Phoenix, Arizona, in this incredible southwestern setting, is the perfect destination for family vacations, weekend adventures or even a romantic getaway.
The city began in 1866 as a hay camp to supply nearby Camp McDowell. That undertaking grew into America’s fifth largest city.
Taming such an inhospitable environment is nothing short of audacious and took a special breed.
Today, the spirit of the ranchers, miners and visionaries who founded this oasis is surprisingly embodied in high-tech entrepreneurs who are the modern-day pioneers.
Those who come here are not only greeted with gorgeous desert scenery but cosmopolitan offerings few regions in America can match. You can find resorts and spas infused with American Indian tradition, golf courses that stay green all year, incredible dining experiences (fantastic street tacos still to be found for $1), mountain parks with saguaro-lined hiking trails, sports arenas that can hold a Super Bowl, and much more. Here are a few recommendations.
Where to Play
308 N. 2nd Avenue, Phoenix / 602-716-2222 /
The Crescent Ballroom is the place to take in live music in the city. In addition to both world-class and up-and-coming acts, the Crescent boasts Cocina 10, serving a one-of-a-kind, locally sourced menu developed by chef Chris Bianco.
Musical Instrument Museum
4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix 480-478-6000 /
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) showcases more than 6,500 instruments collected from around the world in displays wired for sound. Just grab some headphones and walk near a presentation to hear musical samples. Instruments from music icons such as Elvis and John Lennon are also on display. MIM also hosts a wide spectrum of live performances.
For the Young at Heart
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix
215 N. 7th Street, Phoenix / 602-253-0501 /
It’s no wonder the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is rated one of the top 10 children’s museums in the country. Here imagination and fun are encouraged through exploration. Designed for children up to age 10, the museum offers more than 300 interactive play areas including a “market” kids can shop in, a noodle forest they can run through, and even ride a tricycle through a “car wash!”
455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix / 602-286-3800/
The zoo is home to more than 1,400 animals including mountain lions, giraffes, elephants, bears and bald eagles. Walk through Monkey Village, pet and brush goats in the Red Barn, take in a show at the 4-D theater, and ride the Safari Train. Kids can bring swim suits and enjoy the water play area too during the spring / summer.
5700 W. North Loop Road, Chandler / 480-502-5600/
Who doesn’t want to experience a taste of the Wild West! In this 1880’s western town recreation, visitors can meander a general store, mercantile, blacksmith, toy store and even a photo emporium. But beware of the local sheriff. Through Rawhide’s Arrest-A-Guest package, if you look like you are up to no good, you could find yourself in the Rawhide jail! Staged gunfights, galleries, a petting zoo, stagecoach rides are also available. An award winning steakhouse is on the premises that serves up delicacies like rattlesnake bites, and if you are feeling particularly adventurous, rocky mountain oysters– you’ll get a certificate of completion if you down them!
Where to Eat
6327 N 7th St, Phoenix / 602-264-1784 /
The perfect old school Italian eatery where entrees include soup and salad. The menu is usually heavy on the veal but includes plenty of daily fresh seafood selections. Here the service is outstanding, the pasta always perfect and the parking always free! A gem.