The city of Phoenix rises out of the great Sonoran Desert but it offers a lot more than just cacti. Although it was once a quiet, somewhat sleepy western town, Phoenix is now one of the USA's fasting growing communities.

The Valley of the Sun as it has become known enjoys a full 325 days of sunshine in the average year. The azure skies and rugged landscapes are more than just attractive, they also provide for endless outdoor activity.

Some cities are described with a lot of indoor words; museum, shop, restaurant. Phoenix is really more about "outdoor" words. Golf, sports, horseback riding for instance. This is a fairly new city, and that shows in the sassy upbeat vibe that the whole of Phoenix exudes.

Modern day Phoenix lies at the very heart of Arizona. You will still find flavorings of the Old West wherever you go.

The flavor of some cities can be described in single "indoor" words such as museums, shopping, dining, theater, and the arts. Phoenix, on the other hand, has a smattering of each and is best described with "outdoor" words like golf, sports, relaxing, hiking, horseback riding, and generally enjoying the natural beauty of Arizona. You will also encounter a lot of Mexican cultural influence as the Spanish and Mexican culture has been a part of Arizona for centuries.

Many people will tell you that the main attraction of Phoenix, either living there or going on vacation, is the wonderful weather. It is hot in the summer but this is a dry heat, humidity very rarely reaches above a single digit figure. There is also very little rain for most of the year so vacationers should not find themselves stuck indoors.
Relaxation is also a big thing in Phoenix. There are a number of excellent spas that are devoted to the pursuit of absolutely nothing. Most of the restaurants are modern, cutting edge and the emphasis is very much on fun. Shopping is good, ranging from world class fashion to kooky souvenirs.

Phoenix itself actually resembles a giant gold miner's pan: very flat in the middle surrounded by mountains on three sides. The wide open spaces are rapidly being filled up, as more and more new residents flock to the area. Many of these new residents are "snowbirds", who arrive at the first hint of cold in the North, but head out once the spring's first blooms have faded.

Since Phoenix is located so centrally it would probably be a shame if visitors did not take advantage of the chance to visit other nearby attractions such as the vast Grand Canyon and Tombstone and Flagstaff.

Phoenix is still a youngster, so you will not find the old town markets or neighborhoods found in many other American cities. Phoenix has become prosperous and "hip" There are some neighborhoods that have their own distinct personalities however. Tempe is very youth orientated as it is home to Arizona State University, and there are many upscale retirement communities located at the western end of The Valley.