Arizona is famous for its desert climate, but Phoenix has a surprising amount of greenery on offer. The parks, golf courses and resorts to be found here offer cool refreshment from the heat in the “Valley of the Sun”.
Native Americans have played a key role in the development of this area. The ancient Hohokam people irrigated the desert to make crops grow—discover what we know about their culture and history at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park. Learn about the art and crafts made by different local indigenous tribes in the stunning collection at the Heard Museum.
Phoenix has attracted artists from all backgrounds, and there are many different art forms and periods to explore in the local area, whether you’re an art aficionado or a relative novice. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in a light, airy building, where the pieces inside (dating from the 1950s onwards) are shown off to their best advantage, while the Phoenix Arts Museum includes thousands of classic pieces. For something more lively, head to the visual and performance art exhibitions at the Mesa Arts Center, which includes a refreshing outdoor space that’s the perfect way of escaping the heat. Learn more about music and its role in global cultures in the fascinating Musical Instrument Museum.
With all of this art on show, it’s easy to miss the biggest attraction: the stunning scenery of the Sonoran Desert. But despite Phoenix’s big city feel, you’re never far from the Wild West. To truly appreciate the scenery, take a hike or climb up Camelback Mountain. Learn about the life to be found in the desert in the Desert Botanical Garden, and meet the inhabitants at the Phoenix Zoo.
If all that nature gets too much, travel to the shops and restaurants of the lively Scottsdale Quarter, where you can indulge in some much needed R&R. Families will love the Arizona Science Center for its focus on hands-on learning and the opportunity to travel through the human digestive system! Round off your stay by revelling in the opulence of Wrigley Mansion whilst sipping a cocktail or enjoying some fine-dining.