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Fun Things to Do in Downtown Phoenix

You will find dozens of fun things to do in downtown Phoenix. They include theater performances, sporting events, live music, attractions, and museums. 

You will also find some great local bars, restaurants, and shopping. Our guide also includes some of the best places for parking and how to get here from both Scottsdale and the airport.

Click the links below to head to a certain section or scroll down for more details. 

Sports: Things to Do in Downtown Phoenix

Baseball in front of Chase Field

Arizona Diamondbacks: Phoenix's major league baseball team is located in the gorgeous Chase Field and is always a great time. Each year, they host teams such as the L.A. Dodgers, N.Y. Yankees, and SF Giants. This is definitely a great way to spend a day or two when you are looking for things to do in downtown Phoenix.

Phoenix Suns: The locals pro basketball team is ready to run and gun so you can enjoy some fun! They are always in the hunt for a championship and since the Talking Stick Resort Arena holds only 18,000 people, you will definitely get a great seat to see the action.

Phoenix Mercury: The three-time WNBA champions also play in downtown Phoenix. Their regular season schedule runs from late May to early September. You will be in for a treat at these games as some of the team players are All-Stars as well as one the women's Olympic team.

Looking for the best hotels in downtown Phoenix? Check out our favorites by budget

Live Music in Downtown Phoenix

Arizona Federal Theater: This is one of the top places to see live music, comedians, and more. They have a capacity of 5,000 seats and draw in top acts such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Tim McGraw, and Alicia Keys. Some of the comedians that have performed on stage here include Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, and more. 400 West Washington

Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen: You want great food? Drinks? Rock 'n Roll? Then this is the place for you! This combination is why it's one of our favorite things to do in downtown Phoenix. Many of the bands on stage are local. In addition, they also offer fun trivia nights and other popular downtown Phoenix events. If you are a beer lover, they have more than 60  on tap every night! 50 West Jefferson Street

Crescent Ballroom: Looking for up close and personal live music experience? The Crescent Ballroom only holds 500 people, so every seat gives you a great view of the state. Since it is a smaller venue, you will see many up-and-coming bands as well as some famous ones. They also serve food. 308 North 2nd Avenue

The Nash Jazz & Blues Club: Known as one of the best jazz clubs anywhere, The Nash is famous for having some of the top jazz bands from around the U.S.A and beyond. They also have "jam" sessions, big band performances and more. With only about 100 seats, you will see some of the best and feel like they are performing in your home. They also have food and drinks available. 110 East Roosevelt Avenue

The Pressroom: Built in the 1920's, The Pressroom is one of the coolest things to do in downtown Phoenix if you are into live music, special events, and even festivals! With an indoor seating capacity of over 1,000 people, you can be sure to get great views from anywhere. They also have an outdoor patio if you want to enjoy a bit of the Arizona night scene. 441 West Madison Street

The Van Buren: Even though it only opened in 2017, this has become one of the top concert venues in downtown Phoenix. With a capacity of 1,800 people, and bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Chase Rice, and Sting, you know you will get a great variety to choose throughout the year. If you get hungry, they also have yummy bites. 401 West Van Buren

Downtown Phoenix Attractions

Roosevelt Row Mural in Downtown Phoenix

Civic Space Park: Visiting this park is one of our favorite things to do in downtown Phoenix since there is such a difference between day and night. During the day, you'll see lots of people hanging out, enjoying loads of shade, and just relaxing. At night it becomes livelier and there is a magical art piece that lights up and hangs in the sky! You have to see it to believe it. 424 North Central Avenue

Japanese Friendship Garden: Dedicated to helping the city of Phoenix, and the sister city of Yokohama, this garden shows how two different cultures can work together and be partners. The garden is incredibly relaxing and beautiful. We love to just sit by the Koi pond and relax for hours. They also have special ceremonies and exhibits. 1125 North 3rd Avenue

Historic Grand Avenue: A must visit for anyone coming to Phoenix is this cool, historic area area. There are loads of small galleries, restaurants, and more to see as you walk around it. Also, each little side street, or alley, has more and more stores opening all the time. Therefore, whenever you go, you'll find something new! From Papago Freeway to Van Buren on Grand Avenue

Roosevelt Row Murals: For mural lovers, walking around this area is definitely one of the best things to do in downtown Phoenix. The artwork is incredible, detailed, and many have ties to the history, and future, of the city. Make sure to go down some of the back alleys as there are many hidden gems. One of our favorite places to visit is the "1 1/2 Street" mural project. All around Roosevelt Row.

The Rosson House Museum & Heritage Square: If you want to step back in time, make sure to go to Heritage Square. You could easily miss it, as it is rather small, but it is worth your time. Dating back to the 1800s, you can check out the beautiful buildings, grab a bite to eat, visit the Arizona Science Center, and more. One of the highlights here is a tour of the "haunted" Rosson House. Make sure to book online in advance as they sell out quickly. 113 North 6th Street

St. Mary's Roma Catholic Basilica: The oldest Catholic church in Phoenix, built in 1881, it is a truly historic monument. You can go to mass if you want and there are self-guided tours if you want to see the beauty and art inside it. It is such a special church and Pope John Paul II visited it in 1987. A visit here only takes a few minutes but is one of the relaxing things to do in downtown Phoenix. 231 North 3rd Street

Top Museums in Downtown Phoenix

Outside the Heard Museum in Phoenix

Arizona Capitol Museum: You will learn all about the history of Phoenix and Arizona, including how it became a territory back in the day. Probably the most well-known exhibit is the USS Arizona, which was destroyed during Pearl Harbor. They have found some of the artifacts from it and they are on display here. The tour guides are extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. They'll answer any question you ask them. 1700 West Washington Street

Arizona Science Center: We love to go to the Arizona Science Center as it is one of the most awe-inspiring things to do in downtown Phoenix. There is a 360-degree planetarium, the "Victoria's World" exhibit with a massive T. Rex skeleton (don't worry, it won't bite!), and loads of other exhibits and events. This is truly a perfect place for kids of all ages! 600 East Washington Street

Children's Museum of Phoenix: This is one of our favorite family-friendly things to do in downtown Phoenix. There are loads of exhibits that are hands-on, fun, and also educational no matter what your child is interested in doing here. Some of these include "TMX" where your little one can ride a trike around a track, or the children's garden where they can plant, and learn about them. This is just a small sample of the fun things to do here. 215 North 7th Street

Heard Museum: Anyone who is interested in Native Peoples, and their history, must visit this incredible museum. It is known as one of the best, if not the best, museums dedicated to American Indian art, history, and culture in the world. With thousands of pieces of Indian artwork on permanent display, cultural exhibits and traveling exhibits, you will be amazed at how much there is to see and how different each tribe was from one another. There are also exhibits dedicated to the present, and the future, of Native Peoples and how they are surviving in the USA. 2301 N Central Ave.

Phoenix Art Museum: This museum has become a must see if you love classic art since it has incredible pieces from artists such as Monet, Frida Kahlo, and many other famous artists. There is Asian art that dates back to the 5th century or longer. What we also love is that we never know what else we'll you'll see when we check out this museum. Because of that it is one of the things to do in downtown Phoenix that we visit whenever we can. Much of the artwork, both past and present, come from all over the world. 1625 North Central

>> More great downtown museums

Downtown Phoenix Theater & Performing Arts

Orpheum Theater: One of most beautiful theaters anywhere in the city, this theater is a class of its own. It holds about 1,400 people and the view from every seat is fantastic. It truly is impossible to describe unless you see the interior for yourself. You will see performances ranging from some of the best Broadway theater shows, to the most popular bands, the Phoenix Opera, and other events that will leave you wanting more. When you go, make sure to check out the massive Wurlitzer Theater Organ. 203 West Adams Street

Phoenix Opera: As mentioned above, the Phoenix Opera is located at the stunning Orpheum Theater. This opera company is well known, and you will see some of the classics such as La Traviata, The Magic Flute, Madame Butterfly, among others. You will also see some of the best solo acts, including ones such as Dmitri Hvorostovsky together with the opera and the chorus, the incredible tenor Jonas Kaufman, and more. You will definitely want to see the opera as it's one of the things to do in downtown Phoenix. 203 West Adams Street

Ballet Arizona: Ballet Arizona is a group of three different ballet companies that have combined into one powerful team. The present-day Ballet Arizona performs such classics as Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and the Nutcracker. Since they are so respected, you will see some of the best dancers, including ones from around the world, when you go to see a performance here. NOTE: There are three different downtown locations. Please check in advance to make sure you have the right venue.

The Phoenix Symphony: Feel the power in person of the Phoenix Symphony when you see it live and in person. The symphony is one of the wonderful things to do in downtown Phoenix since it is of the highest caliber and there are so many different performances. The shows range from classics, to more current ones, and even special events. With a main floor, 4 loge areas, and a balcony that holds just over 2,200 people, there is not a bad seat in the house. NOTE: Some shows are at other locations in the city so please check ahead to find the correct venue. Most shows are at the Phoenix Symphony Hall at 75 North 75th Street.

Herberger Theater Center: Home to 6 different companies, you will be able to find something for everyone in your family to enjoy here. Some of these include that iTheater Collaborative, Childsplay Theatre, Arizona Broadway Theater and more. There is also an art gallery and cafe. 222 East Monroe Street

Valley Youth Theater: Do you want to possibly see the biggest stars when they were just kids? Do you want to tell your friends, "I knew they were going to be stars"? If so, then this is the theater for you and your family. Dedicated to helping young actors get their start, you'll see some of the best and brightest doing their best in shows like "High School Musical", "Sleeping Beauty", and more. Some of the actors that started here including Emma Stone, Jordin Sparks, Nick Cartell and many more. 525 1st North Street

Best Restaurants in Downtown Phoenix

Lunch at the Kettle Black in downtown Phoenix

You will find more than 100 restaurants in downtown Phoenix. These are just a few of our favorites. 

Angel's Trumpet Ale House: If you love being able to have some bites, lots of brews, and sit outside during great weather, then going here is one of the things to do in downtown Phoenix. They are known for great menu choices, an excellent selection of beers on tap, and loads of seating. If the temps are too hot for you, you can also head inside to enjoy the comfort of the indoors. Angel's has also been awarded Tripadvisor's "Certificate of Excellence." 810 North 2nd Street

The Arrogant Butcher: The name says it all...well other than they aren't arrogant at all. Something we love is that they also have simple burgers and appetizers, but the real reason you will want to come here are the delicious New York Strip steak, Filet Mignon, or Prime Rib. They have a nice selection of beers and excellent wines, but we have to admit we are big fans of their cocktails. 2 East Jefferson

Breakfast Club: One of the best breakfast and lunch spots is the Breakfast Club. They have an utterly delicious choice of dishes on their menu such as numerous types of waffles, huevos rancheros, and so much more. Now, their name suggests they are only for breakfast, but you can also hit them for a lunch time meal too. There are vegetarian options available. 2 East Jefferson Street

The Killer Whale Sex Club: This is one of our favorite places to grab some grub and sexy named, delicious drinks. I won't list them because you'll want to be surprised and have a laugh when you go here. The food is fun and yummy with pork lumpia, crab fried steak, Korean fried chicken with squid ink bun (try and find that anywhere else!), among others.

Note: If you aren't ready for some, ummmm, inappropriate photos on the wall and a dark and speakeasy type of place, this might not be for you. But if you want to try something unlike anywhere else, you must go here. 922 North 6th Street

Compass Arizona Grill at the Hyatt Regency: Get 360-degree views of Phoenix from the Compass Arizona Grill at the Hyatt Regency. It's one of our favorite things to do in downtown Phoenix as you can enjoy both dinner and a drink (in the Company Arizona Lounge). How do you get 360-degree views? It's because this lounge actually REVOLVES as you sit there so you can get constantly different views during your time here. 122 North Second Street

Hanny's: Recommended by pretty much every local we know as a place that you must try out, you will be glad you did. With many original styles of pizzas, sandwiches, and entrees, you will love your meal. The drinks are great too and the interior style of Hanny's is unlike any you will see elsewhere as it is historic and also has modern art and curios that will make you think you've enter an art gallery at the same time as the restaurant. 40 North 4th Street

The Kettle Black Kitchen & Pub: This is our favorite pub to hit when we are about to go out for a night on the town and yet don't want to break the bank. The food is classic Irish pub food that you will love. The mixed drinks are perfect, and they have numerous beers on tap and also in bottles or cans if you want to try something completely new and exciting. We love their Guinness Braised Beef Ribs, Reuben, and they have a really tasty black bean burger for those looking for a vegetarian meal. 1 North First Street

Taco Chelo: This is without question our favorite Mexican/Latin style restaurant in this area. The décor is totally cool with a mural of Frida Kahlo and other Latin inspired culture designs. The food is out of this world - authentic with dishes such as tacos made with carne asada, carnitas, and out-of-the-ordinary ones like the Sonoran style. They have loads of different cocktails and beers. Since the whole area around it is full of murals, this is a great one of the things to do in downtown Phoenix if you want to knock out two events at once. 501 East Roosevelt Avenue

>> Find additional places where we love to eat in downtown Phoenix

Annual Events

You will find a variety of events in downtown Phoenix throughout the year. Some are festivals including the Arizona Fall Fest and the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Faire.

Others include the popular First Friday Art Walk, the Chinese Culture & Cuisine Festivals, and Urban Ale Trail Week.

>> Find out more about all of the best downtown events here

Shopping

Arizona Center: This is truly the perfect place to shop and dine while in downtown Phoenix. Something that Aram and I love is that they have an actual movie theater so we can go, grab some snacks, and see a movie on the big screen! Marriott just built a new AC hotel there too so now you can stay at a great hotel in the middle of everything. It will also put you within walking distance to the NHL, NBA, and NFL, teams play. 455 North 3rd Street

CityScape Phoenix: With over 2 blocks of space, there is just about anything you could imagine here including a bowling alley! You will find numerous restaurants, shopping and even work out centers. There are two different hotels to stay in so you can choose your level of comfort and price. Depending on the day and date you are here, there is most likely some type of special event happening for you to enjoy. And, like most downtown areas, this is close to the NBA, NHL and NFL stadiums. 1 East Washington Street

Downtown Farmer's Market: This is a special event as it only occurs on Saturday mornings throughout the year. With loads of fresh food all a variety of local merchants, you can feel secure knowing you are having the healthiest food from around Valley. Local chefs will be displaying their best concoctions for you to eat and more. Something we love is that it is run by a non-profit and so it is also making sure that small businesses survive and thrive here in the Valley of the Sun. 721 North Central Avenue

Hidden Track Bottle Shop: This is definitely not your usual wine and alcohol store as they pride themselves on having choices that you won't find anywhere else. The two owners will gladly give you personal service so you can find exactly what you are looking for whenever you visit here. Depending on the day you visit, they may be holding special wine tastings where you can experience something new and learn from the masters. There is also a small café when you want a bit to eat. 111 West Monroe Street

Bars

Large cocktail at Bliss Bar in the Roosevelt Row District

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour: Constantly ranked as one of the top bars in all of Phoenix, this is a must visit whenever you are in downtown. The drinks are delicious, and totally original. They also serve up some of the best food in the district. We love this place because every time we go and sample a different cocktail, they look like pieces of art. The bartenders are that inventive. And it always cracks us up that it is located in the former Arizona Prohibition Center! 1 West Jefferson

Bliss ReBAR: If you want to try someplace totally different, you have to go to this bar. With both an inside area, and an outside area, you are going to love it. We personally love to sit outside, right by their 360-degree bar under a "rebar" tree and stay cool with all the misters around it. There is nothing more fun than to watch the bartenders, running around it, and making all kinds of drinks. Going here is one of our favorite things to do in downtown Phoenix. It is also near the Roosevelt Row murals in case you want to walk around a bit. 905 North 4th Street

Cobra Arcade Bar: Ding! Ding! Ding! Do you remember your high scores on all of your favorite video games from when you were a youngster (well, depending on your age)? Some of the ones you will find here include those such as Dig Dug, Q*Bert, and the classic Donkey Kong! The cool thing about this part arcade, part bar is that they rotate games. If you don't love what they have, then you can come back again later to try something new. In addition to that, they have a great bar stocked with everything you'll need to help, or hinder, your game playing abilities. Note: The Cobra Arcade Bar is 21+ only. 801 North 2nd Street

Crown Public House: If you are going to a game, then this is the perfect place for you as it is between the Diamondbacks and the Suns Stadium. It's also a great place to come watch a game as they have several TVs all tuned into your favorite AZ teams. They have a massive menu for you to choose from and, of course, great drinks. One of our favorite reasons for going here is that they have a fun outdoor area, with shade covers, and misters so you can stay cool and watch everyone walking by as they head to a nearby game. 333 East Jefferson Street

The Valley Bar: Going here, especially with friends, is one of our favorite things to do in downtown Phoenix because it has something for everyone! They have an extensive list of beers, cocktails, wines, and tasty food. Now, we could say that about most places, but what sets The Valley Bar apart is they have a 250-person concert area and also a games room with two pool tables, shuffleboard, pinball games, darts, and so much more. It is a perfect way to play some games, eat some bits, drink some tasty drinks, and then see a very up-close-and-personal concert or event. 130 North Central Avenue

The Whining Pig Downtown: Simply stated, if you love beer, you have to come here. With your choice of over 120 of them, you will always find something new. They also have a nice wine list, great food (they are especially well known for the unique grilled cheese sandwiches which we love), and lots of fun classic games to play while you are chilling out. If you are adventurous, ask for their "Brown Bag Option" where they choose a mystery beer, obviously in a brown bag, for cheap! 201 East Washington Street, Unit 104

Tours

Phoenix Legends Bike Tour: This is one of the truly great ways to learn about the city, find hidden gems, and get a bit of exercise at the same time. You'll take in 3 main stops; all the while being educated about everything else in between. Something special is that there are so many secrets, and places you'd never see or know about, that you'll feel like you are a local after your tour! Check for availability here.

Phoenix Walking Ghost Tour: BOO! Even though it is a ghost tour, don't worry about being scared as your guide will make sure you are perfectly safe. You will see some of the most haunted locations in the city. You'll also learn about the cultures of the people that once called this area home and the few that still haunt the area. Find out all about the secrets of the city and enjoy your time as well! Check for this tour availability here.

Roosevelt Row Murals Walking Tour: This area is known for some of the most beautiful, colorful, and powerful expressions of art and culture in the area. As you stroll from mural to mural, your guide will tell you the background of each mural as well as a little about some of the area's most famous artists. Some of these murals are of classic cultural icons, while others are abstract and deal more with the changing area. Find out more about this tour here.

Where to Park in Downtown Phoenix

You will find dozens of places to park in downtown Phoenix. They range from street parking to excellent garages. Parking rates range from $10 to around $20 for a full day. 

You will also find parking both in stand-alone garages as well as within some of our top hotels. 

Getting to Downtown Phoenix

From Scottsdale

If you are planning to check out some of these things to do in downtown Phoenix and are coming from Scottsdale, you will find it's an easy drive to get here. From the Old Town Scottsdale area, it takes anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes depending on traffic.

AZ 202 Loop: The fastest way is to jump on the AZ 202 Loop, merge onto I-10, and then take one of the downtown Phoenix exits. 

Indian School Road: You can also head over on Indian School Road. Take it to North 7th Street and then head south. This is an option if you prefer to avoid the freeways.

By Bus: If you don't want to drive, you can also take the bus. You will be required to transfer to a second bus, but it's an easy transfer.

  • 29 from Thomas Rd & Pima Park: Pick up the 29 at Thomas Road and Pima Park. Take it to Central Avenue. From here, you will cross the street and transfer to the 0 heading south (should say Dobbins+Central on the bus). This will take you into the heart of all of the fun things to do in downtown Phoenix. It takes just over an hour.
  • 50 from Camelback Rd & Scottsdale Rd: If you are a little further north in Scottsdale, you can also take the 50. Take this all the way to Central Avenue and transfer over to the 0. This bus should also read Dobbins+Central on the bus. 

From Sky Harbor Airport

Light rail train near Chase Field in Phoenix

The main Phoenix airport is called Sky Harbor Airport. It is just a few minutes east of downtown Phoenix.

Driving: If you plan to rent a car, the drive from the airport to downtown Phoenix only takes about 10 to 30 minutes (depending on traffic). The easiest way to get here is via I-10 and Washington Street. The drive is only about 4.5 miles. By only being on the freeway for a short period of time, you can easily avoid the worst of the traffic.

Light Rail: You can also easily get to downtown Phoenix without a car. There is a light rail stop right near the airport. You'll first need to take hop on the first train at the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station. This will get you to the Valley Metro Rail which will take you into the heart of downtown Phoenix.


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