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Top Phoenix Attractions

The first time you visit Phoenix, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Phoenix to help with your itinerary planning.

Heard Museum Heard Museum
Desert Botanical Gardens Desert Botanical Gardens
Phoenix Zoo Phoenix Zoo
Phoenix Art Museum Phoenix Art Museum
Arizona Science Center Arizona Science Center

Heard Museum

 Address 2301 North Central Ave.
 Admissions Adults $7, Children $3
 Hours 9:30am-5pm daily
 Phone 602-252-8848

If you only have time to see one attraction while in Phoenix, see the Heard Museum. The Heard Museum is widely considered to be one of the best museums in the United States and attracts visitors from all around the world. The Heard museum was founded by Dwight and Maie Heard. The Heads moved to Phoenix in the mid 1880’s and became avid collectors of Native American art. Their collection grew so vast that they decided to open a museum to share their collection with the world. The Heard Museum opened its doors in 1929. The focus of the museum is still on Native American arts, however, the collection has grown to over 35,000 pieces. Recently a multi-million dollar expansion, including 3 new galleries, an auditorium, and an education pavilion, was added to accommodate the Heard Museum’s growing popularity. Also, there’s a nice gift shop and a number of special events held throughout the year. Be sure to checkout the events calendar.

It’s easily to spend a full day exploring the Heard Museum.


Desert Botanical Gardens

 Address 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy
 Admissions Adults $9, Students $5
 Hours 8am-8pm daily
 Phone 480-941-1225

The Desert Botanical Gardens is a must-do for first time visitors. Located within close proximity to the Phoenix Zoo and Papago Mountain, where there are a number of picnic areas with superb views. The makings are there for a full day excursion. Desert Botanical Gardens contains over 20,000 plants from around the world. Though, many are native to the Phoenix area including hundreds or maybe even thousands of different types of cacti. The Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert trail provides several interesting exhibits displaying how Native Americans made use of their surroundings for everyday life. The various trails are entangled sometimes making it hard to get your bearings. On a hot summer day it can be grueling walking along the trails. It’s a good thing that there are usually officials driving around on golf carts offering fresh water to exhausted pedestrians. The Desert Botanical Gardens provides an intimate, untouched, educational view into Arizona’s desert. It’s no wonder then that this is a popular location for weddings. There is a restaurant on the premises and a gift shop at the front gate.


Phoenix Zoo

 Address 455 N. Galvin Pkwy
 Admissions Adults $9, Children $5
 Hours 9am-5pm daily
 Phone 602-273-1341

Considering that wildlife in the desert is almost non-existent, the Phoenix Zoo has done a remarkable job maintaining an almost tropical feel and as many impressive exhibits in its credits. The focus of the zoo is on animals that are native to climate’s similar to that of Phoenix. As one would expect there are many southwestern exhibits. However, you can also find baboons, Galapagos tortoises, and African elephants.


Phoenix Art Museum

 Address 1625 N. Central Ave.
 Admissions Adults $9, Students $3
 Hours 10am-5pm daily
 Phone 602-257-1222

The Phoenix Art Museum is one of the largest and nicest art museums in the southwest. The museums vast collection contains works spanning from the Renaissance to the present day. Museum exhibits focus on Spanish-colonial furnishings, decorative arts, historic fashions, religious art, and works provided by members of the Cowboy Artists of America association. Masterpieces by such notable names as Henri Rousseau, Pablo Picasso, and Diego Rivera are also hosted by the museum. One of the more popular exhibits is the Thorne Miniature Collection, which really is quite remarkable. The collection consists of 20 miniature replicas of existing houses in the U.S. and Europe. The museum generally is not too crowded and one can give each exhibit the appropriate attention without being disturbed.


Arizona Science Center

 Address 600 E. Washington Street
 Admissions Adults $9, Children $7
 Hours 10am-5pm daily
 Phone 602-716-2000

The Arizona Science Center, located nearby Copper Square and Bank One Ballpark, is a great place for kids. There are tons of cool interactive science exhibits to keep the kids busy and hopefully teach them something too. There’s a planetarium on the premises and occasionally the center hosts touring exhibits. Recently, the Arizona Science Center hosted the high-tech James Bond exhibit. The Arizona Science Center is a popular school field trip and is generally crowded with kids running around wild. Still, it’s a fun trip.


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