5 Surefire Signs You’ll Love Phoenix
Not completely convinced Phoenix is right for you? Here are a few signs that it’s definitely the vacation destination that will have you exclaiming: “Where has this city been all my life?”
If you take it for granted that all urban locations mean putting up with traffic jams for days, then you’ll love Phoenix. Research on the subject proves that of all American big cities, Phoenix boasts the lightest traffic.
While no one really enjoys winter all that much, some of us like being bundled up all the time and dealing with snow or ice even less than others. If that sounds familiar, you’ll love Phoenix. Leave your parka at home, because you won’t need it there.
Phoenix is sunny and warm roughly 325 days out of the year. Occasionally it rains, but that’s about it, so don’t worry about unexpectedly winding up stuck indoors for your entire vacation.
To be sure, many bigger cities are quite diverse, but the word “diversity” gains new meaning in Phoenix. Everyone is here – Mexicans, East Coast transplants, Californians, Native Americans, Midwesterners, and more. Best of all, Phoenix cuisine reflects influences from all of these groups.
You loathe natural disasters
California has its earthquakes. The Midwest has its tornados. Florida has its hurricanes. What does Phoenix have? Tons of sunshine and maybe a little dust from time to time.
You’re a sucker for scenery
If a wonderful vacation simply doesn’t seem complete without plenty of jaw-dropping scenery to admire, then Phoenix is for you. Take in astonishing mountain vistas and sunsets that seem too beautiful to be real, among many other unforgettable sights.
Many of the people who enjoy regularly visiting Phoenix like to coast into town at the first signs of winter appearing from wherever they hail. However, you can rest assured that no matter what time of year you come, Phoenix will be beautiful and welcoming.
There’s something for everyone in Phoenix. Whether you’re into shopping or eating, outdoor activities or lazy afternoons relaxing by the pool, this is a city with plenty to offer.
The Lay of the Land in Phoenix
If you were going to describe the shape of the Phoenix landscape, all you really need to do is picture a miner’s pan. It’s flat in the middle and surrounded by picturesque mountains on three sides. Phoenix still features lots of wide open space of the kind most people like to imagine, although it’s disappearing rapidly as the city grows.
Downtown Phoenix is bordered by the 22 contiguous communities mentioned above. It continues to expand into the surrounding landscape. In spots, it even reaches into the lovely mountains and hills that surround the town.
Phoenix is also located right in the heart of Arizona, so visitors and residents are all within easy reach of plenty of neighboring cities, landmarks, and towns. They include but are not limited to Flagstaff, Tombstone, Tucson, Sedona, the Navajo Reservation, and the Grand Canyon.
Staying Safe in Phoenix
Since Phoenix is a big city, it’s a good idea to stay in populated areas, particularly at night. However, the great majority of the Phoenix suburbs come attached to low crime rates. Naturally, any resorts, spas, or venues you may visit will have security on duty to help ensure everyone’s safety.
Visitors should also be aware of how to stay safe in the desert. Dehydration is a very real danger, so be sure to bring and drink plenty of water. (In the summer, you’ll want to bring up to a gallon.) Be wary of rattle snakes, as well, if you happen to go walking in the desert. Wear high, sturdy boots when hiking, and stick to trails to the greatest extent possible.
Getting Around Phoenix
The transportation situation in Phoenix is more than manageable, so you’ll have your choices as far as how you get around. Many people rent cars, but if you’re looking to keep your travel footprint low, you can take advantage of several public transportation options, including DASH.
If you’re flying into Phoenix and via Phoenix Sky Harbor International, you have several options when it comes to getting into the city. Renting a car is a good idea if you’re planning on visiting other areas besides downtown Phoenix while you’re in town. Rentals are assigned at an off-site location that can be reached via a shuttle pick-up system that will be identified by multiple signs.
Sky Harbor also provides courtesy shuttles to the great majority of Phoenix’s hotels and major resorts. There are ground shuttles to other cities around Phoenix from out of the airport as well. Buses via Red Line and No. 13 are also available, as is access to taxi cabs.
5 Must-See Phoenix Attractions
Phoenix is packed with things to do and places to see. However there are several options that are considered must-sees by most people who have visited the city. The following is just a small sampling.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological
Whether you’re traveling with a family or simply can’t imagine a trip to Phoenix without soaking up some of its rich history and natural ambience, this is a fantastic choice. Both the museum and the adjacent park are located on 1500-year-old Indian ruins. Exhibits are diverse and include opportunities to learn about multiple indigenous tribes, including the Hohokam.
Explore the park via a fully accessible 2/3 mile trail that ambles throughout the beautiful prehistoric site. You’ll see a ball court, replicated prehistoric houses, an excavated mound, and more.
Desert Botanical Garden
The gorgeous desert flora of Phoenix is not to be missed. Take in one of the world’s largest collections of desert wildflowers here. Learn about the many plants on display via an ethnobotanical walking trail. Experience a renewal of body and mind after a day in the city. This is a winner whether you’re traveling with children, in the company of friends, as a couple, or even alone. Bring your aesthetic sensibilities and your camera!
If you’re into animals, then you won’t want to miss a chance to visit the massive Phoenix Zoo. You’ll have a chance to observe over 1200 different species, many of which are endangered. All animals are housed in environments that mirror their natural habitats as closely as possible.
Also enjoy multiple activities and sub-attractions. These include but are not limited to a children’s petting zoo, a train, an up-close giraffe experience,
Historic Heritage Square
This attraction is part of a bigger attraction – the Phoenix Heritage & Science Park – which also includes the Phoenix Museum of History and the Arizona Science Center. It’s a city block that offers visitors the opportunity to see multiple Victorian homes, each part of the original Phoenix settlement.
Make sure you don’t miss the 1895 Rosson House, a fully restored home that was once one of Phoenix’s most prominent homes. Heritage Square is also a fantastic place to grab a bite, as it’s home to several of Phoenix’s most celebrated restaurants, including Crown Pub, Pizzeria Bianco, and Nobuo (at Teeter House).
Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art
If you’re looking to learn more about Phoenix’s connection to Native Americans, then don’t miss out on a visit to this venue. It’s largely considered to be one of the world’s most important repositories of Native American art.
The museum features multiple other exhibits as well. Enjoy works by notable Southwestern artists, take in craft demonstrations, partake in amphitheater performances, and more. Pottery, paint ings, sculpture, textiles, dolls, jewelry, and more are all on display year round. However, the museum also hosts a revolving exhibition calendar, so check ahead of time for details on what exactly will be on display while you’re in town.
Phoenix also features many more opportunities to go boating, hiking, and fishing. Make sure to pack your sense of adventure!
No trip is complete without a few shopping excursions, right? Phoenix has so many experiences to offer that the shopping enthusiasts in your party will certainly be able to shop to their hearts’ content. Phoenix is home to plenty of traditional malls, to be sure; however, some of the best shopping is to be found via non-traditional settings the city has to offer.
Be sure to explore some of the area’s urban shopping villages while you’re in town. You may also want to check out peaceful and shady Old Town Scottsdale, go antiquing in Glendale, or browse one of the many shops that have sprung up in post-World War II converted homes.
Located right in the heart of Phoenix, this is a lush and beautiful two-story shopping center. It includes a Cineplex, several sports bars, and more than 40 different shopping venues and eateries.
Located just west of downtown Phoenix, Glendale features over 70 stunning shops and eateries, all located in quaint century-old bungalows with tons of character.
Scottsdale Fashion Square:
Featuring more than 225 different shops and retail outlets, this is the largest mall in all of the Southwest, and then some. Shop staples like Dillard’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. Enjoy world-class eating at either the food court or one of the mall’s many, many fantastic restaurants.
El Pedregal Festival Marketplace:
If you’re willing to travel about an hour out of Phoenix, you’ll love this gorgeous outdoor mall. It features multiple unique places to shop, and is right next door to Mobil Four-Star Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa.