Best Places to Visit in Arizona
Located in the Southwestern part of the United States, Arizona is known best for its deserts, forests, high mountains, and canyons. Awash with places of cultural significance, intriguing archaeological sites, traveling to Arizona is an exuberant experience for tourists. It is the place where history meets adventure. For the young and the youthful at heart, it has numerous gleaming clubs, bars, and pubs offering some fun nights of debauchery. It is also abundant with historic charm, sports, and entertainment all year round. Additionally, you will discover a wealth of culinary experiences that will surely tempt your tastebuds. Here’s a glance at the top things to do and the best places to visit in Arizona. Check out this Arizona travel guide:
Any list talking of tourist spots in Arizona is lacking if it does not mention this piece of absolute beauty. On the Arizona-Utah border is the Vermilion Cliffs of Arizona encompassing 300,00 acres of land for public use. Made of majestic slick rock sandstone, this place will leave you gazing at the colorful swirls in awe. This million years archaic sedimentary rock palisade constitutes of consisting primarily of layers of sandstone, siltstone, limestone and shale. This gigantic cliff is an absolute must-go spot and one of the unique places to visit in Arizona.
Widely considered as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, The Grand Canyon provides a very peaceful and picturesque view. The Colorado River flowing through this scenic ravine will leave a lifelong impression on your mind. This globally renowned site is a must-visit to help you cleanse your mind from the daily tussle of life and sit back to relax. Vast stretches of desolate but enticing terrain make it an incredible place for photography enthusiasts. It is unquestionably the heart of the tourism Arizona has to offer thereby making it one of the cool places to visit in Arizona.
If a bunch of thrilling outdoor adventures is what you envisage when planning a trip, Sedona is the place for you. Driving by the Red Rock Scenic highway, admiring the beautiful and articulate architecture of the Chapel of the Holy Cross, hiking in Cathedral Rock or Devil Bridge, and exploring the Palatki Heritage site are activities that make Sedona well worth exploring. Sedona is also famed for its spiritual significance. People consider this place sacred and visit here to cleanse their minds and attain psychic enlightenment.
Did you really travel the state if you didn’t drop by its capital city? Teeming with many exquisite locales, Phoenix is the fastest growing city in the whole country. This sunny city is home to an exhaustive array of scenic red rock mountains, vibrant nightclubs, fine dining, lush spas and opulent golf courses. Additionally, sites like museums, botanical gardens, hiking trails and parks are also major tourist attractions. All these offer some of the fun things to do in Phoenix Arizona. Situated in the Valley of the Sun, the shots taken here are an ode to angelic sunshine year-round. Akin to Los Angeles, it has broad thoroughfares and is a county town. Though considered a better travel spot for winter trips due to its infamous heat, dropping by lakes, cooling down in breweries, luxuriating in spas, and exploring other air-conditioned make summer travels here still worth it. If you are searching for some of the hidden places to visit in Phoenix Arizona then you will find many of those.
For all of you science nerds out there, Arizona having the first geologic scar confirmed to be created by a collision from outer space is an undoubted highlight. This breathtaking naturally formed dent is approximately a mile long and 170 meters deep. Dropping by it will most certainly give you an insight into nature’s phenomenal ways. Albeit the crater is privately owned by the Barringer family through their Barringer Crater Company, it allows visitors to enter after charging a fee. It also features the American Astronaut Wall of fame and displays artifacts like Apollo Boilerplate Command Module, a 638 kg meteorite found in the area, and meteorite prototypes that can be touched.
Monument Valley, a 30,000 acres stretch of Navajo Tribal Park was established in 1958 and located on the Arizona-Utah border. With year-round accessibility, this place has formed a tourist fanbase very recently. Characterized by giant red rock formations, this verdant piece of beauty is perfect for capturing a glimpse of spectacular landscapes. This place is also very recognizable due to its frequent representation in the media. It is most famous for its use in many John Form films like Stagecoach and The Searchers. It has also been featured in such films as Easy Rider, Forrest Grump, and two episodes of the popular British show Doctor Who. This makes it doubly inviting for movie geeks.
Thanks to its spectacular, Antelope Canyon is one of the most photogenic and one of the top 10 places to visit in Arizona. Located in Navajo land east of Page, this canyon is separated into two different panoramic sections- Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. Also known as The Crack and The Corkscrew respectively.
If you’re looking for a good hike, Lower Antelope Canyon is sure to impress you. But the Canyon is also inclusive of couch potatoes who would rather just see the view than do a good session of climbing. The upper part of the Canyon’s entrance and entire length are at ground level, requiring no climbing. Subsequently, this part of the Canyon is a little crowded. But its striking beauty makes up for it. Some of its scenic rock formations include ‘The Candle’, ‘Lion’s Head’, and ‘The Lady in the Wind’.
Although considered a part of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Scottsdale is technically a separate city. Separate city or not, Scottsdale most definitely deserves to be mentioned separately in this listicle. Owing to the plethora of hip bars, posh lounges and other exciting marvels it provides, it is known as “The West’s Most Western Town.” Taliesin West, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, Old Town Scottsdale, Pinnacle Peak Park, and Western Spirit museum in Scottsdale are locales your excursion would be incomplete without.
Does a trip full of outdoor adventures, rejuvenating vistas, and upscale dining excite you? Well, if it does, Tucson is where you should head to. Being the second-largest city in Arizona, it has immeasurable outdoor recreation. The Saguaro National Park here is the most famous among travelers. Icon of the American West, this national park boasts the rare enormous cacti found here. It safeguards these beautiful succulents from extinction. Activities accessible here include enthralling wilderness hikes, backcountry camping and mountain biking among many more. Some other highlights of Tucson include the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Reid Park Zoo, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, Pima Air and Space Museum, and Tucson Museum of Art. Due to the variety of enthralling activities offered here, this city appeals to diverse tourist groups.
Just as you enter this city, you get a whiff of breathtaking ponderosa pines. Dotted with scenic scapes of desert, mountains and forests, this city is home to Arizona’s tallest alp- The Humphreys Peak. With peaceful countryside views, broad avenues giving GTA 5 feels, and relaxing downtown dine in the suburbs, Flagstaff is all things in one. Should you be visiting Arizona, dropping by this city is an absolute must. Whether you are looking for top tourist attractions of Arizona or fun things to do in Arizona with kids, you will discover all of those at Flagstaff.
Situated in the South-West of Arizona, this under-appreciated city is perfect for escaping bitter winters. Exploring the intriguing history it is home to and the cultural significance sites like Fort Yuma, Yuma Crossing and Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park will surely stimulate your interest in history. The variety, quality and quantity of vegetables that grow here on a daily will leave you wanting to permanently settle here.
And a bonus for all the Star Wars fans here, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was shot in the beautiful sand dunes of Yuma. Moreover, some of the shots for The Shawshank Redemption had also been taken in the suburbs of Yuma.
Looking to enjoy a fun and chill day on a trip to Arizona? Glendale is what you’re looking for. Plan a day exploring the Brand Park, couple that with a fun way tour of The Doctor’s house to appreciate this place’s fascinating past and a drop by the Cerreta’s Candy, a candy factory well known in the valley. An excursion to this city will leave your mind refreshed and recharged. No wonder, it is listed amongst one of the best tourist attractions in Arizona all around the year.
A small town in central Arizona, Jerome is famous for its copper mines. Built into the side of Cleopatra Hills, it overwhelms with the most ethereal viewpoints every traveler should experience. Going downtown, you will see pretty art galleries and wineries magnifying the serenity of this town. The Gold King Mine Museum and the Jerome State Historic Park are testaments of the city’s glorious history. Climb up the rooftop of Jerome Grand Hotel to get a glimpse of some mesmerizing views.
Canyon de Chelly
Declared a national monument in 1931, this bewitching canyon has a lot of stories to tell. Inhabited by the Pueblo civilization, followed by Hopi, then ultimately by the Navajos, it is home to many pre-historic sites. These massive cliffs also have paintings holding works of numerous skilled artists for travelers to admire. It consists of two scenic drives, namely, the North Rim Drive elaborating more towards the history of the place and the South Rim Drive inclining more towards the magnificent scenery of the canyon. The White House ruins is the largest site in the canyon, amassing wall engravings carved beautifully by pueblo artists. The Mummy Cave Overlook and The Spider Rock Overlook are other visit-worthy spots here.
Initially well known as a mining town, this quirky city of Arizona has abundant splendor to offer. Known to have the best year-round climate around the world, Bisbee has an unappreciated peaceful environment due to its sparse population. Historic sites like Lavender Pit and tours like Queen Mine Tour and Bisbee Council on the Arts will give you an insight into the town’s mining history. A walk down Eerie Street will give you an aesthetic glimpse of America in the 50s. Other sites like Muheim Heritage House, Sam Poe Gallery, Warren Ballpark and Old City Park make Bisbee an unmissable attraction.
At the foot of the Huachuca Mountains, lies the unfrequented city of Sierra Vista (Spanish for ‘mountain view’). Sites like Coronado National Memorial, Brown Canyon Ranch, Patterson Observatory, Carr Canyon, San Pedro House and Ramsay Canyon reserves make it a captivating experience for those traveling here. Nicknamed the ‘Hummingbird Capital of the United States, it is also famous among bird-watchers of the world. The city maintains 17 different parks with Veterans Memorial Park being the largest among them, stretching around 40 acres. This diversity of flora and fauna makes it a destination worth traversing.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus is a U.S. national monument and International biosphere reserve located on the U.S.-Mexico border. This wilderness area is prominent as it is the only place in the United States where the senita and organ pipe cactus grow wild. Camping, hiking and drive are prime activities offered here that will leave you thrilled. If you are looking for some of the best places to see in Arizona and unique things to do in Arizona such as photography then you must add this monument to your list.
Renowned for museums, art centers and scientific exhibits, Mesa is located to the east of Phoenix. Taking a stroll in farms, hip shopping, entertaining yourself with some native American shows and other numerous action-packed recreation is what this city offers. Golf is the most played sport here and Mesa has innumerable championship golf courses. Country Club, the original course in town, was founded in the late 1940s by the original leaders of the town. Papago Park, Arizona museum for national history, Usery Mountain Regional Park, Schnepf Farms, and Casino Arizona are some notable spots in this city.
What’s next waiting for you?
If you’re looking for traveling to a fun, frolic, and the most famous locales in the U.S. Whether you are looking for top 10 places to visit in Arizona or cool things to do in Arizona, the above travel guide covers everything. Arizona is a gateway to the most spectacular regions of the world. The numerous top places listed and described will give you an insight into the popular tourist spots and will be of great help in deciding which ones to choose. Now you know what to do in Arizona, check out our other travel guides to know best places to visit near Arizona.
About Author: Shambhavi loves reading about new things and has a penchant for learning. When not writing, you can find her immersed in an amusing combination of documentaries and stand-up comedies. She adores both traveling and dogs, and her bucket list catalogs taking her labradors on a world tour right at the top.