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Destinations

Phoenix - Things to See and Do

Phoenix is renowned as the “Valley of the Sun”. As the state capital of Arizona, positioned within the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix is famous for its warm climate, booming population, and unique environment – a bustling atmosphere of fascinating multi-cultural influences and world-class sporting and cultural attractions.

An epicentre for history, Phoenix holds great cultural significance to the Hohokam people – the city’s indigenous inhabitants, and the Hispanic – as Arizona shares a boarder with Mexico.

Phoenix Information

Population: approx 1500000
Time Zone: GMT -7
Languages: English (official), Spanish, Native American
Currency: American Dollar ($USD)
Currency Exchange: Purchase your USD cash and travellers cheques before you leave Australia.

Phoenix Climate

Nestled in the Sonoran desert, Phoenix has a subtropical desert climate and is recognised as one of the hottest cities in the world. Summers in Arizona’s state capital are hot, while winters are generally warm.

May through to October are the city’s hottest months, with temperatures varying between 41°C and 14°C. November through to April is cooler, with temperature sitting between 24°C and 7°C degrees. Sunshine is typical year-round, with rain and snow fall scarce.

Phoenix Airport

Name: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Car Rental: Great choice of hire cars at Mates’ Rates from our car suppliers
Transfers: Shuttles, train and bus transfer services are available and listed at skyharbor.com
Taxi: Taxi are available at Terminal 2: north kerbside, Terminal 3: north kerbside and Terminal 4: Level 1, north kerbside.

Dining

Sharing a boarder with Mexico, Arizona has a relatively large multi-cultural population – an influence that is clearly reflected within Phoenix’s dining scene.

For a full-blown Mexican food fiesta, amid an unpretentious atmosphere, visit Barrio Café and try the Posole Verde. Self-proclaimed to have “The best tortillas in town”, Carolina’s is the city’s favourite tortilleria, serving simple Mexican fare, loaded with delicious calories. Los Dos Molinos has several restaurants in Phoenix, all of which pack a punch when it comes to spicy Mexican food – for a taste of the best, order the award-winning Carne Adovada.

Multiculturalism in Phoenix isn’t limited to Mexican... As the United States’ sixth largest city Phoenix has a significant population of varying nationalities – making it a hotspot for visitors wishing to experience a world-class culinary adventure.

For a taste of some of Phoenix’s best Korean, take a drive 30 minutes out of town to Takamatsu in Chandler. Described by The Phoenix New Times to be the Korean formula for a good time, Takamatsu sees large groups gather around a tabletop grill, to indulge in heaped plates of meat and cold beers.

Italian also features prominently on menus throughout Phoenix, with carb-loaded indulgences aplenty. Consistently awarded Phoenix’s “Best Upscale Italian Restaurant”, Marcellino Ristorante serves some of the best pasta in the city; while Pizza A Metro offers a Italian dining experience with a difference, spreading traditional toppings over metre long pizzas.

Brazilian is another favourite within the desert city. International upscale churrascaria chain, Fogo De Chao is a much-loved haunt for locals and visitors alike, with gaucho chefs serving up 15 different types of meat.

Amongst all the different flavours of the multicultural city, traditional American fare is not lost. Awarded “Best Old Arizona Charm in 2011” by The Phoenix New Times, Frank & Albert’s, located within the trendy oasis of Arizona Biltmore, has attracted celebrities and U.S presidents with comfort food featuring a contemporary twist. Leave room for dessert… tableside S’mores are a Biltmore tradition!

Shopping

Despite its location amidst the arid conditions of the desert, Phoenix is a city with a vibrant fashion scene. Shopping malls house international labels, boutiques and fashion outlets showcase local designers, while opportunities to spend big or snag a bargain are in abundance.

The best of the city’s upscale shopping can be found at Biltmore Fashion Park. Housed in the exclusive Arizona Biltmore, the fashion park is home to cult American labels such as Ralph Lauren and J.Crew, as well as retailing giant Macy’s and a bountiful choice of fashion, electronics and home wares.

A comfortable alternative to outdoor shopping, located 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix, Paradise Valley Mall is hotspot for Arizona’s young and trendy. Boasting labels like Abercrombie and Finch and American Eagle Outfitters; as the mall’s name implies… the centre is a paradise for fashion lovers.

For the best in bargain shopping, head 45 minutes out of town to Outlets at Anthem. A sprawling retail centre, the Outlets house stores from numerous big names labels, such as Guess, GAP, Banana Republic, Levi’s, Nike and Tommy Hilfiger, all at heavily discounted prices.

To discover Phoenix’s best outdoor shopping experience, take a stroll around the Scottsdale district. A 25 minute drive from downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale is a hip area featuring an array of fashion boutiques, art galleries, and antiques and fine jewellery stores.