Phoenix, which is also known as the “Valley of the Sun,” is a traveler’s paradise with a mesmerizing desert backdrop. Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona and is the sixth most densely populated state capital in America. The city has a distinguished and renowned political culture with it being the home of many significant United States politicians, including William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O’Connor, Barry Goldwater, Carl Hayden and John McCain. The enchanting view of the Sonoran Desert which is one of the greenest and wettest deserts in North America, the cactus shrubs, the setting sun with real cowboys in the area, it is like a scene just of a cartoon series come real!
This everlasting South-Western styled landscape makes Phoenix the perfect destination for weekend fun, romantic escape or a family holiday. The downtown Scottsdale area of Phoenix is great source of entertainment and shopping with emphasis on art. You can have a great time and enjoy the beautiful resorts, relax in the rejuvenating spas bathed with Native American cultures, visit the massive sports venues, take a hike in the parks alongside a lovely trail, or play golf on lush greenery. Indulge in a great shopping experience with a variety and wide range of boutiques and trendy malls. Several water parks are spread around the valley to aid residents and tourist enjoy in the blazing desert heat during the hot summer months.
The best part of Phoenix is that you can have all these comforts and still have a taste of the Native American culture with a view of urban simplicity. Phoenix is surrounded with natural beauty all around, with Lake Pleasant on the North, Verde River and Salt River reservoir system on the northeast and east. This gives Phoenix a scenic mountain lake view and is also popular for fishing, power boating and jet skiing. You can also find several horse tracks and greyhound tracks both within the town as well as the outskirts. Phoenix is also referred to as the doorway to the Grand Canyon, and its rich history is a witness to the spirit of dreamers, ranchers, farmers, thinkers and miners. Phoenix is located about 6 hours outside of LA (370 miles), 5 hours outside of Las Vegas (285 miles) and nearly 4 hours outside of the Grand Canyon (228 miles).
Top 10 Attractions
1. Heard Museum – See more than 32,000 pieces of cultural and fine art. There are permanent exhibits, like the famous Barry Goldwater collection of Kachina Dolls, as well as special exhibit year-round. Admission is $18 for adults and $7.50 for children.
2. Desert Botanical Garden has one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. It is one of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. At the Desert Botanical Garden you will find 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits. Home to 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world, there is no finer place to enjoy desert beauty than the Desert Botanical Garden. It takes a spot on our list of the 12 Best Botanical Gardens In The USA. General admission is $22 for adults and $10 for children.
3. Scottsdale Art Walk – You can enjoy Scottsdale ArtWalks every Thursday evening, year-round (except on Thanksgiving) from 7 to 9 p.m. Each week, Scottsdale Gallery Association members host special exhibits – many with artist receptions and join together for an informal come-and-go “open house” throughout the district. Casual and eclectic, it’s a great time to visit the galleries and learn about featured artists.
4. Musical Instrument Museum – See major collection of musical instruments from all over the world, complete with audio vignettes for your listening pleasure. MIM is a huge place, with fun for all ages. If you’d rather sit in one place and be entertained, MIM also has a concert hall where they present musical performers from around the world. There’s not a museum like this one anywhere else, which really makes it a true gem. General admission is $18 for adults and $10 for children.
5. Boyce Thompson Arboretum – It features plants from the Earth’s many and varied deserts and dry lands. Approximately 3,200 different desert plants can be found within the arboretum, and most of them can be seen along the 1.5 mile main trail. During wildflower season, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is especially beautiful, displaying all the wonderful colors of the desert. See more than 250 species of birds. Daily admission is $10 for adults and $4.50 for children.
6. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art – This museum focuses on modern and contemporary art, architecture and design. There are five galleries that showcasing changing exhibitions and works from the Museum’s growing permanent collection. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art features an outdoor sculpture garden as well. Admission is free on Thursdays. General admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students.
7. Phoenix Zoo – The Zoo is open every single day of the year, including December 25th. In the summer I advise that you get there as early as possible, since many animals head for shade and hide during the heat of the day. Zoo admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children.
8. Butterfly Wonderland – Many cities have places where you can see and walk among butterflies. The Desert Botanical Garden even has a butterfly garden, once in the spring and once in the fall. What makes this one unique is that it is the largest butterfly atrium in the United States. Grab the kids, bring the camera and check out the thousands of pretty little flying insects. Admission is $18.95 for adults and $9.95 for children.
9. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West – This living memorial to a great American architect. Nestled in the foothills of the rugged McDowell Mountains and surrounded by the spectacular Sonoran Desert lays a sprawling complex called Taliesin West. It was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Taliesin West today houses The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, The Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Foundation, and The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Tour prices range from $24 to $70.
10. South Mountain Park – At over 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park and Preserve often is considered the largest municipal park in the country! There are more than 50 miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. Dobbins Lookout, at 2,330 feet, is the highest point in the park accessible by trail.
Scottsdale Fashion Square – This upscale mall truly has it all! Department stores include Macy’s Nordstrom, Barney’s, Neiman Marcus, and Dillard’s. Luxury retailers include Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and many more!
Compass Arizona Grill – Dine at Arizona’s only revolving restaurant, offering 360 degree views and award-winning, gourmet cuisine. It’s located atop the Hyatt Regency, where it’s built a good reputation over the past 30 years.