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AZ Towns & Culture
With more than 1.6 million residents, Phoenix is the fifth most populous city in the United States. More than 16 million people visit the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the “Valley of the Sun,” each year for the countless luxury resorts, beautiful spas, and unique landscape.
Phoenix is a place where you can explore local hangouts, outdoor adventures and vibrant city life. But when you want luxury, there are a range of exciting options available on every corner. There is so much to do in this beautiful and growing city. Whether you are into art, shopping, great restaurants or the great outdoors, Phoenix offers something to capture your interest.
Phoenix is known as the “Valley of the Sun.” And with sunshine for approximately 300 days out of the year, and extremely long and hot summers, it’s easy to see why. Because the city is located within the sunniest region of the world (with approximately 3,872 hours of sunlight each year), Phoenix is the recipient of the highest amount of sunlight out of any city on earth.
Despite the abundance of sun, there is a monsoon season that will visit Arizona three to four months out of the year, typically from July through September. Although it can get quite hot in Phoenix, there is low humidity, so the air feels very dry. Because of the dry heat, many are amazed at how much better they feel on a 110 ºF day in Arizona than they do in a very humid state. (On any given day, the humidity in Phoenix is around 10 percent.)
There are many neighborhoods in Phoenix that come alive as the sun goes down. Some of these places include Downtown Phoenix, a hub for live music and stand-up comedy. Scottsdale’s neighborhood is home to a variety of clubs, bars and lounges for those wanting to unwind after a long week of work. Of course, you can always find a good pub and some great cuisine right across from Arizona State University. There’s always a wide variety of local restaurants, movie theaters, plays and art galleries ready to be explored on any given night.
The dining scene in Downtown Phoenix is growing, thriving and always exciting. Creative and innovative ideas are taking over the city while the older mom-and-pop venues are still very much alive. Whatever you are looking for, whether it’s a great burger and beer, pizza, fine dining or the best breakfast in town, you’ll find it downtown.
Like many other towns in the Southwest, Phoenix is home to some great steakhouses. More recently, the city has gained international recognition for its delicious Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex flavors. The recent population increase has brought together people of various cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds, which has influenced the local food diversity. Phoenix is now home to cuisines from all over the world: Italian, sushi, Indian, Thai, and more.
For those of you who like to “shop till you drop,” you will be excited to learn that Phoenix is one of the best shopping destinations in the Southwest! Bargain-hunting is a big event in Phoenix; with the Tanger Outlet stores close by. If you prefer upscale shopping, the newer Phoenix Premium Outlet Mall offers more upscale options from name-brand designers.
If you want to make shopping a family experience, make sure to visit the unique Desert Ridge Marketplace, which is a 110-acre outdoor mall offering a movie theater, entertainment center, and rock-climbing towers, as well as outdoor fireplaces to lounge by and some great restaurants. Stores such as Old Navy, Target, Kohl's and Pier 1 Imports bring some casual shopping and entertainment to this shopping center.
For vintage apparel, unique gifts and more interesting shops, visit the Melrose District where you will find many malls, shopping centers and countless antique stores. The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall is a huge venue that hosts more than 600 dealers and is home to many wonderful collections of antiques.
If you have a passion for performing arts, you will be pleased to know that the city is home to many well-respected performing arts venues and artists, especially in Downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale. Performing arts groups include Ballet Arizona, the Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra and Arizona Opera Company. The largest venue is the Herberger Theater Center—known for showcasing young acting groups, as well as the Centre Dance Ensemble.
Within the past ten years, the art scene in Downtown Phoenix has undergone improvements and an expansion. There are numerous art galleries and museums scattered throughout the Valley to choose from – all unique in their own way.
If you like music, be sure to visit the Musical Instrument Museum, which features the largest collection of musical instruments in the world. If you prefer visual art, you must check out the Phoenix Art Museum, as it is home to a massive collection of more than 17,000 works of modern and contemporary art collected from all over the globe. Still, there are many other museums to choose from, including an interactive space exhibit, the Arizona Military Museum, a children's museum and others.
Street art is a big deal in Phoenix with murals almost everywhere you turn. Artists are encouraged to “find a wall and paint on it,” and they do so, using the power of art to inform, challenge and bring happiness to the city. Local street artists and painters consider themselves to be activists who do not merely pride themselves in their work, but also fight for what they believe in, using both their voices and as their brushes. There are colorful and powerful murals for all sorts of things around the city: water conservation, mental health resources, a painting of Billie Holiday, beautiful giant sunflowers and more.
If you are searching for a new home, apartment or townhouse in Phoenix, now is a great time to look. Because of the growing job opportunities, rich Southwest culture, inviting climate and sunshine, this city is a great place to live. As the fifth largest city in America, Phoenix is constantly expanding its communities with new housing
Education for Children
If you are considering a university or a college in Phoenix, there are more than a few to choose from. Arizona State University (ASU) is the most popular and well known university in the city, with a few campuses scattered around town. With more than 72,000 students, ASU is one of the largest public universities in the nation.
If you are looking for a community college in the area, the Maricopa County Community College District includes ten community colleges. Phoenix College is one of the oldest community colleges in the United States. Phoenix is also home to a four-year independent, LCME-accredited medical school: The University of Arizona College of Medicine. Other institutions include Grand Canyon University (a private Christian school), the University of Phoenix, Arizona Summit Law School, and Barrow Neurological Institute.
AZ Travel & Highlights
Desert Botanical Garden
This lovely spot makes for a great date or family outing. With pristine gardens, as well as educational opportunities to learn about the wildlife and beauty of the surrounding desert, Desert Botanical Garden is a must-see for all. The spring is a great time to visit with the flowers in bloom and a butterfly pavilion on display. Come for a broad overview to Arizona’s breathtaking and unique desert landscape.
Musical Instrument Museum
Love both art and music? You need to stop by the world’s only global Musical Instrument Museum, which is home to the largest collection of musical instruments in the entire world. Walking through the exhibits can take approximately four hours, so be sure to make enough room in the day. As if viewing the incredible collection and various musical exhibits weren't enough, the museum also holds the MIM Music Theater which seats 300 people in an acoustically ideal performance space.
Looking for an educational and fun outing for the family to enjoy? Look no further than the Heard Museum, which features Native American art and indigenous culture in the United States. With various exhibits, shows and displays of contemporary Native American artists, you will leave with a new perspective on American Indian culture and find yourself moved by the personal stories.
For the Kids
Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Do your children love to play, explore and create? Take them to one of the top-ranked children’s museums in the entire country: the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. This amazing place was created for children up to age 10. It’s designed for kids to play, explore, and be inspired! With more than 300 sensory play experiences, a wide array of classes, programs, and an art studio, this wonderful museum is unlike any other.
Zoo days are always the best days for making memories and having some light-hearted fun as a family. If you are looking for a wonderful location to celebrate a birthday party or just want to find yourself awed by some diverse wildlife, look no further than the Phoenix Zoo. From tigers and elephants to monkeys and stingrays, this zoo is a wonderful option.
Phoenix is an excellent “base camp” for the exploration of the American Southwest. Centrally located in the state of Arizona, many people plant themselves in the Phoenix’ before venturing out to explore the great outdoors surrounding them. Because of the natural beauty and the sunny weather, there is a wide variety of outdoor recreational attractions for all to enjoy.
Phoenix Botanical Gardens
Since 1939 Phoenix Botanical Gardens has been home to many immaculate gardens. Come and explore the greatest and largest collection of arid plants in the nation, and learn about how the garden prides itself in breeding, as well as in helping to reintroduce endangered species back to their natural outdoor habitats.
Guided Arizona Desert UTV Tour
Just 45 minutes north of Phoenix, there is a thrilling adventure awaiting you! The Guided UTV tour is about two hours of off-roading in the Sonoran Desert and the Bradshaw Mountains. Your guide will teach you about wildlife and terrain in the area as you travel past deep canyons, cacti and coyotes! This is an adventure you won’t want to miss.
Due to the gorgeous views of the city and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, Camelback Mountain is quite a popular hiking spot around town. Named after the shape of a camel’s hump, this mountain has some very difficult trails. If you like hiking and don't want to drive too far to get a great adventure in, this is the place for you!
The Grand Canyon
One of the main attractions that continuously draws people to Arizona from all over the world is the Grand Canyon. Just a few hours’ drive north of Phoenix, this makes for a great weekend getaway (or even a day trip for those living in the metropolitan area of the city). With almost 300 miles of rocky peaks, winding rivers and countless opportunities for outdoor adventure – including camping trips, hiking, white water rafting, helicopter tours and more – this “wonder of the world” is the perfect outing for the entire family.
Pop Up Parks
Tired of hanging out in the office all day? Get a pass to Phoenix’s Pop Up Parks! There is always something exciting to do at these random, otherwise unused outdoor locations. With massive Jenga and other fun outdoor games available, a wide variety of food trucks and live music, you will definitely not be bored!
One of the greatest attractions for tourists and locals alike are the dozens of golf courses in the Phoenix area. There are more than 200 courses to choose from, and they all have a style of their own. If you are looking for a course that reflects the true Arizonian desert style, try the Troon North and We-Ko-Pa courses, which are nestled into beautiful desert landscapes. Other courses like the Gainey Ranch resort club and the Arizona Biltmore, offer luxurious experiences where visitors can end a round with some delicious cuisine and a spa treatment of choice. Whatever type of golf course you are looking to play on, you will find it here. With so much sunny weather, golfers are often able to play all year round!
Phoenix is the only U.S. city with all four major sports franchises. Basketball, baseball, football and hockey all have major league teams within the city.
Major League Baseball
If you are a Major League Baseball fan, you will enjoy a trip to Chase Field, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, right in the heart of Phoenix. If you are looking for a fun outing, go and see a game! The stadium itself is beautiful, offers an array of amenities and is a very comfortable place to enjoy a ballgame.
NBA and WNBA Basketball
The Phoenix Suns (NBA) basketball team was the first major sports team in Phoenix. The Suns have called Phoenix home since 1968.The Phoenix Mercury has won three WNBA championships. If you love basketball, you will love seeing these teams during their home games. Steward Health Care is proud to be the official sponsor of the Suns and Mercury. Throughout the year Steward and the teams partner on various health-related events, player appearances and more.
The Arizona Cardinals moved to Phoenix in 1988 and have made it to the Super Bowl once since moving to Phoenix in 2009. Their home games are played at the Sun Devil Stadium, which has hosted three Super Bowls throughout the years.
For hockey fans, the Gila River Arena is your place to catch the Arizona Coyotes (NHL), which are known for their large and passionate fanbase in the state.
Building for the Future
Over the past few years, Phoenix has undergone a serious makeover. The city continues to transform daily. With many new businesses opening, restaurants blossoming, and a lot of money being focused on making improvements, such as broader sidewalks and more bike and walking trails for locals, this city is now a sought-after destination for many looking to find a home. Many experts predict an even greater influx of people in the near future. With a housing market boom and more exciting venues, restaurants and amenities on their way, Phoenix is a wonderful place to live.