In the northeast of the Sonoran Desert, in what is commonly referred to as “the Valley of the Sun” lies a metropolitan haven called Phoenix. Phoenix, the capital of the state of Arizona, and the 5th largest city in America boast of a thriving community, with a rich history of tourism. In fact, tourism is Phoenix’s signature activity. Rest assured the town has a lot in store for you.
More than 22 million tourists visit the city annually to escape the cold north, play golf, and to enjoy the excellent food. I guarantee your two-day stay in Phoenix will be memorable.
The best time to visit Phoenix:
As mentioned earlier, Phoenix is a hot town because it is located in a desert. And for many tourists, especially those coming from cold areas, the hot sun clicks in their minds when you start talking about Phoenix. In fact, the summers are very hot. You should avoid them when planning for your trip.
However, anywhere from September to May is okay. During this period you’ll also come across different events and festivals while in town.
Two days in Phoenix itinerary: first day
Visit the desert botanical garden
Time: 2 hours to half a day
A botanical garden in a desert? You wouldn’t expect to find such beauty in a place that rarely receives ample rainfall.
Phoenix’s botanical garden has thousands of species of cacti, flowers, and trees. The brightly colored garden contrasts the cinnamon-red buttes of the Sonoran Desert, and abundant hiking trails. The wildflower loop trails make you enjoy the scenery the way early settlers in the area did. Ask for special exhibits when available.
You should also visit when the sun sets to see how the botanical garden illuminates. The groomed walkways and the well-marked signs will make your movement memorable.
The Camelback Mountain
Time: 2 hours to half a day
If you’ve nod had enough of the botanical garden’s unique plants, head straight for the Camelback Mountain, which is up north through the botanic park. You can hike the mountain using two trails; one side offers you the spectacular view of the Phoenix Mountains and the city on the opposite side.
Again, this is a place you should visit at sunset, but since you have two days in Phoenix, I suggest you head there now, but rest assured that the experience is not for the faint-hearted.
Time: 2-4 hours
The phoenix zoo offers you great pleasure, especially if you’re visiting with children, who get bored easily. It houses different animals like Sumatran tigers, Komodo dragons, baboons, Asian elephants, and Galapagos tortoise. You can take the children to the giraffe center or the Red Barn petting zoo where they can experience a one on one interaction with the animals.
When they are exhausted, you can opt for a 25-minute safari train tour, which provides a better experience of the zoo at a few dollars.
For international tourists visiting America, make sure you meet the requirements as stipulated in the law. For instance, if coming from one of the countries under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), ensure that your ESTA is approved before traveling. An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) allows certain individuals to visit America without a visa, but you must have a valid E-passport.
You can apply and check ESTA status online. It’s that easy. If you’re coming from any other part of the world, makes sure you obtain a visa and your passport must be valid. Here’s what you need to know about passport validity for the USA.
Two days in Phoenix itinerary: second day
Visit the golf courses
Time: Half a day to full day
Despite being a desert, Phoenix is a premier golf location ranging from beginner to expert golf courses. However, if you don’t know the city very well finding an ideal gold location can be a daunting task.
But for an authentic golfing experience, follow in the footsteps of politicians and movie stars by visiting the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club. Built-in 1928, and commonly known as “the granddaddy” of the other country clubs, Arizona Biltmore has 18-hole PGA championship courses, a driving area, a pro shop, and a serviced restaurant.
Because of its unmatched reputation, you’ll have to reserve your tee time in advance. Furthermore, you should play in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the sweltering heat.
Have some special lunch
I bet all this experience will make you hungry. You can eat at Taco Guild, a unique eatery serving Mexican cuisine. Its uniqueness is due to its location in a small chapel from the late 19th Century. And it guarantees you a memorable atmosphere.
However, if you’re the type that embraces unconventional foods, you can drive across the Salt River to Rustler’s Roost where they serve some amazing rattlesnake cuisine.
They also offer an array of barbequed meat, so you can ignore the snake if it isn’t part of your menu.
Visit the Arizona Science Center
Get to learn about outer space and electricity by visiting the Arizona Science Center where you’ll also have a refuge from the hot weather. Other topics you’ll learn about are psychology, sound, and gravity.
There’s an I-MAX Theater in the building that offers a home-like educational entertainment environment.
Where to stay:
Royal Palms Resort and Spa offer an incredible experience of nature and five-star accommodation. Located on the foot of the Camelback Mountain, it’s close to the zoo and botanical garden. Its well-manicured grounds with citrus trees makes it a good place to stay.
The Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix Cityscape is located in the center of the city and offers access to a business center, fitness gym and an outdoor pool which comes in handy when the sun is blazing hot.
If you’re visiting using your personal car, try the Drury Inn 7 Suites Phoenix Happy Valley as it offers value for money. It serves free breakfast, while snacks and beverages await you at sunset.
The list of the things to do in Phoenix is endless; from the Pueblo Grande Museum, the children’s Museum of Phoenix, to the spas, the Chase Field, the Heard Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum. But the 100-degree weather shouldn’t deter you from visiting Phoenix.
As a matter of fact, use it as an excuse to escape the hustle and flurries of the week, visit for two days and have a memorable experience.