Standing on the northern side of the Sonoran Desert, in the aptly named ‘Valley of the Sun’ Phoenix is one of the most popular cities in Arizona. Known for its extremely sunny weather and related winter tourist trade, Phoenix has much to offer visitors, with strip malls surrounding the downtown district. Now amongst America’s largest cities, Phoenix is a true metropolis, with many striking high-rise buildings in the city center, together with exceptional golf courses and impressive resort areas nearby.
Many of the attractions in Phoenix are situated in the downtown district, the heart of the city, where you will find notable restaurants, sporting venues and shops. Other popular areas of the city include the business district, Old Phoenix, particularly around Heritage Square, and the Glendale area, which is home to many of the city’s main museums and numerous well-preserved, historical structures. The Mesa area of Phoenix contains a number of shopping malls, whereas Scottsdale boasts resorts and specialty shops. For entertainment venues and a vibrant nightlife, be sure to head to Tempe, where you will not be disappointed.
Tourism in the Phoenix area is well catered for, with many top attractions, a number of which are particularly appealing to families. Ranging from historical ruins and sights, to amusement parks and major shopping centers, Phoenix offers plenty of things to see and places to go. Top attractions include the Castles and Coasters theme park, the vast Phoenix Zoo, the historical St Mary’s Basilica, the prehistoric Casa Grande ruins, Goldfield Ghost Town mining village, the Apache Trail, Piestewa Peak walking trails and the Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Center, known for its views of the famous Valley of the Sun.
The Phoenix area also contains its fair share of cultural museums and art galleries, with notable attractions including the Arizona Science Center, the Hall of Flame Fire Fighting Museum and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Phoenix offers a range of festivals, which are held throughout the year, such as the Arabian Horse Show in February, the Scottsdale Arts Festival in March, the September National Public Lands Day Outdoor Recreation Fair, and the Way Out West Oktoberfest.
Interstates 10 and 17 provide good connections to a number of nearby cities, such as Flagstaff. Many visitors to Phoenix choose to rent a car and this is one of the best ways to travel around the city and neighboring areas. Public buses are also heavily used and the Downtown Area Shuttle, better known simply as ‘DASH’, connects many top tourist hotspots at no cost.
Close to the city’s downtown district, Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is an important air hub and is connected to the city by shuttle buses and taxicabs. This important international airport caters for many thousands of arrivals and departures each day and offers good ground transportation options.
Hotels in the Phoenix area are in good supply and hotel rates are often cheapest during the summer months of July and August. Winter is a particularly pleasant time to visit the city and accommodation becomes fully booked at the time of the year.
With many expansive shopping malls, which always feature air conditioning, Phoenix is the perfect city for those who enjoy shopping. All kinds of shops are well represented here, ranging from chain stores and department stores, to fashion boutiques and independent retailers. Many of the city’s main shops are concentrated in the Biltmore and Scottsdale districts.
Southwestern cuisine has long been popular in Phoenix, with more international offerings available throughout the city. Restaurants offer a varied choice of food, although the many notable steakhouses are a must. Clustered in the city center and in the older areas of Biltmore and Scottsdale, a number of eateries and bars can also be found in the lively University area.
Standing in the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix offers predictably sunny and hot temperatures, with over 300 days of sunshine each year. Many people choose to visit the city during its warm winter months, particularly during January through March, when temperatures average 13°C / 55°F. The summer months of July through September are the warmest, when temperature peak at 42°C / 108°F, although evening are much cooler.