10 Best Museums in Phoenix: Explore the Valley's Best Cultural Attractions

Phoenix is home to a growing list of museums and cultural arts venues, offering visitors plenty to see and do during their stay in the Valley of the Sun.

One of the most unique museums in town is the Musical Instrument Museum, or the MIM, which allows visitors to experience music from around the world. A huge collection of musical instruments representing over 200 countries around the world give visitors a taste of the sounds and rhythms of different regions.

Art lovers won't want to miss the Phoenix Art Museum, featuring a strong collection of European and Asian art, as well as an impressive Modern Art wing.

Explore the city's southwestern history at Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeology Park, where visitors get an up-close look at prehistoric Hohokam ruins, including a ball court.

The Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve just north of town provides another fascinating glimpse into Southwestern history, with more than 1500 identified petroglyphs etched on the rocks along this prehistoric trade route.

Finally, visit one of the world's greatest repositories of Native American art with a stop at the famous Heard Museum. If you're looking for a good place to find authentic Native American jewelry, rugs and crafts, be sure to stop at the museum's popular gift shop.


Shemer Art Center & Museum


Formerly a private residence, this art center and museum sits on four well-manicured acres overlooking Camelback Mountain and is one of the few places to see large-scale sculpture outdoors. The displays change throughout the year as some are...  Read More

Arizona State University Art Museum


Located in a stunning contemporary building, this museum showcases a variety of galleries with ever-changing exhibits. The predominant emphases include modern, Latin and folk art, in addition to an array of arts and crafts. The permanent...  Read More

Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve (formerly Deer Valley Art Rock Center)


On a 47-acre site north of Phoenix, Indians from throughout the Southwest carved more than 1500 petroglyphs, or rock etchings, along an ancient trade route. Between 500 and 5000 years old, these pictographs have an unknown meaning but may relate...  Read More

Arizona Capitol Museum


Housed in an impressive stone building that once served as the state capitol, this museum documents Arizona's time as a territory and its early statehood. The structure itself is crowned with a copper dome and a 16-foot, zinc Winged Victory...  Read More



The Children's Museum of Phoenix, located in the 70,000 square foot historic Monroe School building in downtown Phoenix, offers three floors of exhibits designed to engage young children and the adults who love them. Exhibits are hands-on and...  Read More



Completed in the spring of 2005, the Mesa Arts Center is the largest in the state at 212,755 square feet. The campus has four theaters, the Mesa Contemporary Arts galleries, and numerous studios, workshops, offices and classrooms. The center...  Read More



The Musical Instrument Museum, also known as the MIM, celebrates art, music and culture by documenting the history of musical instruments from around the world. Everyone from Carlos Santana to Tony Bennett have sung the praises of this bright,...  Read More

Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park


This museum and its adjacent park are built on the site of 1500-year-old Hohokam Indian ruins. Exhibits showcase lifestyles of the Hohokam and of other Southwestern tribes, and visitors learn about Phoenix's cultural heritage through displays of...  Read More

Phoenix Art Museum
Photo courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum


Another institution growing by leaps and bounds, this museum's scope is indisputably international with works representing American, Asian, European and Latin American art. The museum also features exhibits on fashion and the Thorne miniature...  Read More

Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art


The well-regarded, world-famous Heard Museum is one of the world's leading repositories of Native American art. It also features works by contemporary Southwestern artists, craft demonstrations, amphitheater performances, a caf--, and a gift...  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.

She received her MFA in Creative...  More About Patricia