Discover the Ultimate Solo Adventure: 31 Unforgettable Things to Do Alone in Phoenix!

Are you looking for fun things to do alone in Phoenix? A solo adventure in Phoenix unveils a tapestry of experiences, blending outdoor escapades, cultural immersion, and moments of pure relaxation. Having traversed the city’s vibrant landscapes multiple times, each visit unfolds a new chapter of discovery.

Phoenix is a fantastic destination for solo travelers looking for a unique blend of outdoor adventures, cultural exploration, and relaxation. I have visited Phoenix solo numerous times as there is so much to do.

For the nature enthusiast, hiking Camelback Mountain or exploring Papago Park offers a chance to connect with the stunning desert landscapes. The Desert Botanical Garden provides a peaceful, solitary escape among the saguaros and agave.

Art and culture aficionados can immerse themselves in the Native American heritage at the Heard Museum, explore world-class exhibits at the Phoenix Art Museum, or get lost in the Musical Instrument Museum.

MTM museum in phoenix

Old Town Scottsdale beckons solo travelers with its charming streets, unique boutiques, and delectable dining options. To add an element of adventure, take to the skies in a hot air balloon, drifting above the arid terrain as the sun rises, or venture to Tonto Natural Bridge to witness cascading waterfalls.

Whether you seek solitude in the desert, cultural enrichment, or culinary delights, Phoenix welcomes solo travelers with open arms, offering a diverse array of experiences that cater to your personal preferences and a chance to create lasting memories on your own terms.

Overview of Solo Activities in Phoenix, Arizona

Top 10 Things to Do in Phoenix Alone:

  1. Hike Camelback Mountain: Enjoy a solo hike with breathtaking views of the city and surrounding desert.
  2. Explore Desert Botanical Garden: Stroll through the beautiful cacti and desert plants, perfect for a serene solo experience.
  3. Visit Heard Museum: Immerse yourself in Native American culture and art.
  4. Wander Old Town Scottsdale: Discover art galleries, boutiques, and excellent dining options.
  5. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride: Soar above the desert at sunrise for a truly unique solo adventure.
  6. Chase Waterfalls at Tonto Natural Bridge: A short drive from Phoenix, this natural wonder is a great day trip for solo travelers.
  7. Phoenix Art Museum: Delve into the world of art and culture.
  8. Papago Park: Explore the iconic Hole in the Rock and Desert Botanical Garden.
  9. Musical Instrument Museum: Discover a vast collection of instruments from around the world.
  10. Dine at Local Eateries: Savor the diverse culinary scene, from Mexican to Southwestern cuisine.

21 Things to do Alone in Phoenix, Arizona

Desert Botanical Garden

Nestled within the heart of Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden stands as a captivating oasis spanning 140 acres. As a solo adventurer, this vibrant haven offers a unique solo experience, seamlessly blending tranquility and exploration.

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix things to do Alone in Phoenix

Immerse yourself in a captivating tapestry of over 50,000 plant species showcased in breathtaking outdoor exhibits. The Garden, recognized among the top botanical sanctuaries by the American Alliance of Museums, is meticulously maintained by a dedicated team of over 650 volunteers and 229 full-time staff.

Step into the embrace of the Desert Botanical Garden, where each stroll is a narrative of Arizona’s natural wonders. With 92,150 herbarium specimens and 485 rare species, it transcends the ordinary, inviting solo travelers into an extraordinary realm. Wander through the cacti-laden pathways, find solace among saguaros, and discover the intricate stories of the desert flora.

This botanical marvel beckons solo explorers to partake in a rich tapestry of biodiversity, offering an immersive encounter with the desert’s wonders. Whether captivated by the allure of arid landscapes or seeking a serene solo escapade, the Desert Botanical Garden unfolds as a haven where nature and solitude gracefully converge.

South Mountain Park & Preserve

Embark on a solo odyssey in the expansive embrace of South Mountain Park & Preserve, a colossal municipal park revered as Phoenix’s grandeur. As the largest municipal park in the nation, spanning over 16,000 acres, this destination stands as a testament to Arizona’s natural magnificence.

cactus in phoenix while hiking
A Giant Saguaro, one of the largest cacti in the World, in Saguaro National Park, near Tucson Arizona

For solo travelers seeking outdoor allure, South Mountain Park is an exhilarating playground, boasting 58 miles of hiking trails and mountain biking paths. Begin your journey at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center, delving into the mysteries of this colossal terrain.

Venture forth to conquer the summit and be rewarded with panoramic vistas, a visual symphony of desert hues stretching beyond the horizon. South Mountain Park, christened a Phoenix Point of Pride, invites solo adventurers to immerse themselves in the desert’s enigmatic charm, blending fitness, education, and scenic splendor into an unforgettable solo sojourn.

This colossal preserve transcends the ordinary, offering an immersive experience for solo travelers to forge a personal connection with the untamed beauty of the Arizona desert. With every step, South Mountain Park unfolds as an unparalleled solo sanctuary, where the spirit of exploration dances in harmony with the raw majesty of the Sonoran Desert.

Guided Tour for a small group – Join the Fun!

Why not try a guided tour through Phoenix as a solo traveler? There are many enriching experiences, blending expert insights with the freedom of personalized exploration. The diverse array of guided tours in the city caters to individual preferences, ensuring an immersive and stress-free solo adventure.

hot air ballon ride in phoenix is a must for all visitors

Opting for a solo-guided tour, whether through the enchanting Desert Botanical Garden or the historic streets of Old Town Scottsdale, provides a curated narrative by seasoned guides. These knowledgeable companions not only share fascinating stories but also offer a sense of camaraderie for solo explorers, fostering connections with fellow participants.

Why not try a two hour guided tour of Old Town Scottsdale? I had the pleasure of experiencing this historical tour firsthand. The journey offers a perfect blend of excitement and cultural immersion, making it an ideal choice for thrill-seekers intrigued by Scottsdale’s Old Town narrative. Before setting off, the expert guides provide a comprehensive briefing and training session on navigating the cutting-edge Segway i2s.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, guided hot air balloon rides drifting above the arid landscape present a surreal solo escapade. The safety and expertise provided by skilled balloon pilots enhance the experience, making it an ideal option for solo travelers craving both adventure and tranquility.

Moreover, cultural excursions, like guided visits to the Heard Museum, showcase the Native American heritage with depth and authenticity. Solo travelers benefit from the shared cultural journey, gaining a richer understanding of Phoenix’s vibrant history.

In essence, each guided tour in Phoenix becomes a tailored solo escapade, blending local expertise, social opportunities, and a hassle-free exploration of the city’s diverse facets. These guided ventures offer a unique blend of education, entertainment, and connection, ensuring that solo travelers can savor every moment without compromising on safety or engagement.

The Premier Arizona Science Center

The Arizona Scientific Center is a science museum in downtown Phoenix, in the picturesque Heritage and Science Park, and one of the country’s top attractions for science and education. It was established in 1984 with the mission to inspire, instruct, and engage young minds in science.

The Premier Arizona Science Center
By Beyond My Ken – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The 140,000-square-foot structure, which Antoine Predock, a renowned architect, built, mixes ramps, galleries, corridors, and terraces into one distinctive Phoenix landmark. 

The Arizona Science Center fosters brilliance in young minds via interactive displays, standards-aligned STEM education, and research-based initiatives. People of all ages may learn and be entertained in unique ways thanks to the cutting-edge planetarium, immersive displays, and five-story giant-screen theater. 

The Phoenix Children’s Museum is another excellent place to go if you want to amuse kids. 

Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix is packed with exciting things to do and noteworthy attractions that are just waiting to be discovered. I love to walk downtown and try different bars and restaurants.

By Melikamp – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Downtown Phoenix is an excellent location to experience a variety of activities. It is a commercial and entertainment center that is home to art galleries, martini bars, brunch restaurants, interactive exhibitions, and the baseball stadium Chase Field. 

Many visitors walk into the city center to take in live music and drink craft brews while mingling with residents and other tourists. The Valley Metro Rail eliminates the need for a car in downtown, making it simple for visitors to access important locations like Roosevelt Row, a walkable arts district. 

With more than 200 restaurants, downtown Phoenix is a great place to grab a bite because there are so many delectable options. A wonderful nighttime option also includes rooftop lounges and bars with live music. 

Visit the various art galleries, museums, and theaters during the day to find out more about the history and culture of the area.

Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum, located in the heart of a vibrant desert metropolis that invites inhabitants and visitors from all over the world, houses a sizable collection of artwork that dates back to the Renaissance.

For more than 60 years, it has encouraged a connection to the arts through its top-notch exhibitions and extensive collections. 

The Phoenix Art Museum, the largest art gallery in the Southwest, hosts approximately 20,000 objects and receives over 300,000 visitors each year. The museum is committed to kindling the imagination and fostering connections via an inspirational environment filled with art that has the power to change lives. 

I was so happy to make the trip to the Phoenix Art Museum, and you will enjoy it too whether you’re an art or history enthusiast.

The Musical Instrument Museum 

The Musical Instrument Museum is a must-see sight for all music lovers while visiting Phoenix, Arizona! This is the largest museum devoted only to music and maintains a collection of more than 15,000 musical instruments and artifacts. 

By PamMcP – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Now this is something I normally wouldn’t visit but wow this place is incredible and a great escape from the heat. I was so impressed with some of the instruments there and where they came from.

Each one can represent up to 200 distinct nations and regions. With the help of live performances, workshops, and other family-friendly activities, visitors may learn about music from all around the world.

This one-of-a-kind museum, which showcases international musical growth and its effects on the history of several world civilizations, is the only global museum dedicated to musical instruments. 

In the wonderful Musical Instrument Museum, which is sometimes referred to as the “language of the soul,” visitors can learn about the influence that music has had on both culture and history. 

The Hall Of Flame and Fire Museum 

Along with a few other well-liked Phoenix attractions, Papago Park is home to the Hall Of Flame Fire Museum, which is devoted to conserving firefighting apparatus historically employed over the years. 

The museum contains more than 100 fully restored things of fire equipment from 1725 to 2004 and approximately an acre of fire history exhibits. 

The National Firefighting Hall of Fame has relics from all over the world, including places like Austria, Japan, Germany, France, and England. 

There are out-of-date fire extinguishers, numerous FireMarks, and old fire alarm systems on display. A vast range of subject matter relating to the selfless acts of firefighter history is covered in lithographs, paintings, prints, and engravings. 

George F. Getz, Jr. started collecting fire apparatus all across the world when the Hall Of Flame Fire Museum was established in 1961. 

His children and grandkids have continued his work to advance fire safety education, honor firefighters who have died in the line of duty or who have received awards for extraordinary bravery, and preserve the history of firefighting since his passing. 

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale, the pulsating center of Scottsdale, is made up of nine pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods that are home to outstanding art galleries, shops, nightclubs, restaurants, world-class museums, and historical sites that date back to the 1800s. 

This area is one of my favorite places to walk around and take in the history while you’re in Phoenix since it combines Old Wild West character with a sleek contemporary ambiance.

Scottsdale, which is only a 20-minute drive from Phoenix, is perfect for history fans and those who enjoy the outdoors. Near Scottsdale, there are numerous hiking and sightseeing opportunities in the desert.

After touring Old Town Scottsdale, a half-day hiking tour in the Sonoran Desert is a ton of fun. For another option, leave ancient Town Scottsdale and travel to the famous ancient Apache Trail used in the late 1800s before or after taking advantage of everything the city has to offer! 

Check out my post on Things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona

The Desert Oasis Of Tempe Town Lake 

Tempe Town Lake, a desert paradise in Arizona, is close to the Tempe city center. Its a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a haven for leisure pursuits including kayaking, rowing, stand-up paddleboarding, picnicking, walking, and fishing. 

By User:Robertbody, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This urban setting is the ideal retreat from city life. Take in a live performance at the outdoor amphitheater, or have a picnic with friends and family on the grassy bank of the lovely lake. Or go see a baseball game at Tempe Beach Park. 

Tempe Town Lake, the centerpiece of Tempe, is easily accessible from Phoenix and is worth visiting. 

The Phoenix Zoo 

The Phoenix Zoo, which has been open since 1962 and is now acknowledged as the largest privately owned non-profit zoo in the United States, runs on 125 acres next to Papago Park. 

By Jedijoe82 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The zoo, which is home to more than 3,000 animals, many of which are endangered species, is committed to protecting wildlife, as seen by their work to increase populations of ten critically endangered native Arizona species. 

The Phoenix Zoo collaborates with numerous universities and organizations to promote wildlife conservation in Arizona and around the world. 

The revival of the Arabian Oryx is one of this reputed zoo’s notable accomplishments. In the wild, this antelope became extinct in 1972. This extinct species was revived and returned to the wild with the help of the Phoenix Zoo and Fauna Preservation Society. 

Visitors can now witness the majestic Arabian Oryx, which would have perished otherwise if not for the Phoenix Zoo’s crucial role in its survival. 

The David and Gladys Wright House

The David and Gladys Wright House is a significant historical site. This house, which is a portion of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, was created and donated to his son David and daughter-in-law Gladys by Frank Lloyd Wright. 

The house, which was built in 1950, is among Wright’s most distinctive and avant-garde architectural works. The residence is at the foot of Camelback Mountain, and because of its magnificent architecture, its inhabitants have a clear view of both the mountain and the desert beyond. 

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was established in honor of the building’s chief architect. With a career spanning seven decades, a well-known architect named Frank Lloyd Wright is acknowledged as one of the greatest American architects of all time. 

The Japanese Friendship Garden

The 3.5-acre Japanese Friendship Garden is a walking garden inspired by the culture of the country’s sister city in Japan, Himeji. The RoHoEn garden, which bears that name, was built in 1987 to showcase the friendships that exist between Phoenix and Himeji in particular. 

This is a great way to spend some time, stroll garden, there is a stone garden, a courtyard garden, a tea garden, and more. The City of Himeji and its residents donated every element of the garden’s ornaments. 

The garden is a tranquil garden meant to be enjoyed, with over 1,500 tons of hand-picked rock, lanterns, stone footbridges, and more than 50 plants. The 12-foot waterfall, flowing streams, and the koi pond filled with more than 300 colorful koi fish make it feel as though you are actually in Japan! 

I highly recommend visiting and taking in the beautiful landscape.

Camelback Mountain 

Camelback Mountain is a popular destination for hikers all year and is only twenty minutes from downtown Phoenix.

hiking in phoenix

I first visited Camelback in 1992 and every time I visit Phoenix I always go back. Camelback is a highlight to any trip to Phoenix and there are so many great trails. I love hiking the mountain.

Two routes go up 1,420 feet to the mountain’s summit, which is said to be one of Phoenix’s best treks and has the shape of a camel’s back. This summit offers a panoramic perspective of the city and is a well-liked location for photos.

Camelback Mountain, which takes its name from two rock formations that resemble the head and back of a crouching camel, is a designated Phoenix Mountains Preserve that was made into a city park in 1968. It is close to a thriving dining area in Phoenix’s Arcadia district. 

An experienced and qualified guide will lead your group on a private hiking tour to the summit, where you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city. 

Since the hike is difficult, beginners and little children should not attempt it. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and bring lots of drinks!

Papago Park 

Papago Park, which offers a ton of outdoor recreation opportunities, is rich in history. I was so impressed to see this park in the middle of the city and everything it has to offer.

Papago Park is a fantastic Phoenix activity for history fans and energetic people. It was formerly a reservation for native tribes, a fish hatchery during the Great Depression, a POW camp during World War II, and subsequently a VA hospital. 

Since then, Papago Park has grown to include the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, museums, and golf courses. 

Visit Papago Golf Course to play a game of golf while surrounded by Sonoran Desert vegetation and animals. Papago Park is close to the Phoenix Zoo, which animal enthusiasts can visit, as well as the Desert Botanical Garden, where plant lovers can promenade.

The Heard Museum 

The Heard Museum is a privately owned, nonprofit institution that supports the development of American Indian art. 

Since its founding in 1929, the museum has expanded quickly and gained recognition on a global scale because of its top-notch exhibits, collections, great festivals, and top-notch educational programming. The American Indian people’s tales are presented in the first person, making for an effective story presentation. 

The Heard Museum works in conjunction with American Indian artists and tribal groups to accurately represent and promote Native American art from their points of view. 

This is a great place to learn about the development of American Indian arts and cultures because it was one of Phoenix’s first cultural attractions. 

The Paradise Valley 

One of the best things to do in Phoenix is to play a few rounds of golf at establishments like Orange Tree Golf Resort and Stone Creek Golf Club. Phoenix is recognized for its golf. 

The most well-liked golfing location, however, is Paradise Valley, which is located in the center of Scottsdale and Phoenix’s desert oasis.

The famous Camelback Mountain to the south, the McDowell Mountains to the east, and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve to the west encircle Paradise Valley. There are several indoor and outdoor activities in this town, including shopping and hiking. 

This community, which is the wealthiest in Arizona, is surrounded by luxury amenities like real estate, dining establishments, golf courses, shops, and exciting outdoor leisure activities. 

The Goldfield Ghost Town

A history museum, gold-mine tours, Old West gunfights, and other attractions are all available at the recreated 1890s town of Goldfield Ghost Town and Mine Tours.

My grandparents first took me here in the 90s and we loved it as kids. Its a great place to visit with a lot of history.

Goldfield Ghost Town, which formerly housed a boarding house, three saloons, a general store, a school, a brewery, a boarding house, and a meat market, eventually perished slowly and painfully as the ore industry plummeted. 

The abandoned gold mining town that was built next to the storied Apache Trail is visited by tourists from all over the world. 

Visitors will get a taste of the Old West as they tour the Goldfield Mine and other historical sites on this exclusive ghost town and canyon lake day tour. Before the gorgeous steamboat cruise on Canyon Lake, lunch will be served at the Old Saloon.

The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens

The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens were created to flourish around the boathouse artifact housed in a glass case as a tribute to the gallant U.S. forces aboard the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

The 1,170 of the 1,512 crew members who perished in the attack on Pearl Harbor are honored by this USS Arizona exhibit. 

The USS Arizona had been hit by one torpedo and eight bombs, which resulted in a high casualty toll. On metal memorials made of stacked blocks with names and ranks etched, those who died are remembered in the gardens. 

On benches positioned across the gardens’ pathways, survivors have also memorialized a few quotes. It is shaped exactly like the USS Arizona and is 608 feet long. Its design was inspired by the ship. 

The Bountiful Historic Neighborhoods 

There are 35 historic neighborhoods in Phoenix that visitors can tour. For instance, the Willo Historic District was created with specific traits in mind. As a result, Willo is one of Phoenix’s largest historic neighborhoods and has over 700 homes. 

Thanks to Home Builders, a building company that constructed 41 homes in Willo in the same architectural style for five years, the neighborhood got its start in the 1920s. 

The Alvarado District, where the Heard Museum is located, is another lovely location. There are several olive trees and Spanish and American colonial buildings in this area. 

Another attractive neighborhood that was formed by the US’s withdrawal from the World Wars is Windsor Square. Beautiful ranch-style houses can be found here. 

These districts are beautiful and well worth visiting, even if you’re not a big fan of history or architecture. 

The Mystery Castle

Mystery Castle is a one-of-a-kind stone castle built by a father for his princess that is listed on the Arizona Historical Register and has won the Pride of Phoenix Award.

The native stone castle was built by Boyce Gully in 1945 for his daughter. It features thirteen fireplaces, 18 rooms, parapets, nooks, and crannies, as well as a substantial collection of southwest antiques. After settling in, the daughter started giving tours of the house until she died in 2010.

Today, Mystery Castle is open for tours from October to May and has received accolades from numerous publications, including Warner Brothers, Life Magazine, The New York Times, and The National Inquirer. 

The Apache Trail through the Superstition Mountains

The Superstition Mountains are traversed via the 40-mile-long, beautiful Apache Trail.

The Apache Trail is mostly unpaved, covered in cacti, and has many deep reservoirs. The Apache Indians who once traveled the path inspired the name of this ancient road.

Today, lots of people travel to Arizona to climb this beautiful trail. It is crucial to travel with a guide; therefore, we advise looking into this Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat Day Trip tour.

The guided trip will take visitors on an educational and entertaining adventure through the desert, the mountains, and then over Canyon Lake by Dolly Steamboat.

Take a Day Trip to Sedona

Embarking on a solo day trip to Sedona was a transformative experience. The scenic drive unfolded like a canvas of red rock masterpieces, leaving me in awe of nature’s artistry.

In Sedona, I explored charming Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village and hiked the Cathedral Rock Trail, feeling the energy of the vortex sites. As a solo traveler, the solitude amidst such natural beauty was both introspective and invigorating, making this day trip an unforgettable journey into Arizona’s soul-stirring landscapes.

Attend a Sports Game

Attending a Phoenix Suns basketball game as a solo traveler was a surprisingly social adventure. The camaraderie among fans created an electric atmosphere, and striking up conversations with fellow enthusiasts enhanced the experience.

The cheers, the intensity of the game, and the shared passion for sports made it a memorable outing. As a solo attendee, I felt a sense of belonging in the collective spirit of the crowd, turning a sports event into a solo adventure filled with camaraderie.

Relax at a Resort Pool

Lounging solo by a resort pool in Phoenix became a haven of tranquility and self-indulgence. With a day pass, I had access to a luxurious oasis, complete with spa amenities and poolside service.

The freedom to unwind at my own pace, soak up the sun, and take refreshing dips created a perfect balance of solitude and pampering. As a solo traveler, this poolside retreat offered a peaceful escape, allowing me to recharge amidst sophisticated surroundings.

Check out my post on the best resorts and waterparks in Phoenix, Arizona

Indulge in Culinary Adventures

Phoenix’s culinary scene unfolded as a gastronomic journey for this solo traveler. Exploring local Southwestern flavors, food trucks, and trendy eateries became a solo adventure in culinary diversity.

I savored each bite at my own pace, discovering hidden gems and engaging with the city’s food culture. Joining a food tour introduced me to passionate chefs and fellow food enthusiasts, turning my solo culinary exploration into a social and flavorful experience.

Attend a Yoga Class or Wellness Retreat

Participating in a solo yoga class and wellness retreat in Phoenix was a soul-soothing escape. Whether in a serene studio or amidst nature, the mindfulness journey offered moments of self-discovery.

As a solo participant, I connected with like-minded individuals, finding solace in the shared pursuit of well-being. The retreat provided a space for introspection, rejuvenation, and personal growth, making it a cherished chapter in my solo travels through Phoenix.

Nicole LaBarge

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

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