Things to do in Phoenix – What’s overrated vs underrated

There is so much to do and see in Phoenix, and from the sound of it if you ask around, it’s all a must-do or see! But let’s be honest, some things you really only need to do once. Others don’t get enough credit for how truly amazing they are. From the mouth of locals, these are some of the most popular overrated or underrated things to do in Phoenix.

Popular Things to do in Phoenix AZ

*These opinions are subjective; everyone likes different things! You won’t find activities like hiking or other well-known hobbies of Phoenix on this list; these are primarily activities you have to pay to attend. Most of the outings we have deemed overrated are due to factors such as price, overcrowding, or the event not offering as much as it used to. We think every Phoenician should get as much fun for their buck as they can!

Waste Management Open

This fun outdoor event brings people together from all over to enjoy the Arizona weather at its best, during the winter. Even if you don’t care for golf all that much, the WMO is much more about socializing and gathering than it is actually following a golf championship. Whether you want this to be a family outing or a get-together with friends, it’s a great way to enjoy the Arizona sunshine. – Underrated

Barrett Jackson Car Show

If you love cars, you will no doubt want to attend Barrett Jackson. If you don’t love cars, you can still enjoy walking about and admiring all of the expensive vehicles you could never afford! Speaking of being costly, ticket prices have gone up in recent years, and if you aren’t a car enthusiast, it might not be worth the ticket price anymore. – Overrated

Classic car show in Phoenix, Things to do in Phoenix AZ

Baseball Spring Training

Spring training for major league baseball is one of the most well-known attractions in Phoenix. Baseball lovers from around the country flock to the valley to enjoy America’s most beloved sport and catch a glimpse at the fresh faces for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, all the crowds this event attracts has led to increasing prices for everything from admission to hot dogs. What was once a fun and relatively inexpensive day is now easily over a hundred dollars a person. If you really love baseball, save yourself some money and go to a regular-season game. – Overrated

Baseball stadium at night for spring training in PHX, Things to do in Phoenix AZ


Whether you have just moved to Arizona or have lived there for years, you have undoubtedly learned about the art of the “staycation” because it’s definitely a thing here. The idea of going to a Phoenix resort or hotel in your own city (or very nearby) might sound like a waste of money, but on the contrary, this is a great way to get away for a fraction of the cost of a real vacation. Often you can find great deals to the many local Phoenix resorts, golf courses, and spas, and on top of your discount, you are saving any airfare expenses you would have spent leaving the state. Sometimes you just have to get out of the house and lay by a pool! – Underrated

Scottsdale pool staycation in Phoenix, Things to do in Phoenix AZ

First Friday

On the first Friday of every month,  downtown Phoenix area hosts First Fridays. This 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm event means something different every month, but the idea is always the same: highlighting any and everything local and creative. From art, to vendors, to small businesses, and so much more, everything you find at First Friday is designed to help cultivate a feeling of community and support. One of the best things about this outing is that you can control your budget. Of course, it’s a great idea to support all of these wonderful vendors and business owners, but you don’t have to buy anything! If nothing else, it’s just a great way to get out with family or friends! – Underrated

Arts and Culture

Though it isn’t one of the most talked-about aspects of Phoenix living, there is a plethora of art, culture, and history in the area. An affordable way to spend the day, there are wonderful museums to stroll through in Phoenix, and you can spend as much or as little time as you would like. Whether you are interested in art, natural history, local history, and culture, or even a fun place where kids can be hands-on with their learning, Phoenix has something to offer every museum-goer.  – Underrated

Phoenix AZ skyline at dusk, Things to do in Phoenix AZ

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College/Pro Sports:

Much like spring training, everybody knows Phoenix is a sports town. This doesn’t necessarily mean all Phoenix teams are good, but with endless playing weather, there is always something going on. If you love live sports, the crowds, traffic, and expensive ticket and food prices are probably worth it to you. But with sports broadcasting offering game watching from home, if you don’t have to be close enough to hear the players spit, you might have a better time never leaving the house. This once-affordable afternoon outing has become exorbitant and overcrowded in Phoenix, and it’s almost hardly worth it to go these days. –Overrated


Arizona is full of reservation land, and reservation casinos tend to be their own little oasis in the desert. If you love to gamble, this is obviously a fun place for you. But there is so much more to casinos than slot machines and blackjack. Most casinos have beautiful pool areas, excellent dining, fun nightlife, and visiting musicians and comedy acts throughout the year. Much like a staycation at one of the many beautiful Phoenix resorts, the casinos are worth checking out. You just might find your new favorite place to unwind! – Underrated

Phoenix casino, Things to do in Phoenix AZ


Phoenix tends to cater to a party scene, even though you might think it’s full of snowbirds. Hey, grandma likes to get out and have some fun too! With the year-round warm weather, Phoenix hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year. You might love them because they can be a fun way to get outside and eat, drink, and be merry. You might hate them because they bring traffic into town and drive up prices of local amenities. Regardless of how you feel about festivals, you might not realize just how many unique festivals there really are in Phoenix. Celebrating everything from tacos, to Mac and Cheese, to beer (and of course Oktoberfest) there might be a Phoenix festival with your name on it. Don’t knock it till you try it! (If you try it and hate it, feel free to knock it.) – Underrated.

Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Gardens

You have to do both at least once. If you have little ones, the Phoenix Zoo is almost a guaranteed hit. Even if you don’t necessarily consider yourself a lover of botany, you will be amazed by the gorgeous desert plants and beautifully landscaped walkways throughout the Desert Botanical Gardens. Best of all, both of these activities are pretty budget-friendly when you buy a season pass, allowing you to go as many times as you like and even enjoy park pass holder perks. (Both parks even put up holiday lights and decorations, so they double as fun family Christmas activities!) – Underrated

Wine Scene

Unlike California, you don’t think “wine” when you think Arizona. But you should! The wine scene in Arizona is perhaps one of its most underrated foodie perks. There are so many local wineries in the greater Phoenix area. Phoenix even has its own wine trail! If you want to go a little bit further and make a fun wine trip out of it, there are great wineries in the Flagstaff area offering local wines and a cozy atmosphere. You don’t have to go far to experience the bounty of Arizona’s fruit! – Underrated

Winery in Arizona, Things to do in Phoenix AZ


Can we talk about Phoenix activities and not mention golf? Obviously not. If you are an avid golfer, you likely know everything you need to know about golfing in Phoenix, and have been to every one of its many, many golf courses. But if you are only a casual golfer, you might find the golf scene in the valley to be a little underwhelming. The courses are beautiful, and there is something for everyone, but they come with caveats. Golfing in Phoenix is expensive. You can get deals during the summer months, but you’ll soon find out why. Golfing in the Arizona summer sun is nearly a punishment. If you really want to go, and you are willing to dish out the cash or bake in the heat to do it, golfing in Arizona may be worth it to you. But we otherwise think we have to call this one…Overrated.

Looking to buy a home in Phoenix?

There you have it, some of the most well-known Phoenix activities, and what they are really all about! If you think living in an area with so many fun things to do sounds right up your alley, reach out to me at AZLiveStyles. I would love to talk to you about Phoenix, Arizona, and help you find your perfect fit in the valley!