Located in the heart of central Arizona, Phoenix is a state of the art city with a little bit of something for everyone. With easy to access public transportation, multiple professional sports teams, internationally renowned museums and intimate music venues, there's never a shortage of things to do or see. Once a near ghost town at night, Phoenix now bustles thanks to the relocation of Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, a lively shopping and entertainment district and a local culture that embraces art in all mediums.
Must see in Phoenix
The historic Roosevelt Art District in the heart of Downtown Phoenix is home to a variety of art galleries, locally owned businesses and breathtaking murals. The Musical Instrument Museum is one of the best museums in the U.S. and features over 6,000 different instruments from all over the world. Exhibits are interactive and will engage casual listeners and professional musicians alike. The Desert Botanical Garden gives visitors a unique look at the desert's plant life and thanks to the area's balmy weather, never has a shortage of flowers in bloom.
Where to stay in Phoenix
Families with kids should stay near or in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. The city is home to a variety of kid-friendly activities like the Arizona Science Center and The Children's Museum of Phoenix. The Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden is within a 10 to 15 minute drive of downtown too. Millennial travelers and those interested in nightlife should make an effort to stay in or near the Roosevelt Art District. Indie movie houses like Film Bar and live music venues like The Nash and The Crescent Ballroom are in walking distance of all the downtown Phoenix hotels. Cityscape, Chase Field and U.S. Airways Center are also nearby. Phoenix is very affordable, and visitors on even the tightest budget can find plenty to do and see.
Best and worst time to go to Phoenix
The best time to visit Phoenix is in March. The summer heat hasn't set in yet, MLB teams from all over the country are here for spring training and the average temperature is a comfortable 74.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The worst time to visit Phoenix is June through August. The temperatures are unbearable and monsoon season is in full swing.
Where to get lost in Phoenix
Roosevelt Row, just north of Downtown Phoenix is a great place to get lost. Grab a drink at Jobot Coffee or peruse the underground zine collection at Lawn Gnome Publishing. Love taxidermy or stones and minerals? Swing through Curios Nature. If you're hungry, grab a one-of-a-kind hot dog at Short Leash Hot Dogs or sip on a cold beer at Carly's Bistro.
The best deal in Phoenix
The Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area is free to the public and gives visitors an opportunity to interact with nature just outside the heart of the city. The area is home to paved walking paths, a variety of bird species and unique desert flora. The perfect place to enjoy Arizona's beautiful weather.
Transportation in Phoenix
Visitors that plan on staying Downtown for the duration of their visit can easily access destinations via the Valley Metro light rail or on foot. Travelers that want to visit other parts of the Valley should rent a car. Everything is easily accessible via highway.
Getting in from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is 10 minutes east of Downtown Phoenix. Taxis and rental car services are both available at the airport, and the light rail runs to and from the FREE PHX Sky Train Station.
Local tip for visitors to Phoenix
All visitors to Phoenix should make an effort to get their hands on a Sonoran-style hot dog. They're a Southwestern delicacy that Phoenix does best. Pick one up at El Sabroso, Chase Field or one of the many vending carts on the west side of town.
Author's bio: Chad Birt has lived in Phoenix for nine years. He's a bike rider, bookworm and freelance writer.