Phoenix City Guide

We are residents of the City of Phoenix, Arizona. Since we have a long weekend, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite spots in this great city of ours.

City History

Let’s start with a quick history of the area. The roots of the city run deep. The Pueblo Grande ruins date back to 700 A.D. and it is a great way to spend an afternoon for all the history buffs out there. Original residents built a canal system that ran almost 135 miles. What happened to them is a mystery, but you can visit the ruins to learn more.

Phoenix, as we know it, began to form in the late 19th century and was incorporated in 1881. Phoenix is known as the Valley of the Sun because of it averages 299 days of sun a year (for reference ~ most of the US average sonly 205 days of sun a year).

Things to do

Restaurants

No visit to any city would be complete without a great meal. Of course, Phoenix is the home to the corporate offices of the Fox Restaurant Concepts ~ the originator of many of todays nationally known creative and yummy eating spots.

Old school residents will know these spots as Phoenix staples ~ TeePee Mexican Food on Indian School and Durant’s on Central. You can’t help but feel the history in either restaurant. Durant’s has been in business in the same locations for over 70 years. My father in law used to tell stories of how Phoenix was built on deals made at the bar at Durant’s.

Now, my favorite place to go for a fabulous meal is Chelsea’s Kitchen. My family and I have been going there for years and it is always a fantastic experience and yummy meal. While everything on the menu is good, I would suggest going for brunch on the weekend and trying the Chilaquiles. I have tried chilaquiles at other restaurants and they just don’t measure up to Chelsea’s!

Museums, etc.

Heard Museum is a museum dedicated to Native American Art. You can learn the important and historical perspective of the Native American culture in the Southwest. The museum shop is not to be missed ~ they have some beautiful jewelry available!

The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest visual art museum in the Southwestern United States. They have both permanent displays and visiting displays worth seeing.

If you are intrigued by the desert in and around the Phoenix area then a trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens is a must. You can enjoy a sunny day walking through the flora and fauna, much of it native to the area. Don’t miss a meal or even just a snack at Gertrude’s, the award winning restaurant on the premises.

Taliesin West was the winter home and school for legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is a wonderful place to learn about living with your surroundings.

Taliesin West

Shopping

Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter, I list both of these together because they are right across the street from each other. If you are going to one, you might as well go to both. They have some national chains like Pottery Barn and Anthropologie as well as some local greats like Urbana. And there is a large selection of restaurants if you get hungry while shopping.

Old Town Scottsdale is also a fun shopping destination.

Hiking

The City of Phoenix has 6,000 acres of open spaces within the city limits, called the Phoenix Mountain Preserves. This amount of open space is unheard of in urban America. There are hiking trails throughout the Mountain Preserves, each with differing ability levels.

Camelback Mountain

You can go hiking without leaving the city. As a matter of fact, most of these hiking trails are in the city center. Of course, Camelback Mountain is one of the most famous hiking trails. While there are 2 trails up Camelback, the Cholla trail is closed for renovations and that is my favorite hike in the city.

Just outside of town

We have been Kayaking on the Salt River many times and enjoyed each opportunity. Many times there are wild horses enjoying a cool drink of water.

Horses on the Salt River

Tonto Natural Bridge is a short 1 1/2 hour drive north past Payson, AZ. You can picnic or hike and see the bridge that nature has created. It is an easy day trip and a great opportunity to spend some time outside.

Tonto Natural Bridge

A little farther outside of town

And a trip to Arizona wouldn’t be complete without seeing The Grand Canyon. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and not to be missed. You do need to make a plan, though. The canyon is a 3 hour drive north of Phoenix. While you can make it a day trip, it would be more enjoyable to either stay a night at the canyon’s edge or in nearby Flagstaff.

There is a lot to see and do in and around Phoenix, AZ. We spend a lot of time in the great outdoors here in the desert Southwest and enjoy every minute of it. We hope you can visit (safely) soon and see the amazing and unique land we call home.