Phoenix and the surrounding cities often seem like new developments because of the massive expansion and renovation in the past few decades. However, the area actually saw quite a bit of history before that.
For history buffs, there are a number of places you can go to explore these fascinating prior days. As an example, many of the famous hotels in the area carry historical significance.
In this list, we’re going to share some of our favorite places to visit for a fascinating dose of Valley history.
1. Taliesin West
Taliesin West was the Arizona home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He made significant contributions to several historical Valley landmarks, including ASU Gammage Auditorium.
While you can visit just for the intellectual information about Wright’s life and influence, Taliesin West’s beautiful construction also provides a feast for the senses.
2. Heritage Square
Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix boasts the oldest standing residential block in the Valley. For modern visitors it provides a look at life around the (previous) turn of the century.
The centerpiece of the various attractions is the Rossun House. Built in 1895 and restored more recently, it houses the Rosson House Museum.
3. Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
One the Valleys newest museums — it opened in 2015 — Scottsdale’s Museum of the West provides a close look at life on the untamed frontier. See historical artifacts from sheriff’s badges to playbills for Western shows.
You can also view art from and about the time period. Rotating exhibits focus on specific aspects of the Southwest from its natural wonders to certain communities. Docent-led tours accompany admission, so you won’t miss anything.
4. Pioneer Living History Museum
Before the turn of the century, Phoenix was a true part of the Wild West. Take in that part of its history at the Pioneer Living History Museum. This 90-acre area boats numerous original and reconstructed dwellings.
From the adobe Sheriff’s Office to the impressive brick Opera House, you get a real sense of what life was like from 1863-1912. Costumed “interpreters” are on hand to provide information.
5. Pueblo Grande Museum
Phoenix history didn’t start in the 1800s; Native American tribes, such as the Hohokam, lived here long before. You can learn their story at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park. In addition to artifacts and art, tour a 1,500-year-old Hohokam village still under excavation.
6. Arizona Museum of Natural History
For a trip into the Southwest’s far distant past, the Arizona Museum of Natural History offers dinosaurs! Look at skeletons, bones and fossils, or take in the massive Dinosaur Mountain diorama.
Delve into the science of archaeology, geology and more. Plus, there are kid-friendly interactive exhibits that allow you to pan for gold or dig for fossils.