With its rolling mountain views, desert gardens, spectator and participatory sports, and sumptuous dining choices, Phoenix offers a playground of options that embraces sports enthusiasts, outdoors-lovers, spa-goers, and luxury-loving romantics.
Phoenix is Hot, Hot, Hot!
With its average annual temperature of 85 degrees, this Sonoran Desert spot surrounded by mountain ranges on three sides is a tourist mecca, drawing more than 13 million visitors each year.
Granted, it gets crazy hot in the summer and is best visited during the spring-winter months, due to its unforgiving summer heat (dry heat or not, 100-plus degrees is brutal) and scant rainfall.
But there are advantages. If you visit during June-August, you can take advantage of off-season bargain rates and may soon acclimate to the weather, especially since virtually everything indoors is air-conditioned and outdoor swimming is practically mandated.
Golf enthusiasts (among others) will be in heaven in this fifth-largest U.S. city that offers 200 golf courses and approximately 325 mostly sun-drenched days, along with more than 50,000 hotel rooms and an abundance of top-rated spas and restaurants.
Where to Stay in Phoenix
By necessity, every quality hotel or resort features at least one swimming pooland some of the highest-rated resorts go happily overboard with their waterfalls, meandering man-made rivers, and multiple pools on expansive grounds.
Romantics (who dont mind a pricey stay) can be regaled at some of the most luxurious resorts nationwide. These include the Four Seasons, Fairmonts Scottsdale Princess, the Phoenix Biltmore, Royal Palms, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, and Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, among others.
Spa lovers have more than a dozen resort spas to choose from, where treatments may include Native American therapies and treatments using indigenous products. And as long as youre careful regarding sun exposure, the benefits of the healing orb cant be denied.
Phoenix History and Heritage
Phoenix is in every sense of the word, a contemporary metropolitan city. Yet its Southwestern architecture, Native American, Mexican, and Spanish cultural influences are reflected throughout town and beyond into the desert. For nearly 25,000 years Native Americans were the sole inhabitants of the state, according to archaeological evidence.
Today there are 23 Native American reservations in the state, more than any other. They are home to about 300,000 residents from 21 tribes.
After the Spanish invaded in the 16th century, they brought with them horses and yet another cultural reference point in the citys cultural smorgasbord.
Other ethnically diverse populations have given this region an eclectic flavor that is reflective of Chinese, Celtic, and Scottish migration, among other nationalities. Their influence on cuisine alone makes one grateful for the diversity.
One historic (and romantic) site to wander through is the Pueblo Grande Museum, which employs a full-time archaeologist to guide you through the myriad cultural threads.
Fine Dining in Phoenix
Speaking of taste, a restaurant thats a mecca for foodies is Deseo (which means desire in Spanish), a Nuevo Latin-infused cuisine at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. A ceviche bar invites diners to sit and watch as notable chefs work wonders with fish, beef, and local produce.
If Native American fare is something youd like to explore, go directly to Kai (meaning seed in the Pima language), located at the expansive, Native American-owned Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa. Kai has been compared to elegant, upscale European dining and is recommended for a romantic, leisurely rendezvous.
Other restaurants offer cuisines of Italy, Mexico, Asia, Europe, and traditional American fare.
Sporting Life in Phoenix
Besides food, shelter, and an endless expanse of sky to gaze at, the citys got game galore. Whatever season, someones playing something somewhere.
Whether its one of the most successful NBA franchises (the Phoenix Suns), the NHLs Phoenix Coyotes (with coach and partner Wayne Gretzky luring crowds), Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, the NFL's Cardinals or the Phoenix Mercury, one of the original Womens National Basketball Association, sports fans wont be disappointed.