Introduction to Phoenix
Phoenix is also the capital of Arizona, as well as the largest city and largest metropolitan area in Arizona.
Phoenix is located in central Arizona, in the southwestern United States. It is 20 minutes west of Tempe, and 20 minutes southwest of Scottsdale. Phoenix is home to more than five Fortune 1000 company headquarters, including well-recognized names such as Avnet, Phelps Dodge, and PetSmart. Nearby Tempe is home to US Airways. Other companies with major operations in Phoenix include: Intel, Motorola, AlliedSignal, Honeywell, Boeing, American Express, Prudential, Charles Schwab and more.
Phoenix has received the National Civic League's prestigious "All-America City" Award four times.
Phoenix has an arid climate that is characterized by some of the hottest seasonal temperatures anywhere. Phoenix averages 325 sunny days and less than eight inches of rain a year. The hottest recorded summer temperature was 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow is very rare in Phoenix, though it still can occur occasionally.
The original settlers of what was to become Phoenix were the Hohokam Indian people, who lived there as early as 300 BC. The first non-native American settlers founded a farming community near what was to become Phoenix. The Town of Phoenix was officially recognized in May of 1868. Phoenix was incorporated as a city in 1881.
Some key dates in Phoenix's history include:
- In 1911, the Theodore Roosevelt Dam near Phoenix, then the largest masonry dam in the world, began operation.
- In 1912, Phoenix became a state capital with Arizona statehood.
- In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge sold 13,000 acres of South Mountain to Phoenix. This was to become South Mountain Park, which, at its present size of 16,500 acres, is the largest metropolitan park in the world. Every year South Mountain Park sees three million visitors.
Phoenix Arts and Culture
Phoenix is a center of arts and culture. Phoenix offers museums, the performing arts, and much more. Some of Phoenix's more notable museums include:
- The Arizona Science Center
- The Desert Botanical Garden in nearby Papago Salado
- The Heard Museum
- The Phoenix Art Museum
- The Phoenix Museum of History
- The Phoenix Zoo in nearby Papago Salado
- The Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park in nearby Papago Salado
For patrons of the performing arts, Phoenix has a lot to offer. Some of the more notable attractions include:
- The Actor's Theatre of Phoenix
- The Arizona Opera
- Ballet Arizona
- The Herberger Theater Center
- The Orpheum Theatre
- The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra
- The Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix Sports and Leisure
Phoenix has plenty to offer to keep sports fans happy. Phoenix is home to the following major sports teams:
- Baseball - The Major League Baseball (MLB), Arizona Diamondbacks. In addition, in the spring of every year, nine major league baseball teams come to the Phoenix area for spring training.
- Basketball - The National Basketball Association (NBA) Phoenix Suns, and the WNBA Phoenix Mercury.
- Football - The National Football League (NFL) Arizona Cardinals.
- Hockey - The National Hockey League (NHL) Phoenix Coyotes.
- Lacrosse - The National Lacrosse League (NLL) Arizona Sting play in nearby Glendale.
Nearby Tempe is also home to the NCAA College Football Fiesta Bowl and Insight Bowl. Phoenix is also often referred to as the "golf capital of the world" with more than 200 golf courses in the greater Phoenix area.
Phoenix's dry and sunny climate make it an ideal location for a wide variety of outdoor activities. In addition to "normal" outdoor activities such as blading, biking, horseback riding, hiking, boating and more, Phoenix is an ideal location for more exotic outdoor activities such as hot-air ballooning, or soaring in a glider.
Phoenix "Must See" Attractions
Phoenix has attractions too numerous to do justice in a simple list. Some of Phoenix's more unique attractions include:
- The Desert Botanical Garden
- The Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum
- The Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park
- South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the world
Phoenix at Night
As one would expect of a city in the southwest, Phoenix restaurants offer wonderful southwestern, Latino, and Mexican cuisine. But Phoenix also offers a good selection of other cuisine, including eastern cuisine such as Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese, as well as the cuisine of many other cultures. If interests turn more to the evening nightclub scene, Phoenix offers everything from brew pubs, to sports bars, dance clubs, and country. Good places to look for the latest venues and happenings include "The Rep Entertainment Guide" section of the Arizona Republic, the weekly New Times, and Where Phoenix/Scottsdale Magazine.