Your Guide to Exploring Phoenix for Free!

By Breanna Alverson

GCU students having fun

Grand Canyon University is a private, Christian school located in the heart of Phoenix. It is a thriving university – there is always something to do on our bustling campus! With a soccer stadium, pools, restaurants, fields, tennis courts, volleyball pits and more, students are constantly engaged with new things to do and places to hang out. The campus experience is truly a full one between sporting events, plays, improv shows, community gatherings, intramurals, ASGCU events, movies on the lawn, art shows, worship nights and community outreach.

But it does not stop there! Students at GCU not only have access to everything that the university offers, but also to the Greater Phoenix Metro Area. Phoenix is an expanding and vast city with opportunities for everyone to enjoy.

In my years as a GCU Lope, my friends and I have become well accustomed to having grand adventures on a budget. Fortunately for us, there are plenty of fun things to do in Phoenix for free!

Calendar of Free Phoenix Fun


Who says Mondays have to be boring? The Phoenix metro area has so many sites to see! The Scottsdale Civic Center’s LOVE sculpture, Roosevelt Row’s street murals, Tempe’s Mill Avenue Bridges and the Downtown Phoenix skyline are always open (and free) for visitors.


The Phoenix Botanical Gardens is free on the second Tuesday of every month. The garden is full of events and unique exhibits. It is surely an experience to be rivaled for both local Arizona residents and visitors, as they take in all the mystifying beauty of the desert.


The Phoenix Art Museum is free on Wednesdays from 3 pm to 9 pm. It is truly a fun experience for art lovers and observers alike. Explore the grand exhibits that range from paintings to massive sculptures – and do not forget to check out the starry room!


The Scottsdale ArtWalk is a free year-round event that takes place every Thursday from 7 – 9 pm in Old Town Scottsdale. Enjoy live music from different local performers and stroll in and out of vibrant galleries. There are always new pieces to admire.


On the first Friday of every month, Phoenix hosts a huge art walk called First Friday. The festivities are free to the public and can be accessed using a free shuttle service. Come out and experience art, music, vendors, food trucks and more in Downtown Phoenix.


The Open Air Market at the Phoenix Public Market is a free public market that sets up every Saturday from 8am – 1 pm. The market supports local farmers and small businesses. Enjoy tons of different agricultural products, artisan food items and vendors as you stroll around the lively market.


See the sunrise from any one of Phoenix’s stunning desert vistas. The expansive views are simply waiting, free of charge. Hike Camelback Mountain, North Mountain, South Mountain, Piestewa Peak or visit one of Phoenix’s many parks and recreational areas.

Phoenix is a busy city with a little something for everyone. For college students on a budget, these are only a few of the incredible free sites and events that take place in the city. Overall, between campus life at GCU and events put on by the city, students have access to a busy and full college experience.

If you are interested in learning more about visiting campus, visit our website or press the green Request More Information Button at the top of the page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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