As part of our weekly blog photos, we try to explore many of the fascinating places here in our state. While I’ve shared over 20 hidden gems in our area before, this time I wanted to concentrate on cheap things to do in Arizona.
At the bottom of the post, I also include the iconic places that first time visitors to the state should visit.
Quote of the day: “People grown through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” Eleanor Roosevelt
While most of the places we go and explore aren’t expensive, it’s always nice to find cheap things to do in Arizona. My definition of cheap for this list is places where the admission is free and even some of the tours are complimentary.
So if you are looking to be kind to your wallet, and learn more about the 48th state of the union, then be sure to check out these cheap things to do in Arizona.
1-ASU Art Museum
51 E 10th St, Tempe, AZ 85281
In Tempe about 15 minutes SE of Phoenix
Free admission for all and a free tour when you fill out the tour request form.
The ASU art museum showcases art and collections from in the service of social good and community wellbeing.
My perception of a college art museum is that it would be full of art made by students of the institution but that is not the case at the ASU art museum.
Even the building was quite artistic and there are cool sculptures as you walk in.
Insider tip: There are stairs to get down to the museum, but if you need it, an elevator is located on the North side of the building.
There is also free parking in front of the museum.
22402 S Basha Rd, Chandler, AZ 85248
1 hour south of Phoenix
Admission is free, but call the information line 480-895-5230 (press option 2) to make sure the gallery is open prior to visiting.
When you pull up to the building, you might imagine you are in the wrong place. It’s a set of non-descript office buildings with very little hoopla around it.
But when you go inside the Support Center you will be A.M.A.Z.E.D. at the extensive private collection that is on display.
There are no tours, but you are given some pamphlets explaining about some of the exhibits and the story behind the man himself, Basha.
AZ Capitol Museum
1700 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007
Free admission for all and tours for groups over 10 with advance reservations.
This museum celebrates Arizona’s vibrant cultural heritage through history and you can even visit where the house of chambers used to meet.
There is also an incredible lego flag of Arizona as well as a mini railroad that winds through the copper state.
Fountain Hills Fountain & Phil’s Filling Station
16852 E Parkview Ave, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
15 minutes East of Phoenix
Every Sunday from Oct-May there is a free car show in Phil’s back parking lot
The town called Fountain Hills has an impressive fountain in the middle of the park downtown that goes off for 15 minutes on the top of every hour between 9 am-9 pm. It’s free to explore the park and after that, one shouldn’t miss a trip to Phil’s filling station.
Phil’s is now a restaurant with an incredible display of Coca-Cola products scattered throughout. During the winter months, there is also a free car show on Sunday’s where you can see every imagineable vintage car in the back parking lot.
13912 W Camelback Rd, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340
30 minutes SW of Phoenix
Free admission and information provided by docents
This small museum that used to be Aunt Mary’s house, and is a treasure trove of information relating to the early days of Litchfield Park.
Insider info: Did you know that cotton used to be one of the big crops of Arizona? There is a town right near Litchfield called Goodyear where Goodyear tires were made. And interestingly enough, cotton was used in production of older tires.
Sign up for emails to learn about free lectures and other wonderful events.
Historic City Hall, 17 S 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
In downtown Phoenix
Free admission and a group tour can be requested by using their form provided
Explore a range of artifacts, documents, and photographs that tell an exciting story of service and dedication throughout the years. There are older vehicles as well as information about how the Phoenix Police have shaped the city and its people.
Insider info: Did you know that the Miranda rights were started here in Phoenix?
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
7301 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
15 minutes East of Phoenix
The park is free to walk around and there is a model railway building as well as a railroad museum where you can walk through real rail cars.
This 30-acre park has something for everyone. Kids can play on the playgrounds while the adults learn more about railroads with historic artifacts, exhibits and train cars.
There is also a 10,000 sq. foot model railroad building with two different model trains in service.
Insider tip: This is a great place even in the summer because the playground is shaded and surrounded by misting water features.
There is a $3 charge to ride the train and carousel.
City of Scottsdale & Historical Society
The City of Scottsdale has many free events and lectures throughout the year. There are always a couple of lectures around June Days where Scottsdale celebrates all things that make the area unique.
We have attended the Scottsdale Stories put on at the Community Design Studio where a citizen advisor shares real life stories from the past in an entertaining way.
Insider tip: Join the email list to be in the know of upcoming events.
4087 E Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119
30 minutes East of Phoenix
While the museum has a $7 fee, there are many free events scheduled throughout the winter months.
The Superstition Mountain Museum includes a variety of outdoor buildings and exhibits on the premises that are free.
During the cooler months, there are also free lectures put on by the museum.
If you are an Arizonan, you might have heard of the Superstition Mountains as the place where the Lost Dutchman had buried a boatload of gold. Is it true? Many people have died looking for the gold, and the rumors continue.
Insider tip: If you are a resident of Maricopa county, there is a cultural pass at the Maricopa library to visit the Superstition Mountain museum for free.
Sundial in Sun City-Rock Club
14801 N 103rd Ave, Sun City, AZ 85351
30 minutes West of Phoenix
A member of the rock club will give you a free tour of the collection including fluorescent gems
I’ve shared about how our retirement community of Sun City has a plethora of different clubs to keep you busy. One such club is the Rock Hound Club and Mineral Museum. You can tour the museum any time the door is open, but it’s even better to request a tour given by one of the members.
The most impressive display is the flourscent room where with black lights you can see how some rocks floursece when hit with ultraviolet light.
Insider tip: There is also a gift shop where you can take home some of your own rocks.
Other Cheap Things to do in Arizona
I have written about over 20 unique and hidden gems in Arizona that included a couple more cheap things to do in Arizona.
Those cheap or free things to do from that article are
The Top 8 Places to See in Arizona
Of course, if you’re a first-time tourist, there are main things that every tourist should explore when they visit. We have done all of these too, so if you want more information, feel free to reach out with questions.
2-Desert Botanical Gardens–Website
6-Phoenix Art Museum–Website
7-Musical Instrument Museum–Website
8-Saguaro National Park–Website
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