Have you already visited most of Arizona’s must-see locations? If you’re looking for a new spot that doesn’t regularly get much press, you will want to check out one of these hidden gems.
1. Alwun House, Phoenix
This Victorian-era bungalow home now lives as a lively member of the Phoenix art scene on Roosevelt Row. It serves as an art gallery, studio, and venue for local artists.
Location: 1204 East Roosevelt Street, Phoenix
2. A scenic drive along Apache Trail
Choose a sunny day with a 0% chance of rain and 100% self-confidence for this drive that all Arizonans should do at least once. Windy, and at times scary, this drive offers beautiful views of the desert between Apache Junction and Tonto National Monument. If you have the time, you may want to make a day of it and do the circle route, which extends down to Globe, across to Florence, and then back to Apache Junction.
3. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, Tucson
If you were an artist, do you think you would also design the frame that would contain your artwork? What about the gallery? That's what Ted DeGrazia did in the 1950s when he designed and built the Gallery in the Sun. It's unique atmosphere creates the perfect setting for his artwork and traveling collections from other artists.
Location: 6300 North Swan, Tucson
4. Rio Salado Audubon Center, Phoenix
For a touch of the wild in central Phoenix, pay a visit to the Rio Salado Audubon Center, which is a nature center along the Salt River. It shows off the natural riparian habitat of the river and is home to local and migrating wildlife.
Location: 3131 South Central Avenue, Phoenix
5. Signal Hill, Saguaro National Park
Aside from some pretty desert views, you will also find some old and stunning petroglyphs along a short trail at the picnic area. The art is estimated to be at least 1,000 years old.
Location: Signal Hill is located in the western side of Saguaro National Park, just off of Golden Gate Road.
6. Strawberry Schoolhouse Museum, Strawberry
The oldest schoolhouse in Arizona, the Strawberry Schoolhouse, was built in 1884 as a log cabin and served local children until its closure in 1916. Between then and it becoming a part of the Arizona Historical Society, the building was a home to many residents and faced a slow deterioration. In the 1980s the schoolhouse was restored and has been open to the public since.
Location: The Strawberry Schoolhouse is located on Fossil Creek Road, west of Highway 87 in Strawberry.
7. Tumacácori National Historical Park
The San Xavier del Bac Mission gets a lot of love and for good reason—it's well-preserved and an absolute beauty. However, another Spanish era mission located in southern Arizona is Mission San Jose de Tumacácori near Tubac, which was founded in 1691 and the present church was built in 1757. The site never had a stable presence however; it was the site of the O'odham Uprising in 1751, its Jesuit priests were expelled by Spain in 1768, and was abandoned shortly after the Mexican-American War.
Location: 1891 East Frontage Road, Tumacacori
8. Valley of the Moon, Tucson
There's an extended, local history behind this place which you can read in further detail on their website, but essentially the Valley of the Moon comes down to this: it is a quirky, whimsical attraction dedicated to the imagination.
Location: 2544 East Allen Road, Tucson
9. Walnut Canyon National Monument
I think most of us have seen the cliff dwellings at either Canyon de Chelly or Montezuma's Castle. Another place to check out similar unique homes is Walnut Canyon, where the dwellings were built along the canyon ledges. The walk to see the dwellings requires a lot of stair climbing so make sure to work out those leg and hip muscles in advance and bring an extra bottled water.
Location: To get to Walnut Canyon from Flagstaff, drive east on I-40 then head south at Exit 204. Drive approximately three miles to the visitor center.
10. Wupatki National Monument
A collection of old ruins dating as early as the 11th-century, some of the buildings at Wupatki National Monument still stand surprisingly strong and tall all these centuries later.
Location: The National Park Service recommends driving north from Flagstaff along US-89 to the Sunset Crater entrance. From here, drive along Loop Road to the Wupatki Visitor Center.
What are some other hidden gems you think don’t get the attention they deserve? Let us know and we may feature a second article with your suggestions!