Have a layover in the Phoenix airport or if you need to pass some time in the area, then here are some tips on what to eat and what to do.
Phoenix Is A Oasis In The Desert
So you have a layover or are visitng the Phoenix area for a while. You could stay in the airport, eat something and relax with their free wi-fi, or you can head out into the surrounding area and see what Phoenix has to offer.
I won’t lie. I am originally from Los Angeles and never thought much of the Arizona desert. Like most, I believed it to be just hot, and I was totally right on the temperature in the summer, but it has so much more to offer.
Well the weather can be very hot and extreme during a few months of the year. Be prepared for days in the triple digits from June to September. We have some of the most dramatic sunsets because of our storms, being dry in climate, and from small particles in the air. So have your camera ready.
Watch out for dust storms called “haboobs”. They can cause the airport to shut down, as well as other things. In addition, they make great photo opportunities. Just be careful of your lens, there will be dust coming your way.
Take It From Us Since We Live Here
My wife and myself have lived in the Phoenix area for many years. We are lucky to have so many food options and activities that can be done at such a close proximity. The weather is great most of the year with sunny day, which are great for exploring. Since we travel so much, we understand when you have a layover somewhere and want to get out to try what they have to offer.
Lucky for you, the Phoenix airport is in a perfect location with many options for amazing food and activities close by. Try to get out and see some of the Sonoran Desert if you have the time.
A little tip for going back through TSA in terminal 4 is to use the B security side, which usually has a shorter line and can take you to all of the American gates as well as some of the Southwest ones.
Things To Do
located 3.6 miles from the airport and less than 10 minute drive
is free and great place to see a Sonoran Cactus and get in a hike that can range from easy to difficult
open daily 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. for trails and the parking lot closes at sunset
Want to know more about Papago Park? Then check out our guide to Papago Park, located in the heart of the city.
Desert Botanical Gardens
located 4.6 miles from the airport and only a 10 minute drive
open daily 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. May – September and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. October – April
free the 2nd Tuesday of every month, otherwise will cost $24.95 per adult and $12.95 for ages 3-17, while children under 3 are free
has a dinning option on site, Gertrude’s , which focuses on food that is farm to plate
Some things to see when they are available are the Fall Butterfly Exhibit, Sunday Concerts In The Garden, Chiles & ChocolateFestival, and the Electric Desert A Light And Sound Experience By Klip Collective.
great place if you have a family that needs a few hours to keep busy
takes about 2-3 hours to walk through
located 4 miles from the airport and less than a 9 minute drive
open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
general admission is $24.95 per adult, $16.95 for ages 3-13, and free for children under 2 (you can save $2 per ticket if you purchase them online)
can upgrade your ticket to also include the 4-D Theater, Safari Cruiser, Camel Ride, Stingray Bay, Giraffe Encounter, and the Endangered Species Carousel
discount on tickets for Military, Seniors, Students, and AAA
takes about 3 hours to walk the whole zoo
located 7.7 miles from the airport and take less than 20 minutes to drive or you can hop on a bus that goes straight down 44th St
you are not allowed to be dropped of at the Cholla trailhead, you must walk up the street, otherwise your driver can be fined
Camelback has an elevation of 2,704 feet, which makes it perfect for pictures and views of the city
you can hire a guide to take you up and will cost about $120 for one hiker and another $30 per person after
Caution: this is a difficult hike and it can be common to see a helicopter rescuing people from this mountain. (My wife, Cam has been rescued off of the mountain) Be warned, it can get very hot and is rocky in places, so take extra water
If you are looking for an easier hike you can do with the kids, then head to Hayden Butte Preserve Park “A” Mountain
located 8.1 miles from the airport and is a 15 minute drive or 45 minutes when taking the light rail (get on at 44th St/Washington St station and take to Central Ave/Encanto Blvd)
open Monday to Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free on first Fridays of the month, otherwise it is $18 per adult, $13.50 for seniors, $7.50 for students/children and children under 5 as well as American Indians are free
can take 3-4 hours
Tempe Town Lake
located 4.4 miles from the airport and will take either 9 minutes if driving and 36 minutes if you take the light rail from 44th St/Washington St station to Mill Ave
you can rent outdoor gear to go kayaking, paddle boarding, boating or biking
they also offer opportunities to pay for Segway tours around the lake and fishing
it is a short walk from Mill Ave where you can find countless restaurants and ice cream shops for the family
Rositas fine Mexican Food ~some great cheap Sonoran Mexican food (our favorite)
Have you visited Papago Park? Did you enjoy the park and would you go again? Have any other parks that we should try? Let us know in the comments section. Thanks for visiting our site and check back for other destinations.
The information on this website has come from research and by experiencing it ourselves. Opening hours, trail closures, prices, etc. are always subject to change. We try to keep up to date on any new information, or tips to help make your adventure more enjoyable.
My name is Shannon (37) and I grew up in the Los Angeles area, moved to Las Vegas for a few years and finally made my way to Phoenix, Arizona. This was the city, Camilla, lived in and thus, where we ended up living in. Since a child, I have had the pleasure to travel to 44 of the 50 States in the U.S. for summer vacations due to awesome parents who loved to travel.
From these trips, I grew a love of adventure and exploration. This increased to flying to different parts of the world when I met my girlfriend and future wife, Camilla.
With a B.S. in Biology (emphasis on environmental conservation), my wife and I try to travel with ecotourism and the protection of the countries environment being factor when choosing places. In the past I have worked with rescuing marine animals, like Horn Sharks to a juvenile Black Sea Bass from Power Plants to be rehabilitated and released. Another was hiking the hills of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, looking for the Western Grey Squirrel.
We would like to help other traveler's with inspiration and information on how to make unforgettable memories when exploring what the world has to offer. With over a decade of experience traveling, we can offer stories, advice, guides, and more. There is never a trip that doesn't involve some change of plans when you also have Tourette's Syndrome. Makes for a fun conversation or interesting changes of events.
Along with the travel blog, Adventuresofwifesquared.com, I shares as many photographs on Instagram, pins on Pinterest, and vlogs on YouTube. If you ever see us in the world, come say hi!
I live in Phoenix myself. Last year a friend and his mom had a flight canceled at Sky Harbor, and since I work not far from the airport, we met up and had lunch at Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles on S. Central just south of Buckeye. It’s close enough to the airport to merit a mention. They also have a location in Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor, but I prefer the ambiance at the S. Central location.
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