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Phoenix Forward

5 things to do while you’re in Phoenix

Although the main focus of your trip to Arizona in June is to celebrate your — or a loved one’s — accomplishment, you deserve to have some fun while you’re in town for national commencement.

If you’ve never been to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, you’ll be excited to learn that there are lots of things to see and do to help turn your graduation trip into a bona fide vacation. Here are five activities that’ll help you make the most of your time in the Valley of the Sun:

Book a scenic tour of Arizona

Book a scenic tour of Arizona.

Select from day tours to multi-day and specialty tours from Arizona Scenic Tours. See attractions like the spectacular Grand Canyon, local Spanish missions and the historic Route 66. Or take in the sights of Sedona, known as “Red Rock Country” for the magnificent sandstone monoliths that surround the city, and end your day with a tour of Arizona wineries.

Enjoy the outdoors

Enjoy the outdoors.

Plan a hike on one of Arizona’s many trails, spend time golfing or see the beauty of the desert up close at the Desert Botanical Garden. Whatever you decide, go early to avoid the hottest parts of the day, wear a hat, apply sunscreen and take plenty of water.

Experience the spirit of the Southwest

Experience the spirit of the Southwest.

The Heard Museum, dedicated to promoting American Indian arts and culture, has 11 exhibition galleries that reflect the history of American Indians. View Hopi pottery and the works of Diné photographers, or shop for authentic artwork. Be sure to visit the museum’s website to check summer hours for both the Phoenix and Scottsdale locations and to see its list of top 10 things to do there.

Explore downtown Phoenix

Explore downtown Phoenix.

With National Commencement taking place at the Phoenix Convention Center, you’ll find an array of shopping, dining and entertainment just beyond the graduation headquarters. Across the street is Chase Field, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who’ll be hosting the World Champion San Francisco Giants, June 7–9.

Add a little edge to your sports adventure with a visit to veteran rocker Alice Cooper’s restaurant. Or head over to CityScape for more dining and entertainment options, day or night.

If you're traveling with kids, take them to the Arizona Science Center nearby, then board the Valley Metro light rail to the Phoenix Art Museum. And when you’re ready to venture beyond downtown, don’t forget Scottsdale, where trendy meets the Old West.

Tour the Phoenix Main Campus

Tour the University’s high-tech Phoenix Main Campus.

Visit the John Sperling Center for Educational Innovation, our 10-story, state-of-the-art building designed for students and staff. Features range from video displays to interactive maps and classrooms that use the latest tools in educational technology. Visitors are welcome on June 6, from 11 am to 4 pm.

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