Phoenix and The Valley of the Sun


sunset over phoenix arizona

For many years the Phoenix area has been one of my favourite places to visit. If asked why I’d probably narrow it down to the following reasons:

  • Climate – Yes it gets hot in the summer months but the abundant sunshine and mild climate compensate. Spring and Autumn typically have glorious weather equivalent to high summer in Europe.
  • It works – Provided you are driving the extensive road network makes its easy to get around. The road network is still being expanded.
  • Big City benefits – All the conveniences of a large American city are present including some great shopping and eating opportunities.
  • Visitor friendly – There are many great resorts in the Phoenix area which are focussed on leisure travel. In addition there is a good range of restaurants to meet all tastes and budgets. There are also a number of attractions that are well worth the visitor’s time.
  • Location – Centrally situated in Arizona, Phoenix is well situated to explore not only the local areas but also as a staring point for an Arizona road trip. It also makes sense as a starting point for longer trips encompassing neighbouring states such as Utah and New Mexico.
  • Natural environment – It is easy to escape into the natural environment with abundant hiking opportunities close at hand.

The City of Phoenix itself is the State Capitol of Arizona and contains the main down-town business area. Historically there has not been much to attract the visitor outside of business hours but a concerted effort to revitalise this area is in progress.

There are however a number of visitor attraction clustered around the down town area the most prominent of which are the Heard Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum.

Scottsdale is both an upmarket residential area and a hub for resort hotels. The Old Town area resembles a wild west town but contains a significant number of boutiques, south western craft stores and art galleries. There are also a number of restaurants.  The Scottsdale waterfront adjacent to old town is again home to retail and restaurants. The major shopping centre is the Fashion Square Mall which is one of the major destination malls in the Phoenix area.

Tempe is home to the University of Arizona campus and the lively Mill Avenue shopping and eating district. The Gammage Auditorium hosts drama and musicals.