Like mentioned before, the blistering sun may be a deterrent for some to visit the Grand Canyon State. But, as a native Arizonian, I can't emphasize enough how much there is to do here. Here's a list of places you absolutely have to visit while you're in the Valley of the Sun.
A super cute and quaint restaurant placed all throughout the valley. They offer a wide variety of wines and bruschetta boards. Also, surprisingly, the best grilled cheese I've ever had.
2. Joyride Taco
Located next to Postino's in Downtown Phoenix, Joyride has the best fish tacos in the state.
3. Liberty Market
If you find yourself in Downtown Gilbert, you can't miss this. It is definitely a more casual spot where you stand in line and order but is good nonetheless.
An adorable, retro, homemade ice cream shop in Downtown Phoenix. They have regular flavors and then some unique ones as well.
5. The Crepe Bar
If you're in Tempe, this breakfast place has super good sweet and savory crepes.
6. Rustler's Rooste
More of a stereotypical AZ experience, this is a super fun steakhouse/barbecue place perfect for families. They often have live (country) music and there's a slide inside as well. They also bring buckets of cotton candy after your meal!
7. The Farm at South Mountain
I'd definitely call this one of our most underrated restaurants. It's one of my favorite brunch spots, nestled right next to South Mountain. The setting is absolutely beautiful, making you feel like you're miles away from the city.
8. Phoenix Art Museum
Our art museum is amazing. There's a huge modern art section, and, in their older section, they even feature a Monet. Watch out for special events they do here, like movie showings and talks. Museum entry is also free on certain days!
9. Spring Training / Chase Field
Baseball is a must in AZ. Depending on when you're here, you can catch a Spring Training game. My tip, save on money and get a seat on the lawn. Just bring a blanket or towel to sit on. If it's not training season, hopefully, you can catch a game at Chase Field.
Hiking is huge here. Grab some water (!!) and go hiking at South Mountain or Camelback. Just make sure to do your research, our heat often throws tourists for a loop.
11. Desert Botanical Garden
The desert is beautiful, especially if you're not used to it. At the botanical garden, you can wander through rows of cacti and other desert plants while learning about our history and different cultures.
12. Arizona Museum of Natural History
This was my favorite place as a kid, and I still love it. Besides the impressive dinosaur fossils, there's a mining exhibit and you can even pan for gold.
A super cute record store in Downtown Phoenix that has everything you could possibly want on vinyl.
A vintage inspired boutique with adorable jewelry, clothing, home goods, and knick-knacks perfect for a souvenir.
15. Changing Hands Bookstore
Probably one of my favorite places in the state, Changing Hands is a new and used bookstore perfect for any book lover. I'm partial to the Tempe location, which is a lot cozier feeling. The Phoenix location is super cool though and features their "First Draft Book Bar", which offers coffee, alcoholic beverages, and treats.
16. Seattle Espresso
My favorite espresso drink of all time is their iced White Russian.
A really cute and more 90's-vibes coffee shop. They also feature work from local artists inside which is fun to see.
18. Lux Central
Definitely a more modern coffee shop with cool mismatched furniture and plates. Their pastries are great. Even if you're not a vegan (I'm not), try their vegan donuts.