(Last Updated On: March 10, 2022)
Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is the perfect city for a desert weekend escape. It offers delicious food, amazing hikes, and is a haven for baseball lovers. It is a great place to start an Arizona road trip and is a good base to see other cities in Arizona. Two days in Phoenix will be the perfect amount of time to see some of the main sites and see what Phoenix has to offer.It is also a great addition to a one-week Arizona trip.
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History of Phoenix
The Hokoham people were the original settlers in the Phoenix area over 2,000 years ago. They created canals and grew lots of crops. Later, other Native American tribes such as the Yavapai and the Apache took over the area. Once the Mexican-American war ended, the area began to be taken over by American settlers and was originally part of the New Mexico Territory.
On May 4, 1869, the town of Phoenix was born when its first post office was established. In the 1870s, the town continued to grow and expand. The 1880s brought about the arrival of the railroad which established Phoenix as the capital of Arizona. Throughout the 1900s, Phoenix continued to expand and grow into the metropolis of over one million people it is today.
How to Get to Phoenix
Phoenix has one major international airport. It has flights from across the United States as well as international locations. If you live in the Southwestern United States, Phoenix is also an easy road trip. From Los Angeles and Albuquerque, it takes about 6 hours to drive to Phoenix or around 5 hours from Las Vegas.
Where to Stay During Two Days in Phoenix
Phoenix is actually a very large city with many different neighborhoods and suburbs. I recommend staying in or near Downtown Phoenix so you can walk to some places. Previously, I enjoyed staying at the Grand Canyon University Hotel. It is run by the students of the university to give them practice with hotel skills. It also includes a delicious healthy breakfast and is centrally located in Phoenix. Opt to stay near the airport if you want to try and save some money. If you plan on using Phoenix more as a base for day trips, I would look into the Scottsdale area. If going with a larger group, make sure to check out Airbnb to get a house.
Transportation Around Phoenix
To get around during your two days in Phoenix, it is most convenient to get a rental car. I always use Autoslash to find the cheapest available rental car. If you opt not to get a car, you will need to use Uber and Lyft to get around. This can add up quickly as some sites are 30 minutes from each other.
What to See During Two Days in Phoenix
Grab Breakfast at Snooze
Hours: Mon-Fri: 7am-2pm, Sat-Sun: 6:30am-2:30pm
This morning, start your first of two days in Phoenix off by grabbing breakfast at a classic brunch place: Snooze. Their fun flavored pancakes are easily their most popular item, but they also have a ton of other unique options on their menu. Opt to eat at the Tempe location, which is near Papago Park and the Desert Botanical Gardens.
After breakfast, head over to the Desert Botanical Gardens. The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix offers the perfect escape for an afternoon. There are a variety of trails to take and many gorgeous plants to see. Most of the gardens are native to Phoenix. At select times of the year, they have an evening light display. If interested in seeing the evening light display, head to the Botanical Gardens after dinnertime. You can also get tickets ahead of time as they sometimes limit capacity.
Hike in Papago Park
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
This afternoon, take an easy hike in Papago Park. The Double Butte Loop showcases various rock formations and desert-scapes of Arizona. Also, stop at Hole in the Rock for a unique view of Downtown Phoenix and the desert area.
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11am-10pm, Fri: 11am-11pm, Sat: 10am-11pm, Sun: 10am-10pm
Tonight, grab dinner at The Vig. The Vig has several locations spread across the Phoenix area. This upscale neighborhood tavern contains delicious American pub fare and some amazing cocktails. If you prefer, it is also a super popular brunch spot. The Vig Arcadia is very close to Undertow. It can sometimes get busy, so reservations are recommended.
Hours: Tues-Thurs: 2:30pm-10:15pm, Fri: 2:30pm-11:15pm, Sat-Sun: 1pm-11:15pm, Closed Mondays
End your night at Undertow, a tiki bar built into an old Jiffy Lube. The top floor is a coffee shop and brewery named Sip Coffee and Beer Garage. This is a great place to relax and get some work done while sipping on your favorite coffee beverage or brew.
Underneath the top floor in what used to be the bay where the mechanics worked, is the tiki bar. Visitors descend a staircase and enter the belly of a ship complete with wood-paneled walls and portholes. Behind the portholes are projected images that continually change throughout your visit. There are a wide variety of tropical drinks to order. Reservations are needed to visit Undertow as it gets very busy. Guests are limited to a 90-minute visit due to its popularity.
Begin your second of two days in Phoenix with a hearty breakfast at Matt’s Big Breakfast. Matt’s Big Breakfast is another awesome breakfast place in Phoenix. There are several locations in the Phoenix area. Breakfast and light lunch options are served. Despite the small menu, the food is excellent and many of the ingredients are fresh. The pancakes were a personal favorite and everything was flavorful.
During your second of two days in Phoenix, visit the Musical Instrument Museum. This museum contains over 15,000 instruments with about 7,000 of them on display. It is the largest museum of instruments in the world and contains instruments from all over the world. Any music lover will love a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum. They also often have concerts and concert series. Check the website for more information on special events.
Visit Old Town Scottsdale
Hours: Varies by store
Spend the second afternoon of two days in Phoenix in Old Town Scottsdale This area has a ton of cute restaurants to grab lunch at, shops to browse, and even a few wine tasting rooms! Olive & Ivy is a delicious lunch option. If interested in wine tasting, check out Merkin Vineyards. Plan to spend a couple of hours wandering around the area and the shops.
Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat: 11am-10pm
Tonight, grab dinner at Pomo Pizzeria. This delicious restaurant serves authentic Italian food. All of their dishes include homemade sauce and their pizza is certified authentic Neapolitan pizza. There are four locations in the Phoenix area. After dinner, take a stroll around Downtown to check out the many murals in the area, or head over to the Cobra Arcade Bar for a drink.
Have More Than Two Days in Phoenix?
If you have more than two days in Phoenix make sure to check out these other things to do in Phoenix. You could also turn your trip to Phoenix into an Arizona road trip and head to the Grand Canyon, Page, Flagstaff, Tucson, or many other amazing places in Arizona.
Attend Spring Training
Cost: Free and up
During February and part of March, Phoenix is home to spring training for the western or “cactus” league MLB baseball teams. During this time, visitors can head over to the various stadiums and facilities spread across Phoenix to watch the players practice and get the chance to interact with some of the players. You can also attend smaller scale games where tickets are super cheap. Spring training is such a fun time to visit Phoenix if you are a baseball lover.
Hours: Tues-Sun: 10am-4pm, Closed Mondays
The Heard Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of the American Indians in the Southwest. It contains various artifacts and art throughout 11 galleries and outdoor space. It is located near Downtown Phoenix.
Hours: Dusk to Dawn
Besides Papago Park, there are a ton of other hiking options in the Phoenix area. Another favorite hike I enjoy is Dobbins Lookout. This 5-mile hike takes you up to a lookout with gorgeous views of Downtown Phoenix. Camelback Mountain is another super popular option.
The Phoenix Art Museum has a variety of art, from European to Latin American, on display. There are several days throughout the month where visitors can pay-what-you-wish, which is perfect for the traveling teacher.
Day Trip to Sedona
If you have more than two days in Phoenix, definitely take a day trip to Sedona and/or Cottonwood in the Verde Valley. Sedona offers some great hiking opportunities, such as Devil’s Bridge or Cathedral Rock, and it is a gorgeous area. Cottonwood offers some fun wineries to visit. No matter what, you can have a fun-filled day in this area.
There are so many things in the Phoenix area to keep you busy for several days. Two days in Phoenix lets you experience the best highlights of Phoenix and have you ready for another visit as soon as you leave.