Most people won’t put Phoenix in the top cities they definitely want to visit, but given a chance, Phoenix doesn’t disappoint. Phoenix is undoubtedly the most populous city of the Southwest US, popularly called as the ‘Valley of the Sun, owing to more than 300 sunny days it gets every year. The city is home to excellent sports facilities and has its own professional baseball, football, and basketball as well as ice hockey teams and has more than 200 golf courses in the area. The cultural scene here is bubbling with activity all year through and business travelers flock to the city quite often. The city has a unique country-like homeliness to it that draws upon a person beyond its dry scrubby desert landscape and makes it a city worth a visit.
Visit the Heard Museum that will take you through the history, life and culture of the American Natives. The Old Town Scottsdale neighborhood is a Wild West themed enclave where you can buy ‘Indian’ jewelry and visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary art. Have the best breakfast ever, enough you have to wait for minimum 20 minutes after signing your name on the clipboard (since there are no reservations) at the Matt’s Big Breakfast. Downtown is otherwise modern, save the beautiful Historic Heritage Square with its truly Victorian structure. Try the Desert Botanical Garden to explore the unique vegetation here.
Downtown Phoenix is the historical and cultural hub of the city, with the Historic Heritage Square at the centre. Staying here can help you be in close proximity to museums, art centers and shops, restaurants, etc. Stay in Camelback Mountain to be close to shopping destinations and business centers as well as to the Sky Harbor International Airport. If you want to window shop in the day and have a happening nightlife when the Sun goes down, while being amidst the posh and the luxury, then Scottsdale is the area for you. And if you are here for the University, then Tempe is where you should be. Phoenix offers bed and breakfasts, business hotels, luxury and boutique hotels as well as budget hotels.
Phoenix is a car-centered city. Public transport is not very reliable here, except the light rail in Tempe and downtown. So, renting a car is the best option to take. Taxis are fairly easy to find too. Phoenix has very high surcharges. Never rent a car straight off the airport. Take a cab or light rail to the local office of the car rental (not the one at the airport) and then rent a car. That way, some of the surcharges that get added for people flying in can be let gone. The surcharges can be around 29%. The Scorpion Bolo Ties, the Saguaro Cactus Salt and Pepper shakers, Cactus Candy and some hot sauces are popular souvenirs to bring back from Phoenix. A host of sports events get hosted through the year, and if you can avoid it and are not going to attend it, you might as well as plan a trip when the crowds have not already filled up all the flights and hotels. The Musical Instruments Museum is some distance away from town but a must visit. Don’t miss the Carnival of Illusions either. The DUI laws are very harsh in Phoenix, it must be completely avoided.