Things to do in Arizona
Peering over the edge of the Grand Canyon and lolling by a pool in Phoenix may be the most common things to do in Arizona, but there are plenty other great (and downright unconventional) experiences to be had in the Grand Canyon State. Explore win country in the Verde Valley, about a half hour drive from Sedona. It gets good buzz for its wines, such as those at Arizona Stronghold Vineyards. Tombstone in southeastern Arizona is most famous for being the legendary site of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral—and exploring the Wild West history here is one of the most common things to do in Arizona. Don’t leave without getting a whiff of the world's biggest rose tree.
Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Airport Mesa and Boynton Canyon are the red-rock locations in Sedona that are said, by new-age enthusiasts, to contain the most energy. You can walk to them yourself, but you can also take guided tours for a more educated look (or feel) for the phenomena. A fun (and streamlined) way to do the Grand Canyon is by making it a day trip on the Grand Canyon Railway, a scenic train ride from Williams, where you can bundle in a hotel stay. The weeks before Christmas offers a mini low season in Arizona, which offers a nice chance to avoid winter elsewhere do some holiday shopping and see some great lights.
Originally opened in 1877 along the town’s Whiskey Row, this saloon once served as a hub for men looking for work, an election meeting point, and mineral transactions.
The two-and-a-half-hour Canyons Adventure Cruise of the Lake and its surroundings departs from Wahweap Marina. Tours depart three times daily from April through October and cost $65 for adults and $42 for children.
Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals near several departure points, including Antelope Point, Wahweap Marina, and more.
Instead of a poolside lounge or round of golf, visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s former studio and retreat (now home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation). Daily guided tours are kept small and last from one to three hours.
Pick up a fishing permit (or an ice fishing permit, in the winter) at a reasonable $6 per day. The one-stop shop also carries bait.
On the Arizona side of the border town of Nogales (locals cross over seamlessly on an almost daily basis), this boot maker has been around since the 1950’s and sells handcrafted pairs from $500.
Go beyond the touristy town center to the northern boundary of town to see the burial site of many of Tombstone’s most infamous outlaws: the Clanton’s, McLaury’s, and more.
Day trips to Rainbow Bridge National Monument and other sites can be arranged through Aramark, which operates the Lake Powell’s five marinas.
One of the town’s best galleries also has a sculpture garden.
Three-day rafting trips along the Colorado River, from $725 per person.
This is one of the prime spots in Arizona to witness the Desert in Bloom—a spectacular, acres-encompassing display of blossoming Indian paintbrush and Mexican poppy—especially in March and early April. Daily guided tours last 90 minutes and are included with admission.
The focus of the local arts scene is First Friday, an art walk that took off in 2003 and continues to flourish; it draws thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to downtown Phoenix on the first Friday of the month from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and artworks from native peoples of the Colorado Plateau. Don’t miss the fascinating skeleton of the Dilophosaurus—a carnivorous dinosaur once native to the area.
Experts and beginners can arrange a canoe or kayak excursion up the Colorado River. Travel solo or with expert guides.
Originally founded as the Arizona Territorial Fair in November 1884, this three-week event now takes place in mid-October at the Arizona State Fairground off West McDowell Road.