The city of Phoenix rises from the Sonoran Desert as a shimmering urban oasis, with its own version of Southwestern cuisine, an earthy/hipster music scene and perpetual tee times. Pair that with an adventurous crowd who casts off dancing shoes for hiking boots in a hot snap, and you have the essence of “Arizona’s Urban Heart.” Peel the layers further to reveal the intricate art and customs of the native Hopi and Navajo communities, and you’ll soon discover what makes Phoenix a deeply intriguing city to visit and a perfect place for a stay in a Phoenix Country Inns & Suites hotel.
Art and Museums: Phoenix museums and galleries tend to reflect deeply ingrained traditions of Native American life. One such spot is the renowned Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix, housed in a Spanish Colonial structure built by pioneer settlers. Here, Native American art, culture and history combine to create a stunning display of both traditional and contemporary Southwestern pottery, textiles, crafts and paintings.
Eat Phoenix: It comes as no surprise that Mexican food dominates the culinary scene in Phoenix—but would you guess that French cuisine makes an appearance, too? Head out of your Phoenix hotel and go upscale at the elegant Vincent on Camelback, which offers unique French-Southwestern fusion fare. Get your Mexican food fix from Aunt Chilada’s at Squaw Peak, housed in a former 1890s supply depot for mercury miners, or try Indian fry bread at the Fry Bread House on Indian School Road.
Rhythm, Rock and Blues: Slip into the local music scene on weekends for an intimate night of jazz at the Rhythm Room or The Nash, named after legendary Phoenix drummer Lewis Nash. Live blues music at Char’s Has the Blues will have you cutting a rug in no time, with the click-slam of billiard balls colliding in the background. Go indie at the Rebel Lounge in midtown, a no-dress-code club that cranks out Phoenix-style indie rock.
Family Time: Cool off when temperatures soar by ducking into the air-conditioned Arizona Science Center downtown. With more than 300 interactive exhibits, galleries and demonstrations, not to mention the cutting-edge planetarium, the kids will be discovering, investigating and manipulating the universe for hours.
Nature Calls: Explore Mother Nature within the city limits at the 16,000-acre South Mountain Park and Preserve. Join hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders on more than 50 primary trails, with options for all energy and ability levels. In northeast Phoenix, McDowell Mountain Regional Park has dozens of similar trails and an abundance of desert wildlife for up-close viewing. Higher elevations of both parks provide expansive views of the valley and the city skyline.
Hit the Greens: Even the most experienced golfers are impressed with more than 200 courses in the Greater Phoenix metropolis, ranging from ultra-manicured resort greens to rugged desert courses with tumbleweeds and cacti marking the territory. Book a tee time at Gainey Ranch Golf Club for some posh putting, or cart your clubs on a desert trek through Troon North or We-Ko-Pa.
When to Visit Phoenix
Unlike most cities in the United States, peak tourist season in Phoenix kicks off when the days cool down. November through April is prime time in this desert city, after searing summer temps of 100-plus degrees Fahrenheit and monsoon-like storms from mid-July to mid-August. Average December and January temps hit highs in the upper 60s and lows in the mid-40s, while springtime maxes out in the low 80s. Weather is definitely the deciding factor when visiting Arizona, so choose according to your planned activities.
Phoenix Travel Tip
If you’re up for a road trip, don’t miss the chance to see the majestic Grand Canyon, one of the world’s natural wonders. Rent a car or hook up with a tour group for the three-and-a-half-hour drive to the canyon’s South Rim, which is open year-round.