If you live a place with a cold and snowy or wet and rainy climate, it is nice to escape for a warm winter vacation. You may imagine sitting on a beach on some Island, sipping on a tropical drink, but you may have much more fun travelling to the US State of Arizona. Summertime temperatures there can feel oppressively hot to many people, as it is located on the northern edge of the Sonoran Desert. However, the winters are mild and comfortable. The state capitol, Phoenix is a great place to start your Arizona journey. It’s metro area is called the “Valley of the Sun.” It enjoys an average of 330 days of sunshine per year. A welcome change from shovelling snow or the grey wet cold of the Pacific NW, the average day time temperatures in the winter are usually in the 60’s and 70’s and are what most of us would consider comfortable “t-shirt weather.” And if you are a Stylista, you can do some great shopping there, for clothing for next spring. If you are looking for gifts, you can find many unique items as well. Due to its climate, Phoenix has become one of the nation’s top tourist destinations, bring in 16 million visitors a year. It is a great place to stay on an Arizona trip, because of all its local activities and attractions, as well as its proximity to many of Arizona’s other prime destinations and natural wonders. Here are some places you may enjoy visiting on your Arizona getaway:
- Downtown Phoenix. Phoenix is a city that has rapid expansion and good urban planning. The downtown area is full of great shops and fabulous eateries. If you have never been to Phoenix or haven’t been there in years, you will be surprised at the rapid expansion of the city, especially the shopping. Malls and trendy boutiques have sprung up everywhere.
- Go to a professional sporting event. During the winter you can take in an Arizona Cardinals NFL game, see the Phoenix Suns play NBA basketball or the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team. Women’s pro sports are also represented as it is the home to the Phoenix Mercury WNBA basketball team.
- Play golf. There are over 200 golf courses in the area.
- Get pampered at a spa. Phoenix is full of great places to get spa treatments, massages and even reflexology, which has the therapeutic effects of acupuncture, but without the use of needles.
- Go to the zoo. The Phoenix zoo is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the US.
- Visit the Botanical Gardens. It is right next to the zoo and has the largest collection of desert plants in the US.
- See fabulous architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright moved to Phoenix in 1937 and built his winter home, Taliesin West, and established The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The area became a haven for many famous architects, including the artist and architect, Paulo Solari, who, along with his students, built Arcosanti, which has become a tourist attraction as well as an artist colony. Time your visit right and you may get to see a pouring of bronze bells, based on Solari’s famous designs, in their foundry. Their artistic creations make wonderful home decorations or high-end gifts.
- Check out the National Monuments. There are many natural and historic sites in the area that are so significant that they have become part of the National Park System. Some have stunning natural rock formations or ancient Native American ruins.
- See the Grand Canyon. It is a bit of a drive, but is one of the most impressive of our US National Parks. Standing on the edge of the world’s largest canyon is an unforgettable experience. Arizona also is home to two other National Parks, the Petrified Forest and Saguaro. All along the way, you will be dazzled by the natural beauty of the state.
Whether you go for a quick weekend getaway or stay for weeks, you could never run out of fun things to do, or places to shop, in the Valley of the Sun. Your greatest difficulty may just be that you may not want to go home!