Once you’ve decided to make the move to Phoenix, it won’t take long before you’re ready to live it up like a local. That means you’ve checked off all the most touristy things on your To-Do list and it’s time to find the free things that you (and maybe your family) can do on the regular. So we’ve done a bit of research and compiled the top ten free things to do in Phoenix — and since the weather in the capital city is so darn pleasant all year round, so are these activities.
1. Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix is renowned for being a pretty artsy place, so you’d better familiarize yourself with the exhibits here. It’s a perfect destination for those hot afternoons when being outside is nearly intolerable, and admission is free every Wednesday from 3 PM – 9 PM, First Fridays from 6 PM – 10 PM, and second Sundays from noon to 5 PM. Museum members always get in for free, though, so if you’re a true art lover, perhaps consider a membership. There’s no better way to plug into your new art community, right?
2. Desert Botanical Garden
It may sound like hyperbole, but they’re actually is a magnificent Desert Botanical Garden. Once you’re living in Phoenix, you’ll quickly learn that the desert produces a stunning array of flowers, succulents, and other plants — and you can check them out for free and the second Tuesday of each month from 8 AM – 8 PM. The Garden also offers classes, kid’s summer camps, and special events, though they do require an admission fee.
3. Open Air Market
Open every Saturday, year-round, and always free for your perusal. It’s the place to go and stroll with friends, snack on local food, and do your shopping for the week. Local vendors offer up everything from specialty hummus to hydroponic tomatoes to hand-crafted jewelry, and there’s always good music to take in while you peruse the booths.
4. Float the Salt River
What better to do on those scorching hot days than get yourself as close to a body of water as possible and float on down the river? All you’ll need is a tube, some water shoes, and a lot of sunblocks. Keep in mind that black tubes get really hot, really quickly, and so does the sand — hence the need for some sort of shoes. You’re guaranteed to see plenty of other locals out on the river floating with their coolers and other accouterments, but don’t worry — you’ll figure out how to float the river like a pro in no time.
5. Street Foods
In neighboring Scottsdale, every night brings those with a culinary curiosity out of the Restaurants. Chefs from around town bring samples of food from around the world and a fleet of 35 food trucks rotates through each week to satiate your taste buds. There’s music, a comfortable tent with communal picnic tables, and sometimes even an ice cream Sundae bar. Yum.
6. Free Yoga Classes
Big name yoga company Lululemon has multiple stores around the area that offer weekly yoga classes for the public for free. Each practice is intended for yogis from all backgrounds and levels of experience, and the stores feature local teachers from week to week. If you’re moving to Phoenix looking for a new home studio, this might be your opportunity to meet some new teachers.
7. Learn to swing
Every Tuesday from 7 PM – 8 PM, The Duce offers free swing dance lessons. No experience necessary, but you may quickly realize that you need to be practicing at home on the off nights…
8. Hike South Mountain’s Trails
This one might be best on cloudy or cooler days, but you can’t call yourself a local if you don’t get out and hike the south mountain’s trails. If you prefer to experience your hikes in silence, or perhaps you’re a road cyclist, the fourth Sunday of every month the park’s main access roads is closed to vehicle traffic.
9. Birds ‘n Beer
This may seem like an unlikely duo, but the Rio Salado Audubon knows how to get grown-ups excited about the natural world. Stop by every third Thursday of the month to enjoy a Four Peaks brew while you geek out about something fascinating.
10. Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve
It is closed to the public May 1 – September 30 except for Sunset Tours and Free Summer Saturdays, the 3rd Saturday of every month. It gets mighty hot out there, so be prepared to protect yourself from the sun while you visit the largest collection of petroglyphs in the area.
Best of luck on your move to Phoenix — get out there and enjoy your new city like a local.