Phoenix, located in central Arizona, is rarely a goal of discovery, during a trip to the USA, but rather a preferred destination to start or end an itinerary in the American West, in particular to tour the national parks of the Arizona and Utah, which Americans call The Grand Circle.
Phoenix is a huge city, 1,338 km2, 13 times the size of Paris. It is the 6th largest city in the United States, with 1.5 million inhabitants, and the 14th largest metropolis with 4.5 million inhabitants. 70% of people in Arizona live in Phoenix.
Phoenix isn't really a charming city nor a city full of points of interest in the United States. A day or even an afternoon is more than enough because the city itself is not fantastic. There is not much to see there except for the large perpendicular avenues. Mostly stay in the suburbs, but not in Sun City reserved for wealthy retirees, but more to its east in the cities of Scottsdale or Tempe.
Sun City is also a very true for the city that is located close to a desert and so has high temperature mostly year-round. Arizona's strength is its climate, with roughly 300 days of sunshine per year: Americans and Canadians often come here in the winter to escape the harsh temperatures.
Phoenix differs from many large American cities by the absence of skyscrapers, which does not exclude the presence of many large buildings.
Phoenix is located:
185 kms south of Sedona,
190 kms north of Tucson
350 kms south of the Grand Canyon
430 kms east of Palm Springs
480 kms south-east of Las Vegas
Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest (26,500 m²) visual art museum in the Southwestern United States. It features international exhibitions as well as a comprehensive collection of over 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western, modern and contemporary art, design and fashion. A community center since 1959, it hosts annual programs of festivals, shows, independent art films and programs,
Papago Park is notable for its many distinctive geological formations and its wide variety of typical desert plants, including the giant saguaro cactus. The park is also home to the Desert Botanical Garden, a large zoo (the Phoenix Zoo), picnic areas, several small lakes, hiking trails, bike paths, baseball and softball fields etc.
Stay in luxury resort
You won't have problems finding hotels / resorts in the greater Phoenix area, known as the "Valley of the Sun". A large part of them are concentrated in Scottsdale, in its inner suburbs. I think in particular of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a luxurious and huge resort with award-winning restaurants and on-site golf, the Phoenician, a sophisticated 645-room resort at the foot of Mount Camelback or the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa At Gainey Ranch, a decidedly hotel family with its water park. For each of these hotels, the swimming pools are at the heart of the offer, as well as the spa, so that a stay truly rhymes with relaxation.
Desert Botanical Garden
Unmissable, the Desert Botanical Garden allows you to walk, via paths, on more than 50 hectares of property colonized by more than 50,000 plants, among many agaves and cacti, including the famous Saguaro cactus, native to the Sonoran desert. These majestic cacti can reach more than 10 meters in height! Spring is obviously the perfect time to observe the cacti in bloom! At the entrance to the garden are magnificent sculptures by Dave Chihuly.
Hot Air Balloon
To better understand the vastness and beauty of the Sonoran Desert, what better than a hot air balloon flight in the early morning as the sun rises? Hot Air Expeditions offers visitors the opportunity to take a seat in a hot air balloon adorned with a beautiful Saguaro cactus for a calm and calming hour-long flight.
This museum, founded in 1929 by art collectors Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard, showcases Native American and Native art, culture and history. More than 40,000 objects are on display, through a dozen galleries.
Go out at night
Phoenix has a number of clubs and bars. Among the few unmissable addresses, you can go to the Q Lounge where you can jiggle to the sounds of Latin American music and hip-hop. During your visit to Phoenix, you can also go to jazz clubs, like Doc's Place which also serves as a bar and restaurant.
GOLDFIELD GHOST TOWN
45 kms east of Scottsdale, Goldfield Ghost Town. This is a real ghost town that has been restored and in which we find the same kind of attractions as in Rawhide. There is also a possible 25 minute visit to the old gold mine. The advantage over Rawhide is that it is open every day of the year.
RAWHIDE WESTERN TOWN
It is unfortunately now reserved for private events, but on a few holiday dates in the year Rawhide Western Town remains open to the public and if you are lucky enough to be in Phoenix on these dates it is very nice to go there especially with children. Consult the calendar of events to verify the opening to the public.
This is the reconstruction of a small western town with a saloon, hotel, prison, stage coach ... there are shops, attractions and little shows of Gun Fights. Children can do stagecoach, little train, pony rides, search for gold, shoot targets, climb a climbing wall or rodeo on a mechanical bull … There's also a photographer who shoots vintage sepia photos of you dressed up in period outfits in a saloon setting. Entrance and parking are free, but there is a charge for attractions. It is also very nice to dine at the Steakhouse with a country orchestra.
Rawhide Western Town is about 30 kilometers from Scottsdale and is easily accessible.
Where to sleep?
We advise you to take a hotel in Scottsdale, close to Papago Park which is the nicest place.
Photo by : Yigithan Bal
Lots of Love, Valerie & Alex