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Best Free Things To Do and See in Greater Phoenix

These Are My Favorite Free or Really Cheap Activities in Metro Phoenix


You can spend a great deal of money shopping, attending concerts of big-name performers, going up in hot air balloons and taking jeep tours. Even in a metro area as large as Phoenix, there are still some great things to do and see that are free (or very cheap). Here are some of my favorites.

In addition to these well-known free Phoenix area activities, there are many smaller free festivals, concerts, seminars and events every week, and I blog about those free activities providing details several times per month.

All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.

Drive the Apache Trail

© Judy Hedding
A drive on the Apache Trail is one of the most scenic drives near the Phoenix area. This well-traveled road affords visitors an incredible view of canyons, geologic formations, desert plants and trees, desert and lake views, and wildflowers in season.

Best time to do it: when it isn't raining or very windy, probably not on the hottest days of the year unless you have a lot of confidence in your car's maintenance and you don't mind getting out for the scenic stops.

Visit a Museum

Free Things To Do in Phoenix
© Judy Hedding
We have quite a variety of museums that offer free admission, some of which are free all the time and some that have special days of the week or the month where you are welcome to visit without paying an admission charge.

Best time to do it: all year long. It's indoors and air conditioned.

Get Wet - Splashing and Swimming

Free Things To Do in Phoenix
© City of Glendale
Splash pads and splash parks are popping up all over the metro Phoenix area. With five months of summer, it's no wonder that splash playgrounds are one of the most requested amenities of the various Parks and Recreation Departments around the Valley of the Sun. The public swimming pools usually charge a nominal charge to get in, less than two bucks. Some of these pools have great features, like waves and slides.

Best time to do it: May through September

Arizona Cardinals Training Camp

Getty Images
When the Arizona Cardinals have an open practice, you can go watch your favorite players and pro hopefuls go through their paces, take orders from the coaches and, hopefully, dole out a few autographs.

Best time to do it: it only happens for about a month before regular season football starts, in the late summer. Check the schedule for open practice dates.

See Art Galleries and Art Spaces in Downtown Phoenix on First Friday

Free Things To Do in Phoenix
© Judy Hedding
Open studios tours are a good way to experience art and artists. Every first Friday evening of each month you can take a free self-guided tour of downtown Phoenix galleries, studios and art spaces.

Best time to do it: any first Friday of the month when being outdoors in the evening is pleasant enough to walk around.

Stroll the Scottsdale Art Walk

Free Things To Do in Phoenix
© Judy Hedding
Every Thursday night, every night of the year (except Thanksgiving), for the past 30 years, many of the more than 100 art galleries in downtown Scottsdale have opened their doors to art lovers, art lover wannabes and people watchers during Scottsdale ArtWalk.

Best time to do it: any Thursday (except Thanksgiving) when being outdoors in the evening is pleasant enough to walk around.

Climb Camelback Mountain

Climb Camelback Mountain
© Lisa Streich
Hiking is a popular activity here, and there are plenty of places where you can do it for free. One of them is right in the middle of Phoenix. Surrounded by freeways, and neighborhoods and resorts you will find Camelback Mountain, one of the most popular destinations for a hike in Phoenix. looking for something a bit easier where you can take the kids? Waterfall Trail on the west side of town is my favorite.

Hike, Bike or Drive Up South Mountain

Best Free Things in Phoenix
© Judy Hedding
South Mountain Park has been mentioned as the largest city park in the world. At nearly 17,000 acres it certainly covers a lot of ground, although it isn't a park in the sense of grass, and playgrounds, and lakes, and ducks, as one might think. South Mountain Park is a desert mountain preserve. I took pictures!

Best time to do it: If you are walking, hiking or biking enjoy this park when it isn't too hot. In the summer, that means very early in the morning.

Go to a Free Concert

© Judy Hedding
During the summer, the Chandler Center for the Arts offers free concerts showcasing popular local bands and musicians. The concerts take place indoors, in the theatre! When summer's over, there are more concerts, mostly classical music.

Best time to do it: any time, but get there early.

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