Whether you need a wedding photo shoot location or simply want to bulk up your portfolio, Phoenix (and the surrounding Arizona areas) is a photographer’s wonderland. With desert landscapes and mountain ranges as far as the eye can see, plus great outdoor backdrops and urban settings for group photos, the region won’t disappoint that creative soul of yours.
So, clean that lens and insert an empty SD card because you’re going on an adventure. Check out these 7 beautiful places to snap photos near Phoenix.
Roosevelt Row Arts District
Welcome to Roosevelt Row, downtown Phoenix’s walkable, 20-block, outdoor art gallery.
Once a down-trodden district, Roosevelt Row has since become one of the most eccentric and photogenic areas in Phoenix. That transformation began in the late 1990s, when local and globally renowned artists started to plaster their work on the buildings and sidewalks throughout Roosevelt. Now, you can’t venture down Roosevelt Street without witnessing something worthy of a snapshot.
Best of all, you don’t have to walk the entire stretch of Roosevelt Row to scratch your photographer’s itch. Criss-cross the entire area, from N 7Th Ave to 16th St, in your Honda Civic. See something that speaks to your third eye? Pull over, engage your Civic’s electric parking brake, and snap away. Can’t get the right angle on that larger-than-life mural? Open the one-touch power moonroof and click, click, click.
Any Phoenix photographer worth their weight in stop bath solution knows about Roosevelt’s colorful street art, so prepare for a few crowded pockets when new murals pop up. (It’s worth the trouble, and your portfolio will thank you.)
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
If your camera lens is craving nature, venture over to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum botanical gardens in Superior, AZ.
In the state of Arizona, there’s no larger or more expansive botanical garden than Boyce Thompson. It’s home to about 4,000 plant species, including the gorgeous Apricot Globe-Mallow, as well as scorpions, migratory birds, dragonflies, and more.
You can also schedule an Edible & Medicinal Plants Tour, a Dragonfly Walk, Bird Walk, or Tree Tour, the latter of which is our personal favorite. Best of all, you have the Picketpost Mountain range to use as a stunning backdrop if the Sonoran Desert gets a little too blah.
South Mountain/Dobbins Lookout
Tired of snapping pics of Honda-filled parking lots in downtown Phoenix? Head to South Mountain’s Dobbins Lookout for a hypnotic, panoramic view of Phoenix Valley.
Dobbins Lookout sits 2,300 feet above ground level, making it one of the tallest points in South Mountain Park. While you’re in the area, hike through the rest of the park to find that perfect, unobstructed view of the Ma Ha Tauk, Gila and Guadalupe Mountains.
The hiking trail that leads up to its peak is suited for novices, but it’s also easily accessible by car (Summit Road). However, if you need the extra assistance, the built-in navigation system available in new Honda models should keep you on track. With turn-by-turn directions, you’ll never get lost.
Sunsets & Sunrises
Hayden Butte Preserve
Once you visit Hayden Butte (aka. “A” Mountain) at dusk or dawn, you’ll never see sunsets and sunrises in the same light again. This Tempe landmark offers some of the prettiest views of the horizon, as well as downtown Tempe, the Rio Salado, and other nearby mountain ranges like Camelback and Papago.
You’ll also discover Hayden Butte’s historical significance on full display. The area contains hundreds of prehistoric petroglyphs (rock art), miles of ancient irrigation channels, and remnants of Hohokam settlements. As such, please take care not to disturb the preserved and restored landmarks when you head to the peak.
Oh, and dogs are welcome on Hayden Butte’s hiking trails. So, bring your pup along for a little road trip and photo op. An SUV like the new Honda Pilot, with its enormous cabin, will ensure your dog enjoys the hike and the drive. Add on some OEM Honda seat covers, and you won’t have to worry about ruining the upholstery, either.
Stars & Constellations
Look east. See that enormous mountain range? That’s the Superstitions, and it is, hands down, the best place to take pictures of the Milky Way.
Stretching up over 5,000 feet, the Superstitions is void of light pollution – just crystal-clear night skies for you, friends. You don’t have to hike up to the peak, either, as a short 20-minute slog through the saguaro and around cacti should suffice. Just track upcoming celestial events, then find a flat and open place in the Superstitions to plop down a camping chair.
If you’re too terrified of that which lurks in the night, the Superstition Mountain is also a great daytime spot for photographers. The mountain range is spotted with streams and natural springs, and there’s supposedly a hidden gold mine (Lost Dutchman) somewhere in the area. Find it, and your pictures will be in history books for years to come.
For family portraits, few places match up to Papago Park near downtown Phoenix. It offers a perfect mix of desert backdrops and city landscapes, and the small, natural ponds behind the Hole in the Rock landmark are quite beautiful in the fall and leading up to the holidays.
Taking a Christmas card photo with the family? Ensure your kids aren’t messing with their fancy clothes or fancy hair — which you spent 30 minutes tidying up — by utilizing Honda Odyssey’s CabinWatch feature. The camera system keeps tabs on the back two rows and projects a live display on the van’s touchscreen. (Don’t leave home without it.)
Papago can get crowded, especially on weekends, as families will often migrate from the Phoenix Zoo to the trailhead. So, plan to go early in the morning or around dusk for a more private and intimate photo session.
Apache Trail (Route 88)
A favorite here at Valley Honda Dealers, Apache Trail offers 40 miles of winding roads surrounded by rocky mountains, lush ferocactus, and natural lakes. But those characteristics aren’t why AZ 88 is our favorite – it’s because of all the gorgeous, classic and exotic cars that cruise by.
The best spot on Apache Trail for photos of cars is either Canyon Lake’s marina or Tortilla Flat, as anything east is unpaved, gravel road that’s not suited for anything less than a Honda Passport. Of course, if you have your own Honda Passport with AWD and Intelligent Traction Management, you can travel all the way to Theodore Roosevelt Lake to take pictures of the Dam and old-west settlements along the way. If you’d like to explore and photograph Phoenix’s hidden gems, contact our Valley Honda Dealers to ask about our Honda lease specials. We can help you save money on a new Passport, Civic, all-new CR-V Hybrid, or any other Honda model. Find your nearest Valley Honda Dealers location in Arizona to speak with one of our salespeople today.