In a city as large as Phoenix, you will never run out of new neighborhoods to explore. One area of town you must add to your list to check out is Downtown Phoenix. While it is the epicenter for business in the city, there is way more to Downtown Phoenix than high-rises and office buildings.
The downtown area offers an incredibly versatile range of activities. You can enjoy the nightlife scene, catch a baseball game at Chase Field, or visit an art museum. The area is also fairly walkable, which makes it easy to jump from one activity to the next.
Appreciate the Artwork at Phoenix Art Museum
Photo credit: Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum has been a cornerstone of the downtown Phoenix arts scene since it opened more than sixty years ago. The museum is the largest art museum in the Southwest, and has over 19,000 works of art. Their collection includes a wide mixture of American, Asian, Latin American, and contemporary art.
While the entrance free for the Phoenix Art museum is typically $21 for adults, there are a few opportunities to get free admission. If you visit the first Friday of every month from 3 to 7 pm, you will get free admission to the first Friday program, which includes incredible art, live music and dance performances. On Wednesday afternoons, the museum offers a “pay what you wish” program and allows admission with a donation of your choosing.
Stroll through Margaret T. Hance Park
Photo credit: Visit Phoenix
While Downtown Phoenix certainly has a very urban feel, there is a spot to go when you want to escape to a green oasis. Margaret T. Hance Park is a public park located above the I-10 highway. This spacious park has over 32 acres for walking or running. This is also a great spot downtown to take your dog for a walk, as there is an attached dog park as well.
If you bring your kids with you, there is also a playground area on one end of the park, perfect for letting little ones get out their energy in the middle of the day. If you happen to visit the park during lunch, stop by one of the local food trucks to grab an on-the-go meal.
Tour the Japanese Friendship Garden
Photo credit: Phoenix Home & Garden
This peaceful zen garden is tucked within the larger Margaret T. Hance Park, and it’s easy to live in Phoenix for years without knowing this beautiful spot exists. If you are looking for a tranquil escape, the garden is full of lush vegetation, gorgeous water features, and once a month there is a tea ceremony held in the antique teahouse on the grounds. It’s easy to spend an hour walking around on a self-guided tour, getting lost in the gardens.
Watch the Diamondbacks Play Baseball at Chase Field
Photo credit: Raising Arizona Kids Magazine
When spring rolls around one of the best places to spend a weekend is downtown at Chase Field watching the Diamondbacks, Arizona’s Major League Baseball team, play at home.
Chase Field has been home to the Diamondbacks since 1998, and the stadium was one of the very first in the United States to have a retractable roof over natural grass field. While the Diamondbacks play on synthetic turf now, the stadium remains just as fun to visit as when it first opened.
Thanks to the very rare rainy days in Arizona, there is rarely a need to close the stadium roof for rain, and they can often leave it open on days when it is not too warm. Between April and October you can sit back, enjoy a ballpark hot dog, and watch some great baseball. If you attend a game with your family, try to go on a Saturday night during the summer when they have their post-game fireworks show!
Pedal it out on the Downtown Phoenix Art & Mural Bike Tour
Photo credit: Visit Phoenix
For those who love to bike, the Downtown Phoenix Art & Mural Bike Tour is a wonderful way to bike through downtown while enjoying the sights. The downtown area is easy to bike through, and you do not need to have a bike of your own.
You can rent a bike through the Grid Bike Share rental program, and reserve a bike for two hours at a time. They will provide a helmet and help you get set up for your ride through Downtown Phoenix. While you have to be sixteen years old to participate in the official bike tour, this is a great activity for a group of friends looking to be outside and explore a new part of town.
On the bike tour you will get to see many of the art murals that adorn the streets of the Downtown Phoenix area. On the official tour, you will get to hear some of the background behind the history of the area and the art. It takes a couple of hours, and the route is five miles long. This makes the bike tour accessible no matter if you are a beginner or expert biker.
Visit Heritage Square and The Rosson House
Photo credit: Heritage Square
If you are looking to explore a slice of Phoenix history, visit the Rosson House. This is a historic landmark located in Downtown Phoenix that was built in 1895. It was first owned by Dr. Roland Rosson, a general physician who later became a Phoenix politician. At the time it was built it was considered the most expensive house in the city, and it offers a wonderful window back in time to what Phoenix was like at the turn of the 20th century.
This is a great spot to stop if you are a history lover or enjoy seeing unique styles of architecture. The house is located in the heart of Heritage Square, a neighborhood that has been preserved to reflect the history of the city’s Victorian past.
Learn About Local History in the Heard Museum
Photo credit: James Johnson
Speaking of Arizona’s history, the Heard Museum is another must-see spot to learn more about Native American culture and art. The Heard Museum features heirlooms and artifacts from many of the native tribes that live in Arizona and across the Southwest region. You can spend several hours in the Heard Museum reading through the detailed displays about Native American life in the Southwest. The museum also includes daily demonstrations and live performances that highlight contemporary Native American art.
Downtown Phoenix offers way more than a hub for business in the city. It’s one of the areas where you will find the most history and culture in Phoenix. It would take more than one trip to see everything this vibrant and artistic area has to offer. Whether you love wandering through museums or taking a bike ride to see modern art, it’s worth spending some time exploring Downtown Phoenix.