Things to Do in Arizona - page 2
A collection of once violent volcanoes dots the rugged high desert north of Flagstaff. Collectively called the San Francisco Peaks, or just ‘The Peaks’ by locals, today they sit dormant, offering a wilderness playground for adventurous visitors keen to hike, climb, bike or ski. The tallest is Humphrey’s Peak towering 12,633 feet, where hearty hikers can tackle a nine-mile, round-trip hike to its top. For wildlife spotting, lower elevation trails like Little Bear Trail wind through ponderosa pine, oak, and aspen forests, and the Lava River Cave offers great views and an exciting walk through a lava tube. The 44-mile Peaks Loop road is perfect for car-based sightseeing, while winter visitors can hit the slopes at Wing Mountain or the Snowbowl Ski Area.
You could think of Phoenix’s South Mountain Park as a large outdoor playground. Actually, a very large outdoor playground. With more than 16,000 acres to explore, according to the Trust for Public Land, South Mountain Park is one of the largest municipally operated parks in the United States.
With more than 50 miles of trails, South Mountain Park is a favorite among horseback riders, hikers and mountain bikers. But drivers can take in the scenery too. A little more than five miles up the Summit Road, there are Valley wide views to be had at Dobbins Lookout. If you’re inspired, keep going to the Gila Lookout for a view of the Gila River Valley. The drive is scenic, so take it slow to safely enjoy the view. There are many steep sections and blind curves and cars share the road with bikers and hikers.
With one of the most spectacular vistas in the Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Point lies at the end of the Bright Angel Point Trail, one the most popular of the North Rim corridor trails. The trail itself is wide, well graded and easy to follow. It's equally attractive to first-time canyon hikers and seasoned pros, as well as mule trains, making it a popular route. Because once you reach the point, panoramic views of the Grand Canyon unfold.
This easy trail follows a ridge line at the end of the Bright Angel Peninsula to Bright Angel Point, which offers a panoramic view of the canyon from its north side. You can also see and hear the rush of Roaring Spring, the North Rim’s only water source, which lies 3,600 feet/1,100 kilometers below the rim. Portions of the Cottonwood Campground, 4,000 feet/1,200 meters below the rim, are visible from the end of the trail. Grand Canyon Village on the south rim is visible about 10 miles/16 kilometer across the canyon.
As a non-profit organization, the Arizona Science Center‘s main goal is to entertain and educate people of all ages about science. They opened in 1984 as a small, 10,000 square feet (3,048 square meters) museum featuring select hands-on exhibits. Since its humble beginning, the Arizona Science Center has quickly grown into one of the most popular local attractions in Arizona. Today the Arizona Science Center stretches over 120,000 square feet (36,576 square meters) and is one of the most high-tech museums in the world. With over 40,000 square feet (12,912 square meters) of gallery space, they currently feature over 300 hands-on exhibits in five different themed galleries. There are daily shows in their multi-media Dorrance Planetarium as well as in the giant, five-story IMAX Theater.
The Arizona Science Center is designed around the concept of making learning fun. Exhibits are created to be interactive, encouraging visitors to learn from doing.
To sample some of Flagstaff’s best craft beers, head to Mother Road Brewing Company. Named after Historic Route 66, which was nicknamed the Mother Road in its heyday, the brewery sits just a couple blocks from the iconic highway that runs through the center of town. The brewery is located in the Milum Building, a former commercial laundromat that has been repurposed in an ideal spot to grab a pint after a day of adventuring in the surrounding mountains and high desert. Their artfully crafted beers include complex flavors like the mesquite honey and British hops of the English Barleywine-style 4th Anniversary Ale or the coffee and orange notes of the popular chocolate stout Lost Highway.
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Designed as a 50th anniversary present for his wife, the Wrigley Mansion was constructed in 1932 by enterprising gum salesman William Wrigley Jr.
The mansion sits atop a hill, providing scenic views of the mountains and Phoenix landscape below. The Wrigley family sold the property in the early 1970s. After changing ownership several times, it looked as though the mansion was going to be demolished in 1992, until the Hormel family purchased the Mansion and restored it with the intention of sharing it with the public. The on-site restaurant is a popular spot to grab a bite to eat or celebrate a special occasion.
Guided tours of the Wrigley Mansion provide details about its history and fun tidbits like ghost stories that have been told over the years. Some tours include lunch at the Wrigley Mansion as well.
Step back into the gunslingin’ Old West at Old Tucson, a movie studio and theme park located near the Tucson Mountains and Saguaro National Park in Arizona. Visitors to Old Tucson might think, ‘Hey! This place looks familiar!’ And that’s because this ‘town’ has been made famous as the location for more than 300 movies and television shows. From living history presentations to historic tours to shows and special events, Old Tucson really ‘brings it’ with the Western experience.
Whether you’re a fan of drama, comedy, or music, the gunfights and stunt shows based on traditional Western themes will fit the bill. There’s even a can-can musical in the saloon, featuring ‘Lady Vivian and her girls.’ Be sure to watch out for a traveling salesman who might try to pitch you a great deal on snake oil.
A popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, Beaver Street Brewery is an easy-going bar and restaurant like you hope to find in any town that prides itself on the adventurous nature of its surroundings. During the summers, it’s a hub of river guides, mountain bikers, and road trippers cruising Route 66. Under the warm sunshine, crowds gather in the outdoor beer garden to eat and drink against a great view of the San Francisco Peaks. Come winter, the ski crowd piles inside for burgers, pizzas and fondue alongside bold, award-winning beers like Big Rapid Red and Hopshot IPA.
Views like those from Toroweap Point in the North Rim are a big part of what draws travelers from around the globe to the Grand Canyon. The vantage point here is 3000 feet above the Colorado River and sheer red cliffs look out over incredible canyon views, ancient lava flows and vast open skies. Though a popular spot for photos, hiking and picnics visitors often find themselves alone atop this awesome and remote destination. That’s partly because these spectacular panoramas come with some difficulty. Toroweap is accessible by car, but the rustic a nature of this incredible overlook means roadways are typically primitive and can be rather demanding for a novice to navigate.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum wears a lot of hats; it's a museum, zoo, aquarium and publishing house. Just outside Tucson, the museum is one of the area's most popular attractions. The facility is dedicated to showcasing the flora, fauna, and history of the Sonoran Desert, with more than 230 species of animals and 1,200 kinds of plants spread throughout the 98 acres of the property. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was founded in 1952, and expanded from its original focus of simply plants and animals native to the region to include an aquarium which opened in 2013. There is a walk-in aviary, a hummingbird aviary, and a desert garden. In addition to the many exhibits, there is a half-mile-long trail that visitors can explore, periodic birds-of-prey demonstrations, and presentations about the area's venomous creatures. There is also an art gallery that showcases local and national artists and a publishing company that produces books and guidebooks for adults and children.
Pueblo Grande Museum is an archaeological park located on the ruins of a 1,500 year-old Native American village. Located in the heart of the Phoenix Metropolitan, this amazingly well-preserved landmark reveals the story of the Hohokam people, an entire culture that has now vanished. Through various exhibits and activities, the Pueblo Grande Museum aims to preserve, learn, and educate people about the life and culture of this prehistoric community.
The Museum features three main sections and is a fascinating experience for the whole family. First, there is an interior gallery which showcases various artifacts from the Hohokam people, including pottery, tools, jewelry, and more. The gallery includes a wide array of history about the Hohokam people as well as hands-on tools to help you interact and imagine life during that time. Next, there are the outdoor trails where you can walk through the ruins of the actual Hohokam village.
A trip to Tucson Old Town Artisans offers a great opportunity to shop for iconic Southwest handcrafts, like Native American and Mexican pottery, jewelry and textiles. This collection of six shops from local artisans occupies a historic complex of authentic adobe buildings from 1850s. Native American handcrafts are the specialty at La Zia, which sells Navajo rugs and Kachina dolls, while Shelago's Artwerks USA has Southwest inspired pieces from a wide range of artists. And The Gypsy’s Emporium is the perfect spot to treasure hunt for vintage, kitschy gifts and souvenirs. Old Town Artisans is home to restaurant La Cocina, where shoppers grab a bite in the shaded outdoor courtyard.
Things to do near Arizona
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