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Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

Houston, TX
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Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

Hello all. I've been reading all your helpful hints on the forum for a while as my family will be arriving in Phoenix on Sunday for a 3.5 day visit. In addition to sightseeing, we will be trying to get a very, very basic "feel" for the area (I know, how can we do that in only 3 days?) since a family member will be in the area for an extended stay in late summer and early fall. We want to get a sense of how everything fits together and makes the Valley what it is.

Right now the plan is to arrive Sunday morning, pick up the rental car and head out to the west Valley to see the site where our family member will be spending some time. After that we would like to take a drive to see a bit of the area--thinking of 10 to the 101 to 17 south, ending up in the downtown area. We want to see downtown and figure Sunday is the best day to do this to avoid traffic there. After this we will go to our hotel which is just south of Sky Harbor and check in and then decide on the rest of our day. We may include a visit to the Heard Museum on this day. I'm thinking of this route based on the other things we will be doing on this trip, which are not in this area.

During the other 2.5 days we plan to visit the Desert Botanical Garden, drive up South Mountain for the view, do one of the short tours at Taliesen West, see the Musical Instrument Museum, and spend time in Old Town Scottsdale and in Tempe. We may also visit the Pueblo Grande Museum. We will, of course, group these together so we don't end up criss-crossing the area in a haphazard fashion (I hope). We will have all day Monday and Tuesday and until about noon on Wednesday when we have to be back at Sky Harbor.

I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions about good ways to get a feel for things in the short amount of time we have on this trip.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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1. Re: Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

You have a pretty good plan mapped out already. When you come down I-17, go past McDowell and Van Buren and get off on Jefferson and head east that will take you by the Capitol. You might want to stroll around the Capitol Mall. Parking should be available on Sunday. You can continue east on Jefferson to downtown and on to the Airport. It jogs north to join with Washington.

You have a lot of things planned. You should be able to do all, but don't rush. Take your time and enjoy.

Arizona
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2. Re: Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

I would take one of your museum days and head north up Interstate 17 to Sedona and enjoy a jeep tour. Or just sightsee and hike up there...the red rocks will give you a good idea of what Arizona is like. If small historical towns are more interesting to you, look at Wickenburg, Jerome or Prescott.

Or you can also take a day and head out to Saguaro Lake or Canyon Lake. Both offer boat tours, have a diner at the water's edge and are set in lovely surroundings. Near Canyon Lake is Tortilla Flat, great hamburger joint and ice cream in a really old stagecoach stop. http://www.tortillaflataz.com/

Houston, TX
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3. Re: Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

Thanks for the suggestions. We have been to Arizona twice before--GCNP, Sedona, Monument Valley, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Canyon de Chelly, Winslow are among other places visited in the state. The only time we have been in Phoenix has been arriving and departing from Sky Harbor Airport. So this time we are concentrating on Phoenix and the Valley.

Thanks for the driving tip, abigguy.

Edited: 07 March 2012, 20:04
Phoenix, Arizona
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4. Re: Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

The following list should give you enough ideas on a 3.5 day visit so you won't feel the need to leave Phoenix. If you really want a jeep tour, take one in the Valley. If you want red rocks, you can find them here also, it's called Red Mountain. Maybe take a jeep tour out that way and save yourself a lot of time and money.

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g31310-Activitie…

Houston, TX
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5. Re: Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

donbacsi--thanks, but I never said anything about leaving Phoenix, a jeep tour or red rocks. I specifically stated that I had done some of those things on previous trips to Arizona and was concentrating only on Phoenix this trip.

Phoenix, Arizona
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6. Re: Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

My post is just meant as an alternative to the suggestion in post #2. I sincerely believe you will have more than enough to do (and you will miss a lot you would like to do) just in Phoenix, Scottsdale and the Greater Valley of the Sun. Enjoy!

7. Re: Ideas for Getting a Feel for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun

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