In Egyptian mythology, the phoenix was a majestic bird that lived in the desert for half a millennium before consuming itself by fire and rising renewed from the ashes. Though by Egyptian standards, Arizona's Phoenix has 400 years left to smolder, newcomers desperate to acclimatize after an air-con arrival may well believe that their goose is cooked. Let there be no mistake, Phoenix is a city in the sun, and no luxurious trappings are going to keep you from breaking a sweat.
Although it's the largest city in the US Southwest, Phoenix's greatest attraction is the land that surrounds it: a vast expanse of untamed desert. Today, as the state capital, Phoenix is as modern as any American metropolis, with a hyperactive arts scene and an economy as brisk as they come. You won't find the 1001 diversions of a New York or LA, but if cowboy chic and copius cacti are your thing, Phoenix has them both in abundance.