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Musical Instrument Museum

4725 E Mayo Blvd # 9am–5pm daily ¢ Thanksgiving mim.org

Since its opening in 2010, this impressive institution has become one of the top museums in the USA. Displaying more than 6,800 musical instruments from around the globe, it is the world's largest museum of its kind.

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t At the Thumb Piano display in the Africa Gallery visitors can dance to music.

Experience Phoenix and Southern Arizona

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t Musical instruments adorning MIM’s galleries

What makes this museum particularly outstanding is the audio and video technologies that accompany the exhibits, letting you hear the instruments and see them being played in their original settings. On the first floor are the delightful Mechanical Music Gallery, the Target Gallery of special exhibitions, and the Artist Gallery, where you can see Elvis Presley’s guitar and John Lennon’s piano. Don’t miss the hands-on Experience Gallery, where you can play some unusual instruments. On the second floor, the galleries are organized geographically, highlighting beautiful and often intriguing instruments from some 200 countries. They are often paired with traditional clothing and artifacts. As you listen through your headphones, you are transported on a musical journey around the world.

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Insider Tip


Galleries are often busiest on weekday mornings due to school trips. Music lovers should consider buying a two-day pass, valid for seven days, to cover everything at a leisurely pace.

Experience Phoenix and Southern Arizona

The Theremin

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One of the museum’s most unusual musical instruments is the truly eerie-sounding Theremin, which is played without any physical contact. Two metal antennas sense the performer’s hands, which control the frequency with one hand and volume with the other. You can try it out for yourself in the Experience Gallery.

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Papago Park

625 N Galvin Parkway & Van Buren St phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/papago-park

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t Papago Park, which has a variety of cycling and hiking trails

Papago Park is a popular place to unwind, with several hiking and cycling trails, picnic areas, and fishing lakes. Within the park, the Desert Botanical Garden is a 145-acre (59-ha) area devoted to more than 20,000 cacti and protected desert flora from around the world. Guided tours explain the extraordinary life cycles of the desert plants. The rolling hills and lakes of the Phoenix Zoo also occupy a large area of the park. The zoo reproduces a series of habitats, including the Arizona-Sonora Desert and a tropical rainforest. It provides a home for more than 1,400 animals, their movement controlled by banks and canals rather than fences.

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t Sonoran desert cactus flowers in Papago Park


Camelback Mountain

Named for its humped shape, Camelback Mountain rises high above its suburban surroundings 7 miles (11 km) northeast of downtown Phoenix. One of the city’s most distinctive landmarks, the mountain is a granite and sandstone outcrop formed by prehistoric volcanic forces. Camelback Mountain is best approached from the north via the marked turn off McDonald Drive near the junction of Tatum Boulevard. From the parking lot, a well-marked path leads to the summit, a steep climb that covers 1,300 ft (390 m) in the space of a mile. Camelback Mountain adjoins the Echo Canyon Recreation Area, a lovely enclave with a choice of shady picnic sites.



As home to the main campus of Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe has a younger vibe than most places in Metropolitan Phoenix. That makes for a lively nightlife scene downtown, especially along its Mill Avenue hub. Don’t miss the striking Tempe City Hall, an inverted pyramid made of bronzed glass and steel, with a flower-filled sunken courtyard. Walking around, you’ll see lots of public art; students are encouraged to display their work, and even utility boxes are brightened up with quirky designs. Contemporary art is on display at the ASU Art Museum. The campus also has the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright-designed ASU Gammage Auditorium, one of the biggest venues for Broadway shows in the USA.

When the heat builds up you can cool off at the Big Surf Water Park or the Tempe History Museum.

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ASU Art Museum

51 E 10th St # 11am–5pm Tue–Sat (to 8pm Thu during term time) asuartmuseum.asu.edu


ASU Gammage Auditorium

1200 South Forest Ave asugammage.com

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Big Surf Water Park

1500 N McClintock Dr # 10am–6pm Mon–Sat, 11am-6pm Sun bigsurffun.com


Tempe History Museum

809 E Southern Ave # 10am–5pm Tue–Sat, 1–5pm Sun tempe.gov



Arizona's third-largest city after Phoenix and Tucson, Mesa was settled by the Hohokam people over 2,000 years ago. They built hundreds of miles of canals to irrigate the desert, many of which are still in use today and make for cooling walks in the desert heat. You can learn more at the Park of the Canals. The city's other main historical site, the Mesa Grande Cultural Park, is a five-minute drive away. Here you can see Hohokam build-ings from 1100 to 1400 BC.

Among the more modern attractions are the the i.d.e.a. Museum, which is aimed at keeping younger kids entertained and educated, and the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. Foodies will want to head out to Queen Creek Olive Mill, in neighboring Queen Creek, where you can tour the olive oil factory and taste and buy the products.

Park of the Canals

1710 N Horne # 6am–10pm daily parkofthecanals.org

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Mesa Grande Cultural Park

1000 N Date # Oct–May: 10am–2pm Wed–Fri, 10am–4pm Sat & Sun arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org

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i.d.e.a. Museum

150 W Pepper Pl # 9am–4pm Tue–Thu & Sat, 9am–6pm Fri, noon–4pm Sun ideamuseum.org


Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

1 E Main St # 10am–5pm Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat, 10am–8pm Thu, noon–5pm Sun mesaartscenter.com

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Queen Creek Olive Mill

25062 S Meridian Rd, Queen Creek # 8am–5pm Sun–Thu, 8am–9pm Fri & Sat queencreekolivemill.com

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Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park

4619 E. Washington St # 9am–4:45pm Tue–Sat, 1–4:45pm Sun ¢ Public hols pueblogrande.com

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t Reconstructed Hohokam building, Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park

Located 5 miles (8 km) east of downtown Phoenix, this museum displays an ancient Hohokam ruin, as well as many artifacts, including cooking utensils and pottery. Many pieces come from the adjacent Archaeological Park, the site of a Hohokam settle-ment from the 8th to the 14th centuries. The site, originally excavated in 1887, has ruins and signs indicating the many irrigation canals once used by the Hohokam to water crops.

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