13 Things To Do in Phoenix for Young Adults: Cool Activities for Millennials and Gen Z

by Flora
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Are you looking for fun things to do in Phoenix for young adults? Here’s our ultimate bucket list of cool and unique attractions for millennials and Gen Z-ers. So let’s dive into these amazing places to hang out in Phoenix.

Phoenix is like a burst of vibrant desert sun – dynamic, diverse, and endlessly captivating. The city’s skyline, rising against the backdrop of rugged mountains and expansive desert, is a playground for young adventurers. Stands tall as one of the best places to live in the Southwest, Phoenix is a destination. Wander the historic streets of Roosevelt Row, alive with history and contemporary flair, or immerse yourself in the artistic soul of the city at the Phoenix Art Museum. Let’s not forget about Phoenix’s best neighborhoods. From luxury retreats to budget-friendly gems, Phoenix has plethora of places to make your stay a memorable one.

Known for its stunning desert landscapes, vibrant arts scene, and dynamic nightlife, Phoenix is the ultimate destination for an unforgettable journey or a deep exploration of Arizona’s culture. Here, every trail tells a tale and you’ll be planning your next trip before you’ve even left.

The best things to do in Phoenix for young adults right now

Top Things to do in Phoenix for young adults

In this guide, we’re embarking on an exhilarating tour of Phoenix’s best offerings for young adults, making it one of the most livable cities in Arizona. From conquering the heights of Camelback Mountain to immersing yourself in the cool vibes of Roosevelt Row, Phoenix’s diverse array of activities is calling out to you. Let’s kick off this adventure!

1. Hike Camelback Mountain

Heading to Phoenix and looking for an adventure that’ll get your heart racing? Camelback Mountain is where it’s at. It’s perfect for young adults eager to explore the natural side of the city.

Kicking off at dawn is your best bet. Why? First off, you beat the Arizona heat. Second, the sunrise from the summit is nothing short of magical. You’ve got two trails to choose from: Echo Canyon is steep and challenging, while Cholla offers a slightly less intense climb. Either way, reaching the top feels like a major win. The view? Imagine panoramic scenes of Phoenix and the vast desert stretching out in all directions. It’s the kind of sight that makes all the effort worth it.

In the Phoenix area, Camelback Peak offers beginner-friendly hiking, stunning views, and a satisfying workout.
In the Phoenix area, Camelback Peak offers beginner-friendly hiking, stunning views, and a satisfying workout.

Make sure you’re prepped for the trek. Water, sunscreen, and good hiking boots are non-negotiable. Camelback Mountain is all about the thrill of the climb and soaking in those unbeatable views.

For anyone listing down fun things to do in Phoenix for young adults, conquering Camelback Mountain is a must. It’s a fantastic way to kickstart your exploration of the city from a high point—literally. So, if you’re in the Phoenix area and looking for a beginner-friendly mountain in the US with great views and a good workout, Camelback Peak is the way to go.

2. Dive into the Desert Botanical Garden

Wander through a sea of green in the middle of the desert. That’s the Desert Botanical Garden for you. It’s a showcase of the coolest desert plants from around the globe. Think towering saguaro cacti, blooming agave, and delicate desert wildflowers. Wandering through the garden paths is among the most serene and fun things to do with teens in Phoenix

This place is huge—140 acres of trails winding through different plant displays. You’ll see everything from the iconic Joshua Tree to the rare Boojum Tree from Baja California. And the colors? When the cacti and wildflowers bloom, it’s like a paint explosion.

The Desert Botanical Garden offers a serene environment for relaxation, learning, and capturing epic photos.
The Desert Botanical Garden offers a serene environment for relaxation, learning, and capturing epic photos.

The garden hosts events that are as diverse as its flora. Imagine outdoor concerts, art installations that blend with the landscape, and even cooking classes that use desert ingredients. It’s a vibe. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the Desert Botanical Garden at night showcases an Arizona gem, highlighting a unique aspect of Arizona’s nightlife.

So, if you’re looking for stuff to do in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden should be high on your list. It’s a place to chill, learn, and get some epic photos. Whether you’re a plant nerd, an art lover, or just in it for the ‘gram, this garden won’t disappoint.

3. Catch a show at Crescent Ballroom

For music lovers and night owls, Crescent Ballroom is one of the Phoenix gems that’s not to be missed. Nestled in the heart of downtown, this intimate venue is where the city’s music scene comes to life. It’s the perfect mix of a laid-back vibe and electrifying live performances. The combination of cool breezes, stunning views, and a lively yet comfortable atmosphere makes them a must-visit. It’s a key part of what to do in Phoenix at night, offering a unique way to experience the city’s charm.

This is a place where you can catch up-and-coming local bands, as well as nationally recognized acts, in an up-close and personal setting. The acoustics? Spot-on. The energy? Infectious. Whether you’re into indie rock, hip-hop, or electronic, there’s always something on the lineup that’s bound to get your feet moving.

Crescent Ballroom is a must-visit gem in Phoenix, especially for music enthusiasts and night owls.
Crescent Ballroom is a must-visit gem in Phoenix, especially for music enthusiasts and night owls.

The venue also boasts a lounge and a rooftop bar, where you can grab a bite or sip on craft cocktails before or after the show. It’s the kind of spot where you can start your evening with some tasty tacos and end it dancing to a live DJ set under the stars.

So, if you’re scrolling through looking for fun things to do with friends in Phoenix, add a night at Crescent Ballroom to your list. It’s one of the best food scenes to try in Phoenix. It’s where you’ll feel the pulse of the city’s music scene and maybe even discover your new favorite band.

4. Check out the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)

Ever wanted to travel the world through music? Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is your ticket. This place isn’t your average museum. It’s a global music party, and you’re invited.

With over 8,000 instruments from 200 countries, MIM is a feast for the ears. You’ll see everything from African drums to American guitars. And the cool part? You can listen to many of them. Just pop on some headphones and press play. It’s like the instruments come alive.

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix isn't your typical museum—it's a global music celebration
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix isn’t your typical museum—it’s a global music celebration

MIM also puts on live shows. Their theater is cozy, making every performance feel personal. From jazz to folk music, it’s all here.

Thinking of visiting? MIM is open every day, their café has tasty dishes from around the globe and you can check their website for the best prices on tickets.

For those hunting for unique stuff to do in Phoenix, MIM is right at the top of the list. It’s more than music. It’s a journey across the globe, no passport needed.

5. Cool off at Salt River

When the Phoenix heat cranks up, locals and visitors alike head to the Salt River for a refreshing escape. Floating down this lazy river on a tube is the perfect way to chill and soak in the stunning desert scenery. It’s an experience that combines relaxation with a touch of adventure.

The Salt River offers miles of cool, clear water winding through the Tonto National Forest. As you drift along, keep your eyes peeled for wild horses and bald eagles. The backdrop of towering cacti and rugged mountains adds to the serene beauty of the experience.

Salt River offers a laid-back escape to beat the heat, revel in nature, and possibly forge new friendships.
Salt River offers a laid-back escape to beat the heat, revel in nature, and possibly forge new friendships.

Several companies offer tube rentals and shuttle services to get you to and from the river smoothly. Remember to bring sunscreen, water, and snacks for the journey. And, of course, don’t forget a waterproof bag to keep your phone and keys dry.

For those looking for fun things to do with friends in Phoenix, a day on the Salt River is hard to beat. It’s a laid-back way to beat the heat, enjoy nature, and maybe even make some new friends along the way.

6. Roam Roosevelt Row

Roosevelt Row, or RoRo, is Phoenix’s art heart. It’s a spot buzzing with creativity. Think galleries, street art, and cool shops. It’s perfect for young adults wanting to dive into Phoenix’s artsy side.

Walking through RoRo is like an open-air gallery tour. Murals everywhere. This makes this gem one of the best places to visit in Arizona for art lovers. Each one tells a story. They’re bold, colorful, full of life, and they change all the time, so there’s always something new to see.

Don't miss Roosevelt Row in Phoenix—a vibrant hub to explore, dine, and immerse yourself in the city's culture.
Don’t miss Roosevelt Row in Phoenix—a vibrant hub to explore, dine, and immerse yourself in the city’s culture.

RoRo is also home to a ton of unique boutiques that you won’t want to miss. Handmade crafts, vintage clothes, deadstock kicks – it’s a thrifty shoppers’ paradise.

The district is packed with innovative food spots like taco trucks, expert coffee roasters, and even a vegan cheese sandwich joint. Roosevelt Row is a must-see in Phoenix. A place to explore, eat, and experience the city’s vibrant culture.

7. Experience the thrill at Phoenix Raceway

For those with a need for speed, spending a day at Phoenix Raceway is an adrenaline-packed adventure. Nestled in the shadow of the Estrella Mountains, this iconic track offers a full-throttle experience that puts you right in the heart of the action.

Phoenix Raceway is famous for its NASCAR weekends, where the roar of engines and the cheer of the crowds create an electrifying atmosphere. But the excitement isn’t limited to just watching the pros. The raceway also offers driving experiences that let you get behind the wheel or ride shotgun in a real stock car.

Phoenix Raceway hosts NASCAR weekends with roaring engines and enthusiastic crowds, creating an electrifying atmosphere.
Phoenix Raceway hosts NASCAR weekends with roaring engines and enthusiastic crowds, creating an electrifying atmosphere.

Imagine strapping into a race car, the engine’s rumble vibrating through you and banking turns like a pro. It’s an unforgettable experience that combines the thrill of racing with the unique backdrop of Arizona’s desert landscape.

Tickets for race events vary, offering a range of viewing options from the grandstands to VIP suites. For those looking to drive, packages start around a couple of hundred dollars, making it a splurge-worthy addition to your Phoenix adventure.

For young adults looking for cool things to do in Phoenix, a day at Phoenix Raceway is essential.

8. Head up to South Mountain Park for epic views

Ever wonder what Phoenix looks like from way up high? South Mountain Park is your answer. This place is massive, and it’s got trails for days. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, or just cruising in your car, there’s a path with your name on it. But the real cherry on top? Dobbins Lookout.

Getting to Dobbins Lookout is half the fun. The drive up is all twists and turns, with the desert scenery doing its thing. Once you’re there, the view is something else. The whole city sprawls out below you, with mountains and desert stretching out as far as you can see.

Add South Mountain Park to your list—it's ideal for adventure, photo opportunities, or simply savoring Arizona's beauty.
Add South Mountain Park to your list—it’s ideal for adventure, photo opportunities, or simply savoring Arizona’s beauty.

And here’s the kicker: South Mountain Park is totally free. That’s right. You can explore over 50 miles of trails, find some ancient petroglyphs, or just chill and watch the sunset, all without spending a dime.

So, if you’re looking for cool stuff to do in Phoenix, especially for young adults, add South Mountain Park to your list. It’s perfect for an adventure, a photo op, or just a moment to appreciate the beauty of Arizona. Plus, it’s a great way to see the city from a whole new angle.

9. Get spooky at the Mystery Castle

Tucked away at the base of South Mountain, this quirky landmark is the stuff of local legend—a castle built from stones, car parts, and other salvaged materials, all put together by a man with a dream.

The story goes that Boyce Luther Gulley built the castle in the 1930s for his daughter, Mary Lou, after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. He moved to Phoenix for the dry climate and started building, using whatever materials he could find. The result? A 18-room, three-story castle complete with parapets and a tower, filled with hidden passages and quirky charm.

For young adults hunting for attractions in Phoenix that are off the beaten path, the Mystery Castle won't disappoint.
For young adults hunting for attractions in Phoenix that are off the beaten path, the Mystery Castle won’t disappoint.

Touring the Mystery Castle feels like stepping into a fairy tale penned by Tim Burton. Each room has its own story, packed with antiques and oddities that Boyce and Mary Lou collected over the years. And the best part? Mary Lou lived in the castle until 2010, welcoming visitors and sharing her father’s legacy.

Visiting hours and tour times vary by season, and the entrance fee is about $10, making it an affordable and unique addition to your Phoenix adventure.

So, for young adults hunting for attractions in Phoenix that are off the beaten path, the Mystery Castle won’t disappoint.

10. Play vintage games at Cobra Arcade Bar

For a blast from the past mixed with modern nightlife, Cobra Arcade Bar hits the spot. This bar is a neon-lit, nostalgia-packed haven where vintage arcade games meet craft cocktails. For young adults in Phoenix looking for a fun night out, Cobra offers a unique twist on the typical bar scene.

Imagine sipping on a game-inspired cocktail—think names like “The Hadouken” or “Princess Peach”—while battling it out on classics like Pac-Man, Street Fighter, or Donkey Kong. Cobra Arcade Bar has rows of arcade machines, each one a portal back to the ’80s and ’90s. It’s a place where you can unleash your inner child, compete with friends, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Young adults in Phoenix seeking a fun night out should check out Cobra for a unique bar experience.
Young adults in Phoenix seeking a fun night out should check out Cobra for a unique bar experience.

The bar also features local DJs spinning tunes that keep the energy high and the vibes good. It’s the kind of spot where you can dance, play, and drink the night away, all under one roof.

No cover charge means you can spend more on playing games and trying out the diverse selection of drinks. And with a rotating lineup of arcade games, every visit feels like a new adventure.

11. Hang out at the Japanese Friendship Garden

Ever feel like you need a break from the city without actually leaving the city? The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix is your spot. This place, also known as Ro Ho En, is a slice of Japan right in the middle of the desert.

Walking through this garden is like stepping into another world. You’ve got koi ponds with fish that are more like swimming art pieces, zen gardens that make you want to meditate on the spot, and tea houses that look like they’re straight out of a movie. And the sound of water everywhere? Instant chill.

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, also known as Ro Ho En, offers a tranquil slice of Japan amidst the desert.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, also known as Ro Ho En, offers a tranquil slice of Japan amidst the desert.

They even do real tea ceremonies here. Sitting in a traditional tea house, sipping matcha, and learning about Japanese culture is pretty cool. Entry’s about $10, which is a steal for a mini-vacation to Japan. It’s open from October to May, perfect for enjoying Phoenix’s awesome weather.

So, if you’re in Phoenix and looking for something chill to do, or if you’re into experiencing new cultures, the Japanese Friendship Garden is the place.

12. Experience First Fridays from visit phoenix

If you’re all about soaking up culture and vibing with the local scene, then you can’t miss First Fridays in Phoenix. This monthly art walk is where the city’s creative heart beats the loudest. Picture streets lined with open galleries, live music echoing through the air, and food trucks serving up all kinds of deliciousness. It’s a feast for the senses and a must-do for young adults in Phoenix.

First Fridays are a social event, where you can hang with friends, make new ones, and get a real taste of Phoenix’s community vibe. The energy is infectious, with every corner offering something new to explore. From live bands and DJ sets to street performers and pop-up shops, there’s always something going on.

When seeking fun activities with friends in Phoenix, be sure to include First Fridays on your agenda.
When seeking fun activities with friends in Phoenix, be sure to include First Fridays on your agenda.

And the best part? It’s totally free. Just show up and dive in. Whether you’re an art aficionado or just looking for a fun night out, First Fridays deliver. It’s a snapshot of Phoenix’s diverse culture, all wrapped up in one unforgettable evening.

So, when you’re hunting for fun things to do with friends in Phoenix, make sure First Fridays are on your list. It’s where the city comes alive in the most vibrant way possible.

13. Hit up the Phoenix Art Museum

Ready for a dose of cool art? The Phoenix Art Museum is where it’s at. It’s the biggest art museum in the Southwest. Think everything from old-school classics to the latest in contemporary art. This place has it all. No wonder it’s one of the best places to visit in the Southwest.

Walking through, you’ll see works by big-name artists and fresh talents. The museum’s got a vibe that’s all about discovering and getting inspired. Whether you’re into art or just curious, you’re gonna find something that grabs you.

Young adults exploring Phoenix must visit the Phoenix Art Museum for an enriching cultural experience.
Young adults exploring Phoenix must visit the Phoenix Art Museum for an enriching cultural experience.

The museum is a buzzing spot with film nights, talks, and events for everyone. It’s where art meets real life. Tickets are about $20, but here’s a tip: they do free entry times too. Just check their site for the scoop.

For anyone exploring Phoenix, especially young adults, the art museum is a must-see. It’s a chance to dive into the city’s artsy side and maybe even get your own creative juices flowing.

The best things to do for young adults in Phoenix for all types of travelers
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