From the sophistication of Scottsdale and the downtown Phoenix cultural centers to the rural atmosphere that prevails in the region’s small towns, the Valley of the Sun is a study in contrasts and variety. Rodeos and opera, symphony and NASCAR racing, vast expanses of high desert and canyon lakes—facilities and activities for every imaginable interest or hobby can be found at a location close to home. The Valley of the Sun excels in offering attractions that please every age group. Those who enjoy spectator sports events can look forward to cheering professional teams for stadium and arena football, baseball, hockey, and basketball. Some of the most popular baseball teams in the nation make the Valley their home for spring training, while events like the Waste Management Phoenix Open PGA Golf Tournament and the All-Arabian Horse Show attract international crowds.
Communities throughout the valley have developed many wonderful museums, art galleries, venues for the performing arts, and colorful festivals. Glendale takes pride in its status as “Arizona’s Antique Capital,” while Scottsdale specializes in exclusive boutiques and high fashion. Downtown Phoenix bustles with activity in dazzling performing arts centers such as Phoenix Symphony Hall, Dodge Theatre, the Herberger Theater, and Orpheum Theatre or uniquely designed sports stadiums.
With the Valley’s reputation for abundant sunshine and four-season activity, the opportunities for outdoor adventure and recreation are equally well developed. Horseback riding, hot air ballooning, hang gliding, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, biking, camping, boating, ice skating, and water sports are just a few of the possibilities that are available in or near the metropolitan area. Many of the residents of Metropolitan Phoenix are avid skiers, taking advantage of fine ski resorts in the White Mountains, Tucson, or Flagstaff as well as cross-country ski trails along the Mogollon Rim.
Housing throughout the Valley ranges from modest family homes in welcoming neighborhoods to stunning master-planned communities where some of the world’s finest estates overlook pristine golf-course fairways. The vast open space that once surrounded Metropolitan Phoenix is rapidly giving way to beautiful residential villages complete with sparkling lakes, golf courses, tennis courts, lavish clubhouses, fitness and spa centers, miles of multi-purpose trails, shopping, and schools. Even in the heart of the city, upscale neighborhoods like Biltmore, Arcadia, and Encanto-Palmcroft still command top dollar for majestic homes shaded by mature greenery. Throughout the Valley of the Sun, you’ll discover the natural beauty and relaxing Southwestern lifestyle that has made Metropolitan Phoenix one of the world’s most desirable locations.
The eyes of the nation have definitely turned toward Phoenix, recently claiming the status of the fifth largest city in the nation. The visionary leadership, careful planning, and targeted promotion that marked the 1980s resulted in explosive growth within every possible arena of activity and endeavor. Phoenix, already Arizona’s capital city as well as the seat of government for Maricopa County, has assumed a whole new global identity in recent years as “The Place” to live, work, and play in the Southwest. Even the long-standing lucrative tourism industry has moved beyond seasonal ups and downs into a year-round boom.
The rich, colorful history of this flourishing metropolis has its roots in 300 A.D. when the gentle, agricultural Hohokam Indians first settled the region. True to the mythical heritage of its name, modern Phoenix “rose from the ashes” of the Hohokam ruins and their ancient canal system. This pattern of emerging renewed and transformed has continued throughout the city’s rich history, beginning with the first significant surge of population at the end of World War II. With the advent of refrigerated air-conditioning, Phoenix grew in appeal as a retirement or winter vacation haven. Summer comfort could now blend with swaying palm trees, endless sunshine, crystalline lakes, and Sonoran desert beauty to attract increasing numbers of year-round residents.
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