Introducing the city

£1.00 | $1.27

GBP | USD

Gasoline £0.45 | $0.57

One-way ticket £1.57 | $2.00

Beer £3.14 | $4.00

Main Course £11.78 | $15.00

About Phoenix

The capital of the state of Arizona, Phoenix is the United States' sixth largest city and sits in the middle of a desert in more than 300 days of sunshine a year.

When you live in a place nicknamed the 'Valley of the Sun' because of its toasty weather, you might think you have reason to boast. But in a place where summer months are as hot as a chilli pepper, you'll soon realise that sometimes less is more.

Named Phoenix after the mythical bird that is reborn after burning to ashes, this city couldn't have a more fitting name. Not so long ago this place was merely wasteland but air conditioning helped it thrive its way to a population of 1.5 million. From afar it looks out of place, an urban stray lost in the desert. The polished, chestnut red landscape clashes remarkably with the snow white of Camelback Mountain. Snow in the desert isn't Phoenix's only surprise, in such an inhospitable landscape the city offers high-end shopping, an authentic Mexican culinary scene and a selection of Arizona's best museums. This city is big on sport too with over 200 golf courses and a number of top sports teams.

Our advice though is to avoid the summer. If you do, Phoenix might be right up your valley.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

Avoid the summer if possible as it's very uncomfortable in the city. November to April is considered the best period to visit, which is also high season in the city.

Phoenix's climate is subtropical desert. Summers are extremely hot, often over 40 degrees Celsius through June, July and August. The heat is dry and this lack in humidity makes it bearable the landscape does not change. The end of summer brings monsoon season and the warm, charged air lashes out with lightening storms in the evenings. Even in the coldest months of the year (December and January) experience an average high of 19 degrees and although evenings may be chilly, temperatures hardly ever drop below freezing. Rainfall can occur at any time of year but the months that experience the least are April, May and June.

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Travioor top tips

Getting Around
Further Afield
Nightlife

Insider Info

  • Buses can be unreliable, you're better off using the smaller public shuttles which are cheap, safe and easy to use thanks to the cities grid design.
  • Phoenix is in the middle of the desert but don't think there's nothing outside the city. Stunning natural scenery is not limited to the Grand Canyon. There's also Camelback Mountain and more.
  • We suggest those on a budget, looking for a young crowd and nightlife head for Tempe, which is close to Arizona State University.

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Food and drink

Main Course £11.78 | $15.00

3-Course Meal £39.28 | $50.00

Cappuccino £3.39 | $4.32

Beer £3.14 | $4.00

The Scene

You'll find an array of restaurants and eateries in Phoenix but the city is best known for its authentic Mexican cuisine with some of the best spots found in the south of the city. Whether its crispy tacos, sizzling fajitas or a meaty burrito, you'll find it in Phoenix. This city is also known for its cowboy steakhouses where portions are hearty so bring an appetite.

There are a few places that offer good nightlife and a selection of bars to grab a drink or two such as the Uptown, Downtown, and Roosevelt areas as well as Scottsdale and Tempe.

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History

Phoenix’s Story

The first settlers in Phoenix were the Hohokam Native Americans who created waterways from Salt River for crops. They vanished sometime in the 14th century and scarcely more than a cave in Camelback Mountain indicates that they were ever there.

Fast forward and a man named Jack Swilling thought the area would be great for farming and began building canals in the 1860's. A fellow settler suggested calling the town Phoenix after the mystical bird that arose from the ashes, to depict the way the town would come to life. During the remainder of the 19th century it became a trading centre thanks to the railroad built in 1887.

Although it was declared state capital in 1912, Phoenix remained a farming community until the 1930's. At that time tourism and an influx of immigrants began shaping the economic landscape. After WWII Phoenix saw a huge increase in population and in the years to follow, major technological developments were made resulting in a more robust businesses. It stands today as the region's most significant political, cultural and transportation centre.

Language

English

English is predominant in Phoenix and the language of business and government but you will encounter Spanish speakers. Like many southern American states, Hispanic culture embodies much of Arizona's identity.

  • Hello: hola
  • Goodbye: Gracias
  • Please: Por favor
  • Excuse me: Disculpe
  • Do you speak English?: Habla usted Inglés?

Need to know

+1 602 Dialling Code
911 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Fly to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
  • Most people tip between 15-20% in restaurants.
  • Phoenix gets extremely hot in the summer.
  • Watch out for snakes and scorpions if you head out to the desert.


VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for the US here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. BATS

Mexican free-tailed bats roost in the flood control tunnel on 40th Street in the summer. Arrive at dusk but wait until its completely dark to see them in their hundreds.

2. GRAND CANYON

Phoenix is not made for walking. We advise renting a car which will optimise the Apache Walking trail and Grand Canyon National Park as you can stop start as you please.

3. MYSTERY ROOM

Enjoy a drink in the mystery room at the Arizona Biltmore where you'll need to obtain a secret password (that's if you can find it).

4. PAPAGO PARK

Home to the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden, Papago Park spans 1,200 acres and also boasts beautiful lagoons, nature trails and a golf course.

5. COYOTES

You're more likely to hear than see this chief character in mid-western folklore. Don't be alarmed if you hear the predators distinctively painful yelp, they're shy.


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