A local’s guide to Phoenix
- By Carrie Wheeler
- Photos by Dominic Valente
Phoenix is the home of dry heat, rivers without water, saguaro cactuses, snowbirds and ample patios. With few natural boundaries, the metropolitan area stretches far and wide, seamlessly melding into the surrounding suburbs. For eight or nine months a year, it’s the envy of much of America, with blue skies, abundant hiking, mountain biking, amazing sunsets and outdoor dining.
Phoenix boasts a little of everything: diversity in its food, a growing arts scene and some James Beard Award-winning chefs. For every strip mall (and there are many), there’s a locally owned restaurant, boutique or art space trying to make its mark in the valley. In Phoenix, half the thrill of going out is uncovering new hidden treasures and discovering the community of people working to make Phoenix an interesting place to live.
Meet Carrie Wheeler
Carrie has lived in the Phoenix area since 3rd grade. She left for short stints in Osaka, D.C. and L.A., but has always found her way back to the desert. One of her favorite things about living in the Valley: the smell of creosote bushes after a rain. Her biggest dislike: finding live scorpions in and around her house.
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- Saguaro (suh-war-oh), cholla (choy-ya), ocotillo (oak-uh-tee-yo). We can identify tourists when they butcher these plant pronunciations.
- No matter the season, bring a sweater. It gets cold in the desert in the winter. Not Chicago-cold, but if you’re here December through February, have layers. In summer, businesses crank the A/C to frigid.
- You won’t want to miss the Arizona sunsets and, if you’re ambitious, sunrises. The seemingly endless sky, jutting mountains and vivid orange-reds make some of the prettiest out there.