• Elizabeth

Escaping the Phoenix summer heat with the Musical Instrument Museum


The eleven-foot high Octobass!

If you’re going to be in Phoenix during the late spring and early summer, you’re going to need to find ways to stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day. Phoenix is full of great restaurants where you can enjoy a long lunch, but if you have the time, I would consider going to the Musical Instrument Museum. About a twenty-minute drive from downtown, it’s the only museum in the US completely dedicated to musical instruments from all over the world.


(Simply put: if you’ve ever been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and your favorite section was the musical instruments gallery, this is the place for you!)

Dizzy Gillespie's custom trumpet

Admission is $20 and it includes the audio tour, but what’s interesting is that instead of pressing a button, all you have to do is go up to one of the many television screens throughout the exhibits, wave the device in front of it, and you will hear what that television is playing. With the sheer breadth of exhibits and galleries to explore, it’s no wonder that the average stay here is between two and three hours.



Italian automated organ

The first floor contains a variety of galleries, including a display of an octobass--an eleven-foot-high string bass that is so enormous it requires its own platform, a room dedicated to automated pianos and other instruments, a gallery with instruments you can play yourself, and a gallery filled with memorabilia from famous artists from all over the world. You can peek in and see what goes on in the restoration workroom as well, or grab a bite to go in their café.

The guts of a Steinway grand piano

The second floor is where it gets really serious, however, as the museum has carefully curated instruments from every country on Earth. This is where the audio tour is most useful, because while it’s really cool to see instruments from the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Tito Puente, it’s better when you can see and hear them in action. There is so much here to explore that any music buff could get lost for hours, so I would suggest not going on an empty stomach!



The view from the museum's second floor

If you’re driving, parking at the museum is free, but if you’re using a rideshare, be aware that getting there may be on the pricier side on account of how far out from the center of town you visit, but it’s worth the trek. Plenty of air conditioning and a fun, interactive learning experience? That’s one of my favorite ways to spend time out of the sun.


The Musical Instrument Museum

4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050

(480) 478-6000


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