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The front range of the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix, USA

Itineraries for Your Trip to Phoenix

Phoenix locals share their perfect days.
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2 Days in Phoenix for First Timers

Curated by Nicole Zimmermana queer travel journalist, copywriter, and essayist.

Two days in Phoenix means you’ve got options, from city tours of downtown skyscrapers to Scottsdale. With a 2-day itinerary, you also have time to get out of town. Here are a variety of ways to expand your reach, including aerial adventures, desert trips, and scenic lake cruises—maybe even a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

Day 1: Morning

Get your bearings with a morning tour of Phoenix highlights. Take a sightseeing tour of downtown for a glimpse of the State Capitol building and the grand Arizona Biltmore. You learn about the Phoenix, situated in the Sonoran Desert, and its attractions, including nearby Camelback Mountain.

Day 1: Afternoon

Browse the shops in Old Town Scottsdale on tour by foot or Segway, which enables passengers to cover more ground in less time. Or ride off-road into the desert aboard a 4x4 vehicle. A guided tour allows you to learn about the native flora and fauna.

Day 1: Night

This evening, take to the skies on a hot air balloon ride with sunset views. Alternatively, a cruise on Saguaro Lake (about an hour’s drive from Phoenix) is just as serene. A bit further afield, head to Tonto National Forest, and keep an eye out for cacti, coyotes, and the elusive bighorn sheep.

Day 2: Morning

For more time sightseeing and less time driving, take a Grand Canyon aerial tour that sets off in the early hours from Phoenix. En route to the national park, you fly over a much of Arizona’s natural beauty, including Tonto National Forest, San Francisco Peaks, and Red Rocks of Sedona.

Day 2: Afternoon

If you wish, extend your Grand Canyon tour on the ground with a guided drive around the South Rim. Or fly back to the city and spend some leisurely hours shopping and dining in downtown Phoenix and nearby Scottsdale. The Sea Life Aquarium guarantees cool temps and a calming environment.

Day 2: Night

If you haven’t yet made it into the air, opt for a sunset plane tour of downtown Phoenix landmarks and take in the Valley of the Sun from above. Alternatively, you may simply prefer the serenity of stargazing the night skies with an astronomer.

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