10 Favorite Tourist Attractions in Phoenix (That Are Still Fun for Locals)

Ah, tourists. In Phoenix, we'll be hardpressed to point out a tourist at any given theater, museum, or cultural center -- we're all wearing T-shirts and shorts, most of us are taking pictures and instagramming anything that moves, and no matter how many times we say we've acclimated, there's not a soul who won't break a sweat.

There are plenty of places to drag your extended family on a day trip or drive around the city, but let's face it, we could go to these spots any day. Here are a few of our favorite Phoenix attractions -- touristy or not.

10. Desert Botanical Gardens The Botanical Gardens are a standard for any weekend or day-trip through Phoenix, but if you're staying the night (or forever) and want to take a cooler walk through the desert landscape, you'll want to see what the natural reserve has on the calendar. Through September staff members give flashlight tours where viewers can check out desert blossoms and bugs after the sun goes down.

9. Arizona Science Center Easy to find and easy to spend an afternoon in is Downtown's Arizona Science Center, which is packed with exhibitions and activities to keep geeks of all ages occupied. On view starting July 8 is MathAlive! featuring interactive sports, games, and science experiments that involve the fun (and more practical) uses of mathematics. The center's permanent exhibitions will also be on view throughout the summer and include films and visuals in the Dorrance Planetarium, anatomy activities, physics and construction-themed interactive displays, public art installations, and musical shows.

10 Favorite Tourist Attractions in Phoenix (That Are Still Fun for Locals)
Jonathan McNamara

8. Japanese Friendship Garden If you're looking for a Zen experience, look no further than the Japanese Friendship Garden. The 3.5-acre park is a symbol of friendship between Phoenix and her sister city Himeji in Japan, and took 50 architects from Japan more than 60 trips to Phoenix to build since 1987. Here, you won't find Sakura, the popular Japanese cherry blossom trees, but you will spot purple leaf plums, Japanese maples, and evergreen pears that provide plenty of shady spots to take a zen moment.

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