Welcome to Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona's capital, is the area's center of government, transportation, economics and culture. The Phoenix Metropolitan area has come together with nearby cities of Gilbert, Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe and Chandler plus additional suburbs. The city was established in 1871. It sits in the Sonoran Desert that has a distinctive biological environment.

Even though Phoenix is in the center of a desert, it is a prime place for farming. The Verde and Salt Rivers provided irrigation water for the Hohokam culture of the Native Americans who built extensive canals and villages. The modern city of Phoenix began in the 1860s. In the early 1900s, a system of reservoirs to support agriculture was constructed in the mountains around Phoenix. The sunny, warm weather developed the tourism industry.

Phoenix is accessible by air, train, bus and car. Phoenix's principal airport is the Sky Harbor International Airport in East Phoenix. Other area airports are the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and Phoenix Deer Valley Airport. Amtrak train service stops at Maricopa, Arizona. Passengers have to plan transportation to Phoenix. Another alternative is to stop at Flagstaff and take a bus to Phoenix. Major car routes into Phoenix are Interstate 10, Interstate 17 and US Route 60. Several bus services travel into Phoenix.

Phoenix has much to offer within the city and its districts. The Desert Botanical Garden displays the flora of the Sonoran Desert and other deserts from around the world. The exhibits explain illustrations of ethnobotany, the way plants survive in the desert. Desert animals, for example, roadrunners, birds and lizards, also inhabit the garden. The Arizona Science Center contains both an IMAX theater and a planetarium. The Heard Museum demonstrates Native American arts and culture, especially from New Mexico and Arizona. A highlight is a set of Hopi Kachina Dolls. The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park investigate and explain the Hohokam culture. The Ro Ho En Japanese Friendship Garden has a teahouse and koi pond but is closed in the summer because of the heat. Phoenix Art Museum displays a comprehensive array of American, Latin American and Asian art.

Phoenix offers sports opportunities. These sites include the Arizona Grand Spa, the Arizona Grand Athletic Club and Arizona Grand Golf Course. In addition, outdoor enthusiasts can climb to the top of Piestewar Peak in the Phoenix Mountain Park in the center of Phoenix. Visitors can view the city and surrounding areas.

Other places to visit are the Phoenix Symphony, which has an extended season. The Arizona Opera presents five opera productions a year. The Arizona Theatre Company is the city's professional theater center. The Mesa Arts Center has design studios and exhibits as well as the Mesa Symphony Orchestra and the Southwest Shakespeare Company. Other cultural centers are the Musical Instrument Museum and the Phoenix Theater. The Sea Life Aquarium highlights a variety of deep-sea wildlife. To experience desert life at night, try the Desert Storm Hummer Tours.