Phoenix, the sun-drenched city offers plenty of desert charm and adventure
Written by Truc Nguyen
A popular destination for conferences — and Canadian snowbirds — the Phoenix area is home to almost 200 golf courses and is one of the sunniest cities in the world, receiving over 3,800 hours of sunshine on average each year. Whether you’re there for a quick meeting or a week-long convention, the capital of Arizona offers a broad range of cultural attractions and a vibrant culinary scene that is sure to appeal. Here are our top suggestions on how to spend your precious off-duty hours.
See and Do
Located in the Sonoran Desert, you can see the area’s stunning landscape up close by hitting the trails at Camelback Mountain or the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. In the summer months, head out at dawn or dusk for more comfortable hiking temperatures, and always remember to bring plenty of water for hydration. For a manicured desert flora experience, there’s also the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden.
The Phoenix Art Museum is a must-see for its world-class exhibitions highlighting everything from contemporary photography to boundary-pushing fashion. There’s even a Yayoi Kusama installation, in case you missed the Japanese artist’s much-discussed exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario – or if you’d like to take in more of the artist’s oeuvre. The much smaller Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is also worth a visit, especially if you’ve never experienced any of James Turrell’s iconic Skyspaces.
Eat and Drink
Located inside the private Phoenician resort, but open to the public, Mowry & Cotton is a great restaurant for sophisticated dishes highlighting local ingredients. The hanger steak with pickled blueberry and sunflower pesto, and charred tuna with pomegranate are both must-haves. For more hyperlocal dining, head to the eateries at The Farm at South Mountain for a memorable meal highlighting local produce, meat and wine.
There are plenty of fun, themed bars in Phoenix. For well-made cocktails in a smart setting, head downtown to Bitter & Twisted or to Counter Intuitive in Old Town Scottsdale, or stop by craft breweries Wren House and Helio Basin to try one-of-a-kind beers such as an Arnold Palmer sour ale and a blackberry blonde.
If your meetings are in the broader Metro Phoenix area, book a room at the newly-renovated, five-diamond Phoenician resort at the base of Camelback Mountain. The luxurious, 250-acre property offers an impressive pool complex, an 18-hole golf course, and kids’ amenities galore (in case your family is coming along). Downtown, the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix is a stylish and well-located hotel option.