If you are looking to get away from the cold for a bit there is no better place to visit than sunny Arizona. Arizona is known for its year-round sun and warmth, and in fact, much of the state is desert. Don’t let this fool you though, Arizona is packed with plenty to do, be it touring the sprawling mansions of Tucson, to hiking amongst the mountains surrounding Phoenix. So whether you are looking to hit up the city, or spend your days exploring the outdoors, you can do both under the sunny skies of Arizona.
Here are some of our personal highlights for the Phoenix and Tucson areas.
Hike the trails of beautiful Camelback Mountain. Camelback Mountain sprawls the length of the Valley of the Sun and offers a unique view of Phoenix – for those who are up for a challenge. The trail is either all up or all down, so be sure to bring plenty of water to drink. We also suggest visiting it either at morning or dusk, to avoid the noontime heat.
Musical Instrument Museum
The Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum is the largest of its type in the world. It features a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments from over 200 countries. Many larger countries have specific displays that showcase their specific ethnic, folk, and tribal music. The museum also hosts concerts at its 299-seat music hall. These are often in the evenings after closing hours and concert times vary. So look ahead and plan your trip accordingly.
Desert Botanical Garden
Another famous attraction in Phoenix is the Desert Botanical Garden. This 140-acre facility hosts over 21,000 plants, including 139 rare or endangered species. Though many ecosystems are represented, the museum focuses on desert plants, including an Australian collection, a Baja California collection, and a South American collection.
Tucson Wine Tour
Tucson Arizona is famous for its large wine vineyards – and they are something that you’ve got to “taste” for yourself. With Sonoita to the south and Wilcox to the East, Tucson is surrounded by two of the three major wine producing regions in the state (the last being Verde Valley near Sedona). Wine was first made here in the 16th century when missionary Spanish Jesuit priests planted grapevines and made wine for use in Christian religious ceremonies. Today there are over 110 wineries, vineyards, and cellars across the region and many tasting tours are offered.
Tucson Historic Bike Tour
Tucson is an old city full of history and there is no better way to see it all than with a guided bike-tour. Learn about the early Spanish settlers, bank robbers, and bandits who came and went throughout Tucson’s past. See the colorful adobe homes along the historical streets of Barrio Viejo. And ride through the mouth of a rattlesnake when you cross the famous Rattlesnake Bridge – a bridge shaped like a real diamondback rattlesnake. If you want a quick overview of the city without hours of walking, a guided bike-tour is the way to go.
If you enjoy the history behind Tucson, you won’t want to miss a visit to Old Tucson. At Old Tucson, you can get a feel for what the Wild West was like in the Tucson Mountains. There are plenty of attractions to visit, shows, and great food. Old Tucson will make you feel like you are in the movies, as in fact, many old western films were shot here. And speaking of shot, don’t miss the gunfight, where actors re-enact a classic old western shootout. No matter what you like, Old Tucson has a little something for everyone.