Phoenix, Arizona, and its metro area (known as the Valley of the Sun, how cool is that?) has a lot going on. High-end resorts, golfing, and some of the most unique scenery in the country. Here are some of the coolest things the city of Phoenix has to offer.
Okay, let's get the big one out of the way. The Phoenix metro is golf central, one of the top golfing destinations in the country. Nearly every hotel around is a "resort," and "resort" in this case most often means "hotel with some golf courses attached." Courses designed by legends like Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo, and Robert Trent Jones, Sr. abound at places like The Wigwam, Canyon Villas, Boulders, Arizona Grand, and more.
Musical Instrument Museum
MIM is exactly what it says—a huge showcase of musical instruments from around the world. They have some 360 exhibits, and every nation on earth is represented. Exhibitions include Johnny Cash and the Carter Family exhibits, as well as a special exhibit on Stradivarius. If you're a music fan of any kind, it's basically a given that you need to see this. But the geographic galleries really push this to the next level, to something that anyone who's interested in the world around them at all can enjoy. There's a Javanese gamelan, a theremin, and stuff most people have never even heard of. This is a celebration of global culture on a scale simultaneously insanely broad and touchingly intimate.
You're near Camelback Mountain, the Sonoran Desert, and all kinds of other gorgeous terrain. There's nothing quite like the Southwestern United States, and you're right in the middle of that unique beauty. There's no shortage of ways to appreciate it, either. You can rent out anything from a bike to a horse to a hot air balloon to take it all in. And don't be fooled—"desert" is in no way synonymous with "barren," and that's especially true here. The area is lush with cacti and all manner of vibrant wildflowers.
The Southwest is distinct for a lot of reasons, and while the landscape is part of it, the culture is another huge one. The Heard Museum is dedicated to preserving and educating people about Native cultures, art, and history. All 22 of Arizona's federally-recognized tribal communities are represented here, in their own voices. From the celebratory exhibits about sports and art to the more sobering ones like an installation about the boarding school experience, this will be an enriching visit about a topic that everyone owes it to themselves to be educated about.
Desert Botanical Garden
Maybe you don't have time to trek around the desert, or maybe you want to stay in town for some reason, or maybe you just like your beauty as concentrated as possible. The Desert Botanical Garden has got you covered. There are five unique trails, each with a different focus. The "Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert" trail talks about the ways that the people of the Sonoran used the native plants for food, housing, medicine, and more, and the "Desert Wildflower" trail is just gorgeous. You can also learn about gardening yourself, or take in special events like the concert series.