Phoenix ( , O'odham Skikik, Yavapai Wasinka, Western Apache Fiinigis, Navajo Hoozdoh, Mojave Hachpa 'Anya Nyava) is the
capital and largest city of the U.S.
state of Arizona, as well as
most populous city in the United States.
Phoenix is home to 1,567,924 residents, and
is the anchor of the Phoenix
(also known as The Valley of the
), the 12th largest metro area by population in the United
States with 4,281,899 residents. In addition, Phoenix is the county seat of Maricopa
County, and is one of the largest cities in the United
States by land area.
Phoenix was incorporated as a city in 1881 after being founded in
1868 near the Salt River
its confluence with the Gila River
city eventually became a major transportation hub in North America
and a main transportation, financial, industrial, cultural and
economic center of the Southwestern United States
city has a notable and famous political culture and has been home
to numerous influential American politicians and other dignitaries,
including Barry Goldwater
, William Rehnquist
, John McCain
, Carl Hayden
Sandra Day O'Connor
of the city are known as Phoenicians.
the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has the hottest climate of any major city in the United States.
average high temperatures are over 100°F (40°C) for three months
out of the year, and have spiked over 120°F (50°C) on
Native American period
For more than 1,000 years, the Hohokam
peoples occupied the land that would become Phoenix. The Hohokam
created roughly 135 miles (217 km) of irrigation canals,
making the desert land arable
. Paths of
these canals would later become used for the modern Arizona Canal
, Central Arizona Project
the Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct
The Hohokam also carried out extensive trade with nearby Anasazi
, and other
It is believed that, between 1300 and 1450, periods of drought and
severe floods led to the Hohokam tribe's abandonment of the area.
Local Akimel O'odham
thought to be the descendants of the formerly urbanized Hohokam,
concentrated on the Gila River
those of the Tohono O'odham
peoples. Some family groups did
continue to live near the Salt River, but no large villages
Eusebio Kino, an Italian Jesuit in the service of the Spanish Empire, was among the first Europeans
to travel here in the 1600s and 1700s. By this time, the
valley was within the territory of New
Spain, which was controlled by Spain and later independent
Father Kino named the river "Río Salado"
(Salted River) due to the water's high mineral content. He
interacted with the few native peoples who remained in the valley,
but focused mostly on the Pima
established in southern Arizona, as well as exploring other parts
of the Southwest and California. Only southern Arizona experienced
the full influence of Hispanic cultures; the Salt River Valley
itself remained almost depopulated for several centuries.
- See also: European colonization of
Early United States period
American and European "Mountain Men
likely came through the area while exploring what is now central
Arizona during the early 19th century. They obtained valuable
and otter pelts
; these animals, as
well as deer
and Mexican wolves
, often lived in the Salt River
Valley when water supplies
and temperatures allowed.
Mexican-American War ended in
1848, most of Mexico's northern zone passed to United States control and a portion of it was made the New Mexico Territory (including what is
now Phoenix) shortly afterward.
The Gadsden Purchase
was completed in 1853.
was contested ground during the American Civil War: both the Confederate Arizona Territory,
organized by Southern sympathizers in 1861 with its capital in
Tucson, and the United States Arizona Territory, formed by the United States Congress in 1863 with
its capital at Fort Whipple
(now Prescott) included
the Salt River Valley within their borders.
The valley was
not militarily important, however, and did not witness
the mining town of Wickenburg was the first to be established in what is now
County. At the time this county did not exist, as the
land was within Yavapai County along with the other major town of
The US Army
created Fort McDowell on the
Verde River in 1865 to quell Native American uprisings. Hispanic
workers serving the fort established a camp on the south side of
the Salt River by 1866 that was the first permanent settlement in
the valley after the decline of the Hohokam. In later years, other
nearby settlements would form and merge to become the city of
Tempe, but this
community was incorporated after Phoenix.
Founding of Phoenix
history of Phoenix as a city begins with Jack Swilling, an American Civil War veteran who had come
west to seek wealth in the 1850s and worked primarily in Wickenburg. On an outing in 1867, he stopped to rest at
the foot of the White Tank Mountains.
Swilling observed the abandoned river
valley and considered its potential for farming, much like that
already cultivated by the military further east near Fort McDowell.
were optimal; only a regular source of water
was necessary. The existence of the old Hohokam
ruins, showing clear paths for canals, made
Swilling imagine new possibilities.
Swilling had a series of canals
followed those of the ancient Native American
system. A small community formed that same year about 4 miles
(6 km) east of the present city. It was first called
Pumpkinville due to the large pumpkins
flourished in fields along the canals. Later it was called
Swilling's Mill in his honor, though later renamed to Helling Mill,
Mill City, and finally, East Phoenix. Swilling, a former Confederate
soldier, wanted to name
the city "Stonewall," after General
. Others suggested the name of "Salina."
However, neither name was supported by the community.
Finally, Lord Darrell Duppa
suggested the name "Phoenix
it described a city
born from the ruins of a
of Supervisors in Yavapai County, which at the time encompassed Phoenix, officially
recognized the new town on May 4, 1868, and formed an election
The first post office
was established on June 15, 1868, with Jack Swilling serving as the
. With the number of residents
growing (the 1870 U.S. census reported about a total Salt River
Valley population of 240), a town site needed to be selected. On
October 20, 1870, the residents held a meeting to decide where to
locate it. A 320-acre
(1.3 km²) plot of
land was purchased in what is now the downtown business
February 12, 1871, the territorial legislature created Maricopa
County, the sixth one formed, by dividing Yavapai
The first election for county office was held in
1871, when Tom Barnum was elected the first sheriff. Barnum ran
unopposed as the other two candidates, John A. Chenowth and Jim
Favorite, had a shootout that ended in Favorite’s death and
Chenowth withdrawing from the race.
Several lots of land were sold in 1870 at an average price of $48.
The first church opened in 1871, as did the first store. Public
school had its first class on September 5, 1872, in the courtroom
of the county building. By October 1873, a small school was
completed on Center Street (now Central Avenue
entry was recorded by the Florence Land Office on November 19,
1873, and a declaratory statement filed in the Prescott Land Office on February 15, 1872.
Ulysses S. Grant
issued a land
for the present site of Phoenix on April 10, 1874. The
total value of the Phoenix Townsite was $550, with downtown lots
selling for between $7 and $11 each. A short time later, a telegraph
office, 16 saloons
, four dance halls and two banks
Aerial lithograph of Phoenix from
By 1881, Phoenix had outgrown its original townsite-commissioner
form of government. The 11th Territorial
passed "The Phoenix Charter Bill", incorporating
Phoenix and providing for a mayor-council government. The bill was
signed by Governor John C. Fremont
on February 25, 1881. Phoenix was
incorporated with a population of approximately 2,500, and on May
3, 1881, Phoenix held its first city election. Judge John T. Alsap
defeated James D. Monihon, 127 to 107, to become the city's first
mayor. In early 1888, the city offices were moved into the new City
Hall, at Washington and Central (later the site of the city bus
terminal, until Central Station was built in the 1990s). This
building also provided temporary offices for the territorial
government when it moved to Phoenix by the 15th Territorial
The coming of the railroad in the 1880s was the first of several
important events that revolutionized the economy of Phoenix.
Merchandise now flowed into the city by rail instead of wagon.
Phoenix became a trade center with its products reaching eastern
and western markets. In response, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
was organized on November 4, 1888. Phoenix also inaugurated an
electric streetcar system
built off earlier stagecoach lines, in 1891.
Modern Phoenix (1900–present)
Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona,
In 1902, President Theodore
signed the National Reclamation Act
for dams to be built on western streams for reclamation purposes.
Residents were quick to enhance this by organizing the Salt River
Valley Water Users' Association on February 7, 1903, to manage the
water and power supply. The agency still exists as part of the
Salt River Project
. The Roosevelt
Dam east of the valley was completed in 1911. Several new lakes
were formed in the surrounding mountain ranges. In the Phoenix
area, the river is now often dry due to large irrigation
diversions, taking with it the large populations of migrating
birds, beaver dams, and cottonwood
trees that had lived on its
On February 14, 1912, under President William Howard Taft
, Phoenix became the
capital of the newly formed state
of Arizona. Phoenix was considered
preferable as both territorial and state capital due to its more
central location, compared to Tucson or Prescott. It was smaller
than Tucson, but outgrew that city within the next few decades to
become the state's largest city.
In 1913, Phoenix adopted a new form of government from mayor-council
, making it one of
the first cities in the United States with this form of city
Phoenix in the early 20th
During World War II
, Phoenix's economy
shifted to that of a distribution center, rapidly turning into an
embryonic industrial city with mass production of military
supplies. Luke Field, Williams Field, and Falcon Field, coupled with the giant ground-training center at
Hyder, west of
Phoenix, brought thousands of new people into Phoenix.
night 1942, a large
number of U.S. troops stationed in Phoenix rioted while resisting
arrest by military police due to engaging in a fight. The military
police surrounded and blocked off a predominantly African American
part of the city where the
troops had escaped to in order to hide. They then dispersed armored
personnel carriers and opened fire on civilian homes, resulting in
several fatalities. The Colonel of Luke Field soon declared Army
personnel banned from Phoenix, which pressured civic leaders to
reform local government by firing a number of corrupt officials, in
turn getting the ban lifted. This same bipartisan effort also
successfully convinced the city council to give more power to the
city manager to run the government and spend public funds, making
Phoenix one of the largest cities in the country to not use the
wartime incident took place at a Prisoner of War Camp that was established at
the site of what is now Papago Park and Phoenix
Zoo, for the internment of
German soldiers captured in Europe.
In 1944, dozens of
prisoners had devised a plan to escape from the camp and use boats
to go down the nearby Salt River to reach Mexico. However, they
were unaware that the river was mostly dry and had not been
navigable for decades, and were thus easily apprehended near the
A fire in October 1947 destroyed most of the streetcar
fleet, making the city
choose between implementing a new street railway system or using
buses. The latter were selected, and automobiles remained the
city's preferred method of transportation. By 1950, over 100,000
people lived within the city and thousands more in surrounding
communities. There were 148 miles (238 km) of paved
streets and 163 miles (262 km) of unpaved streets.
Over the next several decades, the city and metropolitan area
attracted more growth and became a favored tourist destination for
its exotic desert setting and recreational opportunities. Nightlife
and civic events concentrated along now skyscraper
-flanked Central Avenue
. In 1968, the city was
surprisingly awarded the Phoenix Suns
NBA franchise, and
the Arizona Veterans Memorial
Coliseum was built.
By the 1970s, however, there was
rising crime and a decline in business within the downtown
was murdered by a car bomb
in the city in 1976. It was believed that
his investigative reporting on organized
in Phoenix made him a target. Bolles' last words referred
to Phoenix land and cattle magnate Kemper Marley, who was widely
regarded to have ordered Bolles' murder, as well as John Harvey
Adamson, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1977 in
return for testimony against contractors Max Dunlap and James
Robison. Dunlap was convicted of first degree murder in the case in
1990 and remains in prison, while Robison was acquitted, but
pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting violence against Adamson.
, violent crime
, and the drug trade
had turned into public safety issues
by the 1980s, with the transplanted, uncohesive nature of many
neighborhoods making crime unpredictable and difficult to monitor.
Van Buren Street, East of downtown (near 24th St), became
associated with prostitution
, and many
sections of the city's south and west sides were ravaged by the
. The city's crime
rates in many categories have improved since that time, but still
exceed state and national averages.
After the Salt River flooded in 1980 and damaged many bridges, the
together and temporarily operated a train service, the "Hattie B."
line, between central Phoenix and the southeast suburbs. It was
discontinued because of high operating costs and a lack of interest
from local authorities in maintaining funding.
The famous "Phoenix Lights
sightings took place in March
1997. The Baseline Killer
crime sprees occurred
in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. Steele Indian School Park was the site of a
mid-air collision between two news
helicopters in July 2007. In 2008, Squaw Peak,
the second tallest mountain in the city, was officially renamed
Peak after Army Specialist Lori Ann Piestewa, an Arizona native who
was the first Native
American woman to die in combat with the U.S. military, and the
first American female casualty in the 2003 Iraq
Phoenix has maintained a growth streak in recent years, growing by
24.2% since 2000. This makes it the second-fastest-growing metropolitan area
in the United States
following only Las
, whose population has grown by 29.2% since 2000. In 2008,
Phoenix was one of the hardest hit by the Subprime mortgage crisis
. In early
2009, the median home price was $150,000, down from its $262,000
peak in recent years. Crime rates in Phoenix have gone down in
recent years and once troubled, decaying neighborhoods such as
, and Maryvale
have recovered and stabilized.
Phoenix is located at 33°26'54" North, 112°4'26" West (33.448457°,
-112.073844°) in the Salt River Valley, or "Valley of the Sun", in
central Arizona. It lies at a mean elevation of 1,117 feet
(340 m), in the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert.
Other than the mountains in and around the city, the topography of
Phoenix is generally flat, allowing the city's main streets to run
on a precise grid
The Salt River
through the city of Phoenix; the riverbed is often dry or a trickle
due to large irrigation diversions, except after the area's
infrequent rainstorms or when more water is released from upstream
city of Tempe has built two inflatable dams in the Salt River bed
to create a year-round recreational lake, called Tempe Town
The dams are deflated to allow the river to
flow unimpeded during releases. Lake Pleasant Regional Park is located in Northwest Phoenix within the suburb
Phoenix area is surrounded by the McDowell Mountains to the northeast, the
Mountains to the west, the Superstition Mountains far to the east, and the Sierra Estrella to the southwest.
the city are the Phoenix Mountains and South Mountains.
Current development (as of 2005) is pushing
beyond the geographic boundaries to the north and west, and south
through Pinal County. According to the United States Census Bureau
city has a total area of 475.1 square miles (1,230.5 km²);
474.9 square miles (1,229.9 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square
miles (0.6 km², or 0.05%) of it is water.
Statistical Area (MSA) (officially known as the
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale MSA), is the 12th largest in the
United States, with a total population of 4,281,899 as of the July
2008 update of the 2000 U.S.
. It includes the Arizona counties of
Maricopa and Pinal. Other cities in the MSA include Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, and Peoria.
smaller communities are also included, such as Cave
Creek, Queen Creek, Buckeye, Goodyear, Fountain Hills, Litchfield Park, Anthem,Sun Lakes, Sun City, Sun City West, Avondale, Surprise, El Mirage, Paradise Valley, and Tolleson. The communities of Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Deer
Valley, Laveen, Maryvale
and others are part of the city of Phoenix, Ahwatukee being
separated from the rest of the city by South Mountain.
As with most of Arizona, Phoenix does not observe daylight saving time
. In 1973, Gov.
Jack Williams argued to Congress
that energy use would
increase in the evening, as refrigeration units were not used as
often in the morning on standard time. He went on to say that
energy use would rise "because there would be more lights on in the
early morning." He was also concerned about children going to
school in the dark, which indeed they were. The exception to this
are lands of the Navajo Nation
Northeastern Arizona, which observe daylight saving time in
conjunction with the rest of their tribal lands in other
Phoenix has an arid climate
, with very
hot summers and temperate winters. The average summer high temperature is
among the hottest of any populated area in the United States and
approaches those of cities such as Riyadh and Baghdad.
The temperature reaches or exceeds
) on an
average of 110 days during the year, including most days from late
May through early September, and highs top 110 °F (43 °C) an
average of 18 days during the year. On June 26, 1990, the
temperature reached an all-time recorded high of 122 °F (50
Overnight lows greater than occur frequently each summer, with the
average July low being and the average August low being . On
average, 67 days throughout the year will see the nighttime low at
or above . The all time highest low temperature ever recorded in
Phoenix was , which occurred on July 15, 2003.
Precipitation is sparse during a large part of the summer, but the
influx of monsoonal
generally begins in early July and lasts until mid-September,
raises humidity levels and can cause heavy localized precipitation
and flooding. Winter months are mild to warm, with daily high
temperatures ranging from the mid-60's to low 70's (18-22°C), and
low temperatures rarely dipping below .
averages 85% of possible sunshine and receives scant rainfall, the
average annual total at Phoenix
Sky Harbor International Airport being 8.3 inches
Phoenix from North Mt Preserve.
March is the wettest month of the year
(1.07 inches or 27 mm) with June being the driest
(0.09 inches or 2 mm). Although thunderstorms are possible at
any time of the year, they are most common during the monsoon from
July to mid-September as humid air surges in from the Gulf of
These can bring strong winds, large
, or rarely, tornadoes
. Winter storms moving inland from the
Ocean occasionally produce significant rains but occur
Fog is rare but can be observed from time to
time during the winter months.
On average, Phoenix has only 5 days per year where the
temperature drops to or below freezing. The long-term mean date of
the first frost is December 15 and the last is February 1; however,
these dates do not represent the city as a whole because the
frequency of freezes increases the further one moves outward from
the urban heat island. Frequently, outlying areas of Phoenix see
frost, but the airport does not. The earliest frost on record
occurred on November 3, 1946, and the latest occurred on April 4,
1945. The all-time lowest recorded temperature in Phoenix was 16 °F
(-8.8 °C) on January 7, 1913.
is extremely rare in the area. Snowfall
was first officially recorded in 1896, and since then,
accumulations of or greater have occurred only seven times. The
heaviest snowstorm on record dates to January 20, 1937 – January
21, 1937, when fell in parts of the city and did not melt entirely
for four days. Before that, had fallen on January 20, 1933. On
February 2, 1939, fell. Most recently, fell on December 21, 1990 –
December 22, 1990. Snow also fell on March 12, 1917, November 28,
1919, and December 11, 1985.
Since 1986, the city of Phoenix has been divided into urban villages
, many of which are based upon
historically significant neighborhoods and communities that have
since been annexed into Phoenix. Each village has a planning
committee that is appointed directly by the city council. According
to the village planning handbook issued by the city, the purpose of
the village planning committees is to work with the city's planning
commission to ensure a balance of housing and employment in each
village, concentrate development at identified village cores, and
to promote the unique character and identity of the villages.
Currently, there are 15 urban villages in
the city: Ahwatukee Foothills, Alhambra, Camelback East, Central City, Deer Valley, Desert View, Encanto, Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, North Gateway, North Mountain, Paradise Valley (not to be
confused with the town of Paradise Valley), South
Mountain and Rio
was created as New Village in 2004 and is currently very
sparsely populated, with no large amount ofdevelopment expected in
the near future.
referred-to Phoenix regions and districts include Downtown, Midtown, West Phoenix, North Phoenix, South Phoenix, Biltmore Area, Arcadia, Sunnyslope, Ahwatukee.
As of the 2005–2007 American
conducted by the U.S. Census
, White Americans
75.1% of Phoenix's population; of which 48.1% were non-Hispanic
made up 5.4% of Phoenix's population; of which 5.2%
were non-Hispanic blacks. Native Americans
1.9% of the city's population; of which 1.7% were non-Hispanic.
made up 2.3% of the
city's population; of which 2.2% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans
0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race
made up 13.3% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were
non-Hispanic. Individuals from two
or more races
made up 1.9% of the city's population; of which
1.0% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos
41.5% of Phoenix's population.
According to the 2000 census
, there were
1,321,045 people, 865,834 households, and 407,450 families residing
in the city. The population
was 2,782 people per square mile (1,074/km²). There
were 895,832 housing units at an average density of 1,044 per
square mile (403/km²).
There were 865,834 households out of which 35.7% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples
living together, 12.9% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-traditional
families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and
6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or
older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family
size was 3.39.
In the city the population age distribution was 28.9% under the age
of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to
64, and 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age
was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 103.5 males.
For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.7
The median income for a household in the city was $41,207, and the
median income for a family was $46,467. Males had a median income
of $32,820 versus $27,466 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$19,833. 15.8% of the population and 11.5% of families were below
the poverty line
. Out of the total
population, 21.0% of those under the age of 18 and 10.3% of those
65 and older were living below the poverty line.
As of 2000, the racial
of the Phoenix population was 71.1% White
, 5.1% African American
, 0.1% Pacific Islander
, 16.4% from
, and 3.3% from two or
more races. Hispanic
of any race were 34.1%
of the population. Since the 2000 census, the non-Hispanic white
population in Phoenix dropped below 50.0%, according to William
Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution
the Phoenix metro area's religious
composition was reported as 45% Catholic, 13% LDS
(concentrated heavily in the suburb of Mesa) and 5%
The remaining 37% are largely
members of Protestant
Downtown Phoenix south of Jefferson
The early economy of Phoenix was primarily agricultural, dependent
mainly on cotton
farming. In the last two decades, the economy
has diversified as swiftly as the population has grown.
state capital of Arizona, many
residents in the area are employed by the government.
State University has also enhanced the area's population through
education and its growing research capabilities.
high-tech and telecommunications companies have also recently
relocated to the area. Due to the warm climate in winter, Phoenix
benefits greatly from seasonal tourism
recreation, and the golf
is currently home to seven Fortune 1000
companies: waste management company Allied
Waste, electronics corporation Avnet, Apollo Group (which operates the University of Phoenix), mining company
Freeport-McMoRan (recently merged
with Phoenix based Phelps Dodge),
retailer PetSmart, energy supplier Pinnacle West and retailer CSK
division is headquartered in Phoenix, and the valley hosts many of
their avionics and mechanical facilities. Intel has one of
their largest sites here, employing about 10,000 employees and 3
chip manufacturing fabs, including the $3 billion
state-of-the-art 300 mm and 45 nm Fab 32. American Express
hosts their financial
transactions, customer information, and their entire website in
Phoenix. The city is also home to the headquarters of U-HAUL
International, a rental company and moving
supply store, as well Best Western
hotel chain. Mesa Air Group
regional airline group, is headquartered in Phoenix.
military has a significant presence in Phoenix with Luke Air
Force Base located in the western suburbs. At its height, in the
1940s, the Phoenix area had three military bases: Luke Field (still
in use), Falcon
Field, and Williams Air Force Base (now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport), with numerous auxiliary air fields located
throughout the region.
- See also: List of major corporations
Phoenix and the surrounding area has several cultural activities,
including the performing arts
museums, and events.
music venues take place around Arizona, but primarily in and around
downtown Phoenix and in Scottsdale. One such venue is the Phoenix
Symphony Hall, where performances from groups such as Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona often occur.
venue is the Orpheum Theatre which is home to the Phoenix Metropolitan
make stops in the area. Venues for concerts include the US Airways
Center and the Dodge Theater in downtown
Arena in Glendale.
Since 2002, Phoenix has also seen a rapid
growth in local arts through The Artlink Program. Several Smaller
theatres including Trunk
Space, Space 55 and Modified Arts support regular independent
musical and theatre performances.
Phoenix has been home to numerous popular musicians, mostly of the
genres. Solo artists originally from the
area include Duane Eddy
, Stevie Nicks
, Wayne Newton
, Jordin Sparks
, CeCe Peniston
, Dierks Bentley
, and Alice Cooper
. Several prominent rock groups
have come from the Valley, including Meat
, Jimmy Eat World
, and The Tubes
Several television series
in Phoenix, including the current top-rated Medium
, the 1960–1961 syndicated crime drama
, The Brothers Brannagan
and the CBS sitcom
New Dick Van Dyke Show
Several museums are scattered around the valley including the
Phoenix Art Museum
. One of the
most well-known museums in the area is the Heard Museum
just north of downtown
. It has over 130,000 square feet
(12,000 m²) of gallery, classroom and performance space. Some of
the signature exhibits include a full Navajo hogan
, the Mareen
Allen Nichols Collection containing 260 pieces of contemporary
jewelry, the Barry Goldwater
Collection of 437 historic Hopi kachina
dolls, and an exhibit on the 19th century
boarding school experiences of Native Americans. The Heard Museum
attracts about 250,000 visitors a year.
notable museums in the city include the Arizona Science Center, Hall of Flame
Firefighting Museum, Phoenix Museum of History, the Phoenix Zoo, the Pueblo
Grande Museum and Cultural Park, and the Phoenix Children's Museum.
The downtown Phoenix
art scene has
developed in the past decade. The Artlink organization and the
galleries downtown have successfully launched a First Friday
In April 2009, artist Janet Echelman
inaugurated her monumental sculpture, Her secret is
, the new civic icon suspended above the new Phoenix
Civic Space, a two-city-block park in the middle of downtown. This
netted sculpture makes the invisible patterns of desert wind
visible to the human eye. During the day, the 100-foot-tall
sculpture hovers high above heads, treetops, and buildings, the
sculpture creates what the artist calls “shadow drawings”, which
she says are inspired by Phoenix’s cloud shadows. At night, the
illumination changes color gradually through the seasons. The large
three-dimensional multi-layered form is created by a combination of
hand-baiting and machine-loomed knotting, and is the result of a
collaborative effort with an international team of award-winning
has long been renowned for authentic Mexican food, thanks to both the large
Hispanic population and proximity to
But the recent population boom has brought
people from all over the nation, and to a lesser extent from other
countries, and has since influenced the local cuisine.
International food, such as Korean
, and French
, has become more common throughout the
valley in recent years. However, Mexican food is arguably still the
most popular food, with Mexican restaurants found all over the
Phoenix is home to several professional sports franchises,
including representatives of all four
major professional sports leagues in the U.S.
- although only
two of these teams actually carry the city name and play within the
city limits. The first major franchise was the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball
Association (NBA), which started play in 1968 at the Arizona
Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In 1992 the Suns moved to the America West
Arena, which is now the US Airways Center.
In 1997, the Phoenix Mercury
was one of the original
eight teams to launch the Women's National
(WNBA). Both teams play at U.S. Airways Center.
The U.S. Airways Center was the setting for
both the 1995
2009 NBA All-Star Games
of the International Basketball
began play in the spring of 2007. They play at the
Arizona Veterans Memorial
Arizona Cardinals moved to Phoenix
from St. Louis,
Missouri in 1988 and currently play in the Western Division of the National Football League's National Football
Conference. The team, however, has never played in the
city itself; they played at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona
State University in nearby Tempe until
Sun Devil Stadium held Super
in 1996 when the Dallas
defeated the Pittsburgh
. The Cardinals now play at University
of Phoenix Stadium in west suburban Glendale.
University of Phoenix Stadium hosted
Super Bowl XLII
on February 3, 2008,
in which the New York Giants
defeated the New England
. It is also the home of the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
, a college football bowl
game that is part of the Bowl
Phoenix also has an arena football
team, the Arizona Rattlers
Arena Football League
played at US Airways
The future of the Rattlers is
uncertain, however, as recent reports have indicated that the
collapse of the league is imminent.
Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League moved to the
area in 1996; they were formerly the Winnipeg Jets franchise.They
play at Jobing.com
Arena, adjacent to University of Phoenix Stadium in
The Arizona Diamondbacks
Major League Baseball
(National League West Division
) began play as an
expansion team in 1998. The team plays at Chase Field (downtown).
In 2001, the Diamondbacks
defeated the New York Yankees 4 games to 3 in the World Series,
becoming not only the city's first professional sports franchise to
win a national championship while located in Arizona, but also one
of the youngest expansion franchise in U.S. professional sports to
ever win a championship.
Additionally, due to the favorable climate,
fourteen Major League Baseball
teams conduct spring training in the
metro area, as well as nearby Tucson.
These teams are collectively known as the Cactus
International Raceway is a major venue for two NASCAR auto racing events per season. Boat racing
, and road course
also held at Firebird International Raceway. Sprint car racing
is no longer held at
Phoenix has also hosted the United States Grand Prix
1989–1991. The race was discontinued after poor crowd
has also hosted the Insight Bowl at
Field until 2005, after which it moved to nearby Tempe, as well as
several major professional golf events,
including the LPGA's Safeway International and The Tradition of the Champions Tour.
Phoenix was originally
scheduled to host the 2006 NHL
but it was canceled due to the 2006
(the recently adopted NHL collective bargaining
prohibits the All-Star Game to be held during Olympic
years). Instead, Phoenix will host the 2011 All-Star
Phoenix's Ahwatukee American Little League reached the 2006
Little League World Series
representative from the U.S. West region. Phoenix is one of the
three cities that hosts the annual Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
As of 2007 Phoenix is the largest North American city not to
contain a team in any of the four tiers of professional soccer.
There is a plan to try to bring Major League Soccer
to the city in the
shape of the proposed team Phoenix
. Phoenix is currently one of thirteen cities across the
United States and Canada that are aiming to claim one of two places
scheduled to be made available through expansion before 2011. The
plan currently includes a suggested $150 million 25,000-seat
soccer specific stadium
a retractable roof.
- See also: U.S. cities with
teams from four major sports.
Parks and recreation
Phoenix is home to a large number of parks and recreation areas.
are scattered around the
valley to help residents cope with the harsh desert
heat during the summer months. Some of the notable
parks include Big Surf in Tempe, Wet 'n'
Wild Phoenix in Glendale, Golfland SunSplash in Mesa, and the
Oasis Water Park at the Arizona Grand Resort - formerly known as
Pointe South Mountain Resort - in Phoenix. The area also has one
amusement park in north Phoenix
called Castles N'
Coasters, next to the Metrocenter Mall.
There is another
amusement park called Enchanted Island located at Encanto Park
Many parks have been established to preserve the desert landscape
in areas that would otherwise quickly be developed with commercial
and residential zoning. The most noteworthy park is South
Mountain Park, the world's largest municipal park with ; others include Camelback
Mountain, Boyce Thompson Arboretum State
Park and Sunnyslope
Mountain, also known as "S" Mountain. The Desert
Botanical Garden displays desert plant life from deserts all over
the world. Encanto Park
city's largest and primary urban park, and lies just northwest of
downtown Phoenix. Papago Park in east Phoenix is home to both the Desert
Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo, as well as a few golf
- See also: List
of radio stations in Arizona, List of films shot in
The first newspaper in Phoenix was the weekly Salt River Valley
which later changed its name to the Phoenix
Today, the city is served by two major daily newspapers:
The Arizona Republic
(serving the greater metropolitan area) and the East Valley Tribune
primarily the cities of the East Valley). In addition, the city
is also served by numerous free neighborhood papers and weeklies
such as the Phoenix New
Times, Arizona State University's The State
Press, and the College Times.
40 years, The Bachelor's
, a paid weekly newspaper, has covered local politics
while selling ads for area strip clubs and escort services.
The Phoenix metro area is served by many local television stations
and is the 12th largest designated market area
(DMA) in the
U.S. with 1,802,550 homes (1.6% of the total U.S.). The major network
television affiliates are KPNX 12
(NBC), KNXV 15
(ABC), KPHO 5
(CBS), KSAZ 10
(Fox), KUTP 45
(MNTV), KASW 61
(CW) and KAET 8
(PBS, operated by ASU). Other network television affiliates
operating in the area include KPAZ 21
(Univision), KTAZ 39
48 (Daystar), and
KPPX 51 (ION).
KTVK 3 (3TV)
and KAZT 7 (AZ-TV)
are independent television stations operating in the metro
KAZT broadcasts in digital
The radio airwaves in Phoenix cater to a wide variety of musical
and talk radio interests.
major feature films have been filmed in
the city, including Waiting to
Exhale, Song of the
South, The Gauntlet,
Psycho, Raising Arizona, Jerry Maguire, The Prophecy, Used Cars, Bill & Ted's Excellent
Adventure (used as a stand-in for San Dimas,
California), U Turn,
Eight Legged Freaks,
Lessons, Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The
Movie, Never Been
Thawed, Just One of
the Guys, Terminal
Twilight, and The Banger Sisters.
As the capital of Arizona, Phoenix houses the state legislature
. In 1913, the
commission form of government was adopted. The city of Phoenix is
served by a city council
city council members. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote to a
four-year term. Phoenix City
members are elected to four-year terms by voters in
each of the eight separate districts that they represent. The
current mayor of Phoenix is Phil Gordon
, who was elected to a
four-year term in 2003 and re-elected to an additional four-year
term in 2007. The mayor and city council members have equal voting
power to adopt ordinances and set the policies that govern the
Phoenix operates under a council-manager
form of government, with a
strong city manager
city departments and executing policies adopted by the
The United States Postal
operates post offices throughout Phoenix. The main
Phoenix Post Office is located at 4949 East Van Buren Street.
As of February 9, 2009, Phoenix offers a domestic
registry open to opposite- and same-sex couples
with no resident requirements for registrants.
By the 1970s there was rising crime and a decline in business
within the downtown core. Arizona
writer Don Bolles
murdered by a car bomb
in the city in 1976.
It was believed that his investigative reporting on organized crime
in Phoenix made him a
target. Bolles' last words referred to Phoenix land and cattle
magnate Kemper Marley, who was widely regarded to have ordered
Bolles' murder, as well as John Harvey Adamson, who pleaded guilty
to second-degree murder in 1977 in return for testimony against
contractors Max Dunlap and James Robison. Dunlap was convicted of
first degree murder in the case in 1990 and remained in prison,
until his death on July 21, 2009, while Robison was acquitted, but
pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting violence against Adamson.
and the drug trade
had turned into public safety issues
by the 1980s. Van Buren Street, East of downtown (near 24th St),
became associated with prostitution
The city's crime rates in many categories have improved since that
time, but still exceed state and national averages. Phoenix's crime
has gone down through the years, although recent kidnappings and
human trafficking due to the Mexican drug trade have brought
negative attention to the city.
has been a problem in
Phoenix. The city consistently ranks high for both total thefts and
rate per 100,000. In 2001, Phoenix was number one for theft rate
with 35,161 total thefts, giving a rate of 1,081.25 per 100,000.
However, in 2003, Phoenix dropped to second place with 1,253.71 per
100,000 (behind Modesto, CA), although total car thefts rose to
Public education in the Phoenix area is provided by over 30 school
districts. The Phoenix Union High School
operates most of the public high schools in the city
of Phoenix. Charter schools
North Pointe Preparatory School also exist.
also small satellite offices for the University
of Arizona (based in Tucson) and
Arizona University (based in Flagstaff) located in Phoenix.
- Grand Canyon University is the nation’s only private, for-profit, Christian university.
Initially a non-profit school started in 1949, it was purchased by
three investors who brought it out of bankruptcy. Since the
takeover in 2004, enrollment has increased each year. It currently
has over 10,000 students; almost 85% attend the school online.
University-Glendale is located in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix proper. Founded as a sister
school to the original campus in Downers Grove, Illinois, it is home to a number of professional health care
education programs at the doctorate and master's level. The
degrees offered include the Doctor of Osteopathic
Master of Medical Science (MMS) in Physician Assistant Studies, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD),
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD),
Doctor of Podiatric
Medicine (DPM) and Doctor of
- Thunderbird School of Global
Management is regarded as a leading institution in
the education of global managers and has operations in the United
States (Glendale), Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Mexico, Central and South
America and China, and was
ranked number 1 in international business by The Wall Street Journal’s poll
of corporate recruiters, U.S. News & World Report,
and the Financial
- American Indian
College is a private, Christian college located in the
northwestern section of Phoenix.
- The Art
Institute of Phoenix is a small, private undergraduate
college which offers various majors in the areas of design,
fashion, media, and culinary arts. It admitted its first class in
Governors University opened a business office in
Phoenix in 2006. WGU is an online non-profit university. Governor Janet Napolitano was on the WGU board until
2008. Former NAU President Clara Lovett
was very active in the creation of WGU during its early days. WGU
has employees and students in Phoenix and throughout Arizona. In
early June 2008, WGU passed current enrollment of 10,000 students
spread throughout the U.S.
- The University of
Phoenix is also headquartered in Phoenix. This is the nation’s
largest for-profit university with over 130,000 students at campuses
throughout the United
States (including Puerto Rico),
Canada, Mexico, and the
Netherlands, as well as online.
of Advancing Technology is a small, for-profit university, notable
for being a technology-oriented school. Their newly expanded
campus is located in Tempe, bordering Phoenix. The university is
composed of four colleges, along with an online program for
continuing adult education. As of 2009, about 1200 undergraduates
and 50 postgraduates enroll at UAT.
- Collins College
is a for-profit career college focusing on visual arts. It has two
campuses, one in Tempe and one in Phoenix. Both campuses are very
small and do not include student housing; instead, Collins students
must rent apartments in the area. In 2007, the Phoenix Business Journal
ranked Collins as Arizona’s top computer training school. Like many
for-profit institutions, Collins is nationally accredited and its
credits are not accepted by most regionally accredited
institutions. In the past, Collins has drawn controversy for abuse
of the federal financial aid program.
- DeVry University and Argosy University are for-profit institutions with small campuses
across the country and a large online presence. Both operate
post-secondary schools on the west side of Phoenix.
Community College District includes ten community colleges and two skills centers
throughout Maricopa County, providing adult education and job training.
community college in the district as well as the state is Phoenix
- The Phoenix School of
Law is a private law school located in downtown
Phoenix. The Phoenix School of Law is the only private law school
in Arizona and the only one with both a part-time evening program
and full-time program. The school is not affiliated with the
similarly named University of Phoenix. The school
is the only private accredited law school in Arizona. Phoenix Law
received provisional approval for accreditation by the American Bar
Association in June 2007. Within just a few years of opening,
Phoenix Law has gained a notable reputation—ninety-seven (97)
percent of Phoenix Law's first graduating class passed the Arizona
State Bar examination in July 2008. Out of 184 accredited law
schools assessed in US News and World Report's rankings for schools
of law, only nine schools had a higher bar passage rate, all nine
were among the top 100 law schools, and five were among the top 30
law schools in the nation.
is served by Sky Harbor International
Airport , which is centrally located in the metro area near
several major freeway interchanges east of downtown Phoenix.
Sky Harbor is the ninth-busiest airport in the U.S. and 17th in the
world for passenger traffic, handling more than 42 million
travelers in 2007. The airport serves more than 100 cities with
non-stop flights. Aeromexico,
Air Canada, British Airways, and WestJet are among several international carriers as
well as American carrier US Airways(which
maintains a hub at the airport) providing flights to destinations
such as Canada, Costa
Rica, and Mexico.
Gateway Airport in neighboring Mesa also serves
the area’s commercial air traffic. It was converted from
Force Base, which closed in 1993.
The airport has
recently received substantial commercial service with Allegiant Air
opening a focus city operation at the airport with non-stop service
to over a dozen destinations.
airports that primarily handle private and corporate jets include
Deer Valley Airport , located in the Deer Valley district of northwest
Phoenix, as well as municipal airports including Glendale
Municipal Airport and Phoenix Goodyear Airport.
Rail and coach
has not served Phoenix Union Station
Phoenix is the largest city proper in the United States without
intercity passenger rail service, although service is offered to
the metropolitan area. The Sunset
Limited and Texas Eagle stop three
times a week at Maricopa, thirty miles south of downtown Phoenix (for
shuttle and other travel information, see the
Texas Eagle site). Amtrak Thruway buses connect Sky Harbor to
Flagstaff for connection with the daily Southwest Chief service to Los Angeles and Chicago.
Phoenix is served by Greyhound
bus service, with the station at
24th Street located near the airport.
Opening day of the light rail,
December 27, 2008.
Public transportation throughout the metropolitan area is provided
by Valley Metro
operates a system of buses and a rideshare program. 3.38% of work
commutes are made by public transit. Valley Metro has completed
work on a $1.4 billion, segment of the light
project, called the METRO Light Rail
north-central Phoenix through downtown and then east through Tempe
and Mesa. On December 27, 2008, it opened to the public; future
segments of more than are planned to open by 2025.
For additional information, see: METRO Light Rail
Bicycle transportation is a mode that 0.89% of Phoenix commuters
utilize, down from 1.12% a decade ago.
Association of Governments
has a bicycle advisory committee
working to improve conditions for bicycling on city streets and
Midtown Phoenix skyline, looking north
up Central Avenue.
The street system in Phoenix is laid out in a traditional grid
system, with most roads oriented either north-south or east-west.
The zero point is the intersection of Central Avenue and Washington
Street. Numbered Avenues run north–south west of Central; numbered
Streets run north–south east of Central. Major arterial streets are
spaced one mile (1.6 km) apart. The one-mile (1.6 km)
blocks are divided into approximately 1000 house numbers north and
south, and 800 house numbers east and west, although this varies.
Scottsdale Road, being 7200 East, is approximately 7200 / 800 =
east of Central. The Valley Metro bus numbers are also based on
this numbering system, with the Central Avenue bus being Route
Zero, and Scottsdale Road being Route 72.
Freeways and expressways
Phoenix is served by a growing network of freeways, many of which
were initiated by a ½ cent general sales tax measure approved by
voters in 1985. Before this network, Interstate 10
and Interstate 17
handled almost all freeway
traffic in Phoenix, placing a large burden on surface arterial
streets, leading to increased traffic congestion as the area grew
The current freeway system comprises two interstate routes (I-10
and I-17), the nearly transcontinental US 60
, and several state highways as well —
including SR 51
, SR 85
, Loop 101
, SR 143
, and Loop 202
Eventually, several other state highways (Loop 303
, SR 801
, and SR 802
) will make their way into the
system as they are needed.
Sign showing Phoenix's sister
Phoenix, Arizona, has ten sister
, as designated by the Phoenix Sister Cities