Scottsdale Museum Of Contemporary Art displays a variety of frequently changing contemporary art exhibits and hosts special events for adults and families. Photographs, paintings and sculpture are just some of the highlighted mediums. Devoted to the art, architecture and design of our time, SMoCA offers free art lectures, symposiums, workshops and readings, providing a forum where visitors can interact with contemporary artists. Thursday is the best day to visit the museum as guest can take advantage of the free entry.
Located near the heart of Scottsdale, the Camelback Mountain watches over Phoenix, Arizona's sweeping semi-arid plains from a spectacular elevation of nearly 1,400 feet (426.72 meters). The mountain gets its name from the resemblance it bears to the unmistakable shape of a camel's hump. The north trailhead offers views of red cliffs rising 200 feet (61 meters) in some areas, beckoning rock climbers with its challenges. Antelope squirrels, lizards, and snakes are the landscape's most widely-spread inhabitants. The Praying Monk red sandstone formation is arguably the site's most noticeable sight.
Music lovers should head to the Musical Instrument Museum which has a collection of 15,000 musical instruments as well as multimedia exhibits. The collection of musical instruments comes from every corner of the world. Many so strange, they are exhibited along with an instructional video. Visitors get the opportunity to learn the diverse music styles that exists around the globe. The museum also has live performances held at its theater.
Amidst the buzzing cityscape of Phoenix lies a serene retreat that is known as the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. From soaring peaks to plunging valleys, the park displays a varied topography with multiple trails cutting through. Amidst a craggy landscape of steep ascents and rugged terrain, a generous population of succulent plants are scattered throughout, with a few flowering shrubs, typical of the desert climes reign here. Most of its area is accessible to civilians and is hence a common choice for family picnics and hikes. A few of the most prominent parks enclosed by the preserve are the Piestewa Peak Recreation Area, the Camelback Mountain Park and the Lookout Mountain Preserve. Although surrounded by the city, the Phoenix Mountain Preserve is a slice of wilderness that evokes a sense of isolation that is a welcome reprieve from the bustling city.
One of the largest in the Southwest, the Phoenix Art Museum includes a staggering collection of exhibits from the world over. Permanent displays in this facility include miniature interiors as well as 20th-century art. Featured pieces cover contemporary art and fashion design with international exhibits from Europe, Asia, Latin America as well as Western America. Interactive, hands-on activities are featured for kids at the PhxArtKids space. Traveling displays are often included in the museum's highlights. Exhibits include popular works by Sui Jianguo, Lawrence Weiner and Pete Wegner.
Founded in the 1920s by Dwight B. and Marie Bartlett Heard, this museum houses tributes to Native American art and culture. At the Heard Museum, permanent displays are showcased along with traveling exhibits displaying the rich heritage of the people. The center was renovated to include an educational facility called the Ullman Learning Center. Free tours are offered daily and there's plenty of parking space. See website for more details.
Though located inside the very popular Nile Theater, Underground has an identity and following of its own and boasts of a stunning repertoire of live bands year round. Being an intimate venue, it has a fairly small crowd-capacity when compared to others that are as famous, but it also gives you a chance to get up close with your favorite bands. The venue makes use of the all the facilities within the Nile Theater and is a great little venue for a rocking concert.
Head here to visit the prehistoric era and learn about the world as it was more than 65-million years ago. The Arizona Museum of Natural History has done a commendable job in preserving and presenting these creatures, in addition to other exhibits that are dedicated to local anthropology and natural history. The museum takes visitors right back to the time when the earth was formed. Galleries in the museum display replicas and give visitors the opportunity to understand more about the fascinating subject of paleontology. Ongoing exhibitions include Origins, Dinosaur Hall, Paleo Dig Pit, Heritage Wall, Fun with History!, Exploration Station, and many more.
Mesa Grande Cultural Park is one of the best sites in the region and among the two Hohokam mounds in the Phoenix metropolitan region. It gives an insight into the Ancestral Puebloan Period from the 11th through the 14th Centuries of the Hohokam. According to records and archaeological facts, this place was the hub of the community's status symbol. This preserved site showcases an ancient culture and the lifestyle of the forefathers of the Pima tribe. If you love history, then this seasonal site must be in your itinerary when visiting Mesa.
Located in North Mesa, the Park of the Canals preserves both local history and terrain. Hohokam Indians inhabited many different regions throughout Arizona over 2,000 years ago, becoming one of the most prominent cultures in the Southwest and lending to area's significance. Particularly special, the Hohokam people are credited with providing the first canal system from the Salt and Gila rivers. In fact, the modern metropolitan city of over 3.5 million people still relies on the pathways of this ancient canal structure. As it's also a park, the city of Mesa has added a mini botanical garden, information center, playground, and picnic tables for your convenience and enjoyment.
The Mesa Historical Museum chronicles the long-gone eras of this onetime frontier town. Mesa is now a bustling suburb of Phoenix, the 38th largest city in the United States. Since its establishment in 1987, the museums has provided fascinating insight into how the city became so large, beginning with the arrival of Mormon settlers. Exhibitions also explore post-war changes, leading up to the present day. Even the buildings in which the site is housed are city landmarks, dating back to 1913. From agricultural to baseball, the Mesa Historical Museum thoroughly represents its city.
Part strip-mall, part shopping promenade, Tempe Marketplace is the place locals visit due to its mix of brand name shops as well as local ones. Anchored by Barnes & Noble, Target, H&M and BevMo in addition to many other well-known stores, you can spend the whole day here. Of course there is a Harkins Theater on-site and plenty of dining options as well. On the event calendar, bands and other artists take the stage, performing everything from rock and folk to hip-hop and children's programs.