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Lake Mead

01 August . 2021

Estrella’s Arizona Bucket List of Must-Visit Places

Our Arizona Bucket List - More Beautiful Places to Visit

Living in Arizona offers so many places to see and experience! Estrella by Newland is located in Goodyear and many of these beautiful places to visit in Arizona are well within a short drive, while others make ideal day trip destinations or weekend getaways. In the latest installment of our Arizona Bucket List series, we rounded up a few more of our favorite must-visit places around the Phoenix Metro area and the state. Check them out, and start planning your next adventure!

Arizona Bucket List Destinations: Short Drives

The Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is definitely an Arizona Bucket List must and requires planning and reservations for many of the exhibits and gardens. The meandering trails and galleries are ideal for a stroller-friendly day with the family. The gardens are also the perfect date-night spot or a place to enjoy the local music scene. There are also options for hosting a special lunch, brunch, dinner, or private event. Residents can also become members of the Desert Botanical Garden to take advantage of the beauty and range of programs year-round.

The MIM: Musical Instrument Museum
Looking for more fun places to visit in Arizona? Music fans of all ages will love the “MIM”—one of the more recent Arizona Bucket List entries located in northeast Phoenix. Music and instruments show us what we have in common—powerfully expressed in the museum’s motto: music is the language of the soul. Founder Bob Ulrich (then CEO of Target Corporation) wanted to develop a new kind of musical museum that would focus on the kind of instruments played every day by people worldwide. Today, MIM has a collection of more than 8,000 instruments from more than 200 world countries. The galleries reflect the rich diversity and history of many world cultures, and the concerts and learning programs are popular with residents and tourists alike.

Medieval Times Dinner Theatre
If you’re looking for “a knight to remember,” another newer favorite of our fun places to visit in Arizona Bucket List is the Medieval Times Dinner Theatre in Scottsdale. The 80,000 square foot castle offers a two-hour show that blurs the boundaries between fairytales and history, all while the “guests” of the Queen enjoy a hands-on four-course meal. The venue comes alive through an electrifying show featuring heroic knights on spirited horses displaying astounding athletic feats and thrilling swordplay, while the sweeping musical score and brilliant lights provide a fabulous backdrop for this spellbinding experience that’s suitable for all ages. Reservations are recommended, and a variety of packages are available.

Arizona Bucket List Destinations: Day Trips or Weekend Getaways

Arizona Meteor Crater & Barringer Space Museum
With so much excitement surrounding the exploration of Mars, it’s the perfect time to visit one of Arizona’s own galactic marvels - the Meteor Crater near Winslow. In the 1960s, NASA astronauts prepared for the first moon landing by working and exploring the crater’s unique and rugged terrain. The natural attraction was formed more than 50,000 years ago when a meteorite struck the ground with force ~150,000 times greater than an atomic bomb. The massive explosion blew apart 175 million tons of rock, forming a crater nearly a mile wide and 570 feet deep. Today, the crater is the best-preserved meteorite impact crater on Earth. The Barringer Space Museum offers multiple learning opportunities and interactive displays, as well as prime viewing vantage points of the crater. In addition, the Apollo 11 Lunar Training Command Module used for training the astronauts is now on display in the museum. Round out the day in this Arizona Bucket List destination by grabbing a pic ‘standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, in homage to The Eagles’ 70s mega-hit, Take It Easy.

Kartchner Caverns State Park
Voted "Best Arizona Attraction" by USA Today 2017 Reader's Choice Awards, this incredible series of caves in Benson is definitely on our Arizona Bucket List. A living and contained ecosystem, Kartchner Caverns offers visitors the chance to view nature’s underground artistry, from delicate soda straw formations, gravity-defying helictites, drapes of waving flowstone to the grandeur of Kubla Khan — a formation standing six stories tall. Visitors can also learn about the unique life cycle of bats that have lived in this distinct moist and breathable microclimate for thousands of years. Tour reservations are highly recommended.

Prescott’s Whiskey Row
Located in Prescott, this Arizona Bucket List destination is packed full of Old West history. As a bustling mining town during the Gold Rush era of 1848-1855, Prescott attracted all sorts of settlers, cowboys, prospectors, gamblers, and good-time girls, and the street was dubbed Whiskey Row as it was filled with saloons. After a fire in July of 1900 destroyed the entire block, it was rebuilt with even more bars—40 in total! Today, Whiskey Row is known for art galleries, candy shops, and its famous saloons.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead National Recreation Area spans 177 miles of the Colorado River and includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. The area's 1.5 million acres stretches into southern Nevada. The area offers boating, kayaking, and other water sports, camping facilities, fishing, and hiking opportunities. Willow Beach is a small resort town on the Colorado River with accommodations, restaurants, a marina, and a fish hatchery. It’s a great Arizona Bucket List spot to get away for some summer fun!

Ft. McDowell Adventures: Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation, AZ
If touring the desert guided by real cowboys is on your Arizona Bucket List, a visit or stay at Ft. McDowell on the Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation is a must. View the wild landscape, or experience life as a real western cowboy as you assist in cattle drives from horseback or choose a more modern form of conveyance on a desert Segway tour. Fort McDowell Adventures also offers guests delicious barbecues, kayaking excursions, and other fun ways to enjoy the outdoors. Adults can enjoy casino gambling at We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, and golfers will love teeing up on the championship courses We-Ko-Pa Golf Club.

Our Arizona bucket list of places could go on and on, but these are just a few more of our favorites. On your next Arizona adventure, be sure to tag us on social @EstrellaAZLife and share your favorite places in the state. For more bucket list ideas, check out our Arizona Bucket List Events blog.