Traveling to Phoenix, AZ: More than Golf, Resorts and No Culture

Many of us don’t fancy seeing main attractions anymore, at least not primarily, but actually want to experience a city to the fullest by seeing it from another angle - the local perspective. 

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Therefore, we want to see unique things and leave the main street to get a feel for what it’s like off the beaten path. The same applies to Arizona’s capital Phoenix. But do you know how to get the most out of it? This little guide - a mix of local and mainstream tips - might be a first step.

Get Your Dose of Caffeine at Favorite Local Spots

The coffee culture in Phoenix is one of the more vibrant and unique ones. If you’re a lover of coffee, you have chosen the right destination. Why not enjoy your dose of caffeine at joints locals recommend? Cartel serves their coffee all over town - high quality coffee in a cozy surrounding. If you prefer extraordinary coffee variations, 32 Shea and Cooper Star are for you. Nutella or Coconut Mocha, anyone? Last but not least, you shouldn’t miss Shine Coffee. It’s a real local hot spot.

Immerse Yourself in Phoenix’s Culture

I didn’t think Phoenix had many cultural things to offer but I was wrong. Favorite spots are Tovrea Castle as well as Mountain Castle. If you’re into art and museums in general consider a visit at Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum or House of Alternative Art. Furthermore, you can learn about Western American History at Scottsdale Historical Museum. For a breath-taking view on the city, go up Camelback Mountain. The list of activities is long.

See What’s Awaiting You Off the City’s Streets

If you feel like escaping the city for a while, you have some options. Head to Tonto National Monument and dive into Native American History. If you’re into nature, go to Piestewa Peak and Phoenix Mountain Preserve for a round of hiking or a picnic. Also, when hitting the Maricopa Trail, you can move right on to one of the nine parks it connects. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy themselves. For a great view on many wild species, follow the Lower Salt River – fauna at its finest.

Dine and Wine in an Authentic Atmosphere

In Phoenix, you will have difficulties choosing a place to eat; there are just so many. After a rather long night, the best thing you can do is have a hearty breakfast. Snooze, an AM Eatery is your hangover cure. You’ll get whatever your heart desires. Do you have a thing for cheese? My tip is the Arizona Cheese Company, naturally. If you have a sweet tooth, dessert is a must and one of the best ones is served at Le Napolean.

The valley of the sun holds more than you might have thought. It’s not just golf courses and huge luxury resorts. Get to know another Phoenix and experience what it has to offer – activities, food and drink. Isn’t this what makes a trip there worthwhile?

Have you been to Arizona, specifically Phoenix, before? If so, share your tips and opinions with me / us. Would you go (again)?

*This piece was written in collaboration with Hipmunk.com in the course of the Hipmunk City Love Project to bring you the best insights into U.S. and UK cities.