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Phoenixvalley of the sun

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Phoenix Basics

Phoenix

The "Valley of the Sun" (which is essentially Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs) takes its poetic-sounding name from the delightful fact that it enjoys 325-plus days of sunshine a year. And although most visitors venture to Phoenix for the excellent weather, outstanding golf and cosseting spas, the valley has loads to offer by way of shopping, culture, outdoor activities cuisine and nightlife.

The Arizona capital is also an ideal launching pad from which to explore what writer Edward Abbey once called the “beautiful wasteland” of the Grand Canyon State. The terrain of red earth, clear blue sky and quirky-looking cacti is an eye-opener for most visitors, and the natural warmth of Phoenix’s 1.4 million inhabitants makes the city feel less like America’s sixth-largest metropolis and more like a small town.

Phoenix offers the best of both worlds for out-of-towners: Depending on your whim, you can experience the high life in an opulent resort, indulging in a round of golf, an extravagant spa treatment and cocktails with the business elite, or you can spend your day mountain biking through the area’s plethora of parks before partaking of local Mexican food and cheap tequila at nightfall. Phoenix’s Native American museums showcase the Southwest’s best sacred art and artifacts, while the new Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), with its galleries geared toward every geographic region in the world, is a destination in itself. Revel in 1920s architecture at Frank Lloyd Wright’s old stomping grounds, Taliesin West, or at William Wrigley Jr.’s famous Wrigley Mansion.

And you’ll find that a meal at some of the best culinary hot spots in town proves Phoenix chefs can impress even the most finicky foodies. Despite the image of Arizona recently cast by the latest tussle over immigration laws, Phoenix is a diverse and progressive city whose identity is inextricably linked to its Hispanic culture.

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