What To Do For 36 Hours In Phoenix, Arizona

36 hours in phoenix

Phoenix is located in a place known as the “Valley of the Sun” because quite simply put, Phoenix is hot and sunny for just about the whole year. The city has the luxury of enjoying some pretty great weather almost all the time and being the fifth biggest city in the United States means that there is a lot to see and experience. With the city being located near the Sonoran Desert, the people of Phoenix know that going on and exploring the natural beauty of the desert is a unique experience that many people in the country don’t get to do. But if the outdoors isn’t for you, the city is also home to tons of great museums and cafes. If you’re visiting the city and you only have a short time, check out some suggestions on what to do for 36 hours in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Day 1: Afternoon

Grab a slice at POMO Pizzeria

Who doesn’t love some pizza? POMO Pizzeria is a Phoenix favorite that brings the classic pizzeria with a little more modern and fresh retooling. POMO Pizzeria is more than just pizza though, enjoy some delicious pasta or paninis that are all homemade using fresh ingredients. Their pasta is all gluten-free and freshly made in the restaurant. They also have a full-service bar and gelateria on site so if you’re craving something a little sweet afterward make sure to have a scoop or two.

POMO Pizzeria

Address: 705 N 1st St #120, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Website: POMO Pizzeria

Opening hours: Sun, Tue - Thu: 11am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 11pm (closed on Mon)

Get out of the sun and check out Phoenix Art Museum (from USD 23.0)

36 hours in phoenix | get out of the sun and check out phoenix art museum
Source: www.viator.com

The Phoenix Art Museum is one of the best places in the city to get a view of some art. Step out of the desert sun for a moment and take a day exploring over 19,000 works of art. The Phoenix Art Museum is home to tons of permanent galleries that feature art from all over the world including Latin America, Asia, and Native American. There is a wide variety of art around in different mediums from contemporary and modern art to paintings and crafts as well as photography.

General Admission - Includes admission to Legends of Speed

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

Explore Native American art at Heard Museum

Heard Museum-3
Source: Photo by user Visitor7 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re still in the mood for art then definitely check out Heard Museum specializing in Native American art. The Native community of Phoenix is pretty substantial and is an important part of the fabric of the city. Heard Museum is a non-profit and tells the stories of the Native people from a first-person perspective and frequently collaborates with American Indian artists from around the country. The museum also hosts events and festivals showcasing the best of local Native art.

Heard Museum

Address: 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Website: Heard Museum

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9:30am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm

Price: 25 USD

Day 1: Evening

Head out into nature at Phoenix Sonoran Preserve

Sonoran Desert Landscape
Source: Pixabay

Phoenix Sonoran Preserve is located in the north of the city. The area is one of Phoenix’s newest preserve locations in the Sonoran Desert and is one of the best nature preserves around. There are over 36 trails for hiking although most of it is wild trails so always make sure to head out there prepared. In the northern area of the park, the Apache Vista and Ridgeback Overlook are a couple of more challenging trails but have some amazing views once you reach the summit.

Phoenix Sonoran Preserve

Address: 1600 E Sonoran Desert Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85085, United States

Website: Phoenix Sonoran Preserve

Opening hours: 5am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free

Hike up Dixie Mountain

Mountain View Cemetery on Dixie Mountain - Oregon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user M.O. Stevens used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Dixie Mountain is a pretty nice option for those who want to hike in the nature that surrounds Phoenix but not looking for too much of a challenge. Dixie Mountain has town summits that loop and the trails that head up the mountain are well-marked and trafficked by other hikers pretty frequently. The trail is open all year round thanks to Phoenix’s beautiful weather and there are tons of gorgeous Arizona wildflowers so don’t forget to bring your camera along!

Dixie Mountain

Address: Dixie Mountain Loop Phoenix, AZ 85085, USA

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

Price: Free

Indulge in some pizza at Mellow Mushroom

Mellow Mushroom in Hiram, Georiga, September 2016
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thomson200 used under CC0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

After a long day of hiking and exploring the beauty of Phoenix, Mellow Mushroom is here to fill you up. Baking their pizza on the stone, their menus have everything you’ll be craving after getting a full day of exercise. Enjoy subs and hoagies as well as calzones, wings, salads, and burgers. Not to mention that Mellow Mushroom has over 36 different varieties of beer on tap. Of course, if you’re too lazy to head into the restaurant, they also have online ordering so you can get a fresh pizza delivery.

Mellow Mushroom

Address: 5350 E High St, Phoenix, AZ 85054, United States

Website: Mellow Mushroom

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 10:30am - 2am; Fri - Sun: 7am - 2am

Day 1: Night

Have a pint at Valley Bar

Valley Bar is located in the heart old downtown Phoenix in a building that was built in the 1940s. If you’re looking for a low-key night out at one of the city’s coolest bars, you’re in luck because Valley Bar is one of the coolest spots in the city. With soft dark hues and neon lights, Valley Bar wants to evoke the sense that you’re out in the desert and watching the sunset–but with your friends and a couple of drinks of course. The bar has games and billiards if you want to hang out and relax and thee are often events like comedy shows and live music.

Valley Bar

Address: 130 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Website: Valley Bar

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 4pm - 2am; Sat - Sun: 6pm - 2am

Watch some live comedy at Stand Up Live

For stand-up comedy fans, head to Stand Up Live and catch a show. The venue is one of the best spots in Phoenix to watch a live show no matter the day of the week. The venue is relatively small so you’ll get that intimate up-close and personal experience with the performer. On top of that, Stand Up Live brings in many international big names and some smaller local comedians. You’ll be able to watch comedians on the up-and-coming or also watch some of the biggest names in comedy.

Stand Up Live

Address: 50 W Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States

Website: Stand Up Live

Day 2: Morning

Grab a coffee at Phoenix Public Market Cafe

After a night of having a few drinks and a night out laughing at the comedy clubs, perk yourself up a little bit and head to Phoenix Public Market Cafe. Located in the Phoenix Public Market, the cafe strives to serve some delicious and fresh coffee as well as a variety of fresh baked goods and food options. Located in downtown Phoenix, you can come grab a coffee to go or simply sit back and sit on their patio while you sip your latte in the Arizona sun. The menu is simple and small but always delivers on freshness and flavor.

Phoenix Public Market Cafe

Address:14 E Pierce St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States

Website: Phoenix Public Market Cafe

Opening hours: 7am - 8pm (daily)

Discover Phoenix's Indigenous culture at Roosevelt Arts District (from USD 58.0)

36 hours in phoenix | discover phoenix's indigenous culture at roosevelt arts district
Source: www.viator.com

The Roosevelt Arts District is cool and trendy and a perfect place to get int ouch with the Native American side of Phoenix. The neighborhood is a hip part of the city where you’ll find all kinds of cool and quirky stores and shops so do make sure to spend some time here beforehand. Discover some new tastes and flavors from the Native community that you might not get to taste elsewhere. Phoenix’s roots are steeped in the indigenous community so why not explore the culture a little bit and get better acquainted with the people?

Indigenous Roots of Phoenix Food & Culture Tour

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

Find some serenity at Japanese Friendship Garden

Phoenix AZ Ro Ho En Japanese Friendship Garden 50990
Source: Photo by user Wars used under CC BY 3.0

Japanese Friendship Garden is also known as Ro Ho En and is located in the Roosevelt Arts District so after your lunch, why not take a little stroll to the gardens? The garden is part of a joint project with the city of Himeji, Japan as it is sister cities with Phoenix. Landscape architects from the city of Himeji came to Phoenix to participate in the project to make sure it is as authentic as possible. The name is a combination of the two cities’ names with “en” meaning garden. On site, you’ll be able to find a traditional Japanese teahouse as well as varieties of bamboo, walking paths, and water streams.

Japanese Friendship Garden

Address: 1125 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003, United States

Website: Japanese Friendship Garden

Opening hours; Tue - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 10 USD

Day 2: Afternoon

Have dinner in the desert at Gertrude's

Gertrude’s is a unique restaurant that is known for bringing some amazing seasonally inspired cooking that is fresh, locally sourced, and of course, very tasty. What makes the restaurant very unique is that it is located in the Desert Botanical Gardens so while you’re dining you can look out onto the desert and admire the beauty of Arizona’s landscape. Make sure to come back and taste what the new items are as often as you can.


Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States

Website: Gertrude’s

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10:30am - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 8am - 9pm

Catch the sunset at Papago Park Sunset View

Source: Photo by user 2candle used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Papago Park is a pretty interesting place and a location in the city of Phoenix that is very important to the people who live there. The park is technically part of Phoenix and Tempe and has been designated a “Phoenix point of pride” as well being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park is hilly and its desert landscape has some pretty interesting geological formations as well as a wide array of desert plants and foliage. Walk uphill and follow the trails to a sunset view and catch the sun going down over the city. Don’t forget your camera!

Papago Park

Address: 625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States

Website: Papago Park

Opening hours: 6am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free

Look at local plant life at Desert Botanical Gardens

Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix Arizona 51
Source: Photo by user Simeon87 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Desert Botanical Gardens are located in Papago Park so if you’re going to exploring the area then make sure to stop on by and explore the beautiful gardens and lush landscape of Desert Botanical Gardens. The gardens were founded in 1937 and now there are over 50,000 different plants on site including a massive collection of cacti and agave plants. On top of their native desert plants, they also have a wide variety of important plants that have been adapted to thrive in a desert climate. Walk around the park and see some interesting plants and maybe head to Gertrude’s afterwards if you’re hungry.

Desert Botanical Gardens

Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States

Website: Desert Botanical Gardens

Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)

Price: 25 USD

Day 2: Evening

Go for an evening hike at South Mountain Park Preserve

South Mountain Park Entrance
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ciphers used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Parks and nature are an important part of the Phoenix landscape and culture. All around the city, you can find some pretty amazing parks and green spaces. South Mountain Park Preserve is the biggest municipal park in the United States and one of the largest urban parks in North America. South Mountain Park Preserve is located in the southern part of Phoenix and is home to some beautiful flowers and plants as well as a variety of animal species. Local Phoenicians come to cycle through the hills or hike the mountains and get a great view of the city from the top of the park.

South Mountain Park Preserve

Address: 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042, United States

Website: South Mountain Park Preserve

Opening hours: 5am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free

While at South Mountain Park, check out Dobbins Lookout

Dobbins Lookout
Source: Photo by user Gage Skidmore used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Dobbins Lookout is part of the South Mountain Park Preserve and is one of the best spots in the city for a picturesque lookout. The area is regarded as a “Phoenix Point of Pride” and for good reason. The view from here is absolutely beautiful and going during the evening is a good idea because the sun will be a lot less brutal. Make sure to pack some good walking shoes if you plan on hiking your way up but there is also a passage for cars if you don’t feel like walking.

Dobbins Lookout

Address: 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042, United States

Website: South Mountain Park Preserve

Opening hours: Sat - Thu: 5am - 7pm; Fri: 5am - 9pm

Price: Free

Savor a perfectly cooked steak at T-Bone Steak House

Come on in for our ribs special - Rack of Baby Back Pork Ribs for $23 and a half rack for $17!

Posted by T-bone Steakhouse on Sunday, 1 December 2013

T-Bone Steak House brings the taste of the West right to your table. Enjoy scenic views of the valley and dine in this Western-style steakhouse. The building is from the 1920s and was made into a restaurant in the 1940s so eating here is kind of a little bit of local history brought to you up-close. Located on the south side of South Mountain the only thing better than the view here are the steaks.

T-Bone Steak House

Address: 10037 S 19th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85041, United States

Website: T-Bone Steak House

Opening hours: 5pm - 10pm (daily)

Day 2: Night

Have a cocktail or two at Kat's Bar

Posted by Kats Neighborhood Bar on Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Kat’s Bar keeps it low-key and not too filled with those extras that will make you pay too much for a drink. If you’re looking for a place to hang out with some friends, have a couple of drinks and have a good time, then Kat’s Bar is the spot. The bar has a hole-in-the-wall vibe that feels like a real local hangout.

Kat's Bar

Address: 2309 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016, United States

Website: Kat’s Bar

Opening hours: 10am - 2am (daily)

End your night with a drink at The Rebel Lounge

The Rebel Lounge is a place for the late-night crowd to rock out and headbang the night away. As Phoenix’s premier alternative rock bar, there’s always great tunes either playing on the on speakers or live on the floor. The club was founded in 1979 and has been host to some of rock’s biggest names like Green Day, Nirvana, The Black Keys, and Jimmy Eat World, just to name a few. Grab a couple of friends and a couple of beers and rock out.

The Rebel Lounge

Address: 2303 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016, United States

Website: The Rebel Lounge

Phoenix in thirty-six

Phoenix is a great city with tons of amazing things to offer. Nature is a beautiful component of the city that seems to make its way through many facets of life for the people of Phoenix, which is certainly a good thing! But there is also a ton of amazing culture to behold and amazing things to eat and discover as well.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Alex is a Canadian university graduate with degrees in English literature and History. He was born in Montreal and when he's not traveling he enjoys movies, video games, playing the drums and...Read more

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