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Things to do in Phoenix, Arizona

In the Valley of the Sun you'll enjoy both desert landscapes and urban highlights in equal measure.

Our most recommended things to do in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix: Phoenix ZooLights Entry Ticket

1. Phoenix: Phoenix ZooLights Entry Ticket

You’ll find adventure everywhere at the Valley’s favorite holiday tradition, ZooLights! This season promises to be bigger and brighter than ever before, with all new animal lanterns and light displays, an enhanced Santa experience and our brand-new music and light show that will take you around the world! PLUS, guest entry to ZooLights includes admission to Dinosaurs in the Desert, the not-to-be-missed dino-mite experience! Enjoy an international traveling art exhibition focused on wildlife conservation created by artist, Russell Ronat. View more than 13 beautiful art pieces that light up the habitats of the Zoo’s famous residents. Experience a 30-year-old community tradition. Stop by the Wall of Traditions, across from the Savanna to learn more about how traditions are celebrated around the world. Stroll through the Wildlife Lantern Cul-de-Sac on Africa Trail to see the new lanterns. Celebrate with a visit to the three-story Christmas Tree located at Crossroads Café. Explore the Outer Tropics Trail which has more sparkling lights than ever before. Meet Santa and his elves at Leapin’ Lagoon and take home a commemorative photo. Indulge in your favorite holiday treats like kettle corn and hot cocoa that are available for purchase. Take home a memento of your special evening from one of the various pop-up Zoo shops or the Desert Marketplace gift shop.

Phoenix: Guided Self-Drive ATV/UTV Tour

2. Phoenix: Guided Self-Drive ATV/UTV Tour

Embark on a guided day tour of the famous Sonoran desert, off-roading in your single-passenger or 4-person ATV on some of the best trails in the stunning Bradshaw Mountains, located just north of Phoenix. Travel through giant Saguaro cacti, deep canyons carved by flash flooding rains, and cross the Aqua Fria River to experience the wild and vast desert terrain. Spot desert wildlife such as coyotes, bobcats, deer, rabbits, quail, and even rattlesnakes. Start your tour 45 minutes north of Phoenix in the Sonoran desert near the Agua Fria River Valley. Ride along creek crossings and soak up the gorgeous views of the Arizona landscape.  Accompanied by a certified guide, learn about the plant life, wildlife, history, and climate of the area. Hear stories about the Native Americans who once farmed, hunted, survived, and evolved in this unforgiving desert.

Phoenix Zoo: One Day General Admission Ticket

3. Phoenix Zoo: One Day General Admission Ticket

Pick up a ticket to the Phoenix Zoo, one of the largest non-profit zoos in the U.S. nestled on 125 acres within the beautiful Papago Park. Explore the home of over 3,000 animals with nearly 400 species represented, including many threatened and endangered species. Discover over 2.5 miles of walking paths, divided into Arizona, Africa, Tropics, and Children’s trails, each taking about 1 hour to complete. Admire a variety of inhabitants, including Bornean Orangutans, Asian Elephants, Sumatran Tigers, Komodo Dragons, Masai Giraffes, African Lions, and more. Learn about the threats that endanger many of the species and wildlife you encounter and discover interesting facts about Jurassic ecosystems with animatronic dinosaurs and installations.

Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Flight with Champagne

4. Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Flight with Champagne

Glide over the Arizona desert on a hot air balloon ride and admire the desert landscape and mountains from above. Toast to your experience with a glass of champagne once you land. The experience begins even before you rise into the sky. Help the crew inflate the balloon for a real "hands-on" adventure, or just relax and take a few pictures as the gentle giant comes alive. Once you gain altitude, enjoy vistas you have to see to believe as you float over the Arizona landscape. Phoenix lies beneath you while desert stretches to the distant mountains. The pilots are FAA-licensed and experienced in navigating with your safety and enjoyment in mind. Your pilot will also answer questions and identify points of interest during your flight. A chase crew will follow on the ground and meet you at the landing site. From there a van takes you back to the launch site. Upon your return, enjoy a celebratory toast of Champagne to cap your unique airborne adventure. You'll also be presented with a flight certificate.

SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium General Admission

5. SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium General Admission

Explore the magical underwater world at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium. Come see thousands of creatures including sharks, rays, and sea turtles. Touch a sea star or walk through the incredible 360-degree ocean tunnel. Marvel at over 30 unique displays and encounter these amazing creatures from the graceful jellyfish, the beautiful seahorse, or the clever sea turtle. Get up close and personal with the local residents of Arizona’s Salt River at the freshwater exhibit. Come see the Shoaling Ring and watch as hundreds of barred flagtails swim around you. Discover the Bay of Rays and be mesmerized by the happy and smiley rays. Escape to the Temple of the Seahorse and see these mythical creatures up close.  Escape to a kaleidoscope of color at the Coral Reef exhibit. The Coral Reef is bustling with their underwater cities teeming with fish that come in every shape, color, and pattern you can imagine. Visit the Conservation Cove exhibit and learn about how SEA LIFE Arizona works to develop a system of care and best practices to protect the oceans and its creatures.

From Phoenix: Grand Canyon Tour with Sedona and Oak Creek

6. From Phoenix: Grand Canyon Tour with Sedona and Oak Creek

Take a trip to one of the 7 wonders of the natural world on this day tour of the Grand Canyon National Park. You will be collected from selected hotels or apartments in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, or Mesa Arizona. The journey north takes you through amazing views of the Saguaro Cactus in the Sonoran Desert. You will travel through the Ponderosa Pine Forests of Flagstaff where the Lowell Observatory is located. Stop among the Red Rocks of Sedona for time to take in the breathtaking scenery and lots of pictures. Travel through Oak Creek Canyon famous the world over for its spectacular scenery. In the afternoon be taken to the Grand Canyon National Park. Stop for pictures of the Red Rocks of Sedona. Make several stops along the South Rim for picture taking and enjoying the incredible views. See the El Tovar Lodge, a former Harvey hotel. Have the afternoon to explore the sublime park and see many of its ecological wonders and natural beauty. Your professional guide will be able to inform you of the history and stories behind this ancient wonder.

Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Champagne and Catering

7. Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Champagne and Catering

Enjoy a 45-60-minute hot air balloon ride above Phoenix, Arizona. See the expansive mountain ranges and desert wildlife below as your hot air balloon reaches heights of 3000 feet. During the flight, your pilot will point out different landmarks and points of interest. See Downtown Phoenix, Camelback Mountain, Lake Pleasant, and State Farm Stadium from the air. Upon landing, enjoy a catered fare prepared by the award-winning Vincent’s on Camelback restaurant, right in the heart of the desert. A traditional balloonist’s ceremony follows with commemorative flight certificates to take home.

Sonoran Desert: Sunset Jeep Tour with Tonto National Forest

8. Sonoran Desert: Sunset Jeep Tour with Tonto National Forest

Experience a world-famous Arizona sunset on a low-speed, off-road sightseeing tour of the Sonoran Desert via the Tonto National Forest. Your professional tour guide, a certified off-road driver, will tell you about the Sonoran Desert flora, wildlife, Arizona history, and Native American ethnobotanical practices. Hop aboard the Jeep and cruise past the Pass by Pinnacle Peak Park, a scenic 3,169-foot granite summit located in North Scottsdale, and Reata Pass, the last standing buildings of an old western town. Hear about these locations and their significance. At sunset, stop at a panoramic lookout point that overlooks the historic Great Western Trail. Feel free to exit the Jeep and walk around the scenic lookout. Whether you're interested in a couple of group photos or a full Instagram shoot with your camera, your guides are also great photographers willing to help. Depending on cloud conditions, the sky typically changes to various shades of pink, red, orange, and purple, all within the backdrop of the stunning Sonoran Desert.

Phoenix and Mesa: Self-Guided Kayak Trip on Saguaro Lake

9. Phoenix and Mesa: Self-Guided Kayak Trip on Saguaro Lake

Experience the spectacular landscapes of the Tonto National Forest on a self-guided kayaking tour around Saguaro Lake. Paddle through canyons, see beautiful desert scenery, and discover the local flora and native wildlife from a unique perspective. Escape the heat and feel refreshed by one of the most stunning lakes of Arizona. Travel at your own pace, giving you the opportunity to truly take in the picturesque views. Start with an orientation of basic safety and paddling instructions. The “sit-on-top”-style kayaks are very stable and easy to maneuver. Before you know it you’ll be paddling below thousand-foot cliffs. Explore the lake's glimmering waters and discover coves and craggy shorelines. Keep your eyes open for the native wildlife native to the Tonto National Forest.

Sedona and Grand Canyon Day Tour from Phoenix

10. Sedona and Grand Canyon Day Tour from Phoenix

Witness the stunning scenery of Arizona and see both Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Join this Sedona and Grand Canyon day tour from Phoenix and soak up the breathtaking views along the way. Start your tour in Sedona at Bell Rock Vista and head to the Chapel of the Holy Cross for truly spectacular views. After, have free time in the rustic, old-west district of Uptown to shop, enjoy local cuisine, or visit some of its numerous art galleries. After departing Sedona, relax and take in the scenery on one of Arizona's most scenic drives as you pass through Oak Creek Canyon. Arrive at the majestic Grand Canyon South Rim National Park and stand at two of the most rewarding viewpoints of the Canyon. Enjoy a guided tour at one of the overlooks and free time on your own at the other.

Available activities

  • Desert off-road adventures
  • Exploring Phoenix & Scottsdale
  • Grand Canyon, Sedona, & more
  • Apache Trail visits
  • Arizona water adventures
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Frequently asked questions about Phoenix, Arizona

What top attractions are a must-see in Phoenix, Arizona?

The must-see attractions in Phoenix, Arizona are:

What are the best day trips and excursions from Phoenix, Arizona?

The best day trips and excursions from Phoenix, Arizona are:

Grand Canyon

What are the best indoor activities in Phoenix, Arizona for rainy days?

Other Sightseeing Options in Phoenix, Arizona

Want to discover all there is to do in Phoenix, Arizona? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Phoenix, Arizona

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,562 reviews

Tim and Jason are amazing. We had a blast on the Segways and learned so much while wheeling through the desert. We had family from 12yr to 80yr and we ALL had a blast. Very organized, very fun....worth every penny!! Book this tour asap!

Excellent showing again this year. I arrived with a group on a bus from a retirement center and we all went our separate ways for a two hour tour. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

I have always loved Christmas lights so this was perfect for me! The lights were so cheerful and creative.

Great bike ride and lots of information about the beautiful Arizona Desert.

We planned this as a family event and it was delightful!