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Blick auf die Innenstadt von Phoenix, Bild: Sean Pavone / shutterstockl

Phoenix – The Hot Heart of the USA

Phoenix, the capital of the “Grand Canyon State” Arizona, is not necessarily one of the top places on the list of the most popular travel destinations for tourists from Europe, because the high temperatures deter many vacationers. It’s true that it’s not exactly chilly, especially during the summer months, but it’s still worth a detour to Phoenix. The city with its many modern, air-conditioned high-rise commercial buildings and shopping centers still scores with a nostalgic cowboy and gold digger atmosphere.

General information about Phoenix

Phoenix is located approximately at the height of San Diego in the southwest of the United States in the so-called Sun Valley, i.e. the Valley of the Sun. In fact, the sun shines here on 312 days of the year and the thermometer usually shows at least 38 °C during the day and not infrequently even over 45 °C during the months from May to September. However, since it is an extremely dry desert air, the heat is much more bearable than in other areas of the world. Statistically speaking, rain only falls on three days per month, which is definitely an advantage for many outdoor activities. Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the USA and where a few decades ago there were endless cattle pastures, there are now state-of-the-art building complexes. There are several interesting museums in Phoenix, so that not only outdoor activities must be on the program during a stay, but also cultural experiences are possible.

Sights and excursion destinations

Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix
Out and about in the Desert Botanical Garden, Image: Oleg Kovtun Hydrobio/shutterstock

One of the main attractions of Phoenix is definitely the Desert Botanical Garden in Papago Park, where 50,000 desert plants can be seen. Most visitors are amazed at how diverse the vegetation in the desert can be. On the extensive area alone, 250 different agave and 1320 different cactus species grow, so that the park is an absolute must for friends of botany. If you are interested in the culture of the indigenous people of Arizona, which is about half the size of the Federal Republic of Germany , you should also pay a visit to the Heard Museum. Here, both works of art of the Native People are exhibited and information is provided about their eventful history. In the beautiful outdoor area there are numerous impressive sculptures, the contemplation of which can be combined with a refreshment in the beautifully situated café.

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The Phoenix Zoo is also definitely a worthwhile destination. Around 3000 animals live on the site, which are housed in appropriately designed areas according to their origin. In addition, the park is involved in various international breeding programs and specifically supports the conservation of many local animal species.

The region around Phoenix is an ideal area for numerous outdoor activities. For example, tourists like to come to the area for hiking or horseback riding. From October to May, the temperature conditions are such that you can walk Camelback Mountain, which is very characteristically located in the landscape near Phoenix. The beautiful view of the city from above compensates for the efforts of the route, which offers hardly any shade and must be described as challenging.

If you have always dreamed of a ride through the desert, you can make this dream come true in Phoenix, because there is a wide range of rides of different lengths under experienced guidance. Alternatively, you can also experience the Sonoran Desert from a bird’s eye view in a hot air balloon – guaranteed to be an unforgettable holiday experience. Although almost all hotels in Phoenix have a swimming pool where you can refresh yourself after a long, hot day of sightseeing, many tourists also choose the Six Flags Hurricane Harbour water park for a few hours of splashing fun. In the largest theme park in the state of Arizona , in addition to a huge wave pool, attractions such as slides and fast-paced inflatable boat rides provide a lot of fun for young and old visitors.

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From Phoenix, it is not far to Scottsdale, a city in the Sonoran Desert that is one of the favorite destinations of rich Americans who would like to spend their time on an excellent golf course or in an exclusive SPA. Scottsdale is also a shopping paradise with a wide range of offers and, with more than 120 museums and galleries, it is also extremely interesting for art lovers.

Local gastronomic specialties

In Arizona, today’s native cuisine is based on the typical dishes of the indigenous people. The use of pumpkins, beans and corn is an integral part of many dishes. Something very special here is the blue corn, which differs not only in color from the one we know, but also in taste. It is often used to make delicious cakes. If you want to eat away from the well-known fast food chains or pizzerias in Phoenix, you will find numerous restaurants serving local specialties. The desert dwellers, for example, know how to make a syrup from the fruits of some cactus species, which is then used in various barbecue sauces. Steaks on an open fire, grilled in the style of cowboys, are on the menu in all steakhouses in the city. You should also try one of the soups with beans and meat, which are often thickened with shredded cedar ash, which gives them an unmistakable, slightly malty taste. A tip for vegetarians is the scarlet, jelly-like soup made from the small red sumac berries.

Phoenix is a great destination for vacationers who are enthusiastic about the fantastic Arizona scenery and still don’t want to miss out on a certain luxury.