium sized gelato and live it up.

McDowell Preserve

#10  McDOWELL SONORAN PRESERVE

This nature preserve is one of the largest urban preserves in the nation and has over 60 miles of shared trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. There is over 21,000 acres of desert to explore, with that number continuing to grow as the preserve continues to acquire more land. You can take it easy and go for a leisurely stroll, or you can go for a serious hike. Start out small and continue to challenge yourself each time you return. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash. Learn something new by taking the Marcus Landslide Trailhead with its interpretive signs that provide geological details. What to do if you want even more information about the area? You can take a guided hike or listen to a nature talk with the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

Heard Museum

#11  HEARD MUSEUM

The Heard Museum, which was founded in 1929 by Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard, is dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures. As well as world-class exhibits, the Heard is also known for its festivals, events, lectures and hands on interactive learning opportunities. Their collaborations with Native people help to provide a unique perspective into that world, through art and culture. With a wide range of historical artifacts to contemporary pieces, the ongoing and dynamic voice of the American Indian voice is seen and heard.

The Film Bar

#12  THE FILM BAR

What's better than watching a movie at home while having a beer on the couch? Watching a movie, having a beer and hanging with your gang at this Phoenix hotspot, the Film Bar. Don't expect your Hollywood blockbusters in the 70 seat theater. What you will find are lots of arthouse flicks and fun, local and international picks. There is a film on offer almost every night of the week. At the bar you'll find a great selection of craft beers and wine. Not in the mood for a film, or maybe you've seen that cult film one too many times. No problem, just pop in for a drink and some socializing.

Mesa Arts Center

#13  MESA ARTS CENTER

This international and award-winning arts center is the largest of its type in Arizona, with 4 theatres, 5 art galleries, and 14 art studios. It combines stunning architecture with world-class perfomances and exciting art exhibits. Here you will also find classes in the arts including such subjects as ceramics, jewelry making, dance, drama, photography and printmaking...just to name a few! Whether you are looking to experience art as an observer or as a participant, there truly is a wealth of opportunity and options at the Mesa Arts Center. Visit a nearby restaurant in the Eats + Arts program and receive a discount on your meal after a visit to the center. Visit their website to get a feel for all that is on offer at the Mesa Arts Center.

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