Phoenix, AZ, is the sixth largest city in the United States, with 1.49 million people and a metropolitan area that includes more than 4 million residents. Phoenix is the capital of Arizona, as well as the state’s largest city. It is among the top ten fastest growing cities in the US, as well as the top ten largest US cities by land area, at 475 square miles.
Located in central Arizona, the Phoenix metropolitan area is home to Fortune 500 company headquarters including Avnet, Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, US Airways Group, Republic Services, PetSmart and Insight Enterprises. Corporations with major operations in the Phoenix metro area include Intel, Motorola, AlliedSignal, Honeywell, Boeing, American Express, Prudential, Charles Schwab, GoDaddy, LifeLock and GlobalMed. The Phoenix Biomedical Campus is a 30-acre urban medical and bioscience campus that includes the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, the Barrow Neurological Institute and VisionGate.
Phoenix features the 16,500-acre South Mountain Park, one of the largest metropolitan parks in the country, with hiking, mountain-biking and horseback-riding trails among the saguaro cacti, which are native to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico. Visitors can drive up the 5.5-mile Summit Road to Dobbins Lookout to experience spectacular views of the Valley of the Sun.
Cultural attractions include several renowned museums—including the Heard Museum, the Desert Botanical Garden, and the Phoenix Art Museum—as well as multiple theater companies, opera and ballet. Big-league sports teams include the NBA Phoenix Suns, the WNBA Phoenix Mercury, the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, the NFL Arizona Cardinals, and the NHL Phoenix Coyotes. Visitors to the area with extra time to explore can visit attractions such as Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Saguaro National Park near Tucson. Other popular activities near downtown Phoenix include golf, helicopter and hot-air balloon tours, and shopping.
The city has an arid climate that averages 325 sunny days and less than eight inches of rain a year. June in Phoenix has an average high temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 78, with extremely low humidity. Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time, so during the late spring, summer and early fall it is on Pacific Time.
The Hohokam people inhabited what is now Greater Phoenix from the 8th century until about 1450 A.D. They created the first major urban civilization in the Salt River Valley and developed a canal system that’s still in use today. In 1865, the U.S. government established Fort McDowell here, and settlers began farming the land using water diverted from the Salt River.
The city of Phoenix was established in 1868. The name Phoenix was suggested because the new town would spring from the ruins of a former civilization. Two years later, the first survey and census of the city noted it was about a mile long and a half-mile wide, with 74 dwellings and a population of 250. Phoenix became the state capital in 1912, when Arizona became the 48th state.