The capital of Arizona, Phoenix is the most populous state capital in the United States with a population of over 1,500,000. The city anchors a metropolitan area known as the Valley of the Sun, part of the Salt River Valley.
Even though it’s known for its scorching summer heat, the area has a thriving farming community irrigated by underground wells and a complex canal system that brings water from the Colorado River.
The diverse region has been a popular destination for tourists since the early 1900s. The five “Cs”, Cotton, Copper, Climate, Citrus and Cattle, are important factors is the state’s growth since it achieved statehood in 1912.
The spring months, from February through the end of May, draw the heaviest tourist crowds. With temperatures averaging in the 70s and clear blue skies being the norm, visitors flood the valley to escape the cold winters back home.
“Snow Birds,” Canadians who seek the desert sun and warmth, make up a huge segment of the spring influx. Many book rentals for months at a time to golf and shop and savior great Southwestern dining.
From late February through first week of April, fifteen Major League Baseball teams converge on the area for Spring Training in the Cactus League. Hotels throughout the valley are full, car rentals are scarce, and rented bus tours are booked solid. Most of the out-of-state visitors are from the East Coast who come to escape the cold and to cheer for their home teams.
The Heard Museum is always included in the top ten places to visit in the desert city. With over 40,000 Southwest Indian art objects on display, including the world’s largest collection of Kachina dolls, the downtown museum is a tourist favorite.
On the eastern edge of nearby Scottsdale, visitors are invited to tour Taliesin West, the winter home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Now a working studio and school, the grounds and buildings are much the same as when he built the complex in 1937. Wright’s designs can be seen all around the valley including the famed Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
Sports fans have a choice, depending on the season, of attending Arizona Diamondback baseball games and Suns NBA, Cardinals NFL and the Coyotes NHL games at enclosed arenas around the valley.
Golf is a huge attraction for tourists, either as players or simply watchers. Known throughout the world for the best in desert golf, the area boasts 185 public, private, resort, municipal, and executive golf course destinations. And each February, the Waste Management PGA Open draws over half a million fans over the four-day event.
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