Phoenix City Guide
It might not have the glamor and glitz of other big American cities, but Phoenix is a place that has its own surprises. Bordering on the Sonoran Desert, this large metropolitan area, which incorporates nearby Scottsdal...
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Phoenix City Guide
It might not have the glamor and glitz of other big American cities, but Phoenix is a place that has its own surprises. Bordering on the Sonoran Desert, this large metropolitan area, which incorporates nearby Scottsdale and Temple, sees so much sunshine and high temperatures throughout the year that it has been dubbed the Valley of the Sun. Don't expect sweltering heat only, though. When the wet season hits in summer and rain storms hit the valley, the desert gets covered in a blanket of flowers – and it's quite a sight to behold!
While mostly known for its golf courses and spas, of which it has plenty, the city offers visitors all sorts of entertainment and leisure activities – shopping, nightlife, art, culture and even sports. A good place to start your day in Phoenix is the Central Arts District. The countless cafes in this area offer you an excellent choice of breakfast options, and once you are finished with your meal you can explore the numerous galleries and boutiques.
For a more in-depth art experience head to the Phoenix Art Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the southern states. Another great place where you can nourish your love for all things art is the Bentley Projects. This historic warehouse was converted into exhibition space with four spacious galleries and some dining outlets where you can recharge after attending an exhibition or a show.
Phoenix attractions and sightseeing
A little-known fact is that there's a museum for everyone in Phoenix and not just dull, dusty institutions but funky and exciting venue's you can explore with your friends or kids. The Arizona Science Centre, for example, is one place that will hold the interest of both older and younger visitors. The museum is filled with interactive displays, hands-on activities and a planetarium where you can explore the wonders of the cosmos.
The Musical Instrument Museum, on the other hand, is a must-visit for music lovers and musicians alike. Guitars that belonged to Carlos Santana and Elvis, centuries-old Stradivarius violins and rustic, exotic instruments from different world cultures are just some of the unique exhibits on display. The museum also hosts a range of concerts and performances of music from all over the world. The best thing of all, however, is that kids and grown-ups are all welcome to play to their hearts' content at the Experience Gallery.
For the history buffs, there's the Pueblo Grande Museum, which offers access to an excavated ancient town once inhabited by the Hohokam tribe – a native South American people who built complex settlements and canals in their heyday. Lots of artifacts related to the history and culture of indigenous tribes are also on display at the venue. If you have a keen interest in American Indians, though, the best place to satisfy your curiosity is the Heard Museum, where you can explore many other exhibitions.
Saloons, spas and shops
Phoenix is well known for its golf courses and spas. Many of the larger resorts open their spas to the public, so you can stay in a vacation rental and still enjoy quality spa without having to splash out for a full resort package. Another option is the many day spas throughout the valley. Whatever your choice, there's a lot of pampering and relaxation to indulge in while in Phoenix.
The majority of the restaurants, shops and nightlife venues in the metropolitan area are concentrated in Scottsdale. You can choose from nearly 100 nightclubs, bars and lounges after dark, and during the day you can browse in modern shopping centers or in quaint shops with a wild west vibe. And speaking of the wild west, the valley has some truly unique, historic saloons that will transport you to another era in an instant.
Exploring the Phoenix outdoors
Visiting the Valley of the Sun calls for some outdoor activities, after all, you have to make the most of the perfect weather. Papago Park is a popular recreation spot for both locals and tourists. Take one of the numerous hiking trails and explore the sandstone cliffs and formations dotted with cacti and other exotic desert plants. Attractions within the park include the Phoenix Zoo, which is home to a variety of prairie animals, and the Desert Botanical Garden.
A hike up to the top of Camelback Mountain is one of the best outdoor activities to enjoy in Phoenix. The terrain is rocky and steep but if you are feeling fit, the views over the valley from the top are worth the sweat while the beautiful memories are bound to make you remember Phoenix.
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