The Hot Sheet | The blog about what to do and where to go in Phoenix, AZ The blog about what to do and where to go in Phoenix, AZ


Unexpected Phoenix Attractions

Tovrea Castle

Tovrea Castle Photo courtesy of PBS Eight

Who knew you could find water sports, bats, a castle, a Japanese garden and more in the greater Phoenix area? Check out these unexpected attractions that just may surprise you.

Tovrea Castle

Perched atop a cactus-covered hill in east-central Phoenix, Tovrea (pronounced TOE-vree) Castle at Carraro Heights has intrigued generations of Valley residents. The castle and surrounding cactus garden have recently been restored and are currently open for tours.

Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area and Rio Salado Audubon Center

The Rio Salado Audubon Center is a nature center in the heart of the City of Phoenix’s Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, a 600-acre park along the Salt River. Located less than two miles from downtown Phoenix, this unexpected Phoenix attraction is a gateway to a lush riparian habitat used by more than 200 species of birds. Other wildlife you might spot on a visit to the restoration area includes beavers, muskrats, coyotes, jackrabbits, cottontails and javelinas.

Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden

The Japanese Friendship Garden—Ro Ho En—features more than 1,500 tons of handpicked rock, more than 50 varieties of plants, flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall and a Koi pond. The garden is the product and shared cultural vision of the Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji, Japan. This unexpected Phoenix attraction is a great way to spend a sunny day.

Phoenix Bat Cave

Did you know Phoenix has a great urban bat-watching spot? Each summer several thousand Mexican free-tailed bats and western pipistrelle bats use the Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel near 40th Street and Camelback Road as a day roost.

Papago Park

Papago Park

Hole-in-the-Rock at Papago Park

Enjoy the beautiful sandstone buttes that define Papago Park and climb to the park’s most popular spot, Hole-in-the-Rock, to enjoy sweeping views of Phoenix.

Watersports on Lake Pleasant

Located about 45 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is always bustling with water sports and outdoor enthusiasts. The 10,000-acre lake is enjoyed by windsurfers, boaters, sailors, jet skiers and fisherman.

The Hall of Flame

The Hall of Flame Fire Museum has almost an acre of fire history exhibits with more than 90 fully restored pieces of fire apparatus on display dating from 1725 to 1969. The Hall of Flame sponsors the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, which honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty or have been decorated for heroism.


Get your auto kicks in Phoenix

Barrett Jackson

Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

With the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction zooming into town auction fever has caught on in Phoenix. We've rounded up the car auctions and the auto themed attractions where you can get your auto kicks in Phoenix.

Auctions and Events

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

The Barrett-Jackson car auctions have been selling collector cars in Scottsdale since the 1970s. The auction fun kicks off Jan. 12 and ends Jan. 19.

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“Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” Exhibit at MIM Phoenix


On Saturday, October 19, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix opens “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power,” created by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The exhibition features stage outfits, original handwritten lyrics, instruments, concert posters and videos from artists including Billie Holiday, Maybelle Carter, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and more.

The MIM will celebrate the opening of the exhibition with a variety of activities for the entire family on Saturday, October 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests can learn to play a chord on an electric guitar, receive a “rock star” makeover and learn about the female musicians featured in the exhibit. MIM Music Theater will also host performances by Phoenix female musicians, including Pick and Holler, French Girls and Catfish Mustache. All activities are included with paid museum admission.

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Video: Museums and Culture in Phoenix

Phoenix isn't just known for its golf courses, colorful sunsets and desert landscapes. It's also a hub of culture with a diverse mix of museums and cultural attractions.

This minute-long visual tour gives you a glimpse of the one-of-a-kind Musical Instrument Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, the internationally-acclaimed Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, and the tranquil Desert Botanical Garden.

If the video does not appear in your browser, please click here to enjoy the video at YouTube.

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Video: Visual Tour of Phoenix

This one-minute visual tour of Phoenix whisks you away to stunning resorts and their sparkling pools (The Phoenician, Arizona Biltmore, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa) and restaurants with views as memorable as the food (El Chorro). See where you can experience the beauty of the Sonoran Desert by road (Desert Dog Hummer Adventures) or by trail (South Mountain Park and Preserve).

Catch a glimpse of a desert golf course (The Phoenician Golf Club, Wildfire Golf Club) and get a sneak peek at some Cactus League Spring Training action. You'll also get a taste of Phoenix's Wild West roots (Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse), its modern urban amenties (Kierland Commons, US Airways Center, CityScape, Zinc Bistro) and cultural centers (Taliesin West). Enjoy the trip!

If the video does not appear in your browser, please click here to enjoy the video at YouTube.

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The Art of Video Games at Phoenix Art Museum

Art of Video Games, Phoenix ARt Museum

If you ever stocked up on quarters to feed the Pac-Man machine at the arcade or have spent hours creating elaborate characters in games like World of Warcraft then the Phoenix Art Museum’s latest exhibit, "The Art of Video Games," is for you. Not your traditional art exhibit, "The Art of Video Games" features twenty gaming systems like Atari and Xbox. You’ll also find eighty featured games that demonstrate the evolution of video games over time along with the opportunity to play Pac-Man, the original Super Mario Brothers and to watch video interviews with developers and artists.

art of video games exhibit phoenix art museum

"The Art of Video Games" was originally curated for the Smithsonian American Art Museum and will be at the Phoenix Art Museum from June 16 – September 29, 2013. Tickets for "The Art of Video Games" are included with General Admission to the museum and are available at a special discounted rate during the Museum’s Free Wednesdays 3-9 p.m. and First Fridays, 6-10 p.m.

Art of Video Games, Phoenix Art Museum

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