The Bitzen Basement Bakery

If you have a sweet tooth, the Bitzen Basement Bakery is an absolute must-visit. This unassuming underground bakeshop in downtown Phoenix whips up some of the most creative (and delicious) pastries and desserts you’ll ever eat. We’re talking Fruity Pebble marshmallow treats, Mexican hot chocolate cookies, and lemon rosemary pound cake that’ll blow your mind. The bakery operates out of the, you guessed it, basement of a historic Phoenix bungalow. Snagging one of the few outdoor patio seats feels like you’ve uncovered a speakeasy for sugar fiends. If that’s not a hidden gem, we don’t know what is! Just be sure to get there early because when these devilishly good treats sell out (which is often before noon), the bakery locks up for the day.

Address: 256 N 25th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

Phone: (720) 242-3229

NXFW Brewpub

Looking for a hopping local nightlife spot that tourists rarely stumble across? Check out NXFW (pronounced “en-ex-eff-dub”) Brewpub in the Coronado neighborhood. This funky microbrewery is the ultimate hole-in-the-wall hangout for craft beer nerds. The tap list features a rotating selection of uniquely crafted brews like the Dillinger Escape Route Sour IPA, Hanzi Midnight Milk Stout, and ¿Donde Es Lupe? Mexican-style Lager. The industrial-chic space is filled with reclaimed materials, neon signs, and there’s even an indoor trailer park where you can cozy up with a pint. Be sure to order some discombobulated pub grub like the jalapeno strawberry meatballs or pozole fries! This place takes the typical “brewpub” concept and flips it on its head.

Address: 360 E Coronado Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Phone: (602) 451-8144

Kas Desert Bamboo Nursery

Who would’ve thought one of Phoenix’s greatest hidden gems is…a bamboo nursery? Yep, you read that right. Kas Desert Bamboo Nursery is an unexpected oasis bursting with lush bamboo groves, towering stalks, and a zen garden atmosphere that seems totally out of place in the arid Arizona desert. At this family-owned nursery, you can stroll through meandering pathways flanked by over 100 varieties of bamboo from around the globe. Many plants are labeled with their species, origin, and unique characteristics. Bird of paradise, banana trees, and Buddha sculptures create the sense of an exotic botanica. It’s hard to believe such vibrant tropical scenery exists right here in Phoenix! Whether you’re a green thumb or not, this nursey’s striking setting is worth the trip.

Address: 2825 E Hackamore St, Mesa, AZ 85213

Phone: (480) 654-1118

The Duce

Part psychedelic art exhibit, part vintage palace, part funky hangout – The Duce is undoubtedly one of the most eclectic businesses you’ll ever encounter. This eye-popping destination along Lincoln Street in downtown packs in an almost overwhelming amount of Victorian-inspired decor, thrift store treasures, and vibrant murals into one quirky space. The building formerly housed a 1928 Baptist church and at various points served as a used furniture store, adult bookstore, and boxing gym. Today, it contains not one but multiple businesses including a vintage clothing shop, retro barbershop, old-school boxing ring, and ballroom. You can grab some grub and cocktails at the restaurant’s indoor/outdoor space surrounded by palm trees and plush lounges. The name “Duce” supposedly emerged from its original owner shouting “drill you see?” to instruct construction crews. Today, the space certainly delivers no shortage of funky things to see and experience. Take a step inside and you’ll lose yourself in a mesmerizing visual wonderland.

Address: 525 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Phone: (602) 866-3823

ThePen Club

Here’s a spot you won’t find in any Phoenix tourist guide – The Pen Club, an underground hideaway that dates back to the 1940s. First conceived by a group of local journalists and authors as a cozy place to pen stories, the Pen Club started as nothing more than a hole-in-the-wall bar downtown. As word of the speakeasy spread, it transformed into an exclusive, membership-only syndicate for Phoenix’s most creative minds. These days, the Pen Club still retains an air of mystery for outsiders. The inconspicuous alley entrance is nondescript – no signs, no address posted, just an old green door accented by a petite pen statue. If you can finagle an invitation inside from a member, you’ll step foot into a dimly-lit, intimate drinking den that feels worlds away from modern Phoenix. Vintage writer’s desks, towering bookshelves, and eclectic taxidermy pieces adorn the masculine saloon where the dress code is dapper attire only.

Mystery Castle

Nestled in the shadows of South Mountain, the Mystery Castle stands as one of Phoenix’s most peculiar man-made wonders. This sprawling rock castle looks like it was plucked straight out of a medieval fairytale and plopped right into the middle of the Sonoran Desert landscape. The castle’s story is just as captivating as its enchanting architecture. Beginning in 1928, unemployed Seattle man Boyce Gully spent over 25 years single-handedly constructing the castle using salvaged materials like stone, car parts, and surplus bricks. He did all this intricate masonry work as a gift for his teenage wife, despite the two divorcing before the castle’s completion. Today, the Mystery Castle remains one of Phoenix’s most bizarre and impressive sights. Its stately stone towers, winding corridors, and interior grotto pool are nestled between South Mountain Park’s hiking trails. Allow a couple hours to tour all 18 rooms, two decades’ worth of puzzling artifacts, and unwind on the castle’s windswept patio for sweeping vistas of the Phoenix valleys.

Address: 800 E Vineyard Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85042

Phone: (480) 696-9903

Cosanti Galleries

This gallery/studio/desert wonderland designed by the innovative Italian architect Paolo Soleri doesn’t just belong on your hidden gems bucket list – it belongs on every art lover’s bucket list. Tucked away in the town of Paradise Valley, his iconic structure Cosanti emerges seamlessly from the earth with its curved concrete and ceramic domes that look like a Southwestern serpent slithering over the hillside. Soleri envisioned Cosanti as an “urban laboratory” founded on his progressive concepts like arcology (fusing architecture with ecology) and frugal principles focused on doing more with less. The visionary structure he created is equal parts whimsical architecture, outdoor art galleries, ceramics studio, and sustainable demonstration area. Half-finished areas highlight the space’s perpetual evolution. Set aside at least two hours to take it all in. Meander along the striking terraced levels, inspect Soleri’s ceramic and bronze windbells crafted on-site, and peek into the vaults and greenhouses where ideas are still coming to fruition. This breathtaking, one-of-a-kind attraction blurs the lines between architecture and earth art.

Address: 6433 E Doubletree Ranch Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Phone: (480) 948-6145

Meat the Ball

Perhaps Phoenix’s most unexpected hidden gem is this former dusty food truck that evolved into a meatball mecca for the Valley. Meat the Ball takes the humble comfort dish to wildly creative and delicious new heights. With an inventive, ever-rotating menu, you’ll find globally-inspired meatball specialties like bahn mi chicken balls, Indian butter chicken balls, even dessert “brownie batter balls” that will rock your world. The buzzy restaurant keeps things simple – no reservations, just show up and take a number for one of the handful of counter seats. As you dig into your meal balanced on red plastic milk crates, you’ll be grinning from ear-to-ear. Save room for the cheesy, sauce-laden garlic rolls that are so criminally good they belong in the Louvre (or at least a food lover’s bucket list). Just be prepared to wait – Meat the Ball’s tendency to sell out of their creative daily specials often means closing early.

Address: 2619 N 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Phone: (602) 368-1121

Plan Your Trip With Phoenix Party Bus Company

Trust us, these one-of-a-kind Phoenix hidden gems are worth going out of your way for. The hardest part is deciding which places to hit…or maybe not. Why not experience the full glory of the Valley’s off-the-beaten-path charms by crafting the ultimate day (or weekend!) of exploration? Let Phoenix Party Bus Company handle your transportation between each distinctively quirky destination. We’ll keep your group together in a private bus while your dedicated team and guide navigates the way. It’s the best way to revel at all the odd roadside surprises that make this city completely one-of-a-kind. So call 480-546-5014 to book your tour of Phoenix’s hidden gems today!