By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern
If you’ve only got half-a-day to visit Arizona, you’re going to have to really pick and choose what you want to do. First, determine what kind of person you are: A foodie, and adventurer, a kid at heart, or a shopper. What you like will play a huge part in how you spend your time in the Phoenix area. To help you, I’ve made a list of some of the most popular and fun things to do in Phoenix that won’t take up your whole day!
If you’re a foodie:
- Visit the many wine tasting rooms Scottsdale has to offer, and taste an array of Arizona-grown wines. Visit: The LDV Winery tasting room, the Carlson Creek Vineyard tasting room, the Aridus Wine Company tasting room, Salvatore Vineyards’ tasting room, and the Su Vino tasting room.
- Visit one of Downtown Phoenix’s numerous restaurants for all kinds of different flavors. Visit: Cibo, The Vig, Churn, Bitter & Twisted, Tammie Coe Cakes, Francis, Short Leash Hotdogs, Corduroy, Phoenix Public Market Café, Urban Beans, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Hula’s Modern Tiki, Green, Barrio Café, Matt’s Big Breakfast, Bliss ReBar, Phoenix City Grille, La Piazza Phoenix, Pizzeria Bianco, Switch, The Clever Koi, Hana Japanese Eatery, The Arrogant Butcher, The Parlor, Tuck Schop, Nami, Beckett’s Table, Crudo, Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles, Sierra Bonita Grill, Federal Pizza, Postino, Rollover Doughnuts, Binkley’s Restaurant, The Gladly, Okra, Compass Arizona Grill, Otro Café, Vovomeena, Southern Rail, Pizza People Pub, FEZ, Welcome Diner, Crescent Ballroom, Windsor, Joyride Taco House, or Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails.
- Tempe’s Mill Avenue is the local hang out for Arizona State University students, and for a good reason too! The Avenue and surrounding area are full of great bars and restaurants. There is bound to be something for you! Visit: Blasted Barley Beer Company, The Baked Bear, Zuma Grill, Mellow Mushroom, Earl of Sandwich, Fractured Prune Doughnuts, Romancing the Bean, Bacus Bros Hot Dogs, Culinary Dropout, El Hefe, The Handlebar Tempe, Moonshine Whiskey Bar & Grill, or Pitchforks and Corks.
- Scottsdale is another foodie hotspot in the Valley. If you’re looking to dine in Scottsdale, here are some restaurants to visit: Monarch, Virtu, Rehab Burger Therapy, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Butters Pancakes and Café, Olive & Ivy, Citizen Public House, Franco’s Italian Caffe, Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse, Roaring Fork, Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, or Bandera.
- Visit the Queen Creek Olive Mill. Take a tour of the grounds and book a private olive oil tasting for an experience unlike any other. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the on-site restaurant, too! The almost-famous Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek is just down the road.
If you’re an adventurer:
- Take a hike! There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced hiking trails all around Phoenix. Here is a list of the top 10 hiking spots in the Phoenix area.
- Walk the Desert Botanical Garden to see and learn about the flora and fauna of Arizona.
- Goldfield Ghost town is 45 minutes East of Phoenix. Tour the ghost town, have lunch, and take a horseback trail ride, all in just a few hours’ time.
- Take a hot air balloon ride over major cities in the Phoenix area.
- Take a trail ride through the Sonoran Desert.
- Fly high above some of Arizona’s lakes in a helicopter.
- Learn how to rock climb or repel during one of these half-day trips.
- Take an ATV/UTV tour through the Sonoran Desert.
If you’re a kid at heart:
- Visit the Phoenix Zoo and see all the beautiful animals they house.
- Walk through the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and play with all the hands-on exhibits.
- Head to Downtown Phoenix and visit the Arizona Science Center.
- Visit the Arizona Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa to learn about Arizona’s past, present, and future.
- OdySea Aquarium is only 30 minutes Northeast of Phoenix, so make a plan to go see all the neat sea creatures.
- Go back to childhood roots at the Legoland Discovery Center in Tempe.
- Ride a roller coaster or play some mini golf at Castles N’ Coasters.
- Learn about the Ancient Native Americans that inhabited the Valley, and visit a Hohokam Village at the Pueblo Grande Museum.
- Visit the Idea Museum in Mesa.
- Visit Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek.
If you’re a shopper:
- Shop alongside ASU students at Tempe Marketplace.
- Enjoy the weather as you walk store to store at the Shops at Norterra in Phoenix.
- Shop both levels of the Chandler Fashion Center, a mall complete with a full food court and plenty of restaurants across the street in case you get hungry.
- Head out to Desert Ridge Marketplace to shop in a beautiful outdoor setting.
- If you’re looking for high-end discounted retail, visit the Phoenix Premium Outlets located in Chandler.
- If you’re looking to stay in the Phoenix area, don’t forget about the shopping and dining available at the Biltmore Fashion Park.
- If you want an outdoor shopping experience with everything from jewelry and clothing to bikes and bath products, shop at SanTan Village in Gilbert (especially after visiting Queen Creek Olive Mill and Schnepf Farms since Queen Creek is adjacent to Gilbert).
- CityScape, in Downtown Phoenix, offers awesome dining, easy shopping, and lots of entertainment.
- Scottsdale Fashion Square has all the stores you are looking for plus more. Visit this mall for stores you know, as well as premium shops.
- Kierland Commons is located in Scottsdale, and offers many upscale shops, as well as fine dining.
- Arizona Mills Mall has been a staple in Tempe for some time, so don’t miss out on a visit.
If you’re still undecided, then you’re going to have to pick and choose carefully from each category what you’d like to do. Some activities take a full half day, while other activities can be mixed and matched to create a custom, fun half day. With all these options you are sure to have an amazing day! Personally, I’d mix and match.