A fast and easy way to experience the Sonoran Desert is a trip to Papago Park, which is free and just minutes away from downtown Phoenix. A convenient method of getting there is by Valley Metro Rail and walking the half mile from the station to the entrance. Trails thread throughout the park, letting you meander among creosote bushes, palo verde trees and iconic saguaro cactuses. Papago Park’s most stunning features, however, are the red sandstone buttes dotting the countryside. A gentle slope leads up to one of the park’s most popular things to see: Hole-in-the-Rock, from which you’ll have an excellent view of the park and downtown Phoenix in the distance.
113 N. 6th St.
Lost among downtown Phoenix’s modern office towers, the Rosson House—with its deep verandas, octagonal turret and dim, ornate interiors—seems a bit out of place. But the Victorian mansion has been a city landmark at this site, now known as Heritage Square, since it was finished in 1895 for Dr. Roland Rosson. For less than $10 you can tour the home and admire the period furniture, pressed-tin ceilings and original ruby glass transom windows. Vintage items on display include 100-year-old kitchen utensils, alarming surgical tools and intricate Victorian keepsakes braided from locks of human hair.Read MoreAAA / Frank Swanson
South Mountain Environmental Education Center
10409 S. Central Ave.
The South Mountains are a familiar sight to Phoenix residents particularly at night when the broadcast towers crowded on top are lit up. Laced with hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, South Mountain Park, one of the world’s largest city parks, is a popular recreation destination. There’s no better place to begin your visit than at the free South Mountain Environmental Education Center, which distributes hiking maps with directions to scenic overlooks. Among the fun things to do with kids at the center: learn about native wildlife and walk along the family-friendly Judith Tunell Trail, a wide concrete path lined with interpretive signs.
AAA Travel Editor Frank Swanson
Frank Swanson is a AAA Travel Expert.
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