It’s only fitting that Phoenix is dubbed the ‘Valley of the Sun.’ The people are warm, the food is fire, and the temperatures are burnin’ hot.
Fact: Phoenix sees more rays than any major city in the US. It has over 300 days of sunshine most years, with at least 100 days of 100+ degree weather
But the flamin’ temperatures are no reason to avoid this bustling southwestern city. Often referred to as ‘LA without the Pacific,’ Phoenix is a hotbed for culture, cuisine, and live music, set against a backdrop of red mountains and cacti-lined boulevards.
Not to mention, there are tons of new boutiques and beautiful hotels. Talk about total paradise.
If you’re looking to spend time in the Valley of the Sun without breaking a sweat, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 ways to beat the heat in Phoenix, Arizona.
1. Get your culture on
For all you culture nerds out there, Arizona’s Urban Heart boasts an exciting array of (air conditioned!) museums. If you’re a music aficionado, you’ll love the Musical Instrument Museum, which showcases, well, music and instruments, from over 200 countries. Grab a headset, listen to melodies of faraway lands and American legends, and learn about the history of music.
If art and history are more your thing, the Heard Museum is where it’s at. Dedicated to the arts heritage, and lives of the American Indian tribes of the southwest region, it has 11 spacious exhibition galleries providing a window into American Indian culture through traditional and contemporary art. Also displayed are archives of traditional baskets, sculptures, and clothing all created by members of Native tribes themselves.
2. Tune into live music
One of the ways to best escape the heat is visiting one of the city’s hottest live music venues. We love the The Crescent Ballroom, which is part concert venue, part bar, and part gourmet kitchen. You can find some of the country’s top touring acts on an intimate stage. If jazz is your vibe, you’ll love the Rhythm Room as well as Char’s Has The Blues. These are the top destinations in the city for live jazz and blues, with cosy, no frills vibes. Sign us up!
3. Grab an indoor brunch
No matter the weather, there are few things more satisfying than brunch. And we’ve got some of the best spots in Phoenix to stay cool, and satisfy any craving. If you have a sweet tooth, Butters Pancakes & Cafe is the name of your game. They have every type of pancake imaginable (read: Oreo Cookie S’mores cakes), along with other scrumptious dishes like banana cream toast, strawberry crepes, and pecan waffles. Cholesterol, who?
Our other top pick is Stock & Stable, which hosts an exquisite brunch only available on the weekends (exclusive, huh?). Our favorites include avocado toast (obviously), prosciutto benedict, and the french toast sticks. Is your mouth watering yet?
If you’re looking for a true respite from mercury-breaking temperatures of Phoenix, it’s time to hit the road. There are tons of cool places to visit, but our favorite is Lava River Cave, a unique cave that was formed when a volcano erupted way, way back when (we’re talking 700,000 years ago). Just 2 hours from downtown Phoenix, this mile-long tubular cave is surrounded on all sides by hardened lava flows. The temperature in the caves is about 40 degrees, a total change of pace from the Phoenix heat. So grab your sweatshirt and flashlight, and explore the cave. (And if you’re looking for some tunes to sing along the way, check out one of Lemonade’s monthly playlists.)
5. Sip iced coffee
There are tons of spots to cool down with a cold brew in Phoenix, but one spot stands out from ‘em all: Futuro, a chic, modern coffee shop residing in a shared space. Just walking in will cool you off (in more ways than one), with white and black decor, accented colored chairs, glass tables, and white benches along the wall. Their simple yet elegant menu offers tons of chilled options to choose from. We recommend tasting the tonico, a mixture of tonic water and espresso, which is guaranteed to please your taste buds – and your Instagram feed.
6. Put your thinking cap on
Another way to escape the sun is to go learn something new, and there are tons of informative, interactive spots in the Valley of the Sun. The Arizona Science Center is a crowd favorite for people of all ages. A hub for science and discovery, it includes four levels of exciting, hands-on exhibits that’ll have you nostalgic for your school field trip years. Immerse yourself in an insulated storm, lay on a bed of nails, and test your strength with simple machines. If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing, head over to the brightly lit Scottsdale Public Library. There, you can cosy up in a corner with a good book, or attend book discussions, writing workshops, film screenings, and expositions.
7. Dine on a misted patio
Scorching temperatures don’t have to mean dining inside. If you’re looking to beat the heat while enjoying the fresh air, dining on a misted patio is your golden ticket. Our favorite spot to do so is Postino’s Wine Cafe, a rustic restaurant with a laid-back, inviting atmosphere and a relaxing patio. Sit back and enjoy a glass of wine as the mist cools you down, and choose from their wonderful selection of Italian dishes. Our favorites are their cheese bread, raspberry chicken salad, and Tuscan panini. Blogger Rheana also recommends visiting The Parlor, a pizzaria with a serene misted patio. They serve up wood-fired pizza, handmade pasta, and handcrafted cocktails. Consider us in.
8. Grab a cone
Is there any better way to cool down than with a scrumptious ice cream cone? We didn’t think so. If you’re up for a fresh scoop, Udder Delights is where it’s at. They serve up some of the freshest homemade ice cream in Phoenix, with wild flavors such as apple pie, creme brulee, smores, and even avocado. Bonus: They have a pint of the week club!
Churn is also one of the tastiest ice cream spots in Phoenix, with cones and sundaes to die for. We dare you to try the Fat Elvis – a delicious concoction of peanut butter ice cream, salted caramel, sliced banana, whipped cream, and chocolate rocks. Need we say more?
9. Swim at Chase Field
While baseball is America’s pastime, scorching temperatures can make it pretty painful to catch a game. That’s why one of the creators of Chase Field, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ stadium, jokingly suggested they build a pool behind right field. What started off as an off-hand remark in 1998 ended up becoming a reality. They designed the pool so one could actually see the game, making it one of the most coveted viewing spots in the entire stadium. It’s no wonder the pool suite sells out for every game. So if you’re looking for a sporty way to cool off, Chase Field may just be your place.
10. Staycation by the pool
If swimming at ball games isn’t your thing, there are tons of fabulous hotels around the Valley of the Sun where you can make a splash. If you’re looking for an all-out resort experience, the Arizona Grand Hotel is your spot – they have 6 pools to relax in and play at, along with Oasis Park, a waterpark that’ll make all your nostalgic waterpark dreams come true.
If you’re looking for an affordable spot with a hip, trendy, Instagram-worthy pool, we recommend Adeline Hotel. It’ll be sure to fulfill all of your staycation needs.
So there you have it. With these 10 activities, you can stay effortlessly cool in one of the southwest’s hottest cities (both literally and figuratively).
And whether you’re a Phoenix native, or are just popping in for a visit, make sure your stuff is insured while you’re out on the town. Lemonade offers both renters and homeowners insurance that’ll protect you (and your stuff) not only at home but also on the go so you can focus on eating, drinking, and exploring the bustling Valley of the Sun.
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Want more curated tips on your favorite cities? Check out Lemonade’s other city guides:
- Your insider’s guide to Philadelphia
- 24 hours in Washington, DC
- The Chicago city guide
- The perfect guide to a perfect day in the ATL
- Your definitive guide to Baltimore’s foodie scene
- The cool guide to Des Moines
For updates on when Lemonade will launch renters and homeowners insurance in your state, see Lemonade Goes Nationwide.