Phoenix, Arizona, located at the heart of the Sonoran Desert and known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon, is America’s sixth largest city. The city was originally inhabited by the Hohokam people until 1450 A.D. In 1865, Fort McDowell was established in Phoenix by the U.S. government, and settlers began farming the land. The city itself was established two years later, in 1868.
The Greater Phoenix area encompasses 2,000 square miles and more than 20 cities, including Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Mesa. Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, which covers over 9,000 square miles, approximately the size of New Hampshire! The city’s horizon includes three mountains: the South Mountain, Camelback Mountain, and Piestewa Peak. Perhaps what Phoenix is best known for, besides the cactus, is sunshine.
According to the National Climatic Data Center, the sun shines on Phoenix more than any other major metropolitan area in the U.S. It is estimated that the sun is shining during approximately 85 percent of daylight hours in Phoenix. Another interesting fact is about Phoenix’s inhabitants. More Native Americans tribes call Arizona home than any other state in the country. Currently, there are 22 Native American tribes, communities, and nations in Arizona, comprising a total of more than 300,000 American Indians. And how about the saying the Phoenix rises from the ashes? Well, according to folklore, the name Phoenix was coined by pioneer Darrell Duppa, who had seen the ruins of the original Hohokam inhabitants, and believed another civilization would rise from the ashes.
If we’re talking about Phoenix, it would only be fair to mention the wide range of professional sports that take place in the Greater Phoenix Area. In fact, Phoenix is one of only a few cities with a professional sports team in each of the four major professional sports leagues. They include, the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, the Arizona Diamondbacks of the MLB, the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, and the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL. In Major League Baseball, there are 15 teams that hold spring training in Phoenix’s Cactus League. This past year, the league drew a record for attendance with 1.89 million fans. And how about golf? For starters, Phoenix is home to more than 200 individual golf courses. Perhaps the most well known being the TPC Scottsdale, which hosts the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Open every year in February. This event is known as the highest attended event on the tour, with an average of over half a million spectators.
With all these attractions, it is no wonder Phoenix is one of the more highly visited cities in the country. Of the estimated 37 million people that visit Arizona each year, approximately 16 million of them head for the Greater Phoenix Area. Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport is one of the 10 busiest airports in the country, serving more than 40 million passengers a year. And once there here, there’s no shortage of hotels and resorts for visitors to stay in.
Greater Phoenix has more than 450 hotels and 40 resort properties, with more than 62,000 guest rooms to stay in. In fact, Greater Phoenix ranks among the nation’s top cities for number of Five Star and Four Star resorts.
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