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It's tough to pigeon-hole Phoenix, because it encompasses a number of cities. So let's try to explain it a little bit first. There are a group of cities that is situated within what is known as Greater Phoenix: Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, Mesa, Chandler and Fountain Hills. This makes researching visiting Phoenix seem like a somewhat Herculean task!
Phoenix is considered to be the fifth-largest city in the U.S., with a population of almost 1.5 million people. It averages over 300 sunny days per year and has an annual rainfall of only 7.66 inches. Over 13.5 million visitors come to Phoenix every year.
Greater Phoenix has 200 golf courses, and hosts an enormous variety of professional spectator sports, including PGA golf tournaments, Indy and NASCAR races, college and pro football bowls, and pro baseball and basketball leagues.
Phoenix encompasses 23 reservations representing 21 distinct Native American tribes. It has a rich and active Native culture.
Some of Phoenix's museums include the Heard Museum (extensive collection of Native American artifacts), Desert Botanical Garden (world's largest collection of desert plants), Taliesin West (location of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation), the Phoenix Art Museum (largest art museum in the Southwest), Arizona Science Center, Hall of Flame (world's largest collection of fire-fighting equipment), Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park (Native American-National Historic Landmark), and the Phoenix Museum of History.
Some of the performance venues host national as well as local performing artists. A partial listing includes the Arizona Broadway Theatre (400-seat dinner theatre auditorium), Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company, ASU Gammage, Ballet Arizona, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre (500-seat theatre presenting full Broadway musicals and a gourmet buffet meal), Dodge Theatre, Herberger Theatre Center, Phoenix Metropolitan Opera, Phoenix Symphony, and the Valley Youth Theatre.
There is an annual Celebration of Fine Art in January through March, when 100 artists of all different mediums open their studios to the public to meet and allow them to watch as art is being created. Newt Grover, creator of stunning blown glass chandeliers, wall art, and other blown glass sculptures, opens his Newt Glass studio for visits by appointment. On the first Fridays of every month, local artists also open their studios in Downtown Phoenix to the public.
Dozens of five and four star destination and day spas are available in Phoenix. Relax and be pampered as part of your visit. You might even stay at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, known nationally as the 'jewel of the desert', and host to celebrities and U.S. presidents.
But never least, many people visit Phoenix to commune with the many facets of nature that give Arizona its beauty as a place to be experienced. Hiking trails are plentiful, ranging from easy to strenuous. This is the most intimate way to keep company with nature, and even to observe history as it still exists. In South Mountain Park/Preserve for example, petroglyphs are easily spotted while hiking the trails there. Some of the trails at South Mountain are also handicapped accessible. In Phoenix, one can also view nature from a hot air balloon, the saddle of a horse, a helicopter, or jeep. Packaged tours provide guides in the know for locating majestic mountain views and ancient ruins.
Whatever your vacation pleasure, Phoenix is sure to have it.