Now the fifth largest city in the US, Phoenix has become a major business and tourist destination. Thousands of travelers pour every year to Phoenix, which features hundreds of superb golf courses, some of the best resorts in the U.S., and an average temperature of 72 degrees Farenheit year-round.
Surrounded by desert, this sprawling city has much to offer by way of outdoor activities, shopping, culture and nightlife. Downtown Phoenix is the financial district, and where most of the government offices are. But it is not only about business out here -- there are also dozens of world-class museums, several stadiums, and a varied entertainment scene. The area around the Arizona State University is full of government buildings and corporate towers, but the closer you get to Central Avenue, the livelier the neighborhood gets. Orpheum Theatre and Patriots Square are in this area, as well as the US Airways Center --home of the Phoenix Suns -- and Symphony Hall.
The town's fabulous golf courses are a main draw, but the surrounding desert, with its amazing views and beautiful trails, is also a tourist-magnet. Visitors have a wide array of hotels, resorts and spas to choose from, either in Downtown Phoenix or in the suburbs (known as a whole as the Valley of Sun).
The downtown Metro light rail system is a good alternative to driving everywhere, but that will only get you so far. For most of the area's attractions outside Downtown Phoenix, a car is essential.
The main tourist attractions here are quite spread out, so choosing where to stay can be tricky. Business travelers might want to stay in the streets around the Civic Plaza (the city's largest convention facility), or in Baltimore District, where many corporate offices are located. Leisure visitors might prefer to stay near bustling Central Avenue, which runs through the heart of Downtown Phoenix. For easy access to most of the tourist attractions, stay in the area bordered by Thomas Road on the North, Jefferson Street on the South, 7th Street on the East, and Seventh Avenue on the West. For those who have their own wheels, Scottsdale -- located a short drive from downtown Phoenix and nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert -- is one of the best options, with exceptional golf courses, superb spa resorts and top-notch shopping.
|Peak:||March - May|
|Off-Peak:||June - August|
|Electricity:||120 V, 60 Hz|
|Tipping:||15-20% at restaurants|