Phoenix is a city with a small town feel that has a lot of western flavor. The western attractions in the area are here to please any fan of the best space-western ever.  One of our main sources of income is tourism.  People travel from all parts of the world to visit the Valley of the Sun in the winter. The city is known for its great cuisine, fantastic shopping, and diverse cultural events. The sunsets here are beautiful. It’s a great place to visit in the fall as the cold wind blows through the northern states.
As beautiful as Phoenix is, Arizona is easily one of the most diverse and beautiful states in the country if you know where to look. There are tons of great places to visit if you’re willing to stay an extra day or two, and most are a mere day trip away! Here are just a few places that we highly recommend.

Nature and History

Naturally our biggest (pun intended) attraction is the Grand Canyon. If you have the time, the Grand Canyon is the one place any visitor to Arizona must see.  It’s about a 4-hour drive from the hotel.     

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is more than just a zoo. It is a natural history museum, botanical gardens, aquarium, and of course a zoo. It houses the most complete Sonoran Desert experience you can have from our lush riparian area to the dry deserts, caves and canyons. Bring your walking shoes as the grounds include almost two miles of paths on 21 acres, but you won’t regret it! Like many other zoos and museums, it is not always possible to see everything in one visit.  It’s about a 2-hour drive from the hotel to Tucson. –     

The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeological Park is a National Historic Landmark.  It offers a unique opportunity to learn about and enjoy the prehistoric and historic cultures of the Valley of the Sun.  The area was donated to the City of Phoenix Parks in 1924, and a museum was opened on the site in 1929. The site features three galleries, and it has a theater with an award winning introductory video, and an outdoor interpretive trail.  The trail contains the prehistoric ruins of the platform mound and ball court of the Hohokam culture, replicated housing, canal systems, and interpretive agricultural garden. It is across the street from the hotel (Google maps says that it takes 16 seconds to 2 minutes depending on traffic).  –  

The Phoenix Zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals including 200 endangered species and participates in 37 Species Survival Plans (SSPs) to breed and maintain endangered species populations in captivity. It is 10 minutes from the hotel.  –

On the same trip, be sure to go a bit further up the road to the the Botanical Gardens. For more than 70 years, the Desert Botanical Garden has been teaching and inspiring visitors from the local community and around the world, providing research, exhibits and more designed to help us understand, protect and preserve the desert’s natural beauty. There are over 50,000 plants displayed in beautiful outdoor exhibits. It is 10 minutes from the hotel. –

Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, named Ro Ho En is an authentic 3 1/2 acre Japanese Stroll Garden with tea garden and tea house. This tranquil and beautiful setting features more than 1,500 tons of hand picked rock, stone footbridges, lanterns and more than 50 varieties of plants. As you stroll the path, you will enjoy flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall, and a Koi pond with over 300 colorful Koi fish. It is 11 minutes from the hotel. –

Since its founding by Dwight and Maie Heard in 1929, the Heard Museum has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, its educational programming and its festivals. Dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures, the Heard is an institution that successfully combines the stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art.  It is 13 minutes from the hotel.

Scott’s Papago Stable is a place to go to ride horses. It is situated on the north shore of the Tempe Town Lake at 600 E. Gilbert Drive (just south of 202 Freeway).  It is 10 minutes from the hotel. –

Tempe Town Lake Pedal Boat Rentals has an ASL (Adjustable Sun Lounger) pedal boat that provides flexibility on the water. The adjustable seats may also revert to a sun lounger for two. Added bi-mini top provides great shade. Propelled by human power, you control the speed. It is fun for all the family and affordable priced. Sunbathe or sight-see on the water in the easy to operate pedal boat at 72 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe.  It is 10 minutes from the hotel. –

AZ On the Rocks is a huge, fully air conditioned rock climbing facility that is focused on customer service. The facility offers approximately 14,000 square feet of climbing terrain, exercise and fitness equipment, and the best yoga studio in town. No experience is necessary. AZ On The Rocks rents all gear and provides basic instruction to all first-time visitors. It is about 30 minutes driving time from the hotel. –

Scottsdale Gun Club (Shooting Range) strives to bring you the most enjoyable shooting experience possible. They offer the community unsurpassed service, safety, and education. Through education and safety, they are strengthening the sport of shooting. They are open to the public. It is about 30 minutes driving time from the hotel. –

At Montezuma Castle you can gaze through the windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This ancient 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a story of ingenuity, survival, and ultimately, prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape. Come marvel at this enduring legacy of the Sinagua culture and reveal a people surprisingly similar to ourselves.  The drive is about an hour and 45 minutes from the hotel. –

Saguaro Lake is located within the Tonto National Forest. There is so much to do at Saguaro Lake! Visit Precision Marine and rent a runabout, fishing or pontoon boat, or take a relaxing Desert Belle tour boat ride around the lake, then eat at the yummy Lakeshore Restaurant. Saguaro Lake is great fun for everyone! It is an hour and 45 minutes from the hotel –

Sedona is often called “Red Rock Country.” It is a four seasons playground for everyone – whether you’re into history and archaeology; arts and culture; shopping; outdoor sports; or the spiritual and metaphysical, imagine doing all this in a backdrop of some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.  Photographers and painters come from all over the world to capture the extraordinary beauty in Sedona year-round. The fall season, in particular, provides an additional layer of exquisite color, with leaves that display a gorgeous array of orange, yellow, cocoa, and crimson to match the Sedona Red Rocks.  It is a little over 2 hours to drive there from the hotel –

Jerome is known as “America’s Most Vertical City” and the “Largest Ghost Town in America”.  It is located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff, and it is a historic copper mining town. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community. It is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from the hotel. –

The Grand Canyon Railway is probably the ultimate northern Arizona day trip. Get yourself up to Williams (about 2 and a half hours from the hotel) and catch an early morning train that’ll take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Arizona and get dropped off for a day at the Grand Canyon, and then when you’re done hop back on the train back to Williams and be back in time for a good night’s sleep.

Meteor Crater is the world’s best-preserved meteorite impact site. Meteor Crater is the breath-taking result of a collision between a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth approximately 50,000 years ago. It is a little over 3 hours from the hotel to the park in Northern Arizona near Winslow. –

Lake Pleasant is one of the most scenic water recreation areas in the “Valley of the Sun,” this northwest Valley park is a recreationist dream. The park offers many activities, such as camping, boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. It is a little over an hour from the hotel. –

The Biosphere 2 was designed as a fully self sustaining eco-system and is the largest fully enclosed greenhouse in the world, featuring life from nearly every biome on earth. Between 1991 and 1994, the Biosphere 2 sealed teams of scientists inside the glass enclosure as part of an elaborate study of how we can create a man-made ecosystem suitable for space, as well as to better understand our own planet. For various reasons, the original stated goals were not successful as the air balance could not be maintained. However, as the Mythbusters say, failure is always an option. The lessons learned from the science done at the facility have been invaluable for biological, climate, and even psychological research. Today, the Biosphere 2 is owned by the University of Arizona and serves as an elaborate research lab and educational facility. –  

Urban and Modern

The Arizona Challenger Space Center is an educational museum designed to teach kids and grown ups about space exploration. Just take a tour or participate in a Mission to Mars and find out what it’s like to be an astronaut.

The Arizona Science Center is the perfect place for geeky Browncoats that love playing with science.  It has over 300 interactive exhibits to explore. It has a great Planetarium and an IMAX Theater. It is 12 minutes from the hotel. –


The Rosson House has been restored, and it is located at Heritage Square. This 2,800 square feet beautiful 1895 Victorian style home features ten rooms.  You can view what life was like for the Rosson House residents, owners and tenants both, in early Phoenix during Arizona’s late territorial times all in its original location. It is 12 minutes from the hotel. –

Taliesin West is the location of the Frank Lloyd Wright Architectural Foundation. Frank Lloyd Wright began building this desert masterpiece in 1937 as his personal winter home, studio, and architectural campus. Located in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in northeast Scottsdale, the site offers a broad range of guided public tours. Visitors experience Wright’s brilliant ability to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces.  It is a 30-minute drive from the hotel. –

Arcosanti is an urban laboratory focused on innovative design, community, and environmental accountability. Their goal is to actively pursue lean alternatives to urban sprawl based on Paolo Soleri’s theory of compact city design, Arcology (architecture + ecology).  Built by over 7,000 volunteers, Arcosanti provides various mixed-use buildings and public spaces where people live, work, visit, and participate in educational and cultural programs.  It is about and hour and a half away from the hotel. –

Cosanti, located in Paradise Valley, AZ, is where world-renowned architectural innovator, Paolo Soleri established the Cosanti Foundation. Since 1956, Cosanti has been the headquarters for this nonprofit educational organization dedicated to architectural research. It is where Paolo Soleri also established his diverse line of bronze and ceramic Soleri Windbells that are famous around the world. Cosanti is the headquarters, foundry, studio, & gallery for Paolo Soleri Bronze & Ceramic Windbells & Sculptures. It is 25 minutes from the hotel. –

Papago Golf Course, owned by the City of Phoenix, AZ, was long considered the finest public golf course in the state. It was designed by well known and esteemed golf course architect William Francis (Billy) Bell.  He learned his craft from his father, William Park Bell. It opened in 1963 and quickly became popular with Phoenix area residents. It hosted the US Amateur Public Links Championship in 1971, and also has been home to Phoenix Open Qualifying. In 1977 Jack Snyder, Phoenix resident and golf course architect, provided some modest redesign to Papago Golf Course. In its prime, the course hosted more than 100,000 rounds annually. It had a major restoration in 2008. It is 7 minutes from the hotel. –

AZ Diamondbacks Chase Field is one of the most impressive and unique Major League Baseball facilities in the country. It is the home of the 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2011 MLB All-Star Game. Chase Field has several unique features including dbTV, one of the largest high definition video scoreboards in MLB, a retractable roof to keep fans cool during the summer months, the RamTrucks.TV Pool in right field, the Miller Lite Diamond Club, and several restaurants including Friday’s Front Row and the Arizona Baseball Club. You can take a memorable guided tour of Chase Field. It is 13 minutes from the hotel. –

The Arizona Military Museum is operated by the Arizona National Guard Historical Society, and it is a private non-profit corporation. It is a place to discover and memorialize the history of the Military of Arizona, the Arizona National Guard, and the general military history of Arizona. The museum building is a significant part of Arizona’s military history. The raw adobe building was constructed in 1936 as a Depression-era public works project. It served as a National Guard arsenal until World War II, when it was converted into a maintenance shop for German prisoners of war confined at a nearby POW camp. Call in advance because it is not always open.  It is 9 minutes from the hotel. –


Cabellas in the west Valley and the Bass Pro Shop in west Mesa are outdoor goods stores that are attractions in themselves. The huge stores feature everything you could imagine to buy to stock up on camping, hunting, fishing, and climbing gear, while exploring and learning about the local wildlife.

Cabellas –
Bass Pro Shop –

Tempe Marketplace has 1.3 million square feet of retail space, featuring dramatic light and laser elements, outdoor fireplaces and unique water features. It delivers an interactive shopping, dining and entertainment experience in a vibrant, high-energy outdoor setting. It is 12 minutes from the hotel. –

Scottsdale Fashion Square is the Southwest’s distinctive address for premier shopping, dining and entertainment. It is the largest shopping destination in the Southwest, offering a collection of more than 225 retailers including the only Neiman Marcus, the first Nordstrom, the newest Macy’s and the largest Dillard’s in the country. It boasts more than 40 stores exclusive to Arizona, such as Boss Hugo Boss, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, MaxMara, Sephora, St. John Boutique and Tiffany & Co. It also offers a host of entertainment and dining opportunities including five restaurants plus 18 specialty food selections. The center features a full-service concierge desk, roving concierge, tourism shopping packages, programs and information, valet parking, as well as taxi and limo services. It is 17 minutes from the hotel. –

The Arizona Mills Mall is the state’s largest indoor, climate controlled outlet, value and entertainment mall!  With over 185 stores to choose from including H & M, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Nike Factory Store and Disney Store Outlet. Arizona Mills offers shops – everything from Women’s Fashion to Jewelry to Shoes and more!  It also features unique entertainment and restaurant options like Sea Life Arizona, Rainforest Café, Harkins Theater, and the largest IMAX in the state of Arizona. It is 11 minutes from the hotel.  –

Nobuo at Teeter House – If you are visiting the Arizona Science Center or the Rosson House, you might consider stopping to eat at Nobuo at Teeter House for a meal.  It is a refined Asian-style teahouse by day, and a funky izakaya by night.  Nobuo at Teeter House reflects the fascinating duality of Nobuo Fukuda.  The setting is a turn-of-the-century, wood-floored bungalow, awash in earth tones, and it emulates the relaxed intimacy of Japan’s izakaya, where friends and business associates gather to eat Japanese snacks, drink beer and have fun. Nobuo elevates the custom while staying true to its low brow roots, offering rustic Japanese classics with modern American inflections. It is 12 minutes from the hotel. –

Also in Heritage Square downtown is Pizzaria Bianco, considered one of the best pizza places in the country. Yes, not Chicago, not New York… Even Oprah declared it her favorite. The top shelf ingredients and the carefully hand made pizzas (most by the owner himself) make for one of the finest pizza experiences you’ll ever have. Just plan to wait a very long time even if you have reservations, and it’s not going to be cheap; but can you really put a price tag on amazing pizza?  It is 12 minutes from the hotel. –

For an authentic Asian experience not far from the airport, check out the Chinese Cultural Center. The Szechuan Palace serves family style authentic szechuan cuisine in a truly Firefly atmosphere. Many of the Arizona Browncoats’ first shindigs were held at the Szechuan Palace.  It’s just north of the hotel about 2 minutes by car.
Szechuan Palace

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