WELCOME TO Phoenix
Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,626,078 people (as of 2017), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is a part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 12th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017. In addition, Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County, and at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.
Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona in 1889. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community with many of the original crops, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay, remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades. Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" of Phoenix's economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.
The city averaged a four percent annual population growth rate over a 40-year period from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s. This growth rate slowed during the Great Recession of 2007–09, and has rebounded slowly. Phoenix is the cultural center of the Valley of the Sun, as well as the entire state.
Districts of Phoenix
Since 1979, the city of Phoenix has been divided into urban villages, many of which are based upon historically significant neighborhoods and communities that have since been annexed into Phoenix. Each village has a planning committee that is appointed directly by the city council. According to the village planning handbook issued by the city, the purpose of the village planning committees is to "work with the city's planning commission to ensure a balance of housing and employment in each village, concentrate development at identified village cores, and to promote the unique character and identity of the villages." There are 15 urban villages: Ahwatukee Foothills, Alhambra, Camelback East, Central City, Deer Valley, Desert View, Encanto, Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, North Gateway, North Mountain, Paradise Valley, Rio Vista, and South Mountain.
The urban village of Paradise Valley is distinct from the nearby Town of Paradise Valley. Although the urban village is part of Phoenix, the town is independent.
In addition to the above urban villages, Phoenix has a variety of commonly referred-to regions and districts, such as Downtown, Midtown, Uptown, West Phoenix, North Phoenix, South Phoenix, Biltmore Area, Arcadia, and Sunnyslope.
The city has numerous performing arts venues, most of which are located in and around downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale. The Phoenix Symphony Hall is home to the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, the Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona. The Arizona Opera company also has intimate performances at its new Arizona Opera Center, which opened in March 2013. Another venue is the Orpheum Theatre, which is home to the Phoenix Opera. Ballet Arizona, in addition to the Symphony Hall, also has performances at the Orpheum Theatre as well at the Dorrance Theater. Concerts also regularly make stops in the area. The largest downtown performing art venue is the Herberger Theater Center, which houses three performance spaces and is home to two resident companies, the Arizona Theatre Company and the Centre Dance Ensemble. Three other groups also use the facility: Valley Youth Theatre, iTheatre Collaborative and Actors Theater.
Concerts can be attended at Talking Stick Resort Arena and Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix, Ak-Chin Pavilion in Maryvale, Gila River Arena in Glendale, and Gammage Auditorium in Tempe (the last public building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright). Several smaller theaters including Trunk Space, the Mesa Arts Center, the Crescent Ballroom, Celebrity Theatre, and Modified Arts support regular independent musical and theater performances. Music can also be seen in some of the venues usually reserved for sports, such as the Wells Fargo Arena and the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Several television series have been set in Phoenix, including Alice (1976–85), the 2000s paranormal drama Medium, the 1960–61 syndicated crime drama The Brothers Brannagan, and The New Dick Van Dyke Show from 1971 to 1974.
photo of the entrance to the Arizona Science Center, showing the modern design of the building
Arizona Science Center
Dozens of museums exist throughout the valley. They include the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Capitol Museum, Arizona Military Museum, Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park, Children's Museum of Phoenix, Arizona Science Center, and the Heard Museum. In 2010 the Musical Instrument Museum opened their doors, featuring the biggest musical instrument collection in the world.
Designed by Alden B. Dow, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Phoenix Art Museum was constructed in a single year, opening in November 1959. The Phoenix Art Museum has the southwest's largest collection of visual art, containing more than 17,000 works of contemporary and modern art from around the world. Interactive exhibits can be found in nearby Peoria's Challenger Space Center, where individuals learn about space, renewable energies, and meet astronauts.
The Heard Museum has over 130,000 square feet (12,000 m²) of gallery, classroom and performance space. Some of the signature exhibits include a full Navajo hogan, the Mareen Allen Nichols Collection containing 260 pieces of contemporary jewelry, the Barry Goldwater Collection of 437 historic Hopi kachina dolls, and an exhibit on the 19th-century boarding school experiences of Native Americans. The Heard Museum attracts about 250,000 visitors a year.
The downtown Phoenix art scene has developed in the past decade. The Artlink organization and the galleries downtown have successfully launched a First Friday cross-Phoenix gallery opening. In April 2009, artist Janet Echelman inaugurated her monumental sculpture, Her Secret Is Patience, a civic icon suspended above the new Phoenix Civic Space Park, a two-city-block park in the middle of downtown. This netted sculpture makes the invisible patterns of desert wind visible to the human eye. During the day, the 100-foot (30 m)-tall sculpture hovers high above heads, treetops, and buildings, the sculpture creates what the artist calls "shadow drawings", which she says are inspired by Phoenix's cloud shadows. At night, the illumination changes color gradually through the seasons. Author Prof. Patrick Frank writes of the sculpture that "... most Arizonans look on the work with pride: this unique visual delight will forever mark the city of Phoenix just as the Eiffel Tower marks Paris."
The "Xeros Residence" in Phoenix
Phoenix is the home of a unique architectural tradition and community. Frank Lloyd Wright moved to Phoenix in 1937 and built his winter home, Taliesin West, and the main campus for The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Over the years, Phoenix has attracted notable architects who have made it their home and have grown successful practices. These architectural studios embrace the desert climate, and are unconventional in their approach to the practice of design. They include the Paolo Soleri (who created Arcosanti), Al Beadle, Will Bruder, Wendell Burnette, and Blank Studio architectural design studios. Another major force in architectural landscape of the city was Ralph Haver whose firm, Haver & Nunn, designed commercial, industrial and residential structures throughout the valley. Of particular note was his trademark, "Haver Home", which were affordable contemporary-style tract houses.
The Arizona Biltmore Hotel
The tourist industry is the longest running of today's top industries in Phoenix. Starting with promotions back in the 1920s, the industry has grown into one of the top 10 in the city. Due to its climate, Phoenix and its neighbors have consistently ranked among the nation's top destinations in the number of Five Diamond/Five Star resorts. With more than 62,000 hotel rooms in over 500 hotels and 40 resorts, greater Phoenix sees over 16 million visitors each year, the majority of whom are leisure (as opposed to business) travelers. Sky Harbor Airport, which serves the Greater Phoenix area, serves about 40 million passengers a year, ranking it among the 10 busiest airports in the nation.
One of the biggest attractions of the Phoenix area is golf, with over 200 golf courses. In addition to the sites of interest in the city, there are many attractions near Phoenix, such as Agua Fria National Monument, Arcosanti, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Lost Dutchman State Park, Montezuma's Castle, Montezuma's Well, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Phoenix also serves as a central point to many of the sights around the state of Arizona, such as the Grand Canyon, Lake Havasu (where the London Bridge is located), Meteor Crater, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Tombstone, Kartchner Caverns, Sedona and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.Other attractions and annual events
Due to its natural beauty and climate, Phoenix has a plethora of outdoor attractions and recreational activities. The Phoenix Zoo is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. Since opening in 1962, the zoo has developed an international reputation for its efforts on animal conservation, including breeding and reintroducing endangered species back into the wild. Right next to the zoo, the Phoenix Botanical Gardens were opened in 1939, and are acclaimed worldwide for their exhibits and educational programs, featuring the largest collection of arid plants in the U.S. South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the U.S., is also the highest desert mountain preserve in the world.
Other popular sites in the city are Japanese Friendship Garden, Historic Heritage Square, Phoenix Mountains Park, Pueblo Grande Museum, Tovrea Castle, Camelback Mountain, Hole in the Rock, Mystery Castle, St. Mary's Basilica, Taliesin West, and the Wrigley Mansion.
There is long list of annual events in and near Phoenix which celebrate the heritage of the city, as well as its diversity. Some of those are the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, the largest horse show in the world; Matsuri, a celebration of Japanese culture; Pueblo Grande Indian Market, an event highlighting Native American arts and crafts; Grand Menorah Lighting, an annual December event celebrating Hanukah; ZooLights, an annual December evening event at the Phoenix Zoo, featuring millions of lights; the Arizona State Fair, begun in 1884, an annual fair; Scottish Gathering & Highland Games, an annual event celebrating Scottish heritage; Estrella War, an annual event celebrating medieval life; Tohono O'odham Nation Rodeo & Fair, Oldest Indian rodeo in Arizona; and the Chinese Week & Culture & Cuisine Festival, an annual celebration of Chinese culture.