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
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.