Phoenix Area, Arizona
Phoenix may be best known for its sun-baked climate, luxurious spas, and world-class golf, but it’s also the home of major museums and cultural sites. During your next visit, take in these top spots to add a little anthropological enrichment:
Many people come to Phoenix for its Native American and Southwestern culture — and the Heard Museum is the perfect place to learn more about Indigenous artists and their work. The museum collaborates with Indigenous tribes and artists to share the stories of their people from a first-person perspective through a dozen galleries, an outdoor sculpture garden, and free guided tours (with purchase of a ticket). Not to be missed are the exhibits of woven baskets and Katsina dolls, the Hopi wood-carved figures used to teach young girls about deities. If you’re visiting in February, the museum is the site of the annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest.
Iconic modern architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Arizona home, Taliesin West, was his winter base from 1937 until his death in 1959. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage site and National Historic Landmark in nearby Scottsdale is open to the public for self-guided and guided tours. The home, which seamlessly blends into its desert landscape, was built and maintained by Wright and his students — making it one of his most personal buildings. Plan to reserve tickets in advance as the number of visitors each day is limited.
The Phoenix Art Museum boasts a varied collection of art and objects but is an absolute must-see for fashionistas. The museum’s fashion holdings include more than 8,000 items from the past 500 years. There’s a special emphasis on mid-century haute couture from such designers as Balenciaga, Charles James, Givenchy, and Madame Grès, as well as avant-garde pieces from the likes of Azzedine Alaïa, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Issey Miyake. The museum’s collection is sure to inspire a shopping trip to the city’s luxury malls and boutiques.
A visit to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) offers a reminder of the power of music to bring people together. The MIM boasts a collection of more than 7,500 instruments and pieces of music memorabilia reflecting the cultures of over 200 countries. The museum is a highly interactive experience: You can look, listen, and even make your own music. MIM also presents a schedule of live concerts throughout the winter, spring, and fall.