Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Phoenix Travel Guide: Where To Stay, What To Eat, and More

A Phoenix, Arizona sunset.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Phoenix is famous for receiving around 300 days of sunshine per year, making this vibrant desert city something of an adventure playground. The Valley of the Sun has it all: Warm desert breezes, swaying palms, southwestern cuisine, and endless shopping. We’ve highlighted our favorite spots to help you get the most out of your Phoenix trip.

Related Guides

Where to Stay

Best Location: Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix

Waiting area inside the Kimpton Palomar Hotel in Phoenix.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Not only is the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix ideal for its central location in Arizona’s capital, but also for its trendy atmosphere. Rooms are garbed in contemporary décor (think bold patterns and bright colors) with glass walk-in showers. Guests will also be quick to praise the hotel’s diverse amenities, such as the complimentary bikes, the in-room yoga mats, and the gratis use of EOS Fitness (located adjacent to the hotel).

Price: From $179

  •  Time: 11 min by car
  • Distance: 4 miles

Read More: Best Fitness Gear for Traveling

Best for Couples: The Camby, Autograph Collection

Inside the modern and quirky Camby Hotel in Phoenix.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Modern and quirky are two words to describe The Camby. It’s a dynamic fusion of the professional and playful. Expect Aztec prints, funky furniture, and turquoise accents in rooms, as well as marble and copper featured throughout. The Camby calls itself, “Southwestern chic” with breathtaking views of iconic Camelback Mountain, plus Arizona’s 5 C’s (copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate) form a fun theme that is apparent throughout the property.

Price: From $170

  • Time: 10 min by car
  • Distance: 7 miles

Best for Families: Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

Aerial view of Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In a land of legends, where wild horses still roam free, you can indulge in a luxury resort experience at this desert oasis. The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is located on the Gila River Indian Community. This unique destination resort features custom-designed, culturally themed guestrooms reflecting the traditions of the Pima and Maricopa people. In addition, the resort has 36 holes of golf, a spa offering Native American treatments, onsite horseback adventures, and River Adventure Boat Rentals on the Gila River.

Price: From $170

  • Time: 18 min by car
  • Distance: 15 miles

Best Minimalist: The Nest Tiny House at the Garden

Outside view of the Tiny House Airbnb available in Phoenix.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Experience minimal living in a bright, stylish, modern tiny house on wheels with an artsy and homey vibe. Be inspired by space-saving solutions and original art and sip coffee while gazing out the wall of windows. Get cozy in the spacious loft and relax on the memory foam mattress and luxury linens. Located in Uptown Phoenix, local restaurants and coffee shops are right around the corner.

Price: From $96

  • Time: 10 min by car
  • Distance: 7 miles

Where to Eat

There are a lot of fun things to do in Phoenix, and eating in the many varied restaurants is one of them! Phoenix is a food lover’s paradise with lots of restaurants to choose from and a tremendous diversity of the kinds of foods available. If it’s a type of food, there’s a good chance you can find it.


A meal at Quiessence restaurant in Phoenix.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Farm at South Mountain offers a nearby escape from the city with canopies of pecan trees and an organic-style garden. Rich in history, this agrotourism destination invites you to explore this retreat. Quiessence cooks with locally sourced produce, meat, and wine, creating a refined hand-crafted menu. Sourcing from the on-site garden, Quiessence’s weekly menu is curated with freshly harvested vegetables, edible flowers, eggs, and herbs. Diners have the option of selecting a four, five, or six-course meal.

  • Best for Dinner
  • $$$$

Browse Menu

The Gladly

A meal at the Glady restaurant in Phoenix.
Part whiskey bar, part upscale restaurant, The Gladly’s stylish bar boasts a world-class craft beverage program and over 250 whiskies (most are served with signature ice balls crafted right at your table) to go along with contemporary American cuisine. Think chicken club sandwiches, coffee-rubbed short ribs, and mac n’ cheese.

  • Best for Lunch or Dinner
  • $$

Browse Menu


Kai restaurant in Phoenix.
Kai is a Native American-owned and operated restaurant. Renowned for incorporating the essence of the Pima and Maricopa people into the menu and restaurant décor, Kai, the Pima word for “seed,” treats guests to a contemporary approach to Native American cuisine in a rich yet relaxing atmosphere. Each menu has a different watercolor painting about which the waiter tells the legend behind it. The walls have weavings hung on them with plaques that describe their history. Menu items rotate depending on seasonal produce grown on the Native American Reservation. A few highlighted items include escargot, wild mushrooms, and caramel goat cheese served with native “toast” and truffle cream, lemon and black garlic butter, and pork belly; and grilled tenderloin of tribal buffalo with smoked corn puree, cholla buds, chorizo, scarlet runner bean chili, and saguaro blossom syrup.

  • Best for Dinner
  • $$

Browse Menu

Hash Kitchen

Hash Kitchen restaurant in Phoenix.
Hash Kitchen, created by a husband and wife duo, has a substantial, re-imagined brunch menu. The restaurant is known for its variety of hashes, frittatas, scrambles, pancakes, morning cocktails, and a DIY Bloody Mary bar. The Build-Your-Own Bloody-Mary bar has an extensive topping selection with in-house infused vodkas to choose from.

  • Best for Breakfast or Brunch
  • $$

Browse Menu

What to Do

There are so many fun things to do in Phoenix, from seeing the interesting and unique architecture and learning about the beauty of the desert, to hiking the many mountains in and around the city and enjoying the resorts and spas. While winter is one of the most popular times for visitors, travelers can find fun all year round.

Broaden your palate tasting wines at Garage-East

Wine viles from Garage East winery in Phoenix.
Garage-East is located inside a rustic Quonset built with metal from WWII planes that served the nearby Air Force base. Arizona winemakers Todd and Kelly started a micro-winery that serves canned wines that can also be taken to-go if you are unable to finish them while there to purposefully change people’s expectations on how wine should be delivered. Varieties unique to the world are grown here and there is a wide range of wine styles.

Learn More

Read More: How to Hold a Wine Glass

Break a sweat on a Sonoran Desert hike

The Sonoran Desert in Phoenix.
The park contains a large variety of plants and animals that call the lower Sonoran Desert home. Along with the most popular feature of the park, the Wind Cave Trail, water seeps from the roof of the alcove to support the hanging gardens of Rock Daisy. The Wind Cave is formed at the boundary between the volcanic tuff and granite on Pass Mountain. Breathtaking views from this 2,840-foot elevation are offered to all visitors.

Learn More

Read more: Best Hikes

Find your Zen at Goat Yoga

A goat from goat yoga in Phoenix.
Sarah Williams, owner of  Desert Paddleboards has paired up with a neighboring farm to combine two of her most loved activities – yoga and goats. Whether you are in warrior pose, downward dog, or simply meditating, these lovable goats help motivate and challenge you to be your best. During the guided yoga class, these gentle, sweet, and loving animals roam the fields and are placed by the instructor on guests that are in specific poses. Arizona Goat Yoga is said to clear the mind and offers a chance to release endorphins from exercise and increase oxytocin with pet therapy.

Learn More

Get Pretty High on a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air ballooning over the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Your journey with Hot Air Expeditions begins with viewing the inflation of the balloon, where you will get a glimpse of how large the balloons are as they come to life! From there, your pilot whisks you away in the basket for your approximate one-hour flight. During the journey, you will enjoy floating at different elevations, from up to 5,000 feet in the air for a gorgeous overhead view of the Sonoran Desert, to within feet of the desert floor. You will catch a glimpse of local wildlife, plant life, and landmarks. It is common to see jackrabbits, quail, coyotes, and even javelina. Upon landing, you’ll toast to the adventure with flutes of chilled champagne and gourmet cuisine, complete with tables and linens — truly, a toast to the perfect day.

Learn More

Explore the Churchill

The Churchill container community area in Phoenix.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Churchill, a 14,000-square-foot micro marketplace built out of old shipping containers, is a gathering space for the community with dining options, bars, and boutique shops. The center holds a monthly fundraiser and requires tenants to complete four community service hours a month.

Learn More

Experience Nature on Horseback 

Koli equestrian center on a reservation in Phoenix.
The Koli (Kol-he) Equestrian Center spans more than 2,400 acres nestled in the heart of the Wild Horse Pass on the Gila River Indian Community. It is truly an adventure back in time, offering a horseback experience while learning the spiritual culture of the Pima & Maricopa People. Soak up views of three mountain ranges and desert landscapes. Catch a glimpse of the native wildlife which may include sightings of wild Mustangs.

Learn More

Relax and Experience an Ho’ishp (Sacred Prickly Pear Body Treatment) by a Native American Healer

Aji Native American inspired spa in Phoenix.
This signature Native American spa treatment can only be given by a Native American healer at Aji Spa. Cactus-infused ingredients and traditional Native American herbal remedies are incorporated throughout the experience. The journey begins in a therapeutic steam capsule with an application of sacred prickly pear red clay. The unique combination of steam and nourishing antioxidants helps detoxify the body and tone the skin. The spa treatment continues with a revitalizing 50-minute full body massage with prickly pear & aloe oil to rehydrate the skin. This beneficial moisture is sealed in with a final application of aloe and prickly pear gel to leave the skin feeling silky smooth. The experience concludes with a soothing cup of prickly pear tea.

Learn More

Read more: Southwestern Desert Home Style Guide

Stop and Smell the Flowers … Literally

The Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.
The Desert Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in the Southwest, featuring 55,000 plants from across the world. It is home to unique Sonoran Desert plants. The plants are on display throughout five thematic trails that illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers.

Learn More

How to Save Money on Your Trip to Phoenix


Phoenix in itself has a lot of unique charming points — from its museums, golf courses, and resorts all the way to its weather and natural beauty. However, what sets it apart from other cities are the desert plants and animals that you don’t always get to see. You can enjoy these things by using to do fun activities in the city. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank, because you can book an activity for as low as $10.


Undoubtedly, Phoenix has a lot of places for accommodation to offer — from cheap to luxurious. Planning ahead of time is important in order to avoid the hassle. gives discounts when booking a hotel accommodation that will definitely be in line with your every need and desire.

Vehicle Rentals

The public transport system in Phoenix is neither good nor bad. It just stands somewhere in between. However, if you want to make the most of your time, renting a car on might just be the best option for you. Not only is it convenient, but this will also save you some cash.

Read More: Why are Car Rentals so Expensive?

Editors' Recommendations

Latifah Al-Hazza
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Latifah is an Emmy Award-Winning travel journalist and documentary filmmaker, as well as the Cofounder of Femscape Sojourns…
Our favorite ski resorts in Colorado, ranked
Ski resorts in Colorado, ranked, and what we do (and don't) like
A view of Copper Mountain's Three Bears back bowl section

When you think of incredible skiing in the U.S., it’s hard not to think of ski resorts in Colorado. Bluebird skies and good vibes consume shredders in this neck of the woods daily. But which ski resorts are best and why? Well, stick around to find out.

1. Breckenridge
The skiing
It’s hard to miss when you’re Breckenridge. Sitting right on the shred strip, with Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, and Keystone just a stone’s toss away, “Breck” offers some of the best terrain diversity, snowpack, and extreme high alpine access anywhere on the West Coast.

Read more
Travel gear gift guide: The best from Samsonite, Apple, and more
Gifts for travelers and digital nomads
Small toy plane on world map in front of Christmas tree and wrapped present

Are you Christmas shopping for someone in your life who loves to travel? Travel gifts should be practical, portable, and enhance the receiver’s overall travel experience. Whether you are purchasing a gift for a frequent business traveler or for a young adult with a sense of wanderlust, there are many products you simply can't go wrong with. We've put together an incredible list of gifts spanning across many different price ranges. So whether you want to splurge on a fancy present or need a quick stocking stuffer, we've got an option for you.

Here are just a few gift ideas for the travel lover in your life.

Read more
Our favorite Lake Tahoe ski resorts, ranked
Lake Tahoe ski resorts, ranked, and what we do (and don't) like
Sunlight over Palisades Tahoe ski resort

Lake Tahoe is one of the finest natural wonders of the world. From its vast blue expanses to its surrounding peaks, the lake is a magical, scenic destination. And with world-class mountain terrain on offer, skiers and snowboarders are in for a seminal experience. Not only that, but since Tahoe’s a reasonable distance from the Bay Area and Reno-Tahoe International Airport, getting there’s as easy as jumping in the car or hopping on a flight. 

But once you arrive, what resorts offer the best skiing and riding? We have our favorites. Here’s our list of the best Lake Tahoe ski resorts for skiers and riders in search of epic times.

Read more