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The finish line of the Rock N Roll with hundreds of people crossing at once

10 Things To Do in Phoenix, Arizona

By Tina Garstad, 01/12/15, 3:45PM EST


Tina Garstad shares her favorite things about the city.

If you’re as pumped as I am to be heading to Phoenix, Arizona, this article is right up your alley! I’m so excited for a lot of different reasons — first, for the warmer weather. I am training in sub-zero temps — it’s a tad chilly up here in Calgary, Alberta. So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you my top 10 things to do in Phoenix. I’m looking forward to visiting a new city!

runner laying on a lawnchair in winter

Poke around Papago Park

There is a ton to do here. And by “a ton,” I mean there are 1,200 acres of park in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe! I hear Hole in the Rock is cool — and who isn’t up for some funky sandstone rock formations? I am totally checking out some of the paths and trails in the Desert Botanical Gardens, a world-renowned hot spot. This is completely new topography for me (we don’t really have deserts in Canada), and it’s going to be awesome! Expect some selfies with the cacti.

Check out the Japanese Friendship Garden

There is no better place to get your zen on before a race than a Japanese Garden. I happen to be a big fan of these, and I have visited several in other cities. I am going to soak up some sun and de-stress with some tea by the koi pond. I think it’s cool that Phoenix has a symbol of friendship with its sister city Himeji in Japan.

Visit the Heard Museum

I hear this is THE place to learn about American Indian Arts in Phoenix. Established in 1929, the museum has a diverse collection of exhibitions and traveling events. It has over 32,000 pieces of cultural and fine art. I always like to pick a museum in the city I am visiting — this one is definitely on my list to hang out for a few hours. What a great way to know the history of an area!

Take a hike

After the half marathon, I can shake out my legs by climbing Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain. What better place to check out a sunrise or sunset in the city!

Tour Taliesin West

I asked a few of my tweeps (Twitter-peeps!) and heard back that no trip to Phoenix would be complete without visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, Taliesin West. It must be something since he started building in 1937 and didn’t finish until 1959. As this tour comes highly recommended, I am glad I am not the only one who likes snooping around a famous home!

Check out Art Walk

Scottsdale is known for having a pretty fab Arts District, so I thought a night of snooping in shops and exploring a local district sounded perfect. Every Thursday evening, the shops are open late along Main Street from Scottsdale Road west to Goldwater Blvd. Going on free trolley and horse-drawn carriage rides, checking out art and finding some local eats sounds like a great way to spend an evening.

Watch ice hockey

Oh yes! In case the Art Walk doesn’t appeal, there is always the good ol’ hockey game! Yes, I know I came for some sun and warmth, but maybe a little time on the ice would be totally awesome.

Have a drink

After a run, I like to reward myself with a wee cocktail. There are lots of appealing places. Like the Last Drop Bar in the Hermosa Inn. Or Hula’s Modern Tiki in Phoenix or Scottsdale. Um, helloooo. Volcano bowl anyone?? Or perhaps a martini at Bitter & Twisted. Seriously. A 22-page cocktail menu??

Visit the Health & Fitness Expo

This is a given — but with so many awesome vendors and all the FAB items to buy, this has to make the list. It’s the place to be to pick up the cool swag, meet other runners and do some shopping!

Run your race

The list would not be complete without highlighting Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona. I am running the 5K and half marathon to complete the Remix Challenge (two days of running that earns you extra bling)! I cannot wait to soak up the rockin’ atmosphere and see some city sights — while getting my run in at the same time — in Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale.

There is so much to see and do. I am very excited to explore! See you there!

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