A Guide to Phoenix

Phoenix – a desert oasis rising from the ruins of an ancient people, like its legendary namesake. A top resort and spa destination, this sprawling metropolis attracts the modern pioneer, ready to embrace the casual lifestyle in the Valley of the Sun.

By the numbers

Population: 1,563,025 (city); 4,574,531 (metropolitan area)

Elevation: 1117 feet / 340 meters

Time Zone: GMT -7; Mountain Standard Time

Weather

Average Annual Rainfall: 8 inches / 20 centimetres

Average January Temperature: 57°F / 14°C

Average July Temperature: 95°F / 35°C

Did you know?

Phoenix’s South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in North America, covering 20,000 acres (8093.7 hectares).

Phoenix hosts Spring Training for 15 different Major League Baseball teams, known as the Cactus League.

Phoenix sits in the Sonora Desert, in the south-central portion of the state. Phoenix is located about 110 miles (177 kilometres) north of Tucson.

District Guide

Phoenix, known as the “Valley of the Sun” for its 300 plus days of sunshine each year, is a fragmented city sprawling into many other towns and suburbs which surround it. Visitors first notice the expansive low profile of the valley ensconced cozily within several mountain ranges on its border.

Phoenix Cityscape at Night

Downtown Phoenix
The downtown area has changed dramatically since the tired days of the 1970s and 1980’s. With the construction of the Talking Stick Resort Arena for Phoenix Suns basketball and Chase Field for the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, these two teams have brought life to downtown. If you’d rather attend a symphony or seek something a little more upscale, you can visit the nearby Arizona Center or CityScape, both located in the neighbourhood known as Copper Square. The square has several coffeehouses, restaurants and bars that bring people downtown for a drink or a bite before the show.

Phoenix is also trying to revitalize the urban center with more residential living and amenities which serve the people who live here. Two great restaurants found here are Pizzeria Bianco by the locally adopted son, Chris Bianco or Durant’s down Central Avenue. for those who seek more tradition.

Incorporating the themes of Phoenix’s early history with culture and local events, Copper Square is a one-square-mile (1.6-square-kilometer) hotspot for activities and action. Downtown attractions include the Arizona Science Center, Roosevelt Row, the historic 1920s Orpheum Theatre and the Phoenix Art Museum.

West Phoenix
The residential communities of Glendale and Peoria include moderately priced homes largely developed in the 1970s and they primarily remain residential. Most people find their entertainment and shopping needs at the Westgate City Center. This entertainment complex hosts the arena where the Arizona Cardinals play football alongside the ice-rink where the Phoenix Coyotes play hockey. For concerts and fairs, the Ak-Chin Pavilion offers an open-air amphitheater all year, even in the summer!

The growing west side continues to spread outward into other communities such as Buckeye and Surprise, however, the town with the most charm would be Glendale. Most visitors go to Historic Downtown Glendale and its neighbourhood Catlin Court for first-rate antique shopping opportunities. The Arrowhead Towne Center Mall offers newer wares and different dining choices. The University of Phoenix Stadium, home-turf of the Arizona Cardinals is located here. Drop by for a game, soak in the electrifying energy and take part in a typical tailgating party!

South Phoenix
Largely comprised of low-cost housing and shared lots with the farming industry, the area of South Phoenix has somewhat of a reputation for violence and poverty. However, the upscale community of Ahwatukee is a notable exception. Ahwatukee residents are mostly older adults and urban professionals who commute around the city for work, and as such, there are not too many attractions here.

This area is mostly residential, with upscale apartments that coexist with middle-class housing. For some of the best views of Phoenix, be sure to take the South Mountain Park Scenic Drive while you are here. Fabulous sunsets are the pride of Arizona and best enjoyed from a desert wilderness vantage point. If the traveler prefers more shopping, it can be found at the Arizona Mills Mall near the outlaw little township of Guadalupe.

North & Northwest Phoenix
Further north, visitors can find the tranquil towns of Cave Creek and Anthem. And further northwest, you will find Peoria and the communities of Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise. Most of these towns are filled with golf courses and retirees. However, for other recreation, hikers will enjoy the White Tank Mountain Regional Park.

East Valley
Bordering Phoenix to the east is the neighbourhood of Paradise Valley, which draws middle- to upper-class residents because of its beautiful desert location in the foothills of Camelback Mountain. Shopping is available at the upscale Paradise Valley Mall and Scottsdale Fashion Square. On the border of PV (as residents call it), lies Scottsdale, Arizona’s most luxurious and coveted area. Highly sought after for its real estate and vacations, this area provides top-notch restaurants and entertainment with renowned restaurants like El Chorro Lodge or Tarbell’s. For some of the best pizza in the city, visit Pomo Pizzeria, a genuine pizzaiolo made in the old tradition of Napoli.

Located south of Scottsdale, Tempe is primarily a college town and the home of Arizona State University. There is plenty to see and do in Tempe, from sports to recreation. For water activity, visit the Tempe Town Lake or climb Hayden Butte, while for entertainment, this suburb is the spot for local festivals such as Fall Festival of the Arts. The University is located in the center, ringed in by family and student housing.

Continuing east we find Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert. All residential communities that are primarily filled with families and strip-malls. Most of the area aside from Mesa remained largely agricultural communities until a growth spurt of housing which began in the 1980s and continues to this day.

Dining and drinking

The Valley of the Sun has always been considered more of a wasteland in regards to culinary innovation rather than a food paradise. However, over the years many new and exciting restaurants have opened their doors with a focus on local food and sustainability here in the desert. Outside of the popular and classic restaurants El Chorro Lodge and T. Cooks, most dining options for Phoenicians over the years were either in strip malls or at an upscale resort.

Then in the 80’s, many restaurants including the creative Vincent Guerithault on Camelback, opened and started a paradigm shift in how chefs approached food in the greater Phoenix area. Now, local chefs in Phoenix and Arizona in general have started to gather many awards. Try something especially unique to Phoenix, the Native American flavours at Kai, located in the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort have transformed the city into a bizarre, yet serendipitous setting for nouveau-cuisine.

Fajita

Downtown Phoenix
The Arizona Center located on Van Buren St. offers everything from fast-food to swanky clubs and bars within the borders of downtown’s main nightlife district Copper Square. While you are downtown, most of the activities center on the sports arenas for basketball and baseball. If you are here for such an activity, you can pop into Phoenix’s Irish pub, Seamus McCaffrey’s, in the Hotel San Carlos. Phoenix Suns fans, and sometimes players, often frequent Majerle’s Sports Grill, opened by former Suns star Dan Majerle.

In the mid-section of Central Phoenix, you’ll find a super selection of comfortable neighbourhood spots. Mexican food is ubiquitous in Arizona and some are obviously better than others, one that is more salient is Barrio Cafe where they have created their own niche in the city’s dining scene. Two other popular spots in this area are Tutti Santi for great Italian and Durant’s for classic mobster steakhouse.

Surrounding Areas
Scattered among the galleries in the downtown arts district of Scottsdale are restaurants that feature both traditional and modern kitchens. For traditional comfort, Don & Charlie’s has been dining fixtures in the neighbourhood for years. Along the main drag of Scottsdale Road you’ll find that it is truly a parkway for the palate and Scottsdale Fashion Square offers tons of restaurants including the popular P.F. Chang’s. The award-winning pizzaiolo Pomo Pizzeria is one of the best places in Arizona to have a pizza created in the Neopolitan style, and they have the certification to prove it (look for the placard of the little clown holding a pizza). Right across the street is the ultimate upscale steakhouse, Fleming’s Prime.

Further north along the corridor of Bell and Scottsdale roads, visitors will find the popular Sonoran-style Mexican restaurant, Carlos O’Brien’s. For adventurous eaters, try the rattlesnake at the Golden Belle Steakhouse & Saloon and for upscale in Paradise Valley, go to Tarbell’s or the classic El Chorro Lodge. For seafood, the Salt Cellar takes you underground for some of the freshest lobster in the city.

You can always count on a college town to have an active party scene and Tempe is no exception. Mill Avenue and University Drive are ground zero for the East Valley’s nightlife. Gordon Biersch Brewing Company is popular for its people-watching just as it is for the microbrews.

East Valley
Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert form the “bedroom communities” of the East Valley, but in terms of dining they are by no means sleepy. A whole world of ethnic cuisine awaits visitors, including the vaunted Native American kitchen at Kai Restaurant in the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Casino, German food at Zur Kate and innovative Italian at Postino’s.

As you head east, several standout steakhouses—Ruth’s Chris and Omaha Steakhouse both of which allow you to gorge on red meat until your heart’s content.

West Valley
This is the place where you’ll find simple, satisfying food at bargain prices generally within strip-malls. As most of the West Valley is residential, most food is focused on families. However, there are some standouts like the Greek restaurant Golden Greek; this is the spot to go for the best gyro in the city. Another that deserves some merit is Dillon’s, it is one of the Valley’s younger restaurants, but it has already garnered a huge following which comes for their serving of fine Iowa corn-fed pork.

Men cooking on grille and toasting with beer outdoors

Entertainment

As the sixth-largest city in the nation, Phoenix offers a diverse mix of entertainment options for its swelling population. If you enjoy gourmet restaurants, championship golf courses or rocketing in circles on a double-loop roller coaster, this city will not disappoint you.

Men carrying golf bags on sunny golf course

Sports
Arizona is a state of contrasts, from the bizarre and beautiful saguaro cactus scattered throughout to the snow-capped peaks of Flagstaff and the awe-inspiring vistas of the Grand Canyon. However, the state does have a particular fondness for sports and the Phoenix metro area offers a varied cornucopia of exciting attractions and sports venues. While downtown, the focal point is the lively and quaint Copper Square. This area encompasses a one-square-mile (1.6-square-kilometres) of entertainment with venues such as Talking Stick Resort Arena, which showcases the Phoenix Suns. Chase Field offers Arizona Diamondback games and features a retractable roof to protect from the debilitating summer heat. If you seek the cool greens of one of Phoenix’s many world-class golf courses like the elegant Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale or Troon North, then you must take out your clubs. For an adrenaline rush, hop in a car and drive the fastest one-mile oval in the world at the Phoenix International Raceway.

Visitors can also take in the great Arizona outdoors with a scenic hike up Echo Canyon Trail on majestic Camelback Mountain. Further east in the Superstition Mountains, you can take an excursion to Goldfield Ghost Town where you can try to unravel the secrets of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Visit ancient Indian cliff dwellings at the five-story pueblo, Montezuma’s Castle further outside of town or saddle up for a real cowboy experience at Trail Horse Adventures and hit the trail on horseback. If your idea of the Wild West requires a gunfight, hitch your pony at Rawhide Western Town where Roughriders still tote six-shooters and settle differences with a fast draw.

Museums & Galleries
There is a varied art and cultural scene in Phoenix, which results in an eclectic mishmash. The internationally acclaimed Heard Museum showcases the heritage and art of the Southwest’s various Native American tribes. For a more participatory view of the city’s early days, visit the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, a 90-acre (36-hectare) pioneer town where costumed interpreters recreate life in the Arizona Territory of the mid-1800s.

For more contemporary art, visit the Phoenix Art Museum, where modernity is the focus and artwork from a variety of eras are displayed in an interesting building. Head north to the town of Cave Creek and visit the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) which has a collection of 10,000 musical instruments as well as multimedia exhibits.

In the suburb of Scottsdale, visitors can browse through the abundant galleries which feature the talents of artists from around the globe, most focus on Native American art, however, there are some contemporary exhibitions as well. Here also, you can view the exquisite bronze sculptures highlighting a trip to the Legacy Gallery or view abstract designs at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Performing Arts
The performing arts are alive and well at the Ak-Chin Pavilion which features hillside seating and hosts concerts. The beautiful Herberger Theatre Center offers a refreshing mix of dramas, comedies, and musicals. The Phoenix Symphony performs over 160 concerts a year and the historic Orpheum Theatre showcases a variety of performing arts throughout the year. In Tempe, the ASU Gammage is a performing arts theatre on the Arizona State University campus that highlights both local and national performances, and hosts visiting troupes and theatre companies. Ballet, youth theatre, musicals, classical symphony orchestras and more – Phoenix is a cultural powerhouse that’s sure to have something to interest every traveler!

Cinema & Games
If your idea of theatre involves popcorn, the thrill of IMAX technology is rarely emulated, but if you seek smaller confines go to any of the many cool theatres in heat-stricken Phoenix.

For those traveling with kids, there are roller coasters and video games galore at Castles and Coasters located in West Phoenix. In Scottsdale, the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a fun choice for the whole family and features interactive exhibits, a museum, and rail rides on vintage trains. Adult gamers might prefer the action at the brand new Casino Arizona, featuring slots and Las Vegas-style entertainment while racing thrills are to be had as you bet on the ponies at Turf Paradise. If you can’t make it to the track, try the off-track betting and great beer at Padre Murphy’s.

Shopping
If shopping is more your style, Phoenix can accommodate that as well since there are so many strip malls. Downtown at the Arizona Center, you will find dining, dancing, and some shopping. However, most fashionistas will find themselves at the Biltmore Fashion Park which features world-class shopping at Neiman Marcus and Gucci. For more affordable style, shop at the upscale Scottsdale Fashion Square or seek forgotten treasures in the gargantuan Brass Armadillo.

Besides the trendy mall scene, Phoenix is ripe with specialty shops and independent stores. Looking for adventure? Sort the treasure from the trash and see what kind of deals you can barter at the Phoenix Park and Swap. Locally owned boutiques like Bunky Boutique offer interesting, curated items and are great for those who eschew chain stores.

Phoenix has something for everyone, from world-class resorts and golf, to scenic vistas and sunsets, a veritable city that has risen from the ashes.

Recommended Tours

Arizona has beauty that extends from desert landscapes and majestic canyons to major metropolitan areas and urban sophistication. Phoenix is a city of contrasts, where you can visit architectural masterpieces like Taliesin West (among many other works) designed by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as see the natural wonder all around you within the arid desert topography.

Couple hiking in desert

Downtown Walks
Downtown at 7th and Van Buren, you will find Heritage Square, the spot where you can catch a glimpse of historic Phoenix (albeit restored) by visiting the ornate Rosson House. Across the square, stop in at Pizzeria Bianco for a snack and/or visit the sister Bar Bianco for a beer or something to drink on the tranquil terrace. A little further up Monroe Street, enter the oldest Catholic building in Phoenix, St. Mary’s Basilica. You can end this little walk with dinner or a drink at the Arizona Center, a hub of shopping, dining and entertainment. Other excursions can be taken throughout the entire Copper Square area, which is the 90-block core that encompasses the entire downtown area.

Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center is generally focused on children, however the center contains many educational and interactive exhibits, such as the Dorrance Planetarium that is fun for adults too. If it is more sophistication and sound that you are looking for, then take in a show at the Orpheum Theater for both contemporary and traditional acts, or the Herberger Theater Center for theatre and Symphony Hall for maestro’s conducting opera. After dinner theatre options include Hanny’s for classic fare or the acclaimed Nobuo at Teeter House for Japanese tea served elegantly in an old Victorian rowhouse.

South Mountain
Phoenix is known as a paradise for those who enjoy the Great Outdoors. And despite the debilitating summer heat, both visitors and denizens still golf, skydive, rock climb, bike and run, although it is usually done in the early hours and always with plenty of water.

The entire city is ensconced within mountain ranges in all directions. South Mountain to the south, the Superstition Range in the east and even major mountains within city limits. Camelback Mountain is one of these popular parks within reach of city dwellers. Another popular site for hiking is Papago Park, these sandstone rocks appear as if they are from another planet and offer incredible vistas of the desert city. Also within city limits, visitors can find the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, this hands-on museum is actually a remnant of the Hohokam Indians who once inhabited the area. Further north, visit the Deer Valley Rock Art Center for more archaeological treasures. To see the desert in action, visit the Desert Botanical Gardens, and if you have the kids the Phoenix Zoo is always a safe choice. The botanical gardens have more than 4,000 species of cacti, trees and flowers and very experienced guides to lead you through the trails.

Tempe
In the nearby “bedroom community” of Tempe, one of major attractions of this town is the Tempe Town Lake. This is a man-made lake created by controlling the flow of the Salt River which provides a welcome respite from the heat. Here you can take a paddleboat, fish, swim and get a tan. As Tempe is known as a college town, visitors can take a tour of Arizona State University, which has the remarkable ASU Art Museum on its grounds. After water sports and ogling art, grab a bite to eat at the nearby Casey Moore’s Oyster House, this quaint little cottage is allegedly haunted, however, every saloon over a certain age always is. One of the highlights here on campus is the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium, an opulent music center designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It would also be his last.

Museum Row
While downtown, visitors can hop on the Metro Light Rail and head down Central Ave to the Phoenix Art Museum. Here, most of the work is dedicated to contemporary artists and exhibitions, and the cool, sleek building itself merits attention. Right nearby, you’ll find the Heard Museum, which is dedicated to keeping the spirit of Native American history alive. Also within these confines, is the Irish Cultural Center and the Japanese Friendship Garden. If museum fatigue sets in, try some kitschy Italian at the Old Spaghetti Factory or for real mob-style ambiance, you must try Durant’s, a Phoenix classic in the steakhouse scene. Don’t forget to enter through the kitchen to avoid appearing as a tourist!

Another highlight of the downtown area is all of the quaint little neighbourhoods that surround the center. If you have a car, drive through the Willo and Coronado districts, or visit the Margaret T. Hance Park, or Encanto Park to enjoy the Enchanted Island amusement park on its grounds.

Walking Tours
Walk Softly Tours (+1 480 473 1148/ http://www.walksoftlytours.com/)

Bus Tours
Vaughan’s Southwest Custom Tours, Inc (+1 800 513 1381/ http://www.southwesttours.com)

Open Road Tours (+1 800 766 7117/ http://www.openroadtours.com)

Tour West America (+1 480 237 8888/ http://www.tourwestamerica.com/)

Gray Line Tours (+1 602 307 5491/ http://www.grayline.com/)

Detours of Arizona (+1 480 633 9013 / http://www.detoursaz.com)

Boat Tours
Dolly Steamboat Tours (+1 480 827 9144)

Jeep Tours
Arizona Classic Jeep Tours (+1 602 264 8433/ http://www.azclassicjeeptours.com/)

Desert Wolf Tours (+1 877 613 9653 / http://www.desertwolftours.com/)

Adventure Tours
Arizona Sunset Desert Tours (+1 480 483 3686)

Arizona Desert Mountain Jeep Tours (+1 800 567 3619/ http://www.azdesertmountain.com/)

Arizona River Runners (+1 602 867 4866/ http://www.arizonariverrunners.com)

Desert Wolf Tours (+1 877 613 9653 / http://www.desertwolftours.com/)

Tours from the Air
Hot Air Expeditions (+1 480 502 6999/ http://www.hotairexpeditions.com)

Over the Rainbow Expeditions (+1 602 225 5666/ http://www.letsgoballooning.com/Phoenix/phoenix.html)

Maverick Helicopter Tours (+1 888 261 4414 / http://www.maverickhelicopter.com)

Westwind Air Tours (+1 480 991 5557 / http://westwindairservice.com)

Sports Tours
Big League Tours (+1 866 619 1748/ http://www.bigleaguetours.com)

History

This particular area in the Sonoran Desert has been inhabited for over 1500 years and its remnants can be seen in the Pueblo Grande Ruins, a preserved archaeological site that provides information about the Hohokam Indians. These early indigenous settlers developed the infrastructure for an irrigation system that consisted of canals which tapped into the nearby Salt River, providing much needed water. Mysteriously, this ancient civilization disappeared in the 1400s, with a severe drought being the most widely accepted cause for their demise.

It was not until 1867 that the seeds for modern day Phoenix were planted. Traveling on horseback, Jack Swilling from the nearby town of Wickenburg stopped to take a rest, looked out upon the vast expanse of desert, and somehow envisioned a farming community in this inhospitable, arid climate. The lack of available water was the primary obstacle, so he organized the Swilling Irrigation Canal Company to divert water to the Valley’s land. In 1868, the first harvest arrived at fledgling markets and a small colony named the Swilling’s Mill was formed four miles east of modern day Phoenix. The name for the tiny settlement arose from the idea that, just as the legendary Phoenix rises up from the ashes, the new town would spring from the ruins of a former civilization.

The late 1860s and 1870s brought continued growth to the area with the addition of a post office and steam mill, which blared the horn for entrepreneurship and an emerging farming industry. With the continued influx of pioneers, by 1870 Phoenix became a trade center of the Southwest and earned a reputation as a wild, lawless, western town. The first county election held in 1871 resulted in a gun battle between candidates. The two men, J.A. Chenowth and Jim Favorite, engaged in a shooting match resulting in Favorite’s death and Chenowth’s withdrawal from the race. Tom Barnum became the first sheriff of Maricopa County, which was formed when Yavapai County was divided.

The town site was officially recorded on February 15, 1873 and incorporated in 1881. The beginnings of a bustling city could be seen, complete with the first electric plants in the West located here. Transportation progressed with the first horse-drawn streetcar line built along Washington Street in 1887, and strides in transportation would be the primary factor in the growth of the city. The long anticipated arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad rolled into the station soon after. The next few years brought with them triumphs and tragedies with the installation of the first telephone system and the worst flood in Valley history. The 1902 signing of the National Reclamation Act made it possible to build dams on western streams, and the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association was formed to manage the city’s most precious commodity, its water supply.

Arizona gained its statehood with the approval of President William Howard Taft on February 14, 1912. Thus began a new era; the farming community declined and Phoenix became a booming metropolis. Within eight years Phoenix boasted a population of 29,000, a total of 1,080 buildings had been constructed and the Heard Building, Arizona’s first skyscraper, loomed over the city.

Fuelled by the declaration of war, the first true economic boom in Phoenix history occurred in the 1940s. Home to Luke Field, Williams Field, Falcon Field and the giant training center at Hyder, Phoenix became the temporary home to thousands of military men. Having been smitten with the Arizona lifestyle, many of these men returned with their families after the war. Determined to continue the economic rise, local economic boosters targeted companies like Motorola, General Electric and Reynolds Aluminum, describing Phoenix as the “new modern city of the West.” Banks issued loans freely and newspapers praised the Valley as a great place to live. The opening of Sky Harbor Airport and the newly affordable air conditioning systems in homes, businesses and cars gave a major boost to the tourism industry, which still flourishes today.

The 1950s brought with it the beginning of a cultural community, with the Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum and the Phoenix Symphony at its core. The community supported the growth of a small teachers college into what is now Arizona State University in Tempe, another important step in the Valley’s expansion.

Migration to the Valley continues to earn Phoenix the distinction as one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Each year golfing enthusiasts converge in droves, earning Phoenix a reputation as a premier golfing location. Arizona is one of the few states in the country to host a major league team in all sports. Following the happenings of local teams is an integral part of the Phoenix lifestyle. The Arizona Cardinals, tracing their roots to 1898, have the distinction of being the oldest continuously run professional football franchise in the nation. The Phoenix Suns burst onto the scene in 1968 and have entertained Valley residents for decades with their superb skills on the court. The new franchise known as the Phoenix Coyotes debuted in 1996, and the long awaited dream of having a baseball team became a reality in 1998 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the new Chase Field, a cool sports facility in the desert that features a retractable roof and and indoor swimming pool.

Just as the mythical bird rose from the ashes of its funeral pyre, so has this city grown from a lost civilization to a major economic, cultural and entertainment center in a short span. There is no indication that the present migration to the Valley of the Sun will be slowing any time soon, as the climate continues to lure snowbirds and businesses. Today’s new pioneers owe a debt of gratitude to their counterparts who so graciously paved the way to the magnificent modern day city we now enjoy.

Getting there and getting around

Getting There

From the Airport
Shuttle: Super Shuttle (+1 800 258 3826 / http://www.supershuttle.com) provides daily, around the clock service into downtown and beyond. Between 9a-9p shuttles exit every 15 minutes. Rides to downtown average USD7-USD10, and USD16 to Scottsdale.

Taxi: AAA Taxi (+1 602 437 4000), Allstate Cab (+1 602 329 1017) and Discount Cab (+1 602 266 1110) are the only three taxi companies licensed to pick-up passengers at the airport. Downtown metered fares average USD9, while rides to Scottsdale generally fall between USD25-USD40.

Bus: Valley Metro (+1 602 253 5000 / http://www.valleymetro.org) provides cheap (USD1.25) bus transportation into downtown via its Red Line. Buses conveniently exit from Terminals 2, 3, and 4 every 30 minutes and rides take approximately 20 minutes.

Car Rental:
Advantage (+1 877 5500 / http://www.arac.com)
Alamo (+1 800 327 9633 / http://www.alamo.com)
Avis (+1 800 831 2847 / http://www.avis.com)
Budget (+1 800 527 0700 / http://www.budget.com)
Dollar (+1 800 4000 / http://www.dollar.com)
Enterprise (+1 800 325 8007 / http://www.enterprise.com)
Hertz (+1 800 654 3131 / http://www.hertz.com)
National (+1 800 227 7368 / http://www.nationalcar.com)
Payless (+1 800 729 5377 / http://www.paylesscarrental.com)
Thrifty (+1 800 367 2277 / http://www.thrifty.com)

By Train
The Metro-Light Rail can take you from the airport then to almost all points beyond within Phoenix. It is extremely affordable, however does not have an extensive network (+ 1 602 253 5000 / http://www.valleymetro.org/). Amtrak (+1 800 872 7245 / http://www.amtrak.com) services Flagstaff 138 miles to the north and Tucson 114 miles to the south.

By Car
Interstate 10 bisects Phoenix in a southeast/west direction, coming from Tucson in the southeast and California in the west. Interstate 17 drops down from the north after branching off of Interstate 40 in Flagstaff.

Getting Around

Metro
Valley Metro (+1 602 253 5000 / http://www.valleymetro.org) services all of downtown and the surrounding suburbs as far north as Peoria and as far south as Chandler.

Bus
Renewed Sunday service and 96 new buses have considerably upgraded this travel option. One-way fares cost USD1.75 and exact change is needed. For route information obtain “The Bus Book” from any tourist information desk. They even have a Dial-A-Ride service that will send a shuttle to pick you up for a fee.

DASH
DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle) is also operated by Valley Metro and exclusively services the downtown area during weekdays from 6:30a-5:30p. Stops include the State Capitol building and Heritage Square.

Taxi
Taxis are easy to track down, but due to Phoenix’s sprawl and scattered attractions fares can run high. Metered fares charge USD3 for the first mile and USD1.50 thereafter. Some of the more noted companies include:

AAA Cab (+1 602 437 4000)

Cactus Cab (+1 602 994 8778)

Checker/Yellow Cab (+1 602 252 5252)

Citywide Cab (+1 602 277 7100)

Car
Since many of Phoenix’s main attractions, including the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Gardens and Scottsdale’s world class golf courses are far from downtown, the need for a car is apparent. Most of the thoroughfares are laid out in a north/south, east/west direction making it easy to navigate when compared to other major cities. If possible try to avoid the downtown Interstates during morning and late afternoon rush hours.

Bike
With 495 miles of designated bike ways Phoenix is extremely bike-friendly. Most of the routes and paths stretch out over level terrain and feature underpasses at most major intersections.