The Coolest Museums in Phoenix

From the Musical Instrument Museum to the Phoenix Art Museum, there’s something for everyone.

Arizona’s museums are highly underrated—from the nationally recognized Musical Instrument Museum to the state-of-the-art science center and the Phoenix Art Museum, which houses world renowned artworks, there’s something for everyone. Whether you want to see historic pieces of art, learn something new, or just see something beautiful—we have the perfect museum for you to explore.

Musical Instrument Museum
Musical Instrument Museum - MIM

North Phoenix
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) allows you to view more than 8,000 instruments from 200 countries around the world—including historic instruments played by the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Maroon 5. You can even visit the experience gallery to try your hand at a few instruments yourself.
What to know before you go: The MIM is open 9 am to 5 pm daily. Tickets are $20, with special exhibit entry costing an additional $7.

Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Art Museum

Downtown Phoenix
The Phoenix Art Museum offers nearly every kind of art you can imagine, with collections that include historical European works, Asian art dating back thousands of years, and more than 1,000 pieces of Latin American art. The museum also has an impressive lineup of exhibitions, which currently includes Generation Paper: Fast Fashion of the 1960s; And Let It Remain So: Women of the African Diaspora; and Desert Rider.
What to know before you go: Phoenix Art Museum is open Wednesday 10 am to 9 pm and Thursday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Every Wednesday from 3 am to 9 pm entry is free, but donations are encouraged. First Friday hours are from 3 pm to 9 pm Adult admission is $23 if purchased online, $25 if purchased at the museum.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)

Old Town Scottsdale
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is the go-to for stunning modern and contemporary art works in the Phoenix metro area. The small but mighty museum currently offers three exhibits featuring art from Beverly Mclver, Brad Kahlhamer, and Teresa Baker.
What to know before you go: The museum is open 11 am to 5 pm Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s also open Thursday 11 am to 7 pm. Admission is $10 online and $12 for walk-ins.

Heard Museum
Heard Museum

Downtown Phoenix
The Heard Museum has a nearly 100-year history celebrating American Indian art, offering a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits. Right now, visitors can see Southwest silverwork dating back to the 1850s, soft sculptures, and much more. The museum also puts on a variety of events, including the annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market.
What to know before you go: The museum is open 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Adult admission is $20 when tickets are purchased online, and $23 when purchased on site.

Arizona Science Center
Arizona Science Center

Downtown Phoenix
The impressive Arizona Science Center offers exhibits on everything from how the body works to the science of flight—all in a state-of-the-art facility. You can even make a trip to the science center an all-day activity, especially when you include visits to the five-story theater and the high-tech planetarium.
What to know before you go: The Arizona Science Center is open daily from 10:30 am to 4 pm. Adult admission is $21.95, with planetarium and theater requiring an additional fee.

Car lovers will swoon over this museum, which showcases more than 50 years of racing history including Indianapolis 500-mile victory winners, Brad Keselowski’s 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship winning car and other memorabilia. The museum also houses the Turn 4 Café, which is open weekdays for lunch and dinner.
What to know before you go: The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm.

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Jamie Killin is a Phoenix native and Arizona State graduate who specializes in lifestyle and features writing. You can usually find her at the spin studio, a concert, or trying new restaurants across the Valley. Follow her at @jamiefayekillin.