Top Recommended Layover Activities:
1. Papago Park
E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008-3410 · 602-256-3220
This desert park, dotted with red rock and weather-sculpted buttes, is located near the zoo and the botanical gardens. A network of trails runs through the grounds, and fishing lagoons punctuate the landscape. Ramadas (covered picnic shelters) provide a perfect place to take in the views and can be reserved with a call. The area is ranger-patrolled for safety. Located at East Van Buren Street and North Galvin Parkway.
2. Majerle's Sports Grill
24 N 2nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004 · 602-253-9004
This bar and grill, owned by NBA All-Star Dan Majerle, pulls in hard-core sports lovers. Dim and lively, its decor is heavy on sports memorabilia, and several TVs allow die-hard fans to keep up with the game. While taking in the ambiance, chow down on burgers, chicken fingers and other American favorites. Portions are enough to please even the toughest of appetites. If a game is played downtown, be prepared to wait for a seat, especially if the Suns players decide to hang out.
3. Phoenix Museum of History
105 N 5th St, Copper Square, Phoenix, AZ 85004-4404 · 602-253-2734
This museum traces the city's history from 1860-1940. Ever-changing special exhibits and events commemorating the Phoenix heritage are held here throughout the year. The American Girls' Pastime party and the Victorian Tea are two of the exhibits to be displayed in 2001.
4. Pueblo Grande Museum
4619 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034-1909 · 602-495-0900
EAST PHOENIX. The museum and park are built on the thousand-year-old site of the Hohokam Indian ruins. Exhibits feature the lifestyles of the Hohokam and of other cultures of the Southwest. Adults and children alike are given the opportunity to learn about the Phoenix heritage through displays of arts and crafts that were created and used by Native American tribes. An informative and fun hands-on exhibit is also provided to encourage children to learn more about archaeology.
5. Mystery Castle
800 E Mineral Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85040 · 602-268-1581
Constructed during the 1930s and '40s, this 18-room castle was built by Boyce Luther Gulley after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Abandoning his family in Seattle, he came to Phoenix for the climate and built the folk-art mansion from recycled materials and old bricks in honor of his young daughter. After he died, the house went to her, and she and her mother moved in immediately. The daughter still lives there today and conducts tours. A "Life" magazine article put the house on the map in 1948.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008-3490 · 480-941-1225
Located in Papago Park, this garden features the world's largest outdoor desert plant collection. A vast array of colorful wildflowers has been strategically placed to create a spectacular display and delight visitors in the springtime. Not only is this park a treat for the eyes, but it also provides exercise for the body and mind. One of the main highlights, an informative ethnobotanical walking trail, meanders throughout the grounds. This trail explains the many vital ways in which plants were integrated into Native American tribal life, thus illustrating the importance of plants beyond their natural beauty.
2. Phoenix Zoo
455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008-3431 · 602-273-1341
Plan to spend a day with the animals, over 1200 of them (including many endangered species), in this expansive park. The animals live in spacious enclosures, similar to the habitats they would have if they were in the wild. in addition, visitors can enjoy attractions like the tropical rainforest exhibit, train rides, and a fabulous childrens' petting zoo. During the summer season, arrive early to see the animals when they're most active!
3. TPC at Scottsdale - Stadium
17020 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 · 480-585-3600
This championship course is the host site for the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open. As with most TPC courses, finding a prime seat to watch an event here isn’t hard. As for playing the course, you should be aware of the obstacles that await. Well-placed mounds will provide some awkward lies in these fairways, and expect a number of bunkers to creep into play in the landing areas and around these greens.
4. Troon North Golf Club - Monument
10320 E Dynamite Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85262 · 480-585-5300
Expect to encounter a number of typical desert features on this upscale course. In remarkable condition with fairways that provide ample landing room, and greens that are far from small, this course allows you to play your game. The excellent layout features some well-placed bunkers and interestingly aligned greens. When in doubt, play away from the trouble and rely on your short game to pick up par.
5. South Mountain Park
10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85040 · 602-495-0222
A maze of well-maintained hiking trails crisscrosses one of the largest municipal parks in the world. For a spectacular view, drive to Dobbins Lookout Point and gaze at the city from 1200 feet. Then, trek to Happy Valley via a trail through South Mountain Park. The place is magnificent, especially in springtime when the terrain is knee-deep with wildflowers. Free maps are available at the entrance, but no glass containers are permitted on the premises. If you want to drive to the top, arrive no later than 9pm.