Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona, and has a central location in the state, so it is a great base for a state road trip, or for anyone hoping to experience some of the culture and history of Arizona. Despite what it has to offer, Phoenix is not one of the United States’ famous urban destinations, so you might wonder what visitors to this desert city should do. If you like art, nature, and delicious food you won’t be bored, that’s for sure, and we are here to point you in the right direction when it comes to attractions and restaurants in Phoenix.

Since we both grew up in Phoenix will be building a comprehensive list of our favorite restaurants, attractions, and hikes in the Phoenix area over the next few years. But before you delve into the nitty-gritty of Nightborn’s suggestions and reviews, check out our quick-and-dirty guide to the Phoenix area.

FOOD

Chai Tea Adventures: Exploring the Coffee Shops of Phoenix

By Type:

Peruvian Food: El Chullo

ATTRACTIONS

Art Museums:

The Phoenix Art Museum: The Phoenix Art Museum is a respectable representation of large-city art museums. We have many great special showcases, and a few permanent installations that are unique and enjoyable every time.

Nature:

The Desert Botanical Gardens: Whether you’ve grown up among desert plants or you are visiting AZ for the first time, the Desert Botanical Gardens is the place to experience and learn more about the amazing life forms that have evolved here.

The Lower Salt River: There are many things to do on the Lower Salt, including tubing, kayaking, and hiking.

HIKING

Phoenix:

Shadow Mountain and Lookout Mountain: The two little city mountain preserves are tucked away in some neighborhoods. They probably won’t be high on your list if you are a visitor, but if you are a local trying to hike all of the area trails, you will need to stop off at both.

Scottsdale:

Pinnacle Peak Park: Pinnacle Peak is a small, insular park in northern Scottsdale. It’s a great place for a short work-out, or jaunt with the family.

City Outskirts:

Boulder Canyon Trail: If you want to check out the Apache Trail, or hang out at Canyon Lake for the day, Boulder Canyon Trail is a great hike to add on to your day. It’s beautiful and you can make it as long or short as you need.

Seven Springs Recreation Area: Seven Springs is the perfect place to go when you are looking for a somewhat cooler place to hike, sans the long drive. There are tons of different trails to pick from in this area, and we detail our favorite day trip.

EVENTS

The Aloha Festival: Celebrate Hawaiian culture in the middle of the Arizona desert.

Fountain Hill’s Chinese Lantern Festival: Chinese lanterns are amazingly beautiful; it’s an art form that I never knew existed until we got to visit this festival for the first time. If you’ve never seen them before, be sure to visit this one.

Matsuri: The Arizona Festival of Japan: Matsuri is an event that we go to every year, and its a must-visit for any one that loves or is interested in Japanese culture.