10 Favorite Tourist Attractions in Phoenix (That Are Still Fun for Locals)

Categories: Top Lists

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image courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden
Ah, tourists. In Phoenix, we'll be hardpressed to point out a tourist at any given theater, museum, or cultural center -- we're all wearing T-shirts and shorts, most of us are taking pictures and instagramming anything that moves, and no matter how many times we say we've acclimated, there's not a soul who won't break a sweat.

There are plenty of places to drag your extended family on a day trip or drive around the city, but let's face it, we could go to these spots any day. Here are a few of our favorite Phoenix attractions -- touristy or not.

10. Desert Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens are a standard for any weekend or day-trip through Phoenix, but if you're staying the night (or forever) and want to take a cooler walk through the desert landscape, you'll want to see what the natural reserve has on the calendar. Through September staff members give flashlight tours where viewers can check out desert blossoms and bugs after the sun goes down.

9. Arizona Science Center
Easy to find and easy to spend an afternoon in is Downtown's Arizona Science Center, which is packed with exhibitions and activities to keep geeks of all ages occupied. On view starting July 8 is MathAlive! featuring interactive sports, games, and science experiments that involve the fun (and more practical) uses of mathematics. The center's permanent exhibitions will also be on view throughout the summer and include films and visuals in the Dorrance Planetarium, anatomy activities, physics and construction-themed interactive displays, public art installations, and musical shows.

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Jonathan McNamara
8. Japanese Friendship Garden
If you're looking for a Zen experience, look no further than the Japanese Friendship Garden. The 3.5-acre park is a symbol of friendship between Phoenix and her sister city Himeji in Japan, and took 50 architects from Japan more than 60 trips to Phoenix to build since 1987. Here, you won't find Sakura, the popular Japanese cherry blossom trees, but you will spot purple leaf plums, Japanese maples, and evergreen pears that provide plenty of shady spots to take a zen moment.


Location Info

Map

Arizona Science Center

600 E. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix/Ro Ho En

1125 N. Third Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Arizona Grand Resort

8000 S. Arizona Grand Parkway, Ahwatukee, AZ

Category: General

Phoenix Art Museum

1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

16300 McDowell Mountain Park Drive, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Tovrea Castle and Carraro Cactus Garden

5041 E. Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Cosanti Originals

6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Paradise Valley, AZ

Category: General

Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum

1502 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

16300 McDowell Mountain Park Drive, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

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35 comments
Ev Wesson
Ev Wesson

Castles n Coasters Buahahahahaha jk epic fail!

Maggie Romero
Maggie Romero

I've never been to the wedding cake but I remember it since I was small.

Benjamin Meyer
Benjamin Meyer

South Mt lookout, n Mystery Castle is WAY neat too

clievetrbn
clievetrbn

Wow, you guys are really bumming me out.  I'm heading to AZ in early August with  my son on our annual tour of MLB stadiums.  We have two free days for which I was looking for something fun to do.  I truly appreciate these websites for listing the top attractions.  I'm smart enough to understand that one persons interest may not be interesting to others.  However, coming from out-of-state, the web is the best place to visit to see what AZ has to offer.  It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know how hot it is during the summer months in AZ.  Believe me, I'm in SW Florida and the tourist around here still do things we residents wouldn't dream of in the summer.  Lastly, you would best served keeping the politic discussion of a travel site.  Like Florida, I'm sure your economy is driven by tourism and sports.


Regardless, we look forward to our trip soon!


tresnatonoy
tresnatonoy

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Tj MacKay
Tj MacKay

I went to the batting cages that were NEAR Tovrea Castle before they tore them down, does that count?

Colby Stott
Colby Stott

Does anyone know if it costs money to tour tovrea castle and if so how much

Steve Kalan
Steve Kalan

Arizona should send all it's illegal immigrants to California and NYC

Caroline Maul
Caroline Maul

Ketih Showalter, your response shows how ignorant your thinking is, as apparently you and the few like you do not get out beyond your front door much. People don't want to come to Arizona because of the hateful image that lawmakers and the voters who keep them elected create about this state. So boo hoo yourself and go read some newspapers and pay attention to what people say and where they are from. Arizona citizens themselves cannot keep this state afloat alone. it relies on tourism and other businesses to do business with this state. We can no longer afford to be viewed as bigoted, racists and plain backwards stupid.

Joyce Evangelist-Ajvix
Joyce Evangelist-Ajvix

i just drove past the Tovrea Castle a few days ago. Was curious about it, seems out of place .

Krista Peterson
Krista Peterson

Still haven't been there. Probably drive by it a thousand times a year. Just waiting for visitors I guess.

Niki Toland
Niki Toland

The Mystery Castle should be on this list.

Jeannette Passaretti
Jeannette Passaretti

I did not see Taliesen West on this list? I must have missed it because, duh!!!

Johnny Rychlicki III
Johnny Rychlicki III

Boo hoo, it effects AZ's tourist industry, which relies on people wanting to visit AZ. The NFL pressured AZ to recognize MLK day years ago or they were going to pull the Superbowl out. Arizonans should be aware of how our state is viewed...as a joke. I travel a lot on business and it is not a positive image. Helps to get out of the ASU - Phoenix white people buffer zone and experience some culture.

Joanna Scheffler
Joanna Scheffler

You do realize there is no Mining and Mineral Museum any more, right? (Thank you, Jan Brewer >:( )Of course, this article is a bit dated...

Margo Papke
Margo Papke

Done a few, can't wait to do some of the others!! Just a comment, it's Desert Botanical Garden, not Gardens.

Keith Showalter
Keith Showalter

boo hoo, there's more to Arizona than Sheriff Joe and Jan Brewer. Go complain somewhere else.

Leilah Publications
Leilah Publications

Yes. But everyone else should boycott and not come to this racist bigoted state.

Hock
Hock

A little too hot for most of this list.   Good list for fall, winter, and spring.  Reprint in November.

davelog
davelog

Cosanti's cool, but Arcosanti's cooler. Whenever someone comes to visit me in Phoenix for the first time, I take 'em to Arcosanti. What a great way to spend a day.

Jack Sakes
Jack Sakes

In place of the Mining & Mineral Museum, I might suggest the Arizona Capitol Museum. Free.Open every day from 9-4. 4 floors covering the entirety of state history.

Eric
Eric

Yep. It was taken over by the AZ Historical Society. This reporter botched this up. And most of these things are really fun especially when it's hot.

Greg Propper
Greg Propper

Last I checked the Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum does not exist anymore.  We were down there during the AZ Centennial and the building was gutted and all of the minerals were gone.

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