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Phoenix Travel Guide

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Ever since Elizabeth Arden opened a spa on Camelback Mountain in the 1930's, Phoenix (and its tony satellite sister, Scottsdale) has been a prime R&R destination for the wealthy and well-bred-and not much else. (Cue the local joke: What's the difference between Phoenix and yogurt? One has culture.) While the Valley of the Sun still has its priorities straight-warm desert breezes, swaying palms, chaise longues by the pool-something has shifted of late. The city's contemporary arts scene has finally achieved critical mass. Cool boutiques are launching; chefs are redefining southwestern cuisine; and-although malls and fairways continue to overtake the surrounding desert-civic-minded residents have preserved plenty of evocative landscape for nature enthusiasts. (Pinnacle Peak, a beloved local hiking spot, reopened after being closed for eight years.) And although Arden's spa is long gone, the resort scene is rife with ever-revamping hotels and state-of-the-art spas.

Don't Miss

  • Scrambling to the top of Camelback Mountain’s red rocks for a challenging hike with a payoff: a view of the entire city.

  • Sipping hibiscus juice, sampling tres leches (three milk) cake, and watching hundreds of tortillas roll off the assembly line at Phoenix Ranch Market—the most authentic Mexican market in town.

  • A stroll through Bentley Projects, a funky downtown warehouse and outpost of one of the city’s most popular galleries.

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Modified Arts

This tiny music club doubles as a by-appointmen

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