There are few main areas in Grand Canyon which one shouldn't miss no matter how little time you have.
Grand Canyon Village which serves as the heart of the park is where the train depot located. Most of the lodges are located around here eg. El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina Lodge and Maswik Lodge which is the furthest from the village center.
Do not miss the following while you are in the village:
1. Hopi House, right opposite of El Tovar Hotel, is a national historic landmark designated in 1987. It offers a large selection of American Indian native arts and crafts such as kachinas, jewelry, handcrafted Navajo rugs and pottery.
2. Bright Angel Logde, another national historical landmark, is designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter and opened in 1935. The Bright Angel now features a restaurant and a lounge with live entertainment.
3. Lookout Studio, a southwestern-style Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter building, was built as a gift shop and lookout point. The studio is strategically situated in the south rim which offers great view of the canyon.
On the other side of the village stands the Market Plaza which serves as community service provider with a huge general store with cafe, bank and post office. Do not miss the Yavapai Observation Station located at the north of the Market Plaza.
West of the Village - Hermits Road Drive, 16 mile
This area contains a few interesting points of interest which can be explored either by trail or car.
1. Powell Point - holds a memorial to river runner John Wesley Powell and a view of the Orphan Mine, the last mines in operation in the Grand Canyon which ceased operation in the late 1960s.
2. Hopi Point stands at an elevation of 7071 feet where a large section of the Colorado river is visible from here. The river seems like a thin line from here but it is actually 350 feet wide!
3. Hermits Rest, built in 1914 at the west end of Hermits Road is the westernmost stop on the south rim. It has a snack bar and gift shop.
East of the Village - Kaibab Trail & Desert View Drive
Operated by the Green Shuttle, this area offers a good trekking route, South Kaibab Trailhead. Points of interest along the trail are:
1. Canyon View Information Plaza - houses the Visitor Center with lots of information and history on the formation of Grand Canyon as well as the Colorado River. There is a bookstore which sells posters and native music CDs too. Close to the Information Plaza is Mather Point, which offers another side of the canyon with great view.
2. Yaki Point provides excellent views of the inner canyon and some especially fine views of Zoroaster Temple (but I can't find it). It is also a very nice spot from which to watch sunrise and sunset.
Taking the shuttle bus save time and yet help to cover most of the places stated above but walking along the rim offers a very enjoyable journey.