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Popular And Off-The-Beaten Path Arizona Attractions
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a long vacation, Arizona attractions offer fun for all ages and interests. The Grand Canyon is the state’s most visited destination. Spanning 277 miles, the multi-colored rock walls descend more than a mile to the Colorado River below. Take a scenic drive around the rim and enjoy incredible views from several overlooks. Test your endurance on a hike, take a burro tour, or see the natural wonder via a helicopter tour. Train enthusiasts won’t want to miss a ride on the historic Grand Canyon Railway. Board the train in Williams and travel to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The train has been in operation since 1901.
Ranked as one of the Top 10 Museums in the country by Trip Advisor, The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a must-see attraction in Tucson. Sprawling over 21 acres, the museum features a botanical garden showcasing thousands of desert plants. Tour the natural history museum, visit the impressive aquarium and see wildlife presentations. The Desert Botanical Garden in central Phoenix spans 145 acres. Located off North Galvin Parkway near the Phoenix Zoo, the garden offer seasonal exhibits, festivals and concerts throughout the year. Take a self-guided tour or sign up for a gardening workshop.
The Phoenix region is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Enjoy swanky golf courses, huge shopping malls, museums, art galleries and award-winning performing arts venues. Go horseback riding, hike to scenic overlooks, or kick up your heels at a rodeo. Northern Arizona offers many attractions you’ll want to visit on your way to see the Grand Canyon. Spend a day at Lake Powell enjoying watersports, take a four-wheel drive tour of Monument Valley, or explore Petrified Forest National Park. Wine enthusiasts won’t want to miss wine country in the southeastern area of the state. The Verde Valley Wine Trail winds through Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona, Clarkdale and Cornville. Visit seven wineries and eight tasting rooms just 90 minutes from Phoenix.
Arizona is home to a lot of small towns, each with their own brand of charm. Many are located along historic Route 66. Stop off in Winslow to see the statue of Glenn Frey in honor of the Eagles hit song, “Take It Easy.” See classic cars, neon signs and memorabilia at the Route 66 Museum in Kingman. Prescott is famous for Whiskey Row and the impressive collection of saloons that sprang up during the Gold Rush. Boasting 700 buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the town is a fun place to admire Victorian architecture. USA Today named Bisbee the best historic small town in America. Situated in the Mule Mountains of southern Arizona, the former mining camp is now home to artists and shopkeepers. See artists at work, tour galleries and shop for one-of-a-kind gifts. Former copper mining town Jerome has evolved from a ghost town to a popular tourist destination. Explore art studios, galleries and shops and enjoy sweeping views of the Verde Valley from Cleopatra Hill. Oatman has a distinct Old West vibe. Located a short drive from Bullhead City, it is best known for quaint shops and the wild burros that cozy up to visitors around town. The Vulture Mine in Wickenburg was the most productive gold mine in Arizona history. Discovered in 1863 it produced over $200-million in gold ore until it was shut down during World War II. Take a two-hour guided mine tour and see the historic mining town of Vulture City.
Architecture buffs have plenty to admire in Arizona. Chapel of the Holy Cross was built into the red buttes of Sedona in 1956. Voted one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders in Arizona, the Roman Catholic chapel provides a serene location for prayer and meditation. An adjacent gift shop offers religious books and unique items from local artists. St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson is also notable for its architectural beauty. Constructed in 1868, it was adorned with Spanish detailing in 1928 and fully restored in 1968. Inside the cathedral stands a 17-ft. crucifix imported from Spain. Taliesin West was the home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. Built in 1937, it is located at 2621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale. The home is a prime example of how Wright brought the outdoors inside with his innovative designs. View terraces, gardens and walkways, a theater, music pavilion and Wright’s office. Glen Canyon Dam, near Page, opened in 1966. Standing 710 feet high with a length of 1650 feet, the massive dam is a monument to architecture and technology. While you’re in the area, take in the views from Horseshoe Bend. Located off Hwy 89 five miles from Glen Canyon Dam, the cliff has an elevation of 4200 ft. and the river is approximately 1000 ft. beneath it. Hike the three-quarter-mile trail for stunning views.
Meteor Crater is one of the strangest sites in the state. Located 20 miles west of Winslow, it is the best-preserved meteorite crater in the world. Measuring 2.4 miles wide and more than 550 ft. deep, the crater was formed by an asteroid traveling at 26,000 mph. View the crater from observation areas along the rim and explore 24 interactive exhibits at the Discovery Center.
Popular Attractions in Arizona
Make plans to visit and explore Arizona. When you do, be sure to head south into the Tucson area and check out the Biosphere 2.
Technically an "Earth systems science research facility," Biosphere 2 is owned by the University of Arizona, and can be found in the small town of Oracle.
The first closed mission at Biosphere 2 was from September 26th, 1991 to September 26th, 1993. Today, the nearly 100 percent glass constructed structure is open for tours, which are guided by University of Arizona employees and other volunteers.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Few sites are as grand in Arizona as the the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Found amongst the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, this is a must-see attraction for those visiting northern Arizona.
Many visitors are overwhelmed by the spirituality from the chapel and are energized upon departure. The mere location, situated 250 feet high upon a 1,000 foot red rock wall, is more than captivating.
Completed in 1956 from the vision of Marguerite Bruswig Staude, the Chapel is now maintained by the Diocese of Phoenix and St John Vianney Parish.
All are welcome to visit for prayer and meditation. The gift shop has religious accessories and one-of-a-kind items from local artists.
Desert Botanical Garden
Ideal during spring and summer, the Desert Botanical Garden has been educating visitors and exhibiting the native desert plant-life and environment for more than 70 years. The Garden encompasses 145 acres, 65 of which are under cultivation. The Desert Botanical Garden is proud to be the only botanical garden to be accredited by the American Association of Museums.
In addition to the self-guided tours, workshops, Desert Landscaper School and field trips, the Garden also hosts seasonal exhibits, special events, festivals and concerts. Located minutes from the Phoenix Zoo, Tempe Town Lake and other wonderful attractions, there's plenty to do in central Phoenix. Staying close to the action in Phoenix.
Glen Canyon Dam
Opened in 1966, the Glen Canyon Dam is a monument to technology and architectural progress in northern Arizona. As you travel to the charming city of Page, you'll want to visit the massive dam – it reaches a max height of 710 feet, a length of 1,560 feet, and has a dam volume of 5,370,000 cubic yards.
Many Glen Canyon Dam visitors also head for the Glen Canyon Recreation Area – be one of the nearly two million annual visitors. You can have some fun at Lee's Ferry, the Antelope Point Marina, the Bullfrog Marina, or the Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
Grand Canyon Railway
Ride a choo-choo in Arizona. The historic Grand Canyon Railway offers vintage train rides to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park from Williams. The Grand Canyon Railway brought visitors to the Park starting in 1901, long before Arizona was a state or the canyon was a National Park.
Both the Williams and the Grand Canyon Depots have celebrated their centennial anniversaries of rail service. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Grand Canyon Railway is an enjoyable journey to the Canyon. More than 200,000 yearly visitors travel to the Park on the Railway. Experience if for yourself when traveling in northern Arizona.
Iconic in every sense of the word, the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City was built from the original 1830s bricks from the city of London, England.
The original bridge was dismantled in 1967 and the pieces were transported to Arizona for rebuilding in it's current location. It was completed in 1971 and traverses Lake Havasu. The City is situated along the Colorado River on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu.
London Bridge remains a popular tourist attraction in Lake Havasu City. With beautiful beaches, fishing, boating, swimming, golf, boat tours, marinas and more outdoor fun, there are plenty of reasons to visit Lake Havasu City. Parker, 40 miles south of Lake Havasu City, yield full days of fun. Welcome to west-central Arizona.
An iconic Arizona attraction, Taliesin West began as a personal home and studio for Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937. Today, a variety of tours are offered to see first-hand, how Wright incorporated the desert with indoor spaces and his philosophies and theory of design. Educational programs continue today through the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's programs.
Depending on the tour, you can see the terraces, gardens and walkways that link together the Cabaret Theater, Music Pavilion and Wright's office. Or, view the newly restored living space, the Garden Room and sit in the Wright-designed furniture. Taliesin West is located in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale. Stay close to Phoenix area attractions, events, and restaurants.
Westgate Entertainment District
Located in the town of Glendale – a Phoenix suburb in the central valley – the Westgate Entertainment District is a large outdoor retail development. The district is anchored by Gila River Arena, home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, and is adjacent to University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
Given its namesake, visitors have their choice of entertaining destinations at the district, too, including AMC Theatres, Buffalo Wild Wings, Saddle Ranch, and many more restaurants and pubs. The district also features a calendar full of special events, including frequent concerts, Arizona Cardinals tailgating festivities, and more.
Many travelers in the Grand Canyon State are drawn to northern Arizona to see the breath-taking scenery, near Page.
Although beautiful in a picture, the amazing red rocks surrounding Lake Powell are much more vivid in person. While in picturesque Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, schedule plenty of time to see Horseshoe Bend.
This section of the San Marcos River is located four miles south of Page, off of Highway 89 and approximately five miles south of Glen Canyon Dam. Its name is derived from the natural horseshoe-shaped bend of the river.
Enjoy the 3/4-mile stroll on the trail, to the edge of the cliff for viewing this magnificent natural wonder. Be sure to bring your camera and a wide lens, to capture the entire bend in the frame.
The edge of the cliff is at an elevation of 4,200 feet, with the river about 1,000 feet below it. This incredible viewpoint is one not-to-miss.