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Top 10 Things to Experience in Phoenix

Phoenix is in a world of its own, and it can only be described as a suburbia turned city. You’ll find a weird mixture of high rises, warehouses, bungalow homes, nature, and diverse people in this mid-century born city.

We love the quirky vibe of downtown Phoenix, and we think you’ll love it, too. While you’re visiting the Valley of the Sun, be sure to experience a few of our favorite spots:.

1. Piestewa Peak

Located in northern Phoenix, Piestewa Peak is the second highest point in the Phoenix Mountains. This out-and-back trail is considered difficult, runs 2.2 miles and gains 1,151 feet in elevation. The views at the top are unspoiled, and they're remarkable to experience around sunrise or sunset. This trail is not recommended during the hottest part of the day. Be sure to bring more than water than you think you’ll need, strong sunscreen, and a hat or sunglasses to protect your face.

2. $5 Pitchers Before 5pm

Happy hour is a staple in the valley, and you can find one of the best deals at three hip restaurants off Central and Camelback. Whether you visit Joy Ride, Postino Central or Windsor, you can bet on $5 pitchers of beer before 5:00pm every single day. Plus, the beer selection is always on point offering a variety of lagers, ales, hefeweizens, and IPAs. Bonus tip: Joy Ride also provides one serving of free chips and salsa with your cheap pitcher!

3. Valley Bar

This relaxed lounge offers a unique, artsy setting and features live music on occasion. Located in an alley and advertised only by a small neon sign, Valley Bar is a multi-dimensional venue that offers great beer, chill vibes and local bands. Happy hour is Monday-Friday 4pm-7pm and Sunday 6pm - 2am.

4. Lux Central

This coffee shop feels more like your grandmother’s home—featuring coffee drinks, cocktails, and food that feels homemade, too. Lux Central is a popular spot for creatives, entrepreneurs, and students to mash together for gourmet coffee and delicious eats. The pastries and breakfast items are always phenomenal, and you get to see your meal cooked to order in the exposed kitchen next to the coffee bar.

5. Phoenix Art Museum

Experience world-renowned art and immersive installations at the Phoenix Art Museum. You can visit complimentary (or pay whatever you think is fair) on Free Admission Wednesdays from 3pm - 9pm.

6. Encanto Park

You can step back into the 1930s by taking a stroll in one of Phoenix’s historical city parks. Encanto Park is filled with lagoons, ducks, swans, picnic areas and plenty of shade from beautiful trees. Prepare to be surprised by all of the lush greenery in the heart of the desert.

7. The Yard

Now a staple of the Valley, this location of The Yard offers great food and cocktails from the Culinary Dropout, plenty of room to mingle and dance and a wide selection of ping pong tables and corn hole setups. Plus, you can dine cheaply with their brown bag beers at only $1.99 a pop—every beer is a basic domestic, and the selection is a surprise! Be sure to try their famous Soft Pretzels & Provolone Fondue and Pork Belly Nachos. Happy hour is Monday through Friday at 3pm - 6pm.

8. Camelback Mountain

This hiking trail brings you to the highest point in the Phoenix Mountains. Camelback Mountain offers two highly-trafficked trails, which are rated from difficult to extremely difficult. Cholla and Echo trail both bring you to a 2,860 foot summit and offer expansive views of Scottsdale. On average, these trail can take up to three hours to complete, so it's important to bring plenty of water, a healthy snack and strong sunblock. For the best experience, arrive early in the morning (preferably before 9AM).

9. Pizzeria Bianco

Voted as one of the best pizzas in the country, Pizzeria Bianco offers fire grilled pizzas served in a historic area of Phoenix. A small, intimate setting makes this a great place to enjoy date night or dinner with a few friends. Be prepared to wait up to an hour for a table—and visit the fun house bar next door while you patiently anticipate an amazing pizza!

10. First Friday

Experience the true essence of downtown Phoenix along with thousands of other residents and visitors at the First Fridays Art Walk. Tour art galleries, shop local vendors and vibe with the locals from 6PM - 10PM every first friday of the month. Parking is limited, so consider arriving early, taking an Uber or trying the light rail to avoid tough-to-find parking.

Keep it Weird in Phoenix

If there is one thing you’ll remember about Phoenix, it’s that this place is like no other city. Of course, you can enjoy the cliche amenities—like a craft beer scene, local music, or farm-to-table food—but it also offers so much more. Come experience the culture of Phoenix, and you’ll understand why so many people want to ditch their roots and call it home.

Here are a few more places worth mentioning (but didn’t fit into our top ten): The Stand, Crescent Ballroom, Indian Steele Park, Civic Space Park, Gadzooks, The Vig, The Duce, HobNob’s Food & Spirits and Matt’s Big Breakfast.