Arizona Visitor, Vacation, Travel and Tourist Information
Phoenix is the capital and largest city of the state of Arizona, United States. The metro area is now approximately 4 million residents (more in the winter months). The biggest draw of Phoenix is its winter-time climate. Rare dips below freezing tend to come in the middle of the night in winter, and the sun shines an average 325 days a year. Hordes of midwesterners flee to Phoenix each winter to escape the brutal cold back home.
Phoenix boasts an incredible quality of life. Although housing prices are rising, they still are lower than in California. Streets are wide, and the city is ringed by freeways. Other towns that do not want to be called suburbs surround the city. Scottsdale boasts scores of manicured golf courses and 5-star resorts. Tempe is a college town with a funky feel guaranteed to charm all but the hardest of hearts. Mesa has the second largest Mormon community in the world, behind only Salt Lake City. Farther east Chandler and Gilbert are two of the fastest growing communities in Arizona.
On the west side, which once was cotton fields and cattle lots, the fast-growing towns of Surprise, Glendale, Sun City, Peoria, Avondale and Litchfield Park are tending to grow together like the communities that form greater Los Angles. Together they surprisingly make Arizona one of the most urban states in the nation as 62% of the state's population lives in the central Maricopa County.
The Phoenix area is home to a large population of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans...both recent immigrants and descendants of families who lived here when it was still part of Mexico. Although more authentic Mexican food can be found in the southern part of the state near the border, you'll find variations on enchiladas and tacos almost anywhere you go. Because of the draw of luxury resorts, Phoenix restaurants offer a sophisticated array of types of food.
Phoenix does have its share of problems. Although traffic is lighter than Los Angeles, smog is an increasing irritation. Summers here are insanely hot. Although the temperature may rise to a high as 115 degrees in mid day during the summer, the invention of air conditioning made the desert livable year-round. Phoenicians learn to live like the desert animals--stay indoors during the day time and roam in the cool evenings. When you do venture out, seek shade and drink as much water as possible. For a desert city, Phoenicians seem to use a lot of water to fill their swimming pools and water their grassy lawns. The main supplies of water come from a chain of recreational lakes northeast of the city and from the Arizona Project, a gigantic canal that carries water from the Colorado River across the state.
Phoenix is still developing its identity as a center of culture. The recently expanded Phoenix Art Museum draws blockbuster exhibits and owns an impressive collection. The Heard Museum displays an unparalleled collection of Native American art of yesterday and today. The Arizona Theater Company, which performs part time in Tucson, its main home, and the Arizona Opera, also based in Tucson, perform in Phoenix, as do many Broadway road shows and big musical acts. The new football stadium in Glendale just west of Phoenix will host the Super Bowl in 2008. The Phoenix Suns play for rabid orange and purple-shirted fans in a downtown arena and Arizona Diamondbacks play in the spectacular central city baseball park, Chase Stadium, built in 1998 with a retractable roof. You can even gamble at Nevada-style casinos located on the Indian Reservations that surround Phoenix.
If you're a lover of the outdoors, there's no need to leave the city. South Mountain Park is the world's largest city park and offers hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, petroglyphs and a panoramic vista of the entire valley from the top of the mountain. People hike on the landmark Camelback Mountain or Piestewa Peak.
World-class resorts, warm/sunny climate, endless shopping opportunities, great outdoor activities, and tons of hospitality are what the visitor can expect from the Valley of the Sun.
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