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Phoenix, AZ

Getting to know Phoenix, AZ

Some might be surprised to learn that Phoenix, Arizona, is the fifth-largest city in the country with a population of more than 1.6 million residents. Known as the "Valley of the Sun," Phoenix was settled in 1867. The economy has thrived on cattle, citrus, copper and cotton. The area continues to grow due to the influx of "snow birds" who come for the pleasant, warm weather. With its abundant sunshine and warm temperatures, you're able to get out year-round to shop, golf, hike and experience the city's energetic nightlife and rich arts and cultural scene.


Did you know?
It may take up to a century for just one branch of the Saguaro cactus to grow an arm. If you kill the endangered Saguaro cactus - a beloved symbol of the West, but actually only found in the Sonoran Desert - you might spend up to a year in prison!


Phoenix Attractions

Phoenix's sunny reputation invites you outdoors to explore notable attractions like the majestic Desert Botanical Gardens, offering winding pathways lush with towering Saguaros and blooming cacti.


Phoenix Apartments and Neighborhoods

Whether you're a young professional seeking a studio apartment in a hip area like downtown Phoenix or a family looking for an established community like Verrado with great schools and tree-lined streets, Phoenix offers a variety of options for every taste and budget. From the high-rise condos in Old Town Scottsdale to the condominium complexes in the North Tempe area, finding an apartment that best suits your lifestyle is easy in this desert metropolis. Arcadia, one of the most sought-after areas, lies in east Phoenix and is favored for its charming architecture, health-oriented amenities and proximity to the airport.


Best of Phoenix

If Phoenix's incredible weather isn't enough to win you over, this best-ranked list might:

  • Standout spas: Do you need a manicure or pedicure? Clients love the Alvadora Spa in the Royal Palms Hotel in Phoenix. USA TODAY ranked this the top spa in Phoenix.
  • Four-star restaurants: Enjoy nouveau-Italian meals in Phoenix. Four-star restaurant Il Terrazzo continues to receive accolades as one of the best stand-alone dining establishments in the Valley of the Sun. Il Terrazzo won the "Wine Spectator" award for 2015 for its wine cellar.
  • Dog parks: If you need to take your furry friend out for exercise, visit the Friends of Hance Dog Park, one of the best in the region.
  • Great golf courses: Golfers in the Phoenix area have access to dozens of golf courses, but one of the best is the Raven Golf Club.


Free Things to Do in Phoenix

Adventure abounds around every corner in Phoenix. Check out our list of free things to do:

  • Arizona Capitol Museum: For a great way to learn about the city's rich history, tour the capitol building downtown and then stop off at the on-site museum to browse the educational exhibits.
  • Desert Botanical Garden:  If you love gardening, see a how-to demonstration on desert gardening at this Papago Park attraction.
  • South Mountain Trails: Pad your cache of photos with snapshots of Phoenix's amazing landscapes as you hike the more than 50 trails through South Mountain.
  • Goldfield Ghost Town: Wander along Main Street in Goldfield Ghost Town, where you can visit shops, pan for gold at Mammoth Gold Mine or browse exhibits at Goldfield Museum.
  • Downtown Museums: Several of the downtown museums like Phoenix Art Museum offers free admission on specific days.

From a shopping excursion in Scottsdale to a pub crawl in Tempe, you won't have any trouble finding things to do in Phoenix this weekend.


Phoenix Adventures

For even more entertaining activities in Phoenix, check out this Top 5 list:

  • Selfies at the Grand Canyon: Grand Canyon National Park is 277 miles long, 18 miles deep and one-mile wide, and the mighty Colorado River winds its way through the region.
  • Cheer on the Arizona Cardinals: The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale has great refreshments and activities for the entire family plus exciting football action.
  • Pay Tribute to Our Early Inhabitants: There are many photographs, paintings and statues celebrating the original residents of the Southwest at the Heard Native-American Museum. On First Friday, the museum is open later until 10 p.m.
  • Salt River Tubing: During the summer, your children will be itching for some cool recreation, so experience some good times at the Salt River. This is proclaimed as "Arizona's Floating Beach Blast."
  • Casino Gaming: The Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino has just what you need with plenty of great adult games, dining and nightlife. There are nice benefits if you join the Player's Club.


Phoenix Sports

Phoenix is home to four major professional sports leagues: the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, the NBA's Phoenix Suns, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL's Arizona Coyotes so there's always a team to follow. Plus, the University of Phoenix stadium hosts the annual college football Fiesta Bowl.


For Families with Kids

Phoenix has its share of fun activities and places for families with kids, including the Children's Museum of Phoenix, where kids of all ages can scale "The Climber" structure or take a bike ride through "Pedal Power." Phoenix is home to 325 public schools and more than 200 charter and private schools in 30 school districts, two of which made Niche.com's A-list: Chandler Unified District No. 80 and Heritage Academy.


Phoenix Natural Beauty and Outdoor Living

With nearly 300 days of sunshine every year and an average year-round temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, Phoenix is perfect for outdoor adventurists. Travel just minutes from downtown to Camelback Mountain for a day of hiking the trails that loop around crimson red rocks and offer scenic views of the desert landscapes below.


Dog-friendly Activities in Phoenix
The city boasts more than ten dog parks, with top picks being Friends of Hance Dog Park and Chaparral Off Leash Area, which offers separate areas for active and passive dogs. Phoenix also has a Doggie Street Festival in January, where you can find music, food and check out options for dog training, food, vets and services.


Phoenix Getaways

Living in Phoenix puts you within driving distance of several major cities that make great day trips, including Las Vegas and Palm Springs, both about four hours away, Flagstaff, less than three hours away, and the iconic Grand Canyon, just over three hours away. When you need a change of scenery and temperature, make the six-hour drive to San Diego for a skiing weekend.