Phoenix, Arizona – The Valley of the Sun

Phoenix is the capital of the Arizona and is the fifth most populous city in the Unites States. With a 2009 population of 1,601,587, Phoenix is the hub of the Metro Area which is home to more than 4.3 million people and includes surrounding cities such as Glendale, Tempe, Scottsdale, Peoria, Chandler, Surprise, Gilbert and Mesa.

The city of Phoenix is subtropical and arid with summers that reach more than 100°F (37.8°C) and have been known to occasionally reach 120°F. However, residents enjoy spectacular winters with average daytime temperatures of 65°F, and lows that rarely get to 40°F.

The Phoenix area offers many outdoor recreational possibilities from hiking the surrounding mountains, skiing in the close by North Country, or boating in one of the areas numerous lakes. Residents enjoy the fact that a short drive out of the city can be so diverse. Head North in the winter and you can ski in the mountains. Since the city is surrounded by mountains, you have your choice when it comes to hiking. Then, there are the city's numerous lakes and rivers all within a short distance.

The History of Phoenix

House Honokam Indians

The land that is now Phoenix, Arizona was originally the home of the Hohokam Indians for over 1000 years. The Hohokams created elaborate irrigation systems which made the dry desert land a tolerable place to live. This early canal system was used in the same manner by early Phoenix settlers. The canal system route is still in use today the Central Arizona Project and the Hayden Rhodes Aqueduct.

Sometime around the 1400's, historians believe that a period of severe floods and drought caused the Hohokam Indians to leave the Phoenix area. The ruins of some of the earliest Hohokam villages are now historical sites in the Phoenix area and are a main attraction to visitors.

The land that would become Phoenix remained mostly depopulated for many centuries until the late 1800's when the nearby mining town of Wickenburg was founded and the US Army established Fort McDowell in the south-east area.

Miners from Wickenburg discovered the Hohokam's abandoned canals and decided to replicate the idea. This brought water to the desert and residents soon followed. In 1865, the city of Phoenix was officially recognized by the Yavapai County and in 1914, became the capital city of Arizona.

Life in Phoenix

Phoenix Arizona

The majority of Arizona's population reside in Phoenix and the surrounding cities that make up the Metropolitan area; Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, Avondale, Tolleson, Buckeye, Surprise, and El Mirage. As part of the fourth most populated county (Maricopa County), Phoenix has consistently maintained a high level of growth which has put the city in the national spotlight. This has lent to the city's status as a leader in the high-tech sector as well as a highly desirable location for financial firms.

The success of Phoenix is in no doubt due to the area's attractive desert climate and beauty. However, the diversity of the city is also a major factor. A large variety of industries are supported in Phoenix including mining, handcrafts, computer manufacturing, aerospace manufacturing, biotech, electronic manufacturing, and medical.

Tourism is also a major contributor to Phoenix's success. The city is a hot spot for retirees who have dual residence. Winter visitors make up a large sector of certain areas and grow in number each year. People come to Phoenix for the perfect weather and fall in love with the desert lifestyle. Summer temperatures may get high, but winter temperatures rarely dip below 40 degrees and rain is seldom.

Phoenix Job Market

Intel Corporation in Phoenix

The Phoenix area offers a large variety of job opportunities in diverse industries. Jobs in the service sector, trade, and construction are plentiful. Currently, the fastest growing industries in Arizona are services, hospitality and trade.

Aerospace and high tech fields are experiencing substantial grown in Phoenix due to a large number of relocations of major organizations.

Here are some of the industries that offer employment in the Phoenix area:

Construction and Trade: CB Richard Ellis, Pulte Homes, Sundt Construction, Kitchell, Shasta Industries, Waste Management, Hunter Contracting, Cox Communications.

High Tech, Aerospace and Manufacturing: Microchip Technology, Honeywell International, Goodrich Corporation, Go-Daddy Group, Intel.

Banking, Financial, and Insurance: USAA, M& I Bank, Edward Jones, Charles Schwabb, Humana, JP Morgan Chase, American Express, National Bank of Arizona.

Medical: Phoenix Children;s Hospital, Chandler Regional, St. Joseph's Medical Center, Banner Health, Mayo Clinic, John C. Lincoln Health Center.

Phoenix Dining

Capital Grille

The Phoenix Metro area is a food lover's paradise. In the heart of the downtown area as well as the hot spots in the surrounding suburbs, restaurants of any kind can be found. From traditional Mexican food to exotic Asian restaurants, Phoenix's large population of restaurants will make it difficult to choose just one! Here are a just a few of the local's favorites:

Top of the Rock: Located on the top of a mountain in Tempe, the Top of the Rock offers some of the best dining views in the city. A circular dining room with rich wood, elegant furnishings and 360 degree windows allow you to have a panoramic view of the city while you enjoy the exquisite food and classy service.

The Capital Grille: This centrally located steakhouse has quickly become a favorite in Phoenix. Located in the Biltmore Fashion Park, the Capital Grille serves up such delights as Bone in Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin, Seared Citrus Glazed Salmons, and Wagyu Beef Carpaccio.

Roaring Fork: Local ingredients, open flame cooking, and the best fresh Mexican spices and accents lead to a new taste for the old West food. Creative concoctions of executive chef Brian Hulihee include Braised “Dr. Pepper” Beef Short Ribs, Duck Breast with Onion Jam and Sour Cherry Mustard, and the Roaring Fork “Big Ass” Burger, a favorite in the valley.

Phoenix Attractions

Chase Field

Phoenix offers its residents a variety of attractions and activities that are exciting and family friendly.

Chase Field: Formerly known as Bank One Ballpark, Chase Field is home to the Arizona Diamonbacks and is a recognizable landmark in the downtown area. The building has a retractable roof and a swimming pool that is located to the right of centerfield.

Phoenix Zoo: Voted as one of the country's top 5 zoos for children, the Phoenix Zoo houses more than 1400 animals and provides daily activities that the entire family will enjoy.

Firebird International Raceway: With six tracks and a lake, Firebird International Raceway is a premier location for international boat races, quarter-mile racing, jet cars, funny cars, and featured drag races.

Heard Museum: A must see when in Phoenix. The Heard Museum offers visitors a chance to see Native artifacts and experience Native traditions.

The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park: Wander through the remains of a 1500 year old Hohokam village located in the center of the city. This 102 acre park provides visitors a view of ancient Hohokam canals and artifacts that were discovered on the site.

Enchanted Island: An amusement park that was created especially for children aged 2 to 10. The park is hidden in the downtown area and is visually stunning. Visitors can enjoy paddle boat rides in the parks many lagoons, ride the train around the perimeter of the park, or simply relax among the many trees and wandering paths.

Phoenix Nightlife

Westgate Center

Whether you are in the mood for listening to some Jazz, dancing to Hip-Hop, or enjoying a dinner theater, Phoenix has a place for you. Here are a few of the city's best nightlife spots:

Westgate City Center: Located in the West valley, the Westgate City Center is the perfect place for a full evening of entertainment. Take in a Coyotes Hockey game at the Arena, and then enjoy dinner or drinks at one of several bars and restaurants in the plaza. And, don't forget to watch the dancing waters exhibit in the center at Waterdance Plaza where every 30 minutes, the Bellagio-inspired exhibit delights the crowd with dancing water, lights, video, and music.

Arizona Center: The Arizona Centers is a downtown outdoor shopping mall where visitors can see a movie, dine in one of many restaurants, and shop the boutiques.

Mill Avenue: The Mill Avenue district is located just miles from downtown Phoenix in Tempe. The street is filled with clubs, bars, and restaurants of every kind. With a large college influence, Mill Avenue is one of the hottest spots in the valley.

Scottsdale: If you want to go clubbing, Scottsdale is the place. There are 70 clubs all within walking distance of each other and each club offers a different experience.

Phoenix Shopping

Baltimore Fashion Park

The greater Phoenix area is a shopping Mecca. From the traditional mall to trendy boutiques, the Valley of the Sun has it all.

Biltmore Fashion Park: An upscale boutique-type mall with more than 70 stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Ralph Lauren, Williams-Sonoma, Tommy Bahamas, and Cartier. The mall also houses several restaurants and bars.

Outlets at Anthem: Just 25 miles North of downtown Phoenix, this outlet mall is home to many name brand stores including Ann Taylor, Bon Worth, Dress Barn, Easy Spirit, Guess, Geoffrey Beene, Izos, Nautica, Nine West, OshKosh, Van Heusen, and Rue 21.

Scottsdale Fashion Square: Home to more than 250 stores and restaurants including Tiffany & Company, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Gucci, Kate Spade, Fossil, Crate and Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Lucky Jeans and Bebe. Restaurants include Kona Grill, Z Tejas, and Yard House.

Arizona Mills Mall: More than 170 stores and restaurants with an exciting vibe. Arizona Mills Mall includes Kenneth Cole New York, Billabong, The Disney Store, American Eagle Outfitters, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Mikasa and Nine West. The mall also includes a 24 movie theater megaplex and an IMAX theater.

Phoenix Healthcare

Phoenix Children Hospital

Phoenix is the home of many nationally acclaimed hospitals and medical centers.

Mayo Clinic is an integrated, multi-campus hospital that serves more than 90,000 patients each year. The Mayo Clinic focuses on adult specialties and surgery for more than 65 disciplines.

Phoenix Children's' Hospital is one of the largest children's hospitals in the nation and is consistently rated as one of the best children's hospitals.

St. Joseph's Hospital is located in the heart of the city and is recognized as a leader in neurology and neurosurgery. St. Joseph' was also named one of the 100 Best Places to Work by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

Arizona Heart Institute is one of the leading cardiovascular centers in the nation. Additionally, the Arizona Heart Institute has earned a global reputation as a center of excellence.

The Banner Health System is one of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the nation. The Phoenix Metropolitan area is home to 12 Banner hospitals and several Banner research centers including the Banner Alzheimer's Institute, Banner Research Institute, and Banner Sun health Research Institute.

Phoenix Hospitality

Camelback Inn

The greater Phoenix area has more than 380 hotels and exclusive resorts that range in price and style. Here are some of the best in Phoenix:

The Arizona Biltmore is a world renowned oasis in the middle of the desert. Known as “The Jewel in the Desert”, the Arizona Biltmore sits on 39 acres of beautiful gardens with inviting swimming pools and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.

The Camelback Inn, Spa and Resort is a five star resort that is located minutes from downtown Phoenix and offers some of the best amenities in the city. Visitors enjoy the spa, golf, find dining and the stunning atmosphere.

The Four Seasons Resort, Scottsdale at Troon North is located in the foothills of Pinnacle Peak. This unforgettable resort offers some of the best golf in the state, a spa sanctuary that is rated as one of the best there is, and magnificent Sonoran desert scenery.

Canyon Suites at the Phoenician is an exclusive and elegant resort that offers its visitors top of the line amenities set in beautiful desert surroundings.

Phoenix Education

Arizona State University

Public education in the greater Phoenix area is provided by more than 30 school districts. The Phoenix Union High School District controls the majority of the city's public high schools but there are also several charter schools and preparatory schools in the city.

Post secondary education needs are net by several universities and colleges including Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Thunderbird School of Global Management, American Indian College, Western University, The Art Institute of Phoenix, and Maricopa County Community Colleges. There are also smaller satellite campuses for the state's other major universities, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.

Arizona State University is Phoenix's main university and has campuses in Tempe, Northwest Phoenix, Downtown Phoenix, and Mesa. Arizona State University is one of the largest universities in the nation and is known for its.

Getting Around in Phoenix

Valley Metro

Public transportation in the Phoenix Metropolitan area is provided by Valley Metro who operate fixed bus routes, suburban Express buses, RAPID buses, and downtown circulators. Light rail is fairly new to the Phoenix area with a 20 mile route that runs from downtown Phoenix to Tempe and Mesa.

Traveling from one side of Phoenix to the other is fairly easy thanks to the network of freeways. The city has eight major freeways and interstates that connect all suburb cities to the downtown area. The Phoenix freeway system is one of the fastest growing freeway systems in country with more than 2000 lane miles. As one of the most expansive freeway systems in the nation, there are constant plans for additional lanes and expansions.

Phoenix Sports

Phoenix Suns

Sports fans definitely love Phoenix for its NBA and WNBA basketball, professional league baseball, football, and hockey, as well as collegiate sports.

The Diamondbacks are the Major League Baseball team and call Chase Field home. Winners of the 2001 World Series against the NY Yankees, the Diamondbacks have has several successful seasons since beginning in 1998.

The Phoenix Suns are the NBA home team and play at the US Airways Center located in downtown Phoenix. The Suns were Phoenix's first professional sports team in Arizona starting in the 1968-69 season.

The Arizona Cardinals play at the University of Phoenix Stadium located just outside of Phoenix in Glendale. The Cardinals have had two trips to the Super Bowl, one played at their home stadium, since coming to Phoenix in 1988.