Central Phoenix Activities

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Central Phoenix is the perfect setting for family vacations, weekend adventures, romantic getaways or permanent vacations year-round for those who love it so much they can’t stand to leave.

The desert character can’t be replicated or conjured with special effects and the atmosphere, environment and overall feel of Central Phoenix can’t be found anywhere else. Phoenix is America’s fifth-largest city and it has breathtaking views, unique settings and cactus types that most people will only see on TV.

Central Phoenix is the heart of the Sonoran Desert and the gateway to the Grand Canyon and its long and rich history prevails today as a testament to the spirit of the ranchers, miners and visionaries that helped to create Phoenix to be the thriving metropolitan city it is known as today.

Millions of tourists venture to Central Phoenix year after year to take in the timeless Southwestern backdrop, to enjoy five star resorts and spas that are infused with Native American traditions, award-winning golf courses that stay green year round, mountain parks infused with trails that reach stunning scenic points, sports venues worthy of the Super Bowl, a wide range of malls, shops and restaurants and to enjoy the true Central Phoenix lifestyle.

Phoenix Art Museum

Activities for Everyone Throughout Central Phoenix


It can get very hot in Central Phoenix, which is why it is nice to find a cool museum to hide in during those hot days. You will find museums devoted to the Arizona experience all across the state focusing on history, art, American Indian culture, science and more.

The Heard Museum – The Heard Museum is probably the most famous in Phoenix. It showcases an outstanding collection of Native American art and culture set in a 1920 Spanish Colonial mansion. The museum hosts art shows, markets and ceremonial events throughout the year

Phoenix Art Museum – The Phoenix Art Museum recently underwent a $50 million expansion in 2006. Here you will find more than 17,000 works of classic and modern art from all over the world. Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo are just a few of the featured artists.

Hiking Trails

Hiking is a huge part of the Central Phoenix lifestyle and daily agenda. The city has widely been recognized for being among the nation’s top cities for hiking. Whether you are hiking, biking or going horseback riding through Central Phoenix’s terrain you will find trails winding through the nearby mountains to challenge you and views that will bring you to your knees.

Visit North Mountain Park for beginner-friendly trails that will take you to some glorious views. North Mountain is located less than ten miles away from Downtown Phoenix and is a very popular park and trail amongst locals.

Camelback Mountain is located right in the heart of Central Phoenix. The mountain resembles a resting camel with a hump on its back, hence the name Camelback Mountain. There are two trails to choose from in this popular recreational area and both are classified as moderate to strenuous trails.

There are many trails to take advantage of at South Mountain Park. Make it to the top to enjoy phenomenal panoramic views!

Half a million people visit the Phoenix Mountain Preserve every year and they trek out to the top of the 2,608-foot Piestewa Peak. The trail is steep and can be tough for beginners, but the effort is well worth it when you reach the top and take in the 360-degree views from the top.


Antiquing offers a unique opportunity to search through treasures from the past and to find priceless vintage collectibles from specialty shops. Central Phoenix’s Melrose District is home to various treasures from post World War II. Furniture and clothing from the era can be seen in many secondhand shops that have popped up in the increasingly trendy neighborhood.

You can find merchandise from the 1950s and 1970s at Retro Ranch or head over to Modern on Melrose for mid-century modern furniture such as neon signs and oversized commercial letters. Rust and Roses is popular among those seeking vintage home décor, gardening tools, perfume bottles, chandeliers, lanterns and various other vintage materials.

Spring Training

There are 15 Major League Baseball teams that play at ten Arizona ballparks for more than 30 days beginning in late February and running through March for Spring Training. This is the best place and best time of year for fans to watch the boys get in shape and to get up close and personal with their favorite players.

The teams that take advantage of the Arizona ballparks include:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Texas Rangers
  • Los Angeles Angels
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Oakland Athletics
  • San Diego Padres
  • Seattle Mariners
  • San Francisco Giants


Are you sick of sightseeing and hiking?

Then grab your bags and head over to Central Phoenix’s best shopping districts to let loose and enjoy a day of shopping. Whether you are looking for antiques, art stores, sports gear, western goods or brand label goods you will find everything you need in Central Phoenix.

One of the best shopping destinations is the Desert Ridge Marketplace, which is known for having more than 75 retails stores and 31 restaurants in a beautiful outdoor setting just minutes from Downtown.

Biltmore Fashion Park is also located nearby and it offers premium stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue.

Classic Cars

Each January for the past 20 years serious car collectors and enthusiasts head over to Central Phoenix to take part in Arizona Auction Week. This spectacular event showcases high-end and rare vintage cars, jaw-dropping classic muscle cars, exotic racers, rare collectibles, historic military vehicles and more.

While some event goers bid millions on these beauties in hopes of reeling in a luxurious treasure, spectators are welcome to enjoy the view and watch the action.

Bird Watching

Do you consider yourself a bird-watching enthusiast?

Then bring your binoculars and your bird list to Central Phoenix to spot various beautiful species. Imagine hiking through one of the many popular Central Phoenix trails before sunrise and spotting a bird you’ve wanted to see your entire life. That’s what happens when you go bird watching in Arizona – known as one of the top ten places in North America for bird watching.

The metropolitan Central Phoenix area offers the chance to see many feathered friends right in the heart of the city at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area. The habitat features wetland ponds, a mesquite-willow forest and more than 200 species of birds including great blue herons, white-breasted nuthatches and ospreys.

The Desert Botanical Garden and the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch are also great in-town destinations for bird enthusiasts.


Golf is one of the top activities to enjoy in Central Phoenix.

From the picturesque surroundings to the wonderful natural golf courses, golfing in Central Phoenix is simply unbeatable.

Enjoy a manicured and thrilling ride through some of the finest golf courses in Central Phoenix including the Phoenician Golf Club that climbs high onto Camelback Mountain for sweeping views of the metropolitan Phoenix area, the Grayhawk Golf Club, Las Sendas Golf Club, Golf Club of Estrella and many other award-winning and wonderful courses.

Food Lover’s Paradise

One of the best ways to explore the true Arizona culture and its culinary past is to indulge in the native foods and learn about the traditional farming methods.

In the same way that Philadelphia is known for Philly cheesesteaks and New Orleans is known for their delicious beignets, Arizona offers saguaro and prickly pear cactus and other delicious traditional creations.

Arizona is home to some of the oldest documented food traditions in North America. State farmers still grow fruits, grains and vegetables that were produced here in 1912!

Saguaro and Prickly Pear Cactus – Who knew that cactus was made to eat? The saguaro cactus fruit was historically used in rainmaking ceremonies as well as boiling down the fruit juice to make syrup. More recently, chefs have worked it into a barbecue sauce. Although saguaro is very popular, the prickly pear cactus is also known to be a great source of antioxidants when eaten as a jelly, salsa or in a margarita!

Navajo-Churro Sheep – This breed of sheep is the oldest surviving breed and the fleece is sold for Churro yarn, fleeces and pelts while locals savor the tender and sweet meat.

Mesquite Pod Flour – Mesquite was a main food source for most Arizona residents until the 20th Century. A mesquite seed pod is 20-30 percent protein and rich in amino acids. Grinding the seed pods results in naturally sweet flour that can be substituted for refined sugar resulting in delicious muffins, tamales and cookies.

Spa Resorts

There is nothing better than enjoying a relaxing session at the spa.

In the same way that golf clubs are widely popular in Central Phoenix, spa resorts are right up there in popularity. Many clubs will combine the two so you can enjoy a nice morning golf game and relaxing into the afternoon with a soothing massage.

You can even combine the two with a hot golf-ball massage at the spa at the Four Seasons Resort. The historic Arizona Biltmore offers the finest massages to heal stressed muscles with various aromatherapy oils.

If you book a couples massage you can make the experience even more enjoyable in an outdoor cabana.

Need More to Do in Central Phoenix?

There is always so much to do in Central Phoenix!

Between the hiking, golfing, shopping and everything else it’s not surprise that Phoenix is known as one of the top ten places to live in the U.S.

If you are interested in learning more about the Central Phoenix lifestyle or if you are interested in learning about condos,homes and other real estate opportunities in Central Phoenix then connect with local expert Roberta Candelaria.

Roberta and her team at Phoenix Urban Spaces can assist you with all of your real estate needs and make your experience smooth and successful!