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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Let’s face it, sometimes the time gets away from us and before you know it, it’s ten o’clock and all of your favorite restaurants are closed. So where does one go to get a late night meal in Phoenix? Here’s a list of places where you can dine late into the night.
Open until 1:30 a.m. seven nights a week, Hanny’s serves food like appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches and dessert until 1 a.m.
Copper Blues may be known for its more than 60 taps and live music, but they also serve a tasty bites late-night menu midnight to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Enjoy Irish fare like Shepherd’s Pie, corned beef and cabbage or one of their salads or sandwiches until midnight. Stay and enjoy a Guinness to wash it all down until 2 a.m. seven days a week.
Another downtown Phoenix Irish pub, Turf serves their regular menu until 10 p.m. and appetizers until 12 a.m., Sunday – Thursday, then Friday and Saturday you can enjoy the regular menu until 11 p.m. and appetizers until 1 a.m. The bar serves drinks until 2 a.m daily.
Christmas festivities are already kicking off and wine and pie are on the menu in our top things to do in Phoenix this weekend:
Arizona Wine Growers Association Festival at the Farm: November 15-16
The beautiful Farm at South Mountain is the setting for this festival featuring 30 of Arizona's top wine producers and grape growers showcasing their goods. Guests will get to meet with the wine producers, sample their vino, and learn about the state's wine production through interactive seminars.
Christmas Tree Lighting at the Outlets at Anthem: November 15-17
Do you know where you can see the country's tallest fresh-cut Christmas tree? It's right here in Phoenix! In addition to the the lighting of the tree on Saturday evening, family-friendly holiday celebrations will take place all weekend with live music, giveaways and more.
The weather will be too perfect to stay indoors this weekend! Perusing outdoor markets or strolling through the sculptures on display at the Desert Botanical Garden are just a few of our top things to do in Phoenix this weekend.
Chihuly In The Garden (Opens November 10)
The spectacular glass sculptures of renowned artist Dale Chihuly return to the Desert Botanical Garden this Sunday. Advanced reservations are recommended for this very popular exhibit.
Advocare 500 NASCAR Weekend (November 8-10)
There's a whole weekend of high-speed thrills at Phoenix International Raceway before Sunday's main event, the Advocare 500. The Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series kicks things off on Friday night and Saturday's Service Master 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race hits the track Saturday evening.
Although fall temps have officially arrived in Phoenix, locals are often alerted to the start of the season by the appearance of pumpkin flavored food and drinks. Now that we’re well into October, there are plenty of places in Phoenix to get your pumpkin fix.
(Please keep in mind many of these items are seasonal and may or may not be available when you visit. It’s best to call and check first.)
Take a minute and enjoy this tour through downtown, Phoenix's urban heart. It's where you go to dine beneath the skyline, see live music at a club or concert hall, shop for fashion or gifts at an independent retailer, watch pro sports teams, or take in the arts at a museum. All of this (and more) is within walking distance of downtown hotels and light-rail stations.
Featured in this video are Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, Vintage by Misty, Phoenix Art Museum, Nobuo at Teeter House, Crescent Ballroom and CityScape Phoenix.