Phoenix's greatest attraction is the land that surrounds it: a vast expanse of untamed desert. As the state capital, Phoenix is as modern as any American metropolis, with an active arts scene and a brisk economy. Downtown Phoenix is primarily a government and financial center, with little to tempt the traveler except for the state capitol, a few museums and a score of galleries.
Population: City: 1,552,259; Metropolitan:4,179,425.
Land Area: 475 square miles.
Flight times: Chicago 4.5 hrs, London 10 hrs, N.Y. 5 hrs, Los Angles 1 hr, Miami 4.6 hrs, Mexico City 3 hrs
From September through April, Phoenix enjoys mild weather. Autumn is the best time to visit weather-wise. Those who visit in summer see temperature above 100°F (38°C) for weeks on end, often climbing well over 110°F (43°C) in midsummer. Summer is also monsoon season, when late afternoon thunderstorms blast the area and flash flooding is a concern. Air-conditioned buildings are essential this time of year.
Average Daily High/Low Temperature:
Spring: High 93F/34 C, Low 64F/18 C
Summer: High 105F/41 C, Low 80F/27 C
Fall: High 87F/31 C, Low 61F/16 C
Winter: High 66F/19 C, Low 41F/5 C
Sky Harbor International Airport: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is served by 23 airlines which provide nonstop service from Phoenix to 89 cites in the United States and 17 cities in Canada, Mexico and Europe. The airport is 3 miles southeast of downtown and connects with downtown by two Valley Metro bus lines, shuttle services and taxis. All the major car rental agencies have airport offices, plus many have offices in other parts of the valley or they will deliver a car to your door.
Amtrak: The southwest is served by a fairly extensive network of Amtrak trains. The Amtrak station is south of downtown
Greyhound Buse Terminal: 3 miles (5km) southeast of downtown, near Sky Harbor International Airport.
RAPID Transit Bus (phoenix.gov/PUBLICTRANSIT/rapid.html): RAPID has been in service for short time. It's a commuter service to and from downtown Phoenix that operates Monday through Friday, mornings and afternoons.
DASH (phoenix.gov/PUBTRANS/pubtridx.html): The downtown area shuttle has a limited service route, however if you are interested in the downtown area, it is a great service. Make sure you check the day and night routes.
Desert Botanical Gardens (www.dbg.org): 1201 N. Galvin Parkway. Located in Papago Park, these gardens offer visitors an opportunity to learn about desert flora. (480) 941-1225.
Phoenix Art Museum (www.phxart.org): 1625 N. Central Ave. One of the largest art museums in the Southwest, the museum houses a permanent collection of some 16,000 works of art. (602) 257-1222.
Phoenix Museum of History (www.pmoh.org): 105 N. Fifth Street. Many interactive and interesting exhibits, very interest especially for the whole family. (602) 253-2734.
Phoenix Zoo (www.phoenixzoo.org): 455 N. Galvin Parkway. A 125-acre, internationally renowned zoo, where fascinating trails lead you through an African savanna, a tropical rain forest and the Arizona environs, complete with wildlife of the respective region. Highlights are the giant Galapagos tortoises and a baboon colony. (602) 273-1341.
Arizona Science Center (www.azscience.org): 600 East Washington Street. (602) 716-2000. Admission: Adults-$9, Seniors, Students, and Children-$7.