With the beauty of the Sonoran desert all around, you'll want to get a closer look at it - and that's easy to do, because the city is ringed by parks and preserves where you can wander among giant saguaro cacti up to 18 metres tall. There's jeep trips you can take, or hiking trails and scenic drives to follow - while if you don't want to leave Phoenix, you don't have to. Papago Park is a large slice of the Sonoran in the city, complete with massive red sandstone bluffs and fantastic botanical gardens.
Once you've had your fill of the desert, you'll want to explore the city, and there's plenty to see. There's excellent museums, like the Art Museum with its 18,000 works; the kid-friendly Arizona Science Centre; and the must-see Heard Museum, celebrating Native American culture. There's also fantastic resorts, complete with luxury spas that will soothe away the day's endeavours - plus a swathe of top-class golf courses.
There's good times to be had at night too. Once you've watched the sun turn the mountains a dusky pink, it's time to head downtown to a restaurant, before sipping cocktails at a rooftop bar, catching a show, or hitting a club. It's cool in the desert, as you'll see.
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Phoenix Holiday Highlights
Phoenix Holiday Highlights
Phoenix Holiday Highlights
This treasure trove of American Indian objects and art gives a superb insight into the history and culture of the USA's indigenous people. Learn all about the traditions of the Southwest tribes and wander through a desert garden. There's also a fantastic shop selling art, Navajo rugs, Kachina dolls and jewellery, as well as regular events like the Hoop Dancing Championships in February.
Play A Round
Want to tee-off in the early morning sun on a superb course with a view over the desert mountains? Then Phoenix holidays can deliver. There's 200 courses in the immediate area to choose from, including eight great public ones. The two at Gold Canyon Golf Resort in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains just outside the city have been voted the best in the state.
Take A Hike
There's dozens of great hiking trails both in the city in Papago Park, and outside in the desert and mountains all around - so you can make it as easy or as challenging as you like. Two of the most popular are Camelback Mountain, with awesome views for those who make it to the top, and the trails through South Mountain Regional Park.
From designer to vintage, you can find it on Phoenix holidays. Try Biltmore Fashion Park for upscale labels; Tanger Outlet Mall for bargains; and 7th Avenue Melrose district for antiques.
A taste of the kind of desert landscapes you'll remember from old cowboy films comes courtesy of the Apache Trail. This narrow, twisting road, which is part gravel, snakes alongside mountains, through ghost towns, past giant cacti and spiky century plants, and even takes in a couple of lakes. It's a spectacularly scenic drive - especially in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming
Phoenix Hot Air Balloon Ride
This hot air balloon ride is the perfect way to start or end your days, offering a sunrise or sunset flight, including a champagne breakfast or evening hor d’oeuvres depending on what you decide. This exhilarating ride promises 360 degree views over the Phoenix Valley and across the state of Arizona!
Phoenix and Scottsdale Full-Day Tour
This tour of Phoenix and Scottsdale showcases the highlights of Arizona's largest cities in the Sonoran Desert. Discover what these gems of the desert have to offer, cruising through the Downtown Phoenix Corridor, home to the area’s skyscraper district, then venture on to Old Town Scottsdale and enjoy the western charm of the local arts galleries and boutique shops.
SEA LIFE Aquarium Arizona
Cool down from the hot weather with a visit to the SEA LIFE Aquarium Arizona, located in the neighbouring Phoenix. Dive in and be wowed by the many strange, beautiful and fascinating creatures of the deep as you wander through the various exhibits, showcasing a vast array of wild and beautiful creatures from starfish and seahorses to stingrays and sharks.
Sonoran Desert Adventure from Phoenix
Marvel at breathtaking desert views and interact with rescued wildlife on this morning adventure in Arizona's Sonoran Desert. Take an easy hike through the sprawling landscape of rugged mountains of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and then head to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center to see the rescued Mexican gray wolves, black bears and mountain lions who will steal your heart.
Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix Water Park
Immerse yourself in a day of fun at Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix, Arizona's largest water park. Enjoy more than 30 rides and attractions for all ages, including both enclosed and open-air slides full of twists and drops. Try Maximum Velocity, which features insanely fast tandem slides, or Tornado, which plunges you into a swirling funnel of water.
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