Hear about travel to Phoenix, Arizona as the Amateur Traveler talks to Cindy Carlsson about Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun.
Cindy says, “My mother’s been down there for about 30 years now so I’ve been going down there pretty regularly since about 1995. My parents are ‘snow birds’. I think Phoenix gets a bad rap as just a retiree destination. Phoenix in the last 15 years, 20 years maybe now, has become an arts and culture hub. It’s got a thriving lively downtown and a great arts scene. It, of course, has spectacular scenery all around the city with the Sonoran desert. It’s become a really interesting place to go. ”
“I’ve tried to put together an itinerary that’s really geared towards first-time visitors to Phoenix. It gives them an idea of what Phoenix is about, where it came from and what the landscape is like, what the people who lived there past and present are like. It’s five days because five days seems to me to be a good amount of time to get a real feeling for Phoenix.”
Cindy starts at the Desert Botanical Garden to learn more about the Sonoran Desert. From there she takes us to the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park to learn about the ancient culture that lived here 1,000 years ago. If it is a Thursday, you can end your day with the Scottsdale evening art walk.
The second day she suggests a trip to the Heard Museum which is one of the best museums in the country on the native peoples of the southwest. It has both modern and historic artifacts. It also has an exhibit on the controversial Indian Boarding School era. Nearby is the Phoenix Art Museum and also not far is the Arizona Capitol Museum.
A different option for day two would be the Western Spirit Museum in Scottsdale to learn about both the cowboy culture and Native American art. They have a collection of western movie posters and Hopi pottery. Or if you have kids you might take them to Rawhide instead which is a recreated western town in north Scottsdale. Scottsdale calls itself the “Most Western Town in the West”. There are a lot of good restaurants in downtown Scottsdale. If you are into art, Scottsdale has a contemporary art museum.
On day 3, Cindy directs to get out to one of the mountain parks for a hike. She recommends getting further out to someplace like Usery Mountain Regional Park or Lost Dutchman State Park instead of one of the downtown parks. Out at Gold Canyon, there is a trailed called the Hieroglyphs trail that has a collection of petroglyphs on the cliffside.
On day 4, she recommends the Musical Instrument Museum. Allow enough time as this museum is very interesting. The museum is experiential. While you are there go further west to the Deer Valley Petroglyphs Preserve.
On day 5, she sends us out on a drive into the Superstition Mountains including some drives on winding unpaved roads on the Apache Trail and a ride on a steamboat.
Whether you come with the crowds in the winter for baseball’s spring training or in the heat of the summer, there is much to do in Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun.
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Visit Phoenix (photos on this page from Visit Phoenix)
Travel to Northern Vietnam – Episode 548
Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park
American Indian boarding schools
Phoenix Art Museum
Arizona Capitol Museum
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West: Western Spirit
Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona
Cafe Forte, Scottsdale
Scottsdale Museum Of Contemporary Art: SMoCA
Phoenix Mountains Preserve
Usery Mountain Regional Park
McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Lost Dutchman State Park
Camelback Mountain – City of Phoenix
Musical Instrument Museum
4 Must See Museums in Belgium – Orignal Musical Instrument Museum
Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
The Eddie Basha Collection
Superstition Mountain – Lost Dutchman Museum
Spring Training in Arizona’s Cactus League
Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Mesa Center for the arts
Exploring Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun
I just wanted to send you a quick note of appreciation. I first came across the Amateur Traveler podcast years ago via your Tech in Travel Minute features on Tom Merritt’s Daily Tech News Show podcast. I’ve been a regular listener ever since.
Last fall, my wife and I moved from Pennsylvania to Brussels for an expat assignment. I’ve been combing through the Amateur Traveler archives since then and binging the European episodes to help decide where we should travel on our new home continent.
You’ve created such an invaluable resource with a rich catalog of travel expertise. Please do keep up the good work.
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