If you plan on visiting Arizona DO NOT GO TO PHOENIX. I moved here last year from South Bend, IN a city outside of Chicago. This city is high crime, many immigrants from Mexico, drug smuggling, car theft, car accidents, not much to see here.
Northern Arizona is the best with Flagstaff being the most beautiful town in the state. PLenty of outdoor activities name it N.AZ has it.
Funny, I plan on being in Phoenix in April for a few days -- is it really that bad? We are staying with someone though. I'll keep Flagstaff in mind - we will be driving from Phoenix to San Francisco, so that may be a good stop off.
i'll have to go ahead and disagree with you there... i'm from arizona, and the prettiest town in az is pinetop. phoenix is not that bad. of course there are parts, just like any city, that suck. i lived in tempe while attending asu, and loved it. fun college town. scottsdale is also very nice. there are tons of great golf courses, great hiking and mt. biking in the surrounding high desert, excellent shopping and tons of other great stuff to do for the creative mind. there is also a mexican immigrant influence that has brought with it crime and other problems, but has also brought great mexican food restaurants, and other nice aspects of mexican culture. so, enjoy phoenix, or its surrounding cities of scottsdale, tempe and chandler, make the trip upto sedona (2 short hours away), or flagstaff, prescott, tucson, tombstone!, and play some golf, take some hikes in the awsome sun and simply stay away from the high crime areas! have fun.
I have to agree with the above. Phx isn't at all representative of AZ. Prescott, while having grown a lot in the last 20 years, still has the same downtown square it had 40 years ago, complete with Whiskey Row and the Birdcage saloon. The drive to Sedona is beautiful and worth the time on any trip. Drive to Prescott, and ask someone to show you the backroads on a map to get to Sedona from there. It's worth the effort to ask.
If you're adventurous, and have a car/truck that will tolerate some rough dirt roads, take the side-trip to Bumble Bee off of the I-17 as you go north from Phx. From there, go to the old mines at Crown King. If going to an old mining town isn't your thing, but you like the "great" outdoors, take the Bloody Basin road from Cave Creek and go north. About 17 miles north of Cave Creek, you'll see the road to the Bloody Basin. It's one heckuva ride, but DON'T go any day that there is any chance of rain. Flashfloods in that area can be, and are, dangerous and sudden.
At the exit from I-17 to Prescott, take off at Cordes Junction and visit the Arcosanti. If you're into architecture or Mother Earth magazine, you'll love the place.
Flagstaff is really cool, too. It's along I-17, so it's easy to get there from Phx (provided you can fight the traffic in Phx), and it's a typical small-town college town with a definite cowboy flair. Go to the observatory and check out some stars, see the Canyon (you know which one), and enjoy the cool breezes in the mountains. Dress warm for the really early mornings, though.
If you have the time, a trip to the Navajo reservation, near the NE corner, is like entering a world you've never been to, except in 3rd world countries. Canyon DeChelly is awesome, as are the cliff dwellings. If you find a local to take you, Canyon Del Muerte is equally awesome, especially when you can see the dwellings WAY up along the cliff walls. Stay in Chinle if you're spending the night. Anyplace else, and you're gonna have to drive forever to get there.
Pinetop is really cool, too, if you like pines, quiet, and beautiful drives. Been there, and it's not a bad trip from there back to Phx. Plan the trip, and make a big circle, but you have to include the meteor site along I40 (east of Flag, west of Winslow).
Flaggstaff is great... Sedona is a town that is close to Flagstaff that is even better... imho.
Phoenix is ok, but it is just that again, in my humble opinion.
There is so much to do in AZ that I don't spend too much time in Phoenix. A lot of the towns surrounding Phoenix are fun to go to including Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, and Chandler.
There is also a river in the Phoenix area called switchback or something like that.(locals, help me out with this one) It is a popular place to go tubing in the river and I always had a great time out there. Sun Devil Stadium is a cool spot to catch a game too.
That's my 2 cents. Take it for what it's worth, and send change if you can