Phoenix is known for being in the desert, but all dirt and tumbleweeds it is not. The Sonoran Desert is one of the lushest deserts in the world, and it basks in sunshine more than three hundred days a year. It’s where you’ll find stunning sunsets, towering saguaro cacti, colorful spring wildflowers and mountains on every horizon.
Thanks to all that sunshine and natural beauty, Greater Phoenix is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can experience the desert on an urban mountain hike or adventure with a guide from the perspective of a Jeep, hot air balloon, saddle and more.
Camelback Mountain is a Phoenix icon and popular outdoor destination for thousands of visiting hikers each year. Two difficult trailheads ascend 1,420 feet to a summit resembling the hump of a camel’s back, affording 360-degree views of the surrounding city and a stunning setting for that perfect Instagram pic.
South Mountain Park and Preserve, one of the largest municipal parks in the country and just a short drive from downtown, is a popular location for guided horseback tours. The preserve’s trails wind through picturesque desert scenery, perfect for cowboy-style exploration. The park is also home to more than 50 miles of multi-use trails for a variety of skill levels.
Visiting in summer? Skip the midday sun and hike by moonlight – or flashlight, of course – at one of the city’s desert preserves; most stay open until 11 p.m. The local county parks also offer guided night hikes throughout the year—check out the scorpion scavenger hunts! And just east of Phoenix is the Salt River where kayaking, rafting and more watery adventures abound throughout the season.
After all that outdoor adventuring, it’ll be time to refuel. Head downtown to Heritage Square where two James Beard Award-winning chefs ply their craft next door to each other: Chris Bianco at the famed Pizzeria Bianco and Nobuo Fukuda at Nobuo at Teeter House.
Just north of downtown is the artsy Melrose District and the midtown and uptown neighborhoods, all home to dozens of popular bars and eateries, many of which are conveniently located on the Valley Metro light rail route. And Phoenix’s burgeoning craft beer scene continues to grow with more than 40 local brewers spread about the metro area.
If you’re ready for some pampering after a day in the desert, check into one of the posh spas at our local resorts and unwind with a massage or treatment that utilizes botanicals and elements from our desert surroundings.
If retail therapy is more your style, head to Biltmore Fashion Park, where shoppers can peruse Saks Fifth Avenue, Ralph Lauren and more at the tree-lined outdoor complex. Or head to the Central Phoenix’s Melrose District where antiques and funky finds await.
So come, and let Phoenix surprise you. Where somewhere between a saguaro selfie and a poolside cabana are friendly dive bars to explore, great music to discover and street art to stumble upon—all wrapped in a stunning desert backdrop.
125 N. 2nd St., Ste. 120, Phoenix, AZ 85004