Greater Phoenix basks in near-perpetual sunshine, and jaw-dropping sunsets paint the desert sky on a nightly basis. Our weather might tempt you to spend all your free time lounging next to a swimming pool. But don’t give in. Exploring the Sonoran Desert’s horizons will broaden yours.

From serene desert gardens and one-of-a-kind museums to award-winning dining and indulgent spas, make sure these uniquely Phoenix spots are on the itinerary for your next visit. 

Luxurious Stays

Nestled in the high Sonoran desert, CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa is a unique wellness destination. A stay here connects wellbeing with green living. Explore the tranquil desert surroundings on a morning hike, choose from more than a dozen complimentary movement and fitness classes, experience the ancient tradition of healing, cleansing and rejuvenation at The Spa, enjoy guilt-free cuisine at renowned chef Justin Macy’s veggie-forward restaurant, Terras, and soak up the sun at one of the property’s pools.

Pool at sunset at Civana Resort Carefree.

The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort in Scottsdale, is home to a diverse collection of offerings that honor both the guest and the destination. Design elements inspired by the Hohokam and Pima tribes give way to Greater Phoenix’s most recognizable natural landmark: Camelback Mountain. Choose from an array of dining options, but don’t miss out of the sweeping views from the Thirsty Camel Lounge, which was named among the best hotel bars in the world by Forbes Travel Guide for 2019, or The Phoenician Spa, known for desert serenity body treatments that include healing desert clay wraps and massage cream containing prickly pear extracts.

The Phoenician.
Camelback Mountain.

Local Flavor

Pay a visit to Arizona’s only remaining authentic hacienda, The Hermosa Inn, for a taste of history, spectacular desert ambiance and an unmatched dining experience. Once the home of cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee, this hand-crafted residence of the 1930s offers unmistakable charm and style influenced by Mexican and Spanish architecture. Today, the boutique hideaway’s restaurant, LON’s at the Hermosa, is known for its globally inspired Arizona cuisine, starring the region’s freshest ingredients. Our advice: reserve a table by one of the outdoor adobe fireplaces, opt for the Chef’s Tasting Menu (updates weekly), sip a perfect wine pairing and savor this one-of-a-kind desert oasis.

LON’s Patio at The Hermosa Inn.

Refined Asian-style teahouse by day, funky izakaya by night, Nobuo at Teeter House reflects the fascinating duality of James Beard Award-winner Nobuo Fukuda. Set in a turn-of-the-century, wood-floored bungalow in downtown Phoenix’s historic Heritage Square, Nobuo offers rustic Japanese classics with modern American inflections. During the day, a short lunch menu is offered, as are exotic, aromatic teas, meant to be sipped and savored over quiet conversation. In the evening, Nobuo creates “five-star” cuisine, bringing a Western sensibility to Japanese sushi traditions, while combining seasonal ingredients in exciting, inventive ways. 

Nobuo at Teeter House.

Behind the Scenes

At Phoenix’s can’t-miss attraction, the Desert Botanical Garden, you’ll find yourself meandering through a 140-acre garden that shows off the beauty and diversity of desert flora with more than 50,000 plants from the Sonoran Desert and beyond. This outdoor museum also offers rotating events and exhibits, for all ages, throughout the year. Insider’s tip: Sign up for the docent-led tour.

Desert Discovery Trail at Desert Botanical Garden.

Taliesin West, the personal winter home and studio of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright is a must-see when in Greater Phoenix. Tucked away in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, Taliesin West – a recent addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List – illustrates how architecture can artfully blend into nature, an ideal of Wright. Choose from one of five guided tours of this architectural marvel, it’s grounds and the collections that call it home.

Taliesin West exterior.

Desert Recreation

Let a friendly guide from Stellar Adventures pick you up at your hotel in a customized H1 Hummer and whisk you away to the Tonto National Forest on the outskirts of town for a rollicking ride through the Sonoran Desert. The 4-hour tour includes nearly 18 miles of off-road adventure that offers panoramic views of Four Peaks and the surrounding wilderness.

Check one off your bucket list with Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Co. as you soar over the Sonoran Desert in the basket of a hot air balloon. Follow the paths of coyotes and jackrabbits, and look out over the mountains that surround the city from breathtaking heights. Sunrise flights are available every morning year-round, weather permitting. Upon landing, celebrate your flight with a champagne toast, a light nosh, and, of course, photo ops galore.

Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon.

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