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By on February 29th, 2016

5 Things to Do Outside in Phoenix


Choosing Phoenix, Arizona for your international study program or internship means being surrounded by some of the most beautiful desert landscapes America has to offer. Phoenix is a sprawling urban area that is full of history and entertainment, but one of the biggest draws of the area is the outdoor sports and exploration available. If you and your host family have already checked out the Heard Museum and the Arizona Science Center, it’s time to investigate some of the amazing outdoor attractions in Phoenix.

  1. Take a hot air balloon ride over Phoenix. Depending on the time of the year, you’ll go up a sunset or sunrise to get a bird’s eye view of your new home city. Looking out over the Sonoran Desert horizon with your host parents will give you all a sense of connection and shared awe. After your ride, experience the grand hot air balloon tradition of a champagne toast, and then have dinner catered by a world-class chef.
  1. Explore the Japanese Friendship Garden. You and your host family can take a self-guided tour through this beautiful strolling garden. Filled with traditional Japanese plants, monuments, koi ponds, and even a tea house supplied by their own grown tea, this garden is a great afternoon activity that also opens opportunity to learn together by reserving a private tour from one of the garden’s knowledgeable guides. Finish your stroll by the garden’s waterfall and let the peaceful beauty around you color your time in Phoenix with serenity.
  1. Take a ride through the desert on horseback. At Ponderosa Stables, you and your hosts can rent horses and be led on a desert trail by an experienced guide. They’ll point out natural and historical sites along the way, and you’ll get the incredible experience of seeing Phoenix the way the earliest settlers would have. You don’t have to know how to ride a horse. The well-trained animals at Ponderosa are used to being gentle with first-time riders.
  1. See the historic Apache Trail on a steamboat cruise. You’ll have a trained guide to tell you all about the history, geology, and wildlife around Phoenix while you float along on a steamboat. You’ll see the last stagecoach stop on the Apache Trail, and tour a ghost town that was once a prosperous mining town during the days of cowboys. The chance to learn about your new home will open many opportunities to discuss your own native history with your host family.
  1. Shop in one of Phoenix’s many outdoor markets. Phoenix is a diverse city full of Native American and Mexican American flair. The outdoor markets are a great place to get a taste of the unique cultures that make up part of America’s melting pot. You and your hosts can enjoy live music and dancing while you shop, and sample delicious street food. This is the perfect place to get a precious souvenir to take back home to remind you of Phoenix’s lively atmosphere.

The sun-loving culture of the American southwest is a charming feature of your new home. While school or work do demand your focus while you are here, taking some time to explore the natural beauty of Phoenix, and the many exhilarating thrills that can be found here, is one essential part of your international study or internship experience. You and your host family will make memories together that will last forever, and you will always recall the sights, history, and many blended cultures of the desert that you called home for a short time.