Cities • 8 minutes to read

Five Of The Best Cities And Places To Visit In Arizona U.S.A.

Admired by those fascinated with the great outdoors and exciting road trips like Route 66, Arizona should be on everyone’s U.S.A. bucket list.

The state of Arizona receives over 300 days of sunshine each year, which makes exploring iconic places such as the Colorado River and Monument Valley Tribal Park that bit more enjoyable.

Seeing the number of rugged mountains, still lakes, and breweries that you can visit might make you feel like you won’t be able to see everything when you’re there. This list of Arizona vacation ideas will put your mind at ease and show you the unmissable destinations that the Grand Canyon State has to offer.

PAGE, USA APRIL 17, 2019: Marble Canyon Bridge and colorado river near Page Arizona
Kayaking on the Colorado River is a must-do when in Arizona © Getty Images

Let’s begin.

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Arizona?

You could say that Arizona has some of the most favorable weather in the country of the U.S.A., but that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and rainbows.

The summer season, June to August, has the warmest weather, where you’ll experience high temperatures of up to 40 and lows of 28. Thankfully it cools down in the evenings. If you do happen to travel to Arizona during the summer, get out to do your activities early in the morning and hide away from the sweltering sun during the day.

Winter in Arizona is cold, especially in the high county mountains in places like Flagstaff, where you can go skiing. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to drop as low as -8°C in some locations, but in cities like Phoenix, you could see highs of 18°C. Of course, it varies from city to city.

When it comes to the shoulder seasons, spring and fall, you can expect mild to high temperatures in Arizona, with highs of 31°C and lows of 16°C. The city of Yuma is sweltering around then, so plan accordingly.

Top Places To Go In Arizona

  1. Phoenix
  2. Tucson
  3. Scottsdale
  4. Flagstaff
  5. Prescott
Sedona Arizona
Experience Arizona’s top attractions like these beautiful hiking trails in Sedona © Getty Images

Phoenix – A City For Sun Lovers In The Sonoran Desert

Arizona’s capital Phoenix lies in the expansive Sonoran Desert and has everything you need for a wonderful holiday. Roam through lush botanical gardens in the middle of the wilderness, dip into informative museums like the Arizona Science Center, and go tubing down the world-renowned Salt River.

Phoenix – What To Do There

Experience tubing down Salt River – Arizona’s 200-mile Salt River supplies much of Phoenix’s water and is popular among locals and tourists for tubing. Grab yourself an inflatable ring and a couple of beers, and flow freely while catching a tan.

Go see a baseball game – Chase Field stadium is the home playing field of the Diamondbacks baseball team in the MLB. Get some tickets online beforehand or off some other sports fans and catch a glimpse of some home runs Phoenix style!

Take a walk through the Desert Botanical Garden – Only ten minutes from Phoenix Airport is the Desert Botanical Garden, a tranquil outdoor space filled with beautiful cacti, trees, blooming gardens, and fountains. Escape the big city and immerse yourself in nature.

What To Eat And Drink In Phoenix

Fry Bread – Fry Bread has been filling Arizonan bellies since 1864 when the Navajo Native Americans had to make a 300-mile walk to New Mexico to face deportation. The only ingredients they had were water, salt, and baking powder to make a dough which soon evolved over the years into Fry Bread. Today, it’s eaten throughout Phoenix with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and beans.

Prickly Pear Margaritas – Sometimes referred to as the state’s drink, Prickly Pear Margaritas combines lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and prickly pear syrup. The glass is filled with crushed ice and garnished with a slice of lime. Nothing beats one of these after exploring a warm place like Phoenix.

Tips For Visiting Phoenix

  • Phoenix’s public transportation system isn’t great, so you should hire a vehicle to get the most out of your visit.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen before you arrive in the city; the last thing you want to end up with is sunstroke.

Tucson – Where Cultural Diversity Is Evident On Every Corner

The enchanting city of Tucson boasts a tiny-town vibe and is Arizona’s cultural hub, where tourists go to see the heart and soul of the great Southwest. Experience the wild west with your own eyes through museums like the Harkers Old-West Museum, movie sets such as Old Tucson, or even go horseback riding at a guest ranch. Tucson is abounding with exciting tourist attractions.

What Are The Best Things To Do In Tucson?

Explore The Saguaro National Park – Spread across two different spots in the city, east and west Tucson, the Saguaro National Park houses the breathtaking Tucson Mountains, Rincon Mountains, as well as the Sonoran Desert. You could easily spend a few days there, taking on challenging hiking trails and seeing indigenous cacti.

Admire some architecture at San Xavier del Bac – Embedded in downtown Tucson is the San Xavier del Bac, a Spanish Catholic mission that was constructed in the 18th century. It’s a fascinating display of Spanish colonial architecture, evident inside the structure and out.

Appreciate the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum – This outdoor museum is an awe-inspiring exhibit, applauded for its collection of ancient structures and striking features such as cactus floorings, interior murals, and open-air roofs produced by the famous architect Ettore DeGrazia.

Saguaro desert Dawn
There are so many types of cacti to see in The Saguaro National Park © Getty Images

Must Try Food And Drink Tucson

Chimichanga – Taking inspiration from its Mexican neighbors, Chimichanga is similar to a burrito filled with guacamole, sour cream, rice, beans, and a slice of selected meat. The only difference between the two is that a Chimichanga is deep-fried.

Tequila sunrise – No doubt you’ve tried a Tequila Sunrise somewhere in the world, but did you know that the recipe came from Arizona? This flavorful tequila-infused cocktail contains orange juice and a drop of grenadine and is served in a highball glass. Don’t forget to eat the cherry on the side.

What To Know Before Visiting Tucson

  • Are you getting married soon? Tucson is one of the top places in the U.S.A. for honeymoons, with high-end resorts and luxury properties in the desert in abundance, so couples take note.
  • To save money, fly to Phoenix Airport instead of Tucson, as the flights are usually cheaper.

Scottsdale – The Arizonan Destination For Wealthy Families

Scottsdale attracts America’s billionaires with its lavish boutiques, huge golf courses, and upper-class gated communities, but that doesn’t mean the average traveler should be turned off this affluent city. Regardless of your budget, you can enjoy fantastic sights like the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, affordable restaurants in the old town, and shopping opportunities in the Scottsdale Quarter.

Cool Places To Go And See In Scottsdale

Get close to the animals at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center – The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is a rescue refuge for animals that have been found injured or orphaned just over half an hour outside of Scottsdale. These creatures can’t be released back into civilization due to their injuries or vulnerabilities, so the center takes good care of them, and you can even check out the work they do for yourself.

Learn some horsemanship skills at the Arizona Cowboy College – Live the life of a cowboy at the Arizona Cowboy College. Pick up a set of skills from two of America’s most cowboys and girls, Rocco Wachman and Lori Bridwell. After you’re comfortable and competent, embark on a horseback ride through the Arizonan desert as the sun starts to go down.

Take Off On The Scottsdale Public Art Walking Tour – Seek out over 70 pieces of art in all corners of Scottsdale city on the self-guided public art walking tour. Go at your own pace and spot massive bronze statues, admirable fountains, distinct buildings, and much more. Don’t forget to print out your map beforehand so you know exactly what to look out for.

What Food And Drinks Should First-Time Visitors Try In Scottsdale?

Mesquite Flour – Mesquite Flour is considered a superfood that comes from the dried and ground pods of the mesquite tree. High in calcium and protein, chefs in Scottsdale often use Mesquite Flour to make pizza dough, muffins, and pancakes. So, if you order an extra large margarita, the chances are Mesquite Flour will be in the dough.

Welcome sign of Old Town of Scottsdale
When you enter this town you will be greeted with a sign of Old Town of Scottsdale © Getty Images

Arcadia Coffee Vodka – It tastes as it says on the tin. Arcadia Coffee Vodka could be mistaken for a medium-roast coffee with sugar, vanilla, and caramel, only with some vodka. Produced by the O.H.S.O. Distillery, a bottle of this stuff is the perfect souvenir to bring home from your trip to Scottsdale.

Essential Travel Information About Scottsdale For First-Time Visitors

  • Wildfires are common around Scottsdale, so be careful. If you see a red flag, that means if a small fire is lit, it could spread.
  • Leave no trace when camping anywhere in Scottsdale. Clean up after yourself wherever you have camped, and don’t leave your trash behind.

Flagstaff – A Change Of Scenery Away From The Desert

Escape the hot deserts of Phoenix and head to Flagstaff for a more temperate climate, incredible mountainscapes, active volcanic fields like the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and lush green pine tree forests. Compared to other cities in Arizona, Flagstaff has a youthful atmosphere created by universities like Northern Arizona University and vibrant clubs and bars blaring loud music until the early morning hours.

Which Are The Best Things To Do In Flagstaff?

Go Skiing Around Christmas Time – Flagstaff is home to the most popular ski resort in Arizona, the Arizona Snowbowl. Boasting amazing slopes with outrageous jumps and receiving over 22 feet of snow each winter season, there’s no better place to master your downhill turns.

Check out the Lava River Cave – The one-mile-long Lava River Cave formed around 700,000 years ago following a vicious eruption from a vent in the Hart Prairie Preserve. Step inside and discover impressive rock formations and see how far you can go inside before the darkness becomes too much. Dress appropriately, as it tends to get wet and sludgy down there.

Feel the rush at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course – See if you have what it takes to complete the biggest zipline course in the western U.S.A. Slowly walk across planks suspended high in the sky, swing from tree to tree, and fly in mid-air across a humongous forest. If you’re searching for your next adrenaline hit in Flagstaff, the extreme adventure course is the place to go.

Food And Drink To Try Out In Flagstaff

Cheese Crisp – Cheese Crisps follow the same concept as a quesadilla, only the cheese is melted on the outside. A tortilla is flattened onto a pan, buttered, and sprinkled with cheese and other toppings, depending on how the chef cooks it. Once the cheese is melted, the crisp is removed from the pan and cut into slices like a pizza.

Route 66 Beer – Sample a tasty beer in honor of America’s well-sought-after road trip, Route 66. Brewed at the Mother Road Brewing Company in Flagstaff, make a stop there to try some of the Route 66 Beer with your own lips and see if it lives up to its hype.

Route 66 Riders
The iconic Route 66 is known worldwide for its beautiful scenery © Getty Images

What Tourists Should Know Before Visiting Flagstaff

  • Always check the weather forecast before hitting the outdoors, especially if you plan to go camping. It could be the nicest weather one minute, and within a click of a finger, there could be a thunderstorm.
  • Bring plenty of water with you wherever you go in Flagstaff to deal with the high elevation levels. If you find the altitude is affecting you, abstain from activities that require lots of movement.

Prescott – Enjoy The Rich History Of A Gold Mining City

Northeast of Phoenix is the historic gold-mining city of Prescott which was once the capital of Arizona. Find out how Prescott shaped modern-day Arizona through intriguing museums and displays. Take a walk through downtown Prescott’s quaint walkways past old-age buildings before stopping for street food-style food at one of the many hole in the wall restaurants.

Beautiful Places To Travel To In Prescott

Step back in time at Whiskey Row – The captivating Whiskey Row is lined with old western saloons, set up during the city’s gold rush after the arrival of various types of figures, from cowboys to gamblers. Whiskey Row is nowhere near what it was like back in the day, but the culture is still evident on every corner you take.

Spend the day at Watson Lake – Famed for its granite boulders and bedrock formations, Watson Lake sits on the outskirts of Prescott and catches the appeal of local fishermen and boaters looking for ways to spend their days off. Moreover, Watson Park is a classic spot for birdwatching. If you’re interested, you can hire a local guide to take you to all of the best spotting areas to see how the professionals do it.

Watch a show at the Elks Opera House Theater – Situated on East Gurley Street is the outstanding Elks Opera House Theater, built in the 1900s. With over 500 seats and several shows playing throughout the year, there’s a good chance when you visit, there could be a show on display.

Woman sitting on paddle board on lake with puppy, Arizona, USA
Arizona has a lot of lakes where you can swim and kayak © Getty Images

What Food And Drink Should Visitors Try In Prescott?

Sonoran Hot Dogs – A trip to Prescott isn’t complete without some Sonoran Hot Dogs. This Arizonan delicacy is made with bolillo-style buns containing bacon-wrapped glizzy, mustard, mayo, beans, salsa, onions, and tomatoes. Upon your arrival, ask the owner of your hotel where’s the best place to get a Sonoran Hot Dog; they’ll know where to send you.

Arizonan Lemonade – In 2019, lemonade was officially made Arizona’s state beverage by the local government due to a high school student lobbying for it. You’ll find Arizonan Lemonade sold in pretty much every cafe and corner store for a couple of dollars. There’s only one way to find out if there’s any difference.

Tips To Know Before You Visit Prescott

  • If you visit any of Prescott’s archaeological sites, under no circumstances should you try to remove any items or artifacts from them.
  • Be mindful of Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes when you’re out and about exploring. They’re the most common type found in Prescott and usually reside in low-elevation grassy land patches.

Want more interesting tips and information on traveling? Read more articles!

Frequently asked questions

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Travel To Arizona?

Although Arizona is an enjoyable destination to visit during any season of the year, spring or fall is when the weather isn't too hot or cold. Since many of Arizona's main attractions are outdoors, you'll want the least rain possible, and this is when you'll have it.

How To Find And Book Cheap Flights To Arizona?

Finding the cheapest flights to Arizona can be challenging, especially during high season, as so many domestic and foreign tourists are traveling then. Thankfully, Kiwi has made getting your hands on cheap flights easier than ever with our proven travel hacks which help millions of people like yourself visit their dream destinations throughout the year.

Our U.S.A. destination page is the perfect place to start. Fill in the airport in Arizona you want to fly to and receive hundreds of low-cost flight deals to suit your budget.

What's Arizona Known For?

When people think of Arizona, places like the Grand Canyon and road trips like Route 66 spring to mind, but what about the Native American heritage, the Saguaro Cacti, the Hoover Dam, and the Monument Valley?

What's The Best Food In Arizona?

Ask someone which states have the best food in the U.S.A., and Arizona will always come up in the conversation with mentions of dishes like Sonoran Hot Dogs, Chimichanga, and Cheese Crisp.

How Many Days Do I Need In Arizona?

Three weeks is ideal for holidaying in Arizona as long as you have a car to get you from city to city. If you want to drive Route 66, you'll need around an additional three weeks to drive the whole thing.

Are There Any Beaches In Arizona?

Arizona is a landlocked state with no sea around it, but that doesn't mean there aren't any beaches. In fact, there are quite a few that border certain lakes and rivers, such as Pebble Beach in Mesa.