Central Phoenix is the Valley’s cultural nerve center

Editorial StaffSeptember 28, 2021
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Filled with theaters, avant-garde galleries and museums, Central Phoenix is the Valley’s cultural nerve center.



Arizona Opera

The company produces operas of the highest quality with artists of international stature as well as emerging talent. Highlights: El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering), Dec. 3-5; Carmen, Jan. 28-30; A Little Night Music, March 4-6; and Così fan tutte, April 8-10.
Productions take place at:

  • Herberger Theater Center
    222 E. Monroe St.
  • Symphony Hall
    75 N. Second St.



Arizona Science Center

Designed to engage curious minds through science, the center boasts four levels of hands-on exhibits, plus live demonstrations, a planetarium and giant-screen theater. Highlights: The Art & Science of Arachnids, through Jan. 2; and Build It, a hands-on exhibit that inspires teamwork and creativity through design, through Jan. 17.

600 E. Washington St.


Arizona Theatre Company

ATC specializes in comedy, drama and musicals, including My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend, Oct. 21-Nov. 7; Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Dec. 9-Jan. 2; Women in Jeopardy! Feb. 10-27; and Nina Simone: Four Women, March 24-April 10. Performances take place at Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., 602-256-6995, arizonatheatre.org


Ballet Arizona

Dedicated to preserving and celebrating classical dance while creating innovative new works, the company performs under the artistic direction of Ib Andersen. Highlights: Contemporary Moves, Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 5-7; The Nutcracker, Dec. 10-24; Romeo and Juliet, Feb. 10-13; and All Balanchine, March 24-27. Performances take place at various Downtown Phoenix venues.



Celebrity Theatre

A historic landmark, this intimate theater features state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and a revolving center stage, with no seat farther than 70 feet from the action. Highlights: Styx, Sept. 8-9; Jackson Browne, Sept. 17-18; The Monkees Farewell Tour, Sept. 19; Bachman Cummings Together Again, Sept. 25; Gladys Knight, Oct. 17; Rick Wakeman, Nov. 9; Tony Bennett, Dec. 14; The Gilmour Project 2022 Tour, Feb. 4; and The Oak Ridge Boys, Feb. 18.

440 N. 32nd St.


Children’s Museum of Phoenix

This is not your typical museum – the staff here wants you to touch everything! And with more than 48,000 square feet of space, there is plenty to touch. Focusing on learning through play, the museum offers hands-on, interactive and imaginative exhibits designed for children from birth up to age 10, with an emphasis on early childhood education and school readiness.

215 N. Seventh St.

Plant lovers’ paradise!

Desert Botanical Garden

The garden focuses on education, exhibition and conservation of desert plants with an emphasis on the Southwest. Gardening workshops, a desert landscaping school, butterfly exhibit, spring and fall plant sales, and a variety of tours, festivals and cultural celebrations attract visitors of all ages. Chihuly in the Desert, Dec. 3-June 19, features ornate glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly nestled among the renowned plant collection. DBG also plays host to one of the Valley’s best restaurants – Gertrude’s – featuring excellent farm-to-table cuisine.

1201 N. Galvin Pkwy.


First Fridays

Dozens of art galleries and art spaces participate in this Downtown art walk. 6-10 p.m. first Friday of every month, artlinkphx.com


Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting

Nearly an acre of fire history exhibits is showcased, including more than 90 fully restored pieces of fire apparatus dating from 1725 to 1969. The National Firefighting Hall of Heroes honors firefighters who died in the line of duty or were decorated for heroism, and another gallery is dedicated to the history of wildland firefighting in the U.S. The museum name has been a Jeopardy answer three times!

6101 E. Van Buren St.

Heard Museum

Founded in 1929, this globally renowned museum explores American Indian arts and cultures with comprehensive exhibitions, interactive learning opportunities and a variety of festivals. Exhibit highlights: All at Once: The Gift of Navajo Weaving, through Sept. 26; and Small Wonders, through Jan. 2.

2301 N. Central Ave.


Herberger Theater Center

The center is home to Arizona Theatre Company, Arizona Opera, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Childsplay and iTheatre Collaborative, and also hosts performances by Valley Youth Theatre.

222 E. Monroe St.


Japanese Friendship Garden

Celebrate the history and culture of Japan at this tranquil garden in the heart of Phoenix. The immaculately maintained venue boasts a pond with more than 300 koi, a waterfall, stone garden, teahouse, cherry trees and Japanese flora.

1125 N. Third Ave., Phoenix


Madison Center for the Arts

This new state-of-the-art venue engages patrons with a variety of Broadway, off-Broadway and multicultural performances, including Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, Oct. 28-30; American Ballet Theatre, Nov. 14; Santa’s Circus, Dec. 2-5; Tango Argentino, Jan. 13-14; Zuzu African Acrobats, Feb. 18-20; and Rent, March 30-April 3.

5601 N. 16th St.


Musical Instrument Museum

Thousands of instruments and artifacts from around the world, plus live performances, make MIM a music-lover’s dream. Advanced wireless technology and high-resolution video screens enable a full sensory experience. Highlights: Diane Schuur, Oct. 8; Chris Botti, Oct. 14-15; Brandy Clark, Oct. 30; The Manhattan Transfer, Nov. 4-5; Spyro Gyra, Nov. 18; Gypsy Soul, Dec. 4, Windham Hill’s Winter Solstice, Dec. 11; and David Benoit: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dec. 20.

4725 E. Mayo Blvd.


Orpheum Theatre

Recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1929 theater is a choice venue for performing arts. Highlights: John Cleese, Oct. 15; Nurse Blake, Nov. 11; A Christmas Story: The Musical, Nov. 19-21; Waitress, Jan. 28-30; An Officer and a Gentleman, March 11-13; and South Pacific, April 1-3.

203 W. Adams St.


Penske Museum

Fans of auto racing can get their motors running with a collection of superb racing machines and memorabilia that captures and preserves the Penske Racing team’s many accomplishments on the track. Best of all, admission is free. Highlights include Indy 500 and NASCAR winners, and a replica of the 1963 Pontiac Catalina that Roger Penske drove to victory in the 1963 Riverside 250.

7191 E. Chauncey Ln.


Phoenix Art Museum

Top national and international exhibitions are shown alongside the museum’s collection of more than 20,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, photography and fashion design. Highlights: Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich, through Sept. 26; Freedom Must Be Lived: Marion Palfi’s America, through Jan. 2; Philip C. Curtis and the Landscapes of Arizona, Oct.23-Dec. 31, 2022; and Landscapes of Extraction: The Art of Mining in the American West, Nov. 7-March 6.

1625 N. Central Ave.


The Phoenix Theatre Company

Founded in 1920, the company offers Broadway and world-premiere musicals and plays, including Camelot, Sept. 15-Oct. 24; The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Oct.6-Dec. 5; Million Dollar Quartet Christmas, Nov. 17-Jan. 2; The Hello Girls, Jan. 5-30; Singin’ in the Rain, Feb. 2-3; and The Color Purple, March 2-May 8.

1825 N. Central Ave.


Pueblo Grande Museum

Located on a 1,500-year-old site left by the Hohokam culture, this national historic landmark features an interpretive trail that takes guests through a prehistoric archaeological village site with a partially excavated platform mound, ball court and walk-in reproductions of Hohokam dwellings. Exhibits and hands-on activities define three gallery spaces.

4619 E. Washington St.


Shemer Art Center

Built in 1919, this former residence with a panoramic view of Camelback Mountain offers a variety of art classes, workshops and events.

5005 E. Camelback Rd.


Tovrea Castle

Located in the heart of metropolitan Phoenix, this four-story, 5,000-square-foot architectural wonder is visible to all yet secluded by 44 acres of saguaro-studded desert. Resembling a wedding cake or castle, this “Jewel in the Desert” has a rich history that intertwines the lives of three very distinct families. Docent-led tours are so popular that tickets are sold by lottery.

5025 E. Van Buren St.


Waterworks at Arizona Falls

Formed by a natural 20-foot drop along the Arizona Canal, this splashy hidden gem combines art, history and technology to generate clean electricity from the canal’s waterfall. Visitors, surrounded by water on three walls in the water room, can sit on large boulders as they enjoy the soothing sounds of flowing water. A shade structure allows guests to enjoy the experience year-round.

G.R. Herberger Park
5802 E. Indian School Rd.