Find everything you need to know about visiting Phoenix with kids, including a sample 2-day itinerary of activities to do, best dining restaurants and venues, along with things you must checkout on your vacation.
Phoenix is a vibrant city with lots of outdoor activities (known for its intense hikes), but also great for families who also want to experience more urban activities as well.
After visiting Phoenix with our combined Sedona trip, I wanted to share our experience with going there as well as what we would do again or try next time if given the opportunity.
Why You and Your Kids Will Love Phoenix
Phoenix is a big city in a warm climate with plenty of things to do for everyone. If you want to relax, you can do that. If you want to climb double black diamond trail heads, you can do that as well.
Peak season for visitors is generally in the spring, when the weather is pretty much around the mid 70 degrees. It's a great spring break destination, which is exactly what our family did. Even at the peak of spring break, we were able to find hotel rooms as we as great places to eat and things to do!
Phoenix provides kids an opportunity to explore beautiful scenery. Whether your family is into biking, hiking, or offroad exploring, Phoenix offers just about everything.
Honestly, if I had to pick between spending more time in Phoenix vs Sedona, I would pick Sedona in a heartbeat. Phoenix is feels more "big city" and seems like you are just visiting another big metropolitan area.
If you just want to check out various parts of Arizona, a trip that includes a stop between both Phoenix and Sedona would be a great option for families with little kids.
Overview of a 2 Day Phoenix Itinerary
Below is what I would recommend if you are planning on going to Phoenix and just taking in what the city has to offer with a family with little kids. Below, I go through some of the details so you have an idea what to expect.
- Breakfast at Matt's Big Breakfast
- Piestewa Squaw Peak Mountain Hike (partial)
- River Ranch Lunch and Swimming
- Papago Park Hole in the Rock Sunset
- Arriba's Mexican Grille for Dinner
- Breakfast at Joe's Diner
- Phoenix Zoo, Arizona Science Center, or OdySea Aquarium
- George's Kitchen for Gyros for Lunch
- Children's Museum of Phoenix, Goldfield Ghost Town, or LEGOLand
- Medieval Times Dinner
- Desert Botanical Garden
Where to Stay in Phoenix for Families
The Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak (formerly known as Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort) is a good place to stay if you have little kids. It has rooms for up to six people in a room, especially for big families.
Honestly, I think you might be overpaying if you pay over $400 a night for a room. We went during Spring Break, and it was a pretty busy resort because it has a water park called River Ranch that boasts a lazy river and a heated pool.
I talk all about what to expect at this hotel in the video below. If you are looking to be entertained at your resort, this is a great place to stay. Just make sure you bring life jackets for the littles because they do not have them there to even rent.
Another option is the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, which is great for families.
Best Time to Visit Phoenix
I would recommend visiting during Spring Break, when the temperatures are warmer. Generally, Phoenix is a place for snow bird vacationers looking to get away from the north and midwest colder air. Vacation season for Phoenix is generally between November and April.
Breakfast in Phoenix
We were recommended by some friends to try out some of the best breakfast places in town. The one that we would highly recommend is Matt's Big Breakfast!
Look at the size of this plate! She ordered the adult version, but still for an adult it is massive.
This avocado toast is more than just avocados and just as delicious!
This egg's benedict was flavorful and poached eggs was made perfect.
Hikes for Adventurous Families
Below are some of the hikes I would recommend adventurous families. Some of them are double black diamonds, but it didn't stop our little five year old. However, I will say we are a family that loves going outside and being active. While on some of them we didn't make it all the way, we did have fun at least trying.
Before eating brunch or a big lunch, try some of these hikes out for size. I would recommend for all of these hikes starting out early in the morning because the heat in Arizona can make it miserable mid-way through your hike.
Hole in the Rock is super short trail that anyone can do who is able-bodied. If you can, go right before sunset so you can watch the view!
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail
Known as Stairmaster Hell, Piestewa Peak Summit Trail 300, is a really fun hike with beautiful scenic views. My kids only made it half-way, but it was a blast!
Camelback Mountain on Echo Canyon Trail
This is a really fun, adventurous, and dangerous hike. There are areas where it goes up almost 180 degrees where you need to hang on to rails to climb. I would only recommend this for kids if they know how to climb!
Other Family Friendly Experiences
Below were some of the items also on our list to experience. However, we spent most of our time checking out all the hikes with the mountains and hills Phoenix had to offer. Check out the links below to learn more and check out ticket and availability.
- Castles N' Coaster
- Musical Instrument Museum
- Out of Africa Wildlife Park
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Phoenix
- Butterfly Wonderland
- i.d.e.a. Museum
- Arizona Museum of Natural History
- Pueblo Grande Museum of Archaeology Park
These are some of the water parks that are also available outside of River Ranch inside of the Hilton:
Lunch and Dinner Options
We were really surprised about how delicious this restaurant was. The gyros were amazing. The kids had pizza and buttered pasta, and everyone left has happy campers.
This gyro was sooooo good!
Arriba Mexican Grill
This Mexican restaurant was also absolutely delicious. Very fun theming, the food was phenomenal, and the kids got large whipped cream smoothies - what more could a family want? Arriba Mexican Grill is a must do.
Getting Around Town
We would recommend getting a rental car to get around town. We would not recommend getting it at Avis (we had terrible customer service there when we visited last).
Other Phoenix Tips for Families
Here are some other fun attractions and areas that you can visit for families that you can check out here.
Combining a Trip to Sedona
If you are looking to combine a trip to Phoenix with Sedona, I would recommend spending two days in Phoenix and three days in Sedona. That would be just enough time to see all the main attractions and not get too bored!
The trip between Phoenix and Sedona can be broken up with a trip to Montezuma's Castle, which is a great place to learn about history, but also a way to stretch your legs.
Phoenix is a really fun, bustling town that you can also take breaks to take in nature through short and long hikes! It's filled with delicious foods, beautiful resorts, and challenging trails for families who like adventure and nature.