The capital of Arizona is located in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Why would anyone want to build a city in the middle of a desert? You will be amazed by the origin of Phoenix: agriculture! The prehistoric Hohokam Indians dug many kilometers of channels from the Salt River and the Gila River to flood their fields. They cultivated maize, beans and pumpkins, for example. White immigrants discovered the remains of this culture in the 19th century and decided to rebuild the city. Hence the name, Phoenix: risen from the ashes. In and around Phoenix you can visit the remains of the Hohokam culture.
Do not think that this is a typical desert city. Phoenix is a modern city with some of America's best holiday resorts, excellent restaurants, interesting museums, hundreds of golf courses, world class sport teams and a vibrant nightlife.
Furthermore you can make beautiful trips in your rental car through the surrounding desert and mountains.
Phoenix has a population of about 4.5 million.
Phoenix is located in the valley of the Salt River (also known as the Valley of the Sun), in central Arizona, in the southwest of the United States. This Salt River is often dry in the center of the city, because the water (just like in ancient times) is used for irrigation. The city is surrounded by mountains, northeast by the McDowell Mountains, west by the White Tank Mountains, east by the Superstition Mountains and southwest by the Sierra Estrella.
As indicated above, Phoenix started as an agricultural center, mainly for cotton and citrus cultivation. Because Phoenix is the capital of Arizona, many people work for the government. Thanks to a highly regarded university there are many companies engaged in research and development (high-tech, telecommunications and biotechnology).
And because the sun almost always shines in Phoenix, tourism is also important for the city. Furthermore, there is a large military base west of the town, Luke Air Force Base.
The city's airport is located only five kilometers east of the city center. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is easily accessible, via the Papago Freeway (I-10) or the Hohokam Freeway. Further east there is a smaller airport in neighboring Mesa. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport located along the Santan Freeway.
Phoenix has free buses that run along the main tourist attractions. These so-called DASH buses run every five to ten minutes, until 11pm. Furthermore, Phoenix has a light rail running from North Phoenix, via the downtown, to the airport and Tempe and Mesa.
Traffic and Parking
Since Phoenix has relatively little high-rises, it is a very large city. The best way to see the sights in and around the city is by rental car. Except for the busy district of Scottsdale, it is not difficult to drive around and finding a parking space.
In Scottsdale and Paradise Valley (around Camelback Mountain) you will find most of the luxury hotels and resorts. There is also a concentration of shops and restaurants. Therefore, it is an attractive area, but prices are high. If you would like to have a nice view of the mountains, then book a hotel in North Phoenix. If you would like to visit the city in high season (February until May) we strongly recommend you to book your accommodation well in advance. Please also note that room rates during high season are the highest in America. Just before and after the high season, prices are significantly lower.
For more information about Phoenix we recommend Google and the following sources: