Phoenix, Arizona, is the heart of the Greater Phoenix area and includes Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale, Chandler and Peoria. Phoenix is the state's capital and largest city, and includes fine dining, many museums and an active nightlife. Phoenix boasts a large number of golf courses, and has become a primary resort destination for those looking for dry weather and 18 holes. The Phoenix area is home to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, the Phoenix Suns NBA team and the Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball team. Arizona State University is located in Tempe. In the heart of the desert region in the southwest of the state, the temperature is usually warm in the winter and downright hot in the summer with little rain.
Phoenix is known as a destination to come golfing. There are a large number of golf courses, both public and private, in the Phoenix area.
Phoenix has a subtropical desert climate, typical of the Sonoran Desert in which it lies. Phoenix has long, extremely hot summers and short, pleasant winters. The climate is arid, with plenty of sunshine and clear skies. Average high temperatures in summer are the hottest of any major city in the United States. On average, there are 107 days annually with a high of at least 38 °C including most days from late May through early October. Highs top 43 °C an average of 18 days during the year. On June 26, 1990, the temperature reached an all-time recorded high of 50 °C.
Unlike most desert locations which undergo drastic fluctuations between day and nighttime temperatures, Phoenix's diurnal temperature variation is limited by the urban heat island effect. As the city has expanded, average summer low temps have been steadily rising. The daily heat of the sun is stored in pavement, sidewalks, and buildings, and it is radiated back out at night. The daily normal low remains at or above 27 °C for an average of 67 days per summer. On July 15, 2003, Phoenix set its record for the warmest daily low temperature, at 36 °C.
The city averages approximately 300 days of sunshine, or over 85% of daylight hours per year, and receives scant rainfall. Tthe average annual total at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport being 204 mm. Precipitation is sparse during most of the year, but the North American Monsoon brings an influx of moisture during the summer. When active, the monsoon raises humidity levels and can cause heavy localized precipitation, flash floods, hail, destructive winds, and dust storms, which can rise to the level of a haboob in some years. July is the wettest month of the year (27 mm), while June is the driest (0.51 mm).
Generally speaking, Phoenix only has one day per year where the low temperature drops to or below 0 °C. However, outlying portions of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area frequently see frost in the winter. The all-time lowest recorded temperature in Phoenix was -9 °C on January 7, 1913, while the coldest daily high temperature ever recorded was 2 °C on December 10, 1898. Snow is a very rare occurrence for the city of Phoenix. Snowfall was first officially recorded in 1898, and since then, accumulations of 0.1 inches (0.25 cm) or greater have occurred only eight times.
|Avg Max||18.8 °C||21.5 °C||24.2 °C||29.2 °C||34.2 °C||39.7 °C||41.1 °C||39.8 °C||36.8 °C||31.2 °C||23.8 °C||19 °C|
|Avg Min||5.1 °C||7.1 °C||9.3 °C||12.9 °C||17.7 °C||22.7 °C||27.2 °C||26.2 °C||22.7 °C||16 °C||9.4 °C||5.4 °C|
|Rainfall||17 mm||17.3 mm||22.4 mm||5.6 mm||3 mm||3.3 mm||21.1 mm||24.4 mm||21.8 mm||16.5 mm||16.8 mm||25.4 mm|
The Phoenix area is served by Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), which along with being one of the coolest named airports in America, also bills itself as America's friendliest airport. The airport is made up of 3 terminals, labelled terminals 2, 3 and 4. There is no terminal 1. Shuttle buses run between the terminals, and out to the Rental Car Center, which contains all the rental companies and is about a 15-minute ride from the airport. The airport is served by bus and light rail into Phoenix. To get to the light rail stop, take a free airport shuttle out to 44th street and Washington. Buses run into the airport. For any questions, look for volunteers at the airport dressed in purple jackets, or check out the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport website.
There are a number of smaller airports in the Phoenix area, but most of these not served by scheduled or charter airlines.
Phoenix is not served by passenger rail, however Amtrak does have service into Phoenix by offering a connecting bus service from their train stop in Flagstaff.
Phoenix is well connected to other parts of the USA via the interstate highway system. Major routes into Phoenix include:
Roads in Phoenix are well maintained. Highway 10 runs through the southern part of town before heading south towards Tucson. Highway 101 rings Phoenix and Scottsdale on the north of highway 10. Highway 202 has a partial ring in the southern area of the greater Phoenix area, serving Tempe, Mesa and Chandler. Highway 17 and highway 51 provide north-south routes through Phoenix.
Right turn on red lights are allowed, unless there is a sign indicating otherwise. A number of streets in downtown are one-way, so look before turning at an intersection. Phoenix and all of Arizona does have unmanned speed cameras, so be careful about speeding.
If you are renting a car, consider not renting at the airport. The newly constructed airport car rental center has a 29% surcharge to pay for the building. Travellers can take public transit into town, and rent a car at an in-town rental area to save some money.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Valley Metro Transit provides public buses and light-rail in Phoenix.
Buses can be boarded with a pass, or exact change. The farebox accepts exact change in $1 and $2 bills and all forms of US coins (except 50 cent pieces) in good condition.
The light-rail uses a proof-of-payment system. Pass cards or paper passes must be activated at station platforms before boarding a light-rail train, or when entering a bus.
Fares for adults are:
Reduced fares are available to children five years old and under, youths ages 6-18, seniors 65 and over, and persons with a disability. A system map can be found at the Valley Metro site. Routes 15, 13 and 40 serve the airport, along with a light-rail line.
The downtown area of Phoenix is small enough to walk around, but in general the greater Phoenix area is very large and can get incredibly hot in the summer months. Not many people walk, unless they are taking advantage of one of the many hiking opportunities in Phoenix. Ironically, most people get into their cars and drive to the hiking areas to walk.
Those looking to hike should check out the listing of trails on the City of Phoenix website.
For cheap eats, look out for many 24-hour Mexican food places such as Filiberto's, Raliberto's and other restaurants offer a burrito the size of your forearm for less than $4.
Phoenix as a metropolitan area offers a considerable amount of nightlife, though with the fact that the city is so spread out it can be difficult and dangerous to attempt traversing the city on a big night out. Generally, the nightlife is centered around the sub-cities of the metro area. Within Phoenix itself bars tend to cluster within the Midtown or Downtown areas, while in the surrounding areas, Scottsdale offers a lively bar and club scene, Tempe is popular with students given the proximity to the University, and the city centers for Chandler and Glendale both offer some good options if you're in the suburbs. Downtown Mesa lacks any appreciable nightlife given its strong ties to the Mormon church.
HI has a hostel at 1026 N 9th St with beds for US$18.00 a day.
|Days Inn Metrocenter||2735 w Sweetwater Ave(I-17 bwtween Thunderbird & C||HOTEL||89|
|Americas Best Value Inn-Downtown Phoenix||424 W. Van Buren Street||Hotel||-|
|Motel 6 Phoenix Airport - 24th Street||214 S 24th Street Phoenix||Hotel||-|
|Best Western InnSuites Hotel & Suites||1615 E Northern Avenue Phoenix||HOTEL||-|
|Holiday Inn Phoenix West||1500 N 51st Ave. Phoenix, AZ. 85043||Hotel||-|
|Howard Johnson Airport Downtown||4120 E. Van Buren||Hotel||-|
|Comfort Inn Phoenix North||2641 West Union Hills Drive||Hotel||-|
|Super 8 Bell||17211 North Black Canyon Hwy||Hotel||-|
|Quality Inn 278||1550 S. 52nd Street Tempe||Hotel||-|
|CamelBackpackers Hostel||1601 North 13th Avenue Cross Road McDowell||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostelling International Phoenix||1026 North 9th Street||HOSTEL||-|
|Days Inn Phoenix Airport||2900 E. Van Buren||HOTEL||-|
|Best Western Metro||8101 N. Black Canyon Hwy||HOTEL||-|
|Phoenix Affordable Room Rentals||2536 East Nisbet Road||Apartment||-|
|Phoenix Practical Room Rentals||18 EAST VOGEL AVE||Apartment||-|
Phoenix has a large number of very upscale resorts, specifically catering to the golf and spa crowd.
Phoenix is home to Arizona State University (ASU), one of the major schools in the USA, with an enrollment of over 67,000 students. ASU has 4 campuses across Greater Phoenix. It is one of the premier research schools in America.
In addition to ASU, Phoenix has a number of campuses for colleges and universities. The University of Phoenix is just one of the examples.
There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.
See also International Telephone Calls
The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.
The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.
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