Phoenix, one of the largest metro areas in the USA is also known as the "Valley of the Sun" due to its warm weather and sunny days.
Before you enter the city center you will encounter the usual American urban sprawl but with desert landscaping, a lot of cactus trees, and stark black hills.
If you love the hot-dry desert climate, then you will enjoy living in or visiting Phoenix. A lot of people do, and that is why it is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.
Phoenix is well-known for high-end spa resorts, Jack Nicklaus–designed golf courses, and vibrant nightclubs.
If that is what you are looking for, then have fun, but we really enjoyed the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, and Camelback Mountain.
Things to Do and See
Desert Botanical Garden
The 140-acre botanical garden has many species of cactus on display, and surprisingly some were very colorful, and some are rare, threatened, or endangered.
Plants from less extreme climate conditions are protected under shade houses.
The gardens also focus on plants adapted to desert conditions, including an Australian collection, a Baja California collection, and a South American collection.
It is a good way to learn about those distinctive Arizona plant you see along the road.
You can't miss the lonely "Camelback Mountain", a 20-minutes drive outside of Phoenix.
Well, it is more like a hill than a mountain, but it has nice hiking trails and a great view of the city from the top.
The mountain's name is derived from its shape, which resembles the hump and head of a kneeling camel.
It is a popular recreation destination for hiking and rock climbing. Two of the trails will take you up 1420-feet to the summit for a 360-degree view of the city.
Papago Park is a large park in between Phoneix and Tempe and is a hilly desert park covering 1496 acres.
Papago Park is notable for its many distinctive geological formations and its wide variety of desert plants, including the giant saguaro cactus.
Within the park, you can find the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Zoo, picnic areas, several small lakes, hiking trails, bicycle paths, a fire museum, Hunt's Tomb (pyramidal tomb of Arizona's first governor, George W. P. Hunt), baseball and softball fields, picnic ramadas, and a small lake.
You also enjoy a game of Gold at the park's Rolling Hills Golf Course.
For dinner, don't miss a great dining experience at Bobby Q's, a Steak and BBQ restaurant.
The place cuts and smokes their own meats on-site and meals are delicious and plentiful.
During our visit, we ordered the Baby Back Ribs, Top Sirloin, and the Perfect Hamburger. They were all delicious.
Our dessert was the Pecan Cheese Cake - a delightful end to our meal.
Anhelo is an upscale restaurant in downtown Phonix offering Fusion American cuisine.
From the moment you are seated, you can tell that you are up for an elegant experience.
It starts with the decor, the lighting, and the music - continues with exceptional wines or inventive cocktails - and ends with a delicious meal and dessert.
For starters, we enjoys the warm rolls and we ordered the Beets & Yogurt and Ricotta Dumplings.
For the main course, we tried the Short Ribs and King Salmon. Both we excellent