The American Southwest has long held an allure for anyone seeking a sunny, warm climate in which to live and work. Likewise, as a vacation destination, Phoenix stands out as a major draw. Arizona’s largest city is home to an impressive collection of truly unforgettable attractions—as readers can discover for themselves in the list of “must-sees” that follows.

• The Breadfruit & Rum Bar: This chilled-out seafood restaurant features an island-inspired bar that serves more than 100 rum variations. A great reason to go is to drink the Wix Bang. Sure, it sounds like questionable slang, but this super signature drink takes center stage for a reason. We’re talking a blend of five-year-aged Real McCoy rum, lime, guava reduction, coconut, nutmeg and a horehound tincture to get one’s lips around. And if that libation isn’t enough to get someone going, get a load of the mouthwatering menu: fresh from the sea curried shrimp, locally sourced rum sea scallops and jerk pork chops.

• First Fridays Monthly Art Walk: Various neighborhoods in downtown Phoenix get extra artsy on the first Friday of each month. Thousands gather to see artworks in galleries, retail venues and on the street. Happening for more than 20 years, this is a great way to take in the city’s diverse art scene. The monthly events feature rotating exhibitions by artists working with all mediums. Also expect to see live street performers and nosh on goodies from area eateries and food trucks.

Beautiful blooming wild desert pink cactus flowers.

• Desert Botanical Garden: This is the prime spot to peep desert plants and learn about the area’s landscape. Not only does this 140-acre garden have a spectacular vista, but it’s also the sunny home of an extraordinary number of living creatures—visitors just have to know how to spot them. Spend some time visiting here and a person can expect to take a flashlight tour, a group tour of self-paced trails where attendees are armed with flashlights to see and hear what dwells in the desert after dark.

• Tovrea Castle: This is a four-story castle, viewable from the freeway, that stands out like a beacon amidst the desert landscape. Make sure to schedule a tour. Once a visitor catches sight of this interesting structure, they’ll want to tour it right away, which is the only way to see the inside of the 5,000-square-foot landmark. As they make their way through, tourists can learn about the three different families responsible for this feat of architecture coming to fruition.

• The Hive: The DIY vibe thrives at the Hive, a central Phoenix collective that brings together independent businesses and visual and performing arts purveyors. There’s just so much to do (and buy) here. Shoppers who love vintage clothes and goods will find it hard to walk out of The Bee’s Knees empty-handed. There’s also an art gallery with rotating exhibitions and Wasted Ink Zine Distro, where you can get ’zines from around the globe. Buzz Beans, also on premise, will keep visitors properly caffeinated.

• Heard Museum: The central Phoenix museum was founded in 1929 and is dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art. Browse through rotating exhibitions, a permanent collection and signature events that are both fun and educational. It’s worth a visit to get educated on all things American Indian, with a special focus on artists from the Southwest. Learn about artistic traditions and evolutions through paintings, sculptures and textiles.

• Papago Park: This verdant and lush park is a hiker’s dream. With various winding trails fit for every experience level, Papago Park is also known for its big buttes. A fantastic starting spot for even the most unsure beginners, this Phoenix hiking spot offers so much more than the average walk in the park. If looking for a more chilled-out route, the dirt and sandstone trails are easy-to-moderate and offer scenic surroundings and captivating views. Rather not spend all day standing up? Anyone more partial to wheel-based exercise can turn it up a gear and bring a mountain bike.

As rich in attractions as it is in sunshine, Phoenix is not-to-be-missed by anyone seeking an adventure in the arid Southwest.

© 2019 Silver Disobedience Inc.