Situated right in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix is the 6th largest city in the United States. Phoenix, with its population of over 1,200,000 in 1997, is the hub of the Metro area with a combined population of about 2,450,000. It is the State of Arizona Capital, and the Maricopa County seat. The name, also the name for the legendary Egyptian which is reborn from its own ashes, was chosen because the city was built on the ruins of the Hohokam Indian civilization, whose irrigation ditches are still being used by farmers today.
In 1867, Phoenix founder Jack Swilling formed a canal company to divert water from the Salt River. In 1911, the Roosevelt Dam was completed north-east of what is now Apache Junction, and the water supply was stabilized. Considering that Phoenix is smack in the middle of the desert, it is odd to think that it sits on one of the largest water tables in the southwestern United States.
Modern Metro Phoenix offers just about all the major sports to its residents, including professional auto racing (NASCAR, see Goodyear; NHRA, see Maricopa), professional football (NFL Cardinals, see Tempe), professional golf (Phoenix Open, see Scottsdale), professional Rodeo (IPRA Gilbert Days, see Gilbert), PAC-10 and NCAA games (Arizona State University, see Tempe) and in Phoenix proper the MLB team the Diamondbacks, The NBA team the Phoenix Suns, the NHL Coyotes, the WNBA Phoenix Mercury. There is an Arena Football Team known as the Arizona Rattlers (National Champions by the way), minor league baseball (Phoenix Firebirds), and Spring training games from just about all of the big teams including the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, and more.
The economic base is pretty wide, with manufacturing and electronics playing a large role. Tourism is big, and there are many world class hotels and resorts in both Phoenix and Scottsdale. Motorola is big, so are Allied Signal and American Express. Phoenix is national headquarters for Phelps Dodge, Viad, Aztar, U-Haul, Avnet, Swift Trucking, PetSmart, and Cavco. Phoenix Sky Harbor is the 11th busiest airport in the Nation, with direct flights to London via British Airways, and Dusseldorf via LTU.
Things to Do:
Phoenix Civic Plaza: There is almost always an expo or something going on here, things like car shows, trade shows, etc.
Phoenix Symphony Hall:
America West Arena: Home to multiple sports teams.
Bank One Ballpark: A rather unique baseball stadium boasting a retractable roof and a public pool with a view of the field.
Arizona Science Center: a wonderful hands on museum for kids and adults alike. Has a big screen theater, a planetarium, and over 300 exhibits. Open daily 10 am to 5 p.m.. $6.50 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and kids 4 and up. 600 East Washington, call (602) 716 2000.
The Heard Museum: Specializing in Indian artifacts, they also have a huge collection of kachina dolls. Performances on weekends. $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for students and seniors, $3.00 for children. Hours are Monday -Saturday 9:30 am to 4:45 p.m., Sunday they open at noon. 22 East Monte Vista, call (602) 252-8848.
The Phoenix Art Museum: Western, Asian, and European Art. They have art by Remington, Picasso, Homer, Rodin, and more famous artists. They also have an interactive children's area. The museum is world class, and Free for everyone on Thursdays. Other than Thursdays, cost is $6.00 adults, $2.00 children over age 6, free younger. 1625 N. Central. Call (602) 257-1880. If you like museums, you will like this one... Hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 p.m. except Thursday and Friday when they are open until 9 p.m..
South Mountain Park: The worlds largest municipal park with horseback riding, hiking, and a romantic view of the city at night.
Phoenix Zoo: Kind of a typical zoo, really. Fun but not outstanding. Bills itself as the nations largest nonprofit zoo. It has 1300 animals, including 200 endangered creatures. Better are the special events like Boo at the Zoo, ; and the killer Zoolights. Zoolights are awesome, you should not miss that. The Zoo is open in the evening, all lit with holiday lights, and all the animals are there too. In my opinion, that is the best way to go to the zoo. Open every day. Adults $8.50, seniors 60+ $7.50 Children under 12 $4.25, Children 2 and under free. 455 N. Galvin Parkway, which is a small stretch of road at the intersection of Van Buren and Priest in Phoenix. Call (602) 273 1341 for more information.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park: Good for people interested in ancient Indian culture. They have a model of the Pueblo Grande ruins in its prime, exhibits about the Hohokam Indians, and paths throughout the ruins with info along the way. Pretty well presented. $2.00 for adults, $1.50 for seniors and $1.00 for children down to age six. Younger than that is free. Open Monday through Saturday 9 am to 4:45 p.m., Sunday they open at 1 p.m.. 4619 East Washington, call (602) 495-0901 for more info.
Places to Stay:
Hyatt Regency Phoenix: One of the few high-rises in Metro Phoenix. The cool part about it is a revolving restaurant perched on top. Don't count on the restaurant for dinner, the prices are too high for what you get, but the view is astounding. Worth going up there to have a few drinks, and maybe an appetizer. Over $150 per night. 122 North 2nd Street, call (602)252-1234
San Carlos: Very highly recommended. Great value ($65 and up), pool, health club, and a European feel. 202 North Central Avenue Call (602) 253-4121.
Arizona Biltmore: Originally done by Frank Lloyd Wright, it has gone through some renovations. Lavish and upscale, it gives the Phoenician a run for the money for the best experience in Phoenix. Your choice of a mountain view or garden view room. You are gonna pay, but it is worth it. Call (602)955-6600. 24th Street and Missouri.
The Phoenician: Right on the Scottsdale/Phoenix border, this place rivals the Biltmore for amenities. Formerly the property of the popular Charles Keating, of Savings and Loan Fame (there is no longer any such thing as a Savings and Loan in Arizona) the place is practically a fantasy. Waterfalls, marble, name it... If you are with a group, make it a point to request rooms together or you may end up walking for 10 minutes to see the others you came with. Very Expensive. 6000 East Camelback, call (602)941-8200.
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Last revised: October 30, 1998