In the heart of the Sonoran Desert, surrounded by stark red buttes and towering saguaros, the city of Phoenix attracts thousands of visitors every year for an unmatched urban adventure. The first thing that comes to mind is the sunshine; Phoenix enjoys more sunlight than any other major metropolitan area in the USA. This means more perfect days to hit the trails of South Mountain Park/Preserve, lay by the pool or wander through the piazzas of nearby shopping centers. Today Phoenix is home to over 1,600,000 people - the largest state capital in the United States – and boasts over a thousand years as a vibrant cultural crossroads.
Phoenix is the sixth most populous city in the United States with more than 1.4 million residents, according to the 2010 Census. The city itself is the hub of a much larger metropolitan areathat is made up of smaller cities, towns and urban villages. Other cities considered to be in the Phoenix metro area include Ahwatukee, Avondale, Carefree, Cave Creek, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Scottsdale, Surprise, and Tempe.
Growth in the Phoenix area has been monumental in recent years with the entire metropolitan area now totaling more than 4.1 million residents, largely due to the outlying areas where master-planned communities with plenty of amenities have been drawing families and retirees from across the country.
Shopping and DiningWhether it's a day spent in one of Phoenix's sun-drenched shopping centers, or browsing local boutiques for vintage clothing or art pieces, residents love the luxury and variety of the Phoenix shopping scene. On any sunny day, you'll find locals at the Biltmore Fashion Parkor The Borgata, walking sunlit cobblestone paths in Phoenix's hallmark, open air shopping plazas. Or grab an iced coffee and browse boutiques chock full of unique gifts and home goods. Butter Toast Boutiquespecializes in hand-picked vintage apparel for men and women, as well as altered clothing from area designers.
In addition to a vibrant shopping scene, Phoenix restaurants offer a variety of dining experiences. Voted the "Best Greek Restaurant in Phoenix" for decades, family owned and operated Greekfestis a culinary experience not to be missed.
Given the number of awards Quiessencehas picked up in the last few years, such as Zagat's "Top-Five Arizona Restaurants," "America's Most Romantic Restaurant" by Travel and Leisure and a "Four Diamonds" ranking by AAA, it's best to reserve a table beforehand. Quiessence prepares modern American cuisine and sumptuous daily specials featuring seasonal ingredients. With an impressive formal room and family friendly prices, L'Amore Ristoranteis not only the perfect place to celebrate engagements, anniversaries and other special occasions; you really can bring the whole family. For a more casual setting, drive over to Byblosfor authentic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, or check out the pies at Pizzeria Bianco. For beef it's hard to do better than Durantsor The Stockyards. For seafood and a Cajun dining experience head for Pappadeaux. If you love fresh flavors, new trends or unique finds, you'll love living in Phoenix.
Parks and RecreationGreat weather and a wealth of unique history combine to make Phoenix a city of never-ending outdoor amusements. Every day of the year residents have an opportunity to commune with nature either by visiting one of Phoenix's interactive science centers, such as the renowned Arizona Science Center, or by exploring one of the area's public recreation destinations.
Only ten minutes from downtown Phoenix, Papago Park gives visitors a closer look at the native flora and fauna that populate the Sonoran Desert. In addition to extensive trails through the Sonoran Desert habitat, visitors flock to Papago to see the exhibits at the Phoenix Zooand Desert Botanical Garden.
LivingThe Phoenix metropolitan area experiences an overwhelming 310 days of sunshine annually, so residents either love the sun or congregate at world-class museums, shopping malls and business complexes with air conditioning. On average, the population of Phoenix is younger than that of the State of Arizona overall, due in large part to the concentration of college students living and working in Phoenix while attending one of the area's many higher education institutions.
Home to four different professional sports franchises – the Phoenix Suns(NBA), Arizona Diamondbacks(MLB), Arizona Cardinals(NFL) and the Phoenix Coyotes(NHL) – sports fans can catch local, big game action practically every weekend of the year in Phoenix, AZ.
A fixture in downtown Phoenix, the Talking Stick Resort Arenais a stunning concert venue and home court for the Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers.
Schools, Health, TransportationIn the Phoenix area, there are over 300 public schools and 200 private schools scattered throughout twenty-nine distinct districts. With hundreds of schools to choose from, students can find the programs and educators that best suit their learning style and unique interests.
After graduating, thousands of students choose to attend one of Phoenix's many higher education institutions, such as Grand Canyon University, The Art Institute of Phoenix, and Arizona State Universitywhich has over 70,000 students. Many of these institutions, like Arizona State University, cooperate with area school districts to offer accelerated courses in high school for college credit.
The Phoenix area boasts an extensive public transportation system with a variety of commuting options. The METRO Light Railruns from the Montebello transit center, looping through downtown Phoenix before arriving at the Sycamore transit center. Plus, when you ride the bus in Phoenix, you don't have to worry about when the next bus will arrive. Recently, Valley MetroBus introduced the NextRide electronic schedule system which allows passengers to view current and future arrival times on any smart phone. Traveling in and out of Phoenix is easy from Sky Harbor airport, the eighth busiest in the United States, or by car using Interstate 10 or Interstate 17. There are numerous major thoroughfares and state highways in the Phoenix area, many of them just minutes from downtown.
In healthcare, the Phoenix metropolitan area not only houses thousands of different doctors and specialists, Phoenix residents live minutes from some of the best hospitals in the nation. Some of the most noted ones include Banner University Medical Center, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Mayo Clinicand St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.
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Updated: 18th January, 2020 8:12 AM.