Summers in Phoenix can be brutal, but that certainly doesn’t mean the city isn’t worth a visit when June, July, and August roll around. There are lots of budget-friendly things to do and ways to stay cool for a fun vacation here in the summer, thanks to water-centric activities, indoor excursions, and making the most of the evenings and early mornings. Whether you’re a local resident or just visiting for the weekend, here are some examples of the best things to do in summer in Phoenix.
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Experience the Desert Botanical Garden at Night (Nearby Hotels)
Walking around a botanical garden in the heat of a Phoenix summer might not initially sound like the most enticing idea. But you can experience the wonders of desert plants at night in the summer with a Flashlight Tour from June through August. These tours run from 7pm to 9:30pm when the temperatures have cooled down, and they give you a really unique look at the gardens. There are discounted prices compared to the general admission day pass, so it’s a budget-friendly option too. Kids love this self-guided tour, and food and drinks are available once you’ve checked out the night-blooming plants.
Watch an Arizona Diamondbacks Home Game (Nearby Hotels)
Phoenix is also home to the Arizona Diamondbacks Major League Baseball team, which plays games all throughout the summer. One of the most exciting things to do in Phoenix, it’s always fun to head to the local baseball diamond to catch a game and cheer on the home team. Many home games take place in the evenings when the temperatures cool down at 5:10pm, 6:40pm, and 7:10pm. Better yet, it is an air-conditioned facility that has been hosting regular-season games since 1998 so any time is a good time to watch the Diamondbacks! This means that you won’t have to worry about the heat or summer storms if you buy tickets. Chase Field has a retractable roof, a signature swimming pool, and a solar pavilion that provides shade for fans while generating solar power.
Splash Around at a Waterpark (Prices & Photos)
Waterparks are a great place to be in Phoenix in the summer, and there are some really fun ones here in the city. The Arizona Grand Resort & Spa has an exciting waterpark called the Oasis that features eight-story thrill slides, a wave pool, a side-by-side active river, spray fountain, and hot tub. Other great waterparks in the Phoenix metro area to cool off at include Hurricane Harbor Phoenix, Big Surf, Mesa Golfland SunSplash, and Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix.
Indulge in Some Delicious Dessert (Nearby Hotels)
There’s nothing better than ice cream on a summer day in Phoenix, and there are some excellent ice cream shops around town to indulge in. One of our favorites is Mary Coyle Ol’ Fashion Ice Cream, which has been serving the local community since the 1950s. Other top spots for a tasty dessert treat are Creamistry, MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain, Churn, Nami, and Melt. Each of these ice cream destinations has a unique vibe so you’ll be sure to find something you love on a summer day.
Go for an Early Morning Hike (Nearby Hotels)
Hiking in the summer in Phoenix may sound a bit unwise, but you can still get active in the outdoors here if you start in the early morning. Plan to go for a sunrise hike to beat the heat and enjoy amazing desert views in all directions. Camelback Mountain is a very popular Phoenix hiking destination and one that’s ideal for the sunrise hours. There are a couple of trails that lead to the summit and offer 360-degree views. The hikes are only 1.2 miles and 1.6 miles, but they involve steep elevation gains. Other great early morning hikes are in the Superstition Wilderness Area and South Mountain Park and Preserve.
Get Lucky at the Wild Horse Pass Casino (Nearby Hotels)
A fun indoor activity for a summer day in Phoenix is to try your luck at the Wild Horse Pass Casino. This Phoenix metro area casino features a 100,000-square-foot casino with over 1,000 slots, 38 table games, and live poker. You can also dine at the restaurants here, catch a live show, and stay overnight at the hotel.
Explore the Arizona Science Center (Nearby Hotels)
Families love visiting the Arizona Science Center in the summer to stay cool and keep everyone learning. Exhibitions to learn from here feature everything from mummies to the planets in space, collaborative projects, the human body, and the wonders of flight.
Check Out the Phoenix Art Museum (Nearby Hotels)
Another fun summertime activity in Phoenix is taking a trip to the Phoenix Art Museum. This is a visual arts destination in downtown Phoenix and the largest art museum in the Southwest. Here you can explore over 19,000 works of art from the Americas, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and beyond, as well as fashion design and photography.
Treat Yourself to a Spa Appointment (Prices & Photos)
Phoenix is home to some of the very best spas in the country, so why not pamper yourself with a treatment this summer? The Royal Palms Resort & Spa is an excellent choice for your spa day, and there are numerous other spas in the city’s resorts and that operate as stand-alone businesses. Other top spas are the Red Door Salon & Spa at Biltmore Fashion Park and Alvadora Spa on Camelback Road.
Kayak the Salt River (Nearby Hotels)
Many people don’t realize that the Phoenix area offers water sport activities, such as kayak trips down the Salt River. If you don’t have your own boat, you can hire a local guide for a two-hour or four-hour trip. The river’s water is cool and passes below tall cliffs and the magical cacti of the Sonoran Desert.
Tour the Arizona Capitol Museum (Nearby Hotels)
If you’re interested in local history or just looking for a unique museum to take the family to in the summer in Phoenix, head to the Arizona Capitol Museum. Capitol tours are available for groups, and admission to the museum is free. There are four floors, over 20 exhibition areas, a museum store, and small café on site at the Arizona Capitol Museum.