Entertainment Things to do in Phoenix
With beautiful weather, blue skies, and friendly people is it a surprise to anyone that there’s so much to do in Phoenix? Whether you prefer to get your adrenaline pumping or take in some fine art (or both) this city has something for you. Check out my list of potential things to do during your stay in Phoenix. You’ll thank me later that most of them are indoor and with air conditioning! Read on and get planning.
Picture Credits: iFLY Indoor Skydiving
We’ve all dreamed we could fly, but this is your chance! iFLY Indoor Skydiving combines the thrill and experience of diving, without the risk of hitting the ground. With fully trained and experienced flyers themselves, their staff is ready to help you reach new heights! There’s no jumping involved since you’re falling into a highly controlled cushion of air so it’s safe for kids to fly too. Each participant gets a full training before jumping in so there’s no experience required either – I certainly didn’t have any! You can even schedule a VR flight if you wanted to have a different kind of experience. How does base jumping over the Alps or even skydiving over Hawaii or Dubai sound? I highly recommend checking this place out for a once in a lifetime thing to check off your bucket list.
Picture Credits: Octane Raceway
Since 2003 Octane Raceway has been feeling the need… The need for speed! With their ⅓ mile indoor/outdoor track they’ve been adding a bit of adrenaline to the Scottsdale/Phoenix area ever since. They offer go-karts that go up to 45 mph for those of us who crave a fast-paced adventure. The vehicles are also electric so no need to worry about breathing in fumes the whole time you’re there too! This location is frequented by celebrities in the racing world as well, like Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Ryan Newman. You never know who you might be racing against. Besides racing, they also have a great restaurant onsite, the Brickyard Grill which features a happy hour worth taking advantage of. Just remember to imbibe after you finish racing of course!
Picture Credits: BATL – Backyard Axe Throwing League
We all know life is stressful. The important thing is how you choose to relieve that stress before it builds up – and boy do I have just the thing. Check out BATL – Backyard Axe Throwing League during your trip to Phoenix. At BATL you can get your fix of adrenaline and throw that stress out of your life, in the form of an axe! Now’s your chance to feel like a Viking warrior while being trained by professional coaches in a very safe environment. The staff at BATL have been practising the sport of axe throwing since 2006 and are happy to teach you what they know! So don’t worry, participants go through a technique and safety training before throwing to decide the champion. With space that can accommodate up to 24 people in one “arena”, you can bring your friends and try something as unique as it is fun!
Picture Credits: Makutus Island
Travelling with the kiddos? Let them have a great time and get out some of that extra energy too! Makutus Island is an enormous indoor “island” with plenty of things to keep your little monkeys busy for awhile. They have trees, climbing areas, a bungee trampoline, a zip tracker, an arcade, and caves they can spend the day exploring. Not to mention the enormous 4-story indoor playground! There’s also a great café that will take care of the food for you so there’s no parent planning involved. If you’re looking for a place to host an event for you they have plenty of space and facilities for birthday parties too. Normally kids are glued to a screen for most of the day and this is a great way to get them to unplug. Let them spend some time doing what kids do best, exploring and playing!
Picture Credits: Jester’Z Improv Comedy
Who doesn’t love to laugh? And with so many great comedies and comedians we have available in recent years, it’s a super popular entertainment option! Jester’Z Improv Comedy has been entertaining audiences since 2001 with quick-wit and great comedic timing. Every improv show is different too – so even if you’ve seen one you’re still in for a totally unique experience! Be sure to check out their online calendar for a full listing of all the shows they have available too. And don’t miss Brad Sherwood, a family favorite from “Whose Line Is It Anyway” coming on October 5th! They have their full lineup on their website too so you can plan to see your favorite show during your trip. Don’t miss out on a night full of laughs and smiles that you’ll remember for quite a while!
Picture Credits: Stir Crazy Comedy Club
And speaking of comedy, the Stir Crazy Comedy Club is a great choice for a fun night out, in a more intimate setting. You can even get the chance to see comedians that you recognize from Comedy Central, The Tonight Show, and many other popular TV shows. Like seeing your favourite talent on TV? You’re going to LOVE seeing them live! They even offer a great menu with plenty of options for either dinner or snacks while you enjoy the show. This, of course, includes a good choice of beer, wine, and cocktails that are sure to please. Stir Crazy has classes on improv and stand-up should you want to give it a try yourself before or after seeing the professionals. I’m sure it will give you a whole new appreciation for just how difficult performing on stage can be!
Picture Credits: Phoenix Art Museum
Art is the perfect way to capture the essence of a place you’re visiting. And for that end, you’ll have to visit the Phoenix Art Museum and soak it in. They have several collections ready to view, like American, Asian, Contemporary, European, Latin American, and Western American alongside particular interests like Fashion, Photography, and much more. Just pick your favorite and start exploring! And coming in for November is the Legends of Speedexhibition which will feature a wide collection of vintage racing cars. Appreciate the beauty in the design of world-renowned names like Maserati, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Ford, and more. This unique exhibition will only be available until March so be sure not to let this chance go racing on by! Whether you visit for vintage race cars or more classical works of art this museum will be sure to teach you a thing or two.
Picture Credits: Desert Botanical Garden
The cliché of the desert being a dry, lifeless place is everywhere in popular culture – but that’s far from the truth! If you (like me) aren’t from a desert environment I highly recommend the Desert Botanical Garden as a point of interest. This place is bursting with life in many forms and has a lot to share and teach. They have several trails and galleries for you to choose from, each with their own specialty. Anyone interested in learning about desert living, wildflowers, and the relationship between plants and people are certainly in luck here! Beyond the trails, they also have guided tours, a garden shop, and a library full of resources for the botanically curious. Those looking to expand their knowledge of the plants will feel at home in some of their learning programs as well, whether they be kids or adults!
Picture Credits: Heard Museum
Originally founded in 1929 the Heard Museum has been dedicated to the advancement (and celebration) of Native American peoples and cultures. These cultures have cultivated and shaped the lands in the US for some time and they have a lot to teach us! Their enormous signature Native People in the Southwest exhibit is not to be missed. It holds everything from pottery, jewelry, interactive displays, a full-size Navajo hogan, and so much more. Sadly, most of us don’t get a real depth of education on native cultures and his museum is happy to fill some of those gaps. Deepen your appreciation for the United State’s natural beauty and the first cultures to live and thrive in them at the Heard Museum! Their collection doesn’t end with exhibits either. They also have a massive library (both digital and physical) and teaching resources so that you can continue learning even at home.
Picture Credits: Carnival of Illusion
The Carnival of Illusion is the longest-running Arizona theater show in history and it boasts 3 boutique theaters in the Phoenix area. This show is packed with Old-World Magic in the style of classic entertainers such as Buster Keaton, Mae West, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Harry Houdini! With all the charms of a Vaudeville-inspired roadshow (without the dirt) this place simply can’t be beaten. Performers Roland and Susan are simply masters in illusion and stage magic, creating a performance you absolutely cannot find anywhere else. Add in a dash of old fashioned comedy and it’s quite a show! What an awesome and unique date night or any night with your friends and family. The show itself is “clean” and appropriate for children 8 years and older so bring them along too. It’s sure to be a night full of laughs, old-world charm, and plenty of magic.
Picture Credits: Modified Arts
No matter what time of the year you visit, there’s always something going on at Modified Arts. With a fresh exhibition on display every month, there’s bound to be something here that peaks your interest! These exhibits feature a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, installation, printmaking, photography, digital media, and mixed media. Don’t miss your chance to check out the opening and closing receptions for each exhibit and meet the artists behind the work either! The opening receptions are on the third Friday of every month and the closing receptions on the first Friday of the month. Something unique about these exhibitions is that every piece you see if actually available for sale. It’s the perfect souvenir to bring a piece of culture back with you from your trip! The staff behind Modified Arts is focused on helping the artist reach new points in their career. And of course, helping collections find new pieces for their collections as well. It’s a win-win!
Picture Credits: Mountain Shadows
Sometimes a place or experience is so much more than the sum of its parts, and Mountain Shadows is no exception. A resort, spa, restaurant, pool, golf course, event venue, and so much more wrapped in one beautiful location! Originally built in 1959 and completely rebuilt in 2017 Mountain Shadow has since become a premier place to escape the business and pressures of daily life. The two 75 foot pools were even called some of the “Hottest Hotel Pools” by Vogue! After a day of lounging poolside be sure to check out their on-site restaurant, Hearth ‘61. Itself named one of the “Best New Restaurants of 2017” by PHOENIX Magazine. The list of amenities and facilities they possess goes on and on! All to make sure you and your family/friends have the best possible experience while you’re there. This place is highly recommended for basking in the desert sun in total comfort and style.
Picture Credits: Heritage Square
History buffs, these ones for you! A beacon of Phoenix’s Victorian past, Heritage Square is a living breathing piece of history waiting to be discovered. The central part is the fully restored Rosson House Museum from 1895, which is fully detailed and decorated to boot. The house itself can be toured along with a guide to get the full experience too. Along with the museum, there’s also a visitor’s center to start off your visit and learn more about the space itself. This is an ideal place for families to visit since there’s plenty to do and see – and no screens! Currently on display is a free exhibit on the city of Phoenix as it was during the turn of the century. It gives you a great deal of information about what life was like then for the inhabitants of the area!
Picture Credits: Bunky Boutique
One of the most important things you can do when visiting a new location is to support the local economy there. The cool thing is that you can have a lot of fun while doing that too! That’s what Bunky Boutique is all about. For eleven years now Bunky has been open for business and connecting consumers to local designers. Opened in 2007 by owner Rachel Malloy, Bunky now has anything from clothes, accessories, menswear, baby/kids wear, and more in stock! They have 2 locations within Phoenix in addition to the online shop so you can even shop and have items shipped right to you. No need to cram items into your suitcase! This locale is one of the staple locations in the thriving art and cultural hub that downtown Phoenix has become. And it, of course, shows no signs of slowing down!
Picture Credits: MADE Art Boutique
If you’re looking more in the market for some art, I’d add MADE art boutique to your list of places to visit. MADE is a locally owned and operated art space that also doubles as a space for the community as well. They have a staggeringly wide range of items available from jewelry, pottery, gifts, books, and magazines. And their stock rotates frequently so make sure you get what you like before it’s gone! They are also currently renovating the interior of the space so get ready for a whole new look come this fall. This chic boutique was even named “Best Retail Gem 2013” by Phoenix New Times! MADE presents a great opportunity to bring back your own little slice of Phoenix and support local artists at the same time.
Picture Credits: Norterra Shopping
And finally, if you’re looking to get some serious shopping done while you’re in town, The Shops at Norterra are definitely the place to go! They have over 40 different businesses in one open-air location including stores, restaurants, and many types of entertainment. Another great location for a date night as you stroll along doing a dinner, movie, and capping it off with some shopping and drinks! There’s a ton to choose from so make sure you give yourself enough time to meander around at your own pace and see everything. This is also the perfect place to beat the Arizona heat and enjoy some free air conditioning on those, particularly hot days too! Along with all the shopping and eating, they also offer several services like fitness centers, nail salons, barber, massage therapy. No matter what you go for I’m sure you’ll find something you love!