Often thought of only as a winter haven for golfers, and surrounded by desert, Phoenix is a vibrant city with world-class museums, a thriving arts scene, and great food and drink.

The USA’s sixth-largest city does have great golf, and you can explore the desert without leaving the city at the Desert Botanical Gardens. But it also has two world-class museums in the Musical Instrument Museum and the Heard Museum, many more art museums, a cuisine that combines southwestern, Mexican, Native American, and contemporary influences, and has one of the best cocktail bar scenes in the United States.

Things to know before you go

  • Though Phoenix is thought of as a year-round destination, it can be wet in the winter and again from July-September with the summer monsoons. April-May are usually the ideal months.
  • From Phoenix it’s a 3-hour drive to the Grand Canyon, so although the city traffic is incredibly busy it’s worth hiring a car to see this and other places such as Sedona, Tucson, and Tombstone.
  • Greater Phoenix comprises several neighboring metropolitan areas, including Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert. Make sure you’re staying in the right place for whatever it is you mainly want to do.

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About the author

Mike Gerrard

Green Valley, Arizona

Mike Gerrard is an award-winning travel writer specialising in European and US destinations. He writes for numerous websites as well as publishing several of his own travel sites.