10 Cultural Hoptspots To Visit In Arizona

Ellen Von Weigand

The Southwestern state of Arizona derives much of its character from its history as the home of Navajo, Apache and Hopi Native American Indians. Although not known for its more contemporary cultural attractions, the Grand Canyon state nevertheless boasts a range of galleries, theaters and cultural centers that take a multidisciplinary approach to the arts.

Phoenix Art Museum

Since 1959 the dedicated and passionate staff at the Phoenix Art Museum have worked hard to connect people to great art as a way of enriching their lives. Over 50 years of development and growth have made it the largest art institution in Arizona with a strong international reputation. Temporary exhibitions featuring the work of international artists complement the museum’s permanent collection of over 17,000 artworks of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, as well as fashion design. In addition, the Phoenix Art Museum hosts festivals, live performances, independent art films and educational programs to satisfy a variety of cultural interests.

1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1685, +1 602 257-1222

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Exhibitions at SMoCA deal not only in the fine arts, but also in works by significant contemporary architects and designers. By placing works of various disciplines side by side, the museum highlights parallels between them and inspires new ways of thinking about contemporary innovation. In 2012 the museum saw the opening of the SMoCA Lounge, a community space for creativity, imagination, fun and contemplation. Complementing the institution’s program of plastic arts, the new lounge hosts literary readings, live music, film screenings, lunchtime lectures and exciting fundraising events, encouraging a level of active participation among visitors that moves beyond mere observation.

7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, +1 480-874-4666

© Jllm06

Heard Museum

The Heard Museum was founded by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard in 1929 to educate the public on the arts, heritage and traditions of the indigenous people of the American Southwest through the display of their extensive collection of artifacts and art. Today it is recognized internationally for its highly quality exhibitions, educational programming and its festivals. As a living museum, Heard regularly collaborates with American Indian artists and tribal communities to offer an accurate portrayal of these native cultures through storytelling and the display of artworks.

2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, +1 602-252-8840

Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Arts Centre is Arizona’s largest multidisciplinary arts venue with four performance theaters, five exhibition galleries, and 14 art studios all housed in an impressive architectural complex. An exhibition program is dedicated to the display of contemporary art, and includes a gallery reserved for experimental, site specific and new media works selected from a series of artist proposals. Meanwhile the various theaters feature concerts, dance, theater and comedy performances by touring groups and resident companies alike. Mesa’s extensive list of courses for both adults and children offer expert guidance in the disciplines of painting, sculpture, jewelry making, blacksmithery, and acting among others.

One East Main Street Mesa, Arizona 85201,admin: 480-644-6501, box office: +1 480-644-6500

Tonto National Monument

Dating back to the 13th century, the archaeological site at Tonto National Monument features some of Arizona’s most stunning cliff dwellings, where visitors can hike a steep half mile up a paved trail to walk among the ruins. This national monument is situated within the Sonoran Desert, the most diverse desert in North America, home to an incredible range of cacti, plants and wildflowers. The dwellings were occupied until the 15th century by tribes of farmers, who supplemented their diet by hunting and gathering. These groups left behind expertly constructed craft works, some of which can be viewed in the Visitor Center museum.

26260 N Az Hwy 188 #2 Roosevelt, AZ 85545, +1 928 467-2241

Herberger Theater Center

The Herberger Theater Center is the official performance venue for the Arizona Theatre Company and the Center Dance Ensemble, but also hosts periodic shows by various other groups. The center was built in 1989 as a non-profit organisation with the goal of expanding the cultural scene of Arizona’s capital city. It continues to foster growth in this area, acting as Phoenix’s foremost platform for performance. Herberger also operates a youth outreach program, giving thousands of youth the chance to perform on a professional stage, and stimulating the future of the performing arts in Arizona. On top of this, an onsite art gallery sells the work of local artists, contributing a portion of the proceeds to the growth of the theater.

222 E Monroe St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, +1 602-254-7399

© a.dombrowski

ASU Art Museum

The Art Museum at ASU takes on the mentality of the university, serving as a laboratory for contemplation and inventive artistic engagement. The museum’s projects include ‘Global Arizona’, which attempts to deepen the connection between art and society, ‘Social Studies’, which invites a working artist to turn a museum gallery into a studio allowing visitors a peek inside their daily operations, ‘InterLab’, which showcases interdisciplinary work by students and faculty of the University, and ‘Moving Targets’, which focuses on works of new media art. Through these initiatives, ASU Art Museum strives to be the museum of the future.

51 E 10th St, Tempe, AZ 85281, +1 480-965-2787

Phoenix Theatre

The Phoenix Theatre is the oldest arts organization in Arizona and one of the largest in the United States. Founded in 1924 to serve as the permanent venue for the Phoenix Players, the early theater was set up in an old coach house. When in the early 1950s the company won funding for the development of a new building, the surrounding area became the core of Phoenix’s cultural scene as institutions such as the Phoenix Art Museum and the Phoenix Library soon popped up. Throughout its layered history, the Phoenix Theatre has presented the work of emerging playwrights and composers, offered a venue for experimental theater, and hosted many world premieres.

100 E. McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004, +1 602-254-2151

© Sanjay Acharya

Rock Art Canyon Ranch

Rock Art Canyon Ranch is located in a remote area 13 miles outside of Winslow, yet a trip to this outdoor art gallery is worth the detour. Visitors are welcome by appointment only, and come to view the considerable number of petroglyphs, one of the most impressive in the state, inscribed along the canyon that runs on either side of a lush stream. In addition to the petroglyphs, the ranch house displays hundreds of artifacts collected from around the property. This convergence of art, nature and history is highly enlightening.

Box 224, Joseph City, AZ 86032, +1 928 288-3260

Modified Arts

Founded in 1999, Modified Arts is a fresh and innovative exhibition space/performance venue in downtown Phoenix. A rotating exhibition program features a new local, national or international artist each month for a series of bold, highly conceptual, and diverse shows. In addition to its visual arts program, a select number of musical performance are held each year in the space. Shows ranging from jazz, to contemporary classical to experimental music take advantage of the small scale, intimacy and artistic environment of the gallery for concerts unlike any other to be found in the city. Performance artists, actors and dancers are also invited to create and perform new works designed to fit well within this unique venue.

407 East Roosevelt St. Phoenix, AZ 85004-1918, +1 602 462-5516

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.