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The Phoenix metro area is just over 9,000 square miles in area.
About the People
There are basically an equal number of men and women in the state.
About 58% of the people have had at least some college education.
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There are 15 institutions of higher learning, including Arizona State University and Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management.
Over 40% of the people in the metropolitan area are single (includes children).
About 25% of the population is Hispanic/Latino, 4% is African-American, 2% is Asian and 2% is Native American.
Although Phoenix is well known as a retirement spot, only 12% of the population is over age 65 (compared to 17% in Miami).
The average wage in the Greater Phoenix area in the year 2000 was close to $35,000. About 30% of the households have an annual income greater than $50,000.
About the Environment
The skies are clear 59% of the time, partly cloudy 22% and cloudy 19%. Annual rainfall is about 7 inches. July is technically the hottest month, but in June and August when the temperature gets over 115 degrees it all feels the same to me. The unofficial Phoenix greeting is ". . . but it's a dry heat!" See the monthly temperature averages for Phoenix.
The major industries are manufacturing (hi-tech), tourism and travel.
The sales tax is in the 7-8% range, and varies slightly depending upon the city.
As in any large city, Phoenix is trying to deal with crime issues. Gang-related and drug-related crime are most common in west and south Phoenix. The areas in Tempe, near ASU that are off the beaten path can be dangerous.
Other Phoenix Stuff
There are four area codes in the Phoenix area: 602, 480, 623 and 928. To obtain specifics about how to call different parts of the valley, see the area code page.
Phoenix is on Mountain Standard Time, and never moves the clock forward or back. Only the Navajo nation observes daylight saving time.
The average price for a new single-family home is $138,270 (1999) and the average property tax is about 10%.
Phoenix originated in 1866 as a hay camp.
There are six major lakes within an hour's drive from Phoenix
State Flower: Saguaro Cactus Flower
State Bird: Cactus Wren
State Tree: Palo Verde
State Fossil: Petrified Wood
State Gemstone: Turquoise
State Amphibian: Arizona Tree Frog
State Reptile: Arizona Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake
State Nickname: The Grand Canyon State
(yes, Grand Canyon IS in Arizona, NOT Nevada)
Phoenix /ˈfiːˌnɪks/ is the capital and largest city in the state of Arizona in the Southwestern United States. It is the county seat of Maricopa County. It was incorporated as a city on February 25, 1881 and is called Hoozdo, or "the place is hot", in the Navajo language and Fiinigis in the Western Apache language.
Phoenix is the sixth-largest city in the United States based on population. Census reported the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as the fourteenth-largest in the U.S., with a population of 3,251,876. The city's MSA grew to an estimated 3,790,000 by 2004. Between 1990 and 2000, the metropolitan area grew by 34 percent, making it the eighth fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S[verification needed].
Phoenix is the largest capital city in the United States, with a greater population than any other state capital or Washington, D.C., the national capital. Only the state capitals Juneau, Alaska and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma are larger in area than Phoenix.
Phoenix natives and residents are referred to as Phoenicians.
1.1 Origin of the city
1.2 Prosperity and modernity
2.1 Physical setting
4.1 Race and religion
5.3 Museums and other points of interest
6.2.1 School districts that serve the city of Phoenix
220.127.116.11 Unified Districts
18.104.22.168 High School Districts
22.214.171.124 Elementary School Districts
7 Sister cities
8 See also
10 External links
Phoenix was incorporated in 1881; the charter of that year was revised in 1893.
Origin of the city
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Passing through the area in 1867, Jack Swilling of Wickenburg, Arizona stopped at the foot of the north slopes of the White Tank Mountains and saw conditions conducive to farming, though lacking water. By 1868, he and others from Wickenburg had dug a short canal from the Salt River and founded a small farming colony approximately four miles (6 km) east of the present city and a few miles northwest of a similar farming community at Hayden's Ferry, which would become Tempe.
The area was named Swilling's Mill in his honor. It would later become Hellinwg Mill, Mill City, then East Phoenix. Swilling, a former Confederate soldier, wanted to name it the town "Stonewall", after Stonewall Jackson; others suggested Salina.
Lord Darrell Duppa recommended the name Phoenix, memorializing the birth of a new civilization from the ruins left by the Hohokam.
The town of Phoenix was officially recognized on May 4, 1868, when the Board of Supervisors of Yavapai County (which at the time encompassed present-day Phoenix), formed an election precinct there. The Phoenix post office was established June 15, 1868, with Jack Swilling as postmaster.
The area was surveyed in 1870 and a mass meeting of the citizens of the Salt River Valley was held on October 20, 1870, to select a suitable piece of unimproved public land for a town site. They recommended they site chosen be called Phoenix.
On February 12, 1871, the territorial legislature created Maricopa County, the sixth in the state, by dividing Yavapai County. Maricopa county gave up portions in 1875 and 1881 to help form Pinal and Gila counties, respectively. The first county election in Maricopa County was held in 1871, when Tom Barnum was elected the first sheriff of Maricopa County.
The first public school in Phoenix opened on September 5, 1872, in the courtroom of the county building. By October 1873, a small adobe school building was completed on Center Street (now Central Avenue), a short distance north of where the San Carlos Hotel now stands. Miss Nellie Shaver, a newcomer from Wisconsin, was appointed as the first female schoolteacher in Phoenix.
On April 10, 1874, President Grant issued a land patent for the present site of Phoenix. The total cost of the Phoenix Townsite of 320 acres (1.3 km²) was $550, including all expenses for services.
By 1881, Phoenix had outgrown its original townsite-commissioner form of government. The 11th Territorial Legislature 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, in which Judge John T. Alsap defeated James D. Monihon, 127 to 107, to become the city's first Mayor.
Prosperity and modernity
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.
In early 1888, the city offices were moved into the new City Hall, built where the downtown bus terminal now stands. This building also provided temporary offices for the territorial government when it moved to Phoenix from Prescott in 1889.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act making it possible to build dams on western streams for reclamation purposes. Valley of the Sun residents were quick to supplement this federal action by organizing the Salt River Valley Waters Users' Association on February 4, 1903, to assure proper management of the precious water supply. It functions to this day as the major agency for controlled use of irrigation water in the Valley.
On February 14, 1912, under William Howard Taft, Phoenix became the capital of the newly formed state of Arizona.
In 1913, Phoenix changed its form of government from mayor-council to council-manager, making it one of the first cities in the United States with this form of city government.
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge sold 13,000 acres (53 km²) of South Mountain to the city of Phoenix for $17,000. At its present size of 16,500 acres (67 km²), South Mountain Park is the largest metropolitan park in the world, and it entertains 3 million visitors each year.
The 1940s marked another turning point, as war changed Phoenix from a farming center to a distribution center. Phoenix rapidly turned 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 men into Phoenix.
In 1950, 105,000 people lived within the city limits and thousands more lived in adjacent communities. The city had 148 miles (238 km) of paved streets and 163 miles (262 km) of unpaved streets, a total of 311 miles (501 km) of streets within the city limits.
Landsat 7 Satellite image of the Phoenix Metro Area in 2002.Phoenix is located at 33°31'42" North, 112°4'35" West (33.528370°, -112.076300°)GR1 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 heart of the Sonoran Desert.
The Salt River course runs westward through the city of Phoenix; the riverbed is normally dry except when excess runoff forces the release of water from the four dams upriver. The city of Tempe has built two inflatable dams in the Salt River bed to create a year-round recreational lake, called Tempe Town Lake. The dams are deflated to allow the river to flow unimpeded during releases.
The Phoenix area is surrounded by the McDowell Mountains to the northeast, the White Tank Mountains to the west, the Superstition Mountains far to the east, and the Sierra Estrella to the southwest. Within the city are the Phoenix Mountains and South Mountains. Current development (as of 2005) is pushing rapidly beyond the geographic boundaries to the north and west, south through Pinal County towards Tucson, and beginning to surround the large Salt River and Gila River reservations.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the 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) of it is water. The total area is 0.05% water.
The Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (officially known as the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale MSA), is the 14th largest in the United States, with a total population of 3,251,876 at the 2000 U.S. Census. It includes the Arizona counties of Maricopa and Pinal. Major cities include Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, and Peoria. Several smaller communities are also included, such as Queen Creek, Goodyear, Fountain Hills, Litchfield Park, Anthem, Sun Lakes, Sun City, Sun City West, Avondale, Surprise, El Mirage, and Tolleson. The community of Ahwatukee is a part of the City of Phoenix itself, but is almost entirely separated from it by South Mountain.
Phoenix from South Mountain. Included is the Chase Ballpark, US Airways Center, The "S" for Sunnyslope, plane taking off from Sky Harbor Airport, and snowcapped mountains north of Phoenix.Phoenix's arid climate is characterized by some of the hottest seasonal temperatures anywhere. In fact, out of the world's large urban areas, only some cities around the Persian Gulf, such as Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Baghdad, Iraq have higher average summer temperatures. The temperature reaches or exceeds 100 °F (38 °C) on an average of 89 days during the year, including most days from early June through early September. On June 26, 1990, the temperature reached an all-time high of 122 °F (50 °C). Low temperatures have shown a strong upward trend during the past three decades, likely due to the Urban Heat Island. Overnight lows greater than 90 °F (32 °C) occur with greater frequency every summer. The all-time highest low temperature was 96 °F (36 °C), which occured on July 15, 2003.
The dry Arizona air makes the hot temperatures more tolerable early in the season, however, the influx of monsoonal moisture in July significantly raises moisture levels. On the other hand, mild, sunny weather in the winter months makes the area a mecca for golfers and others seeking to escape the cold typical of the northern U.S and enjoy the outdoors.
Phoenix sees some 300 sunny days per year and scant rainfall, the average annual total at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport being 8.3 inches (210 mm). March is the wettest month of the year (1.07 inches or 27 mm) with May being the driest (0.09 inches or 2 mm). Although thunderstorms occur on occasion during every month of the year, they are most common during the monsoon from July to mid-September as humid air surges in from the Gulf of California. These can bring strong winds, large hail, or rarely tornadoes. Winter storms moving inland from the Pacific Ocean occasionally produce significant rains but occur infrequently. Fog is observed from time to time during the winter months.
Due to the Urban Heat Island effect, frost rarely occurs in the center of the city. The last time the temperature fell below 32 °F (0 °C) at the airport was December 23, 1991. 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 varies considerably among terrain types and elevations. Frequently, outlying areas of Phoenix will see frost 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 temperature in Phoenix was recorded at 16 °F (-8.8 °C) on January 7, 1913.
Snow is extremely rare in the area, though still can occur from time to time. Snowfall was first officially recorded in 1896, and since then accumulations of 0.1 inches (0.25 cm) or greater have occurred only seven times. The heaviest snowstorm on record dates to January 20-21, 1937, when 1 to 4 inches fell (2 to 10 cm) in parts of the city and did not melt entirely for four days. Prior to that, 1 inch (2.5 cm) had fallen on January 20, 1933. On February 2, 1935, 0.5 inches (1 cm) fell. Most recently, 0.1 inches (1 cm) fell on December 21-22, 2005. Snow also fell on March 12, 1917 November 28, 1919, and December 11, 1985.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °F (°C) 66°F (19°C) 70°F (21°C) 75°F (24°C) 84°F (29°C) 93°F (34°C) 103°F (39°C) 105°F (41°C) 103°F (39°C) 99°F (37°C) 88°F (31°C) 75°F (24°C) 66°F (19°C) 86°F (30°C)
Avg low temperature °F (°C) 41°F (5°C) 44°F (7°C) 49°F (9°C) 55°F (13°C) 64°F (18°C) 72°F (22°C) 80°F (27°C) 79°F (26°C) 72°F (22°C) 61°F (16°C) 48°F (9°C) 42°F (6°C) 59°F (15°C)
Rainfall in. (mm) 0.8" (21mm) 0.8" (20mm) 1.1" (27mm) 0.3" (6mm) 0.2" (4mm) 0.1" (2mm) 1.0" (25mm) 0.9" (24mm) 0.8" (19mm) 0.7" (20mm) 0.8" (19mm) 0.9" (23mm) 8.4" (210mm)
Phoenix was ranked as the #1 hottest city in the U.S., and #2 as the driest city in the U.S. on The Weather Channel's "Top 10", a program involving with ranking cities on criteria such as hottest, driest, coldest, wettest, windiest, sunniest, snowiest, and most humid.
The city's automobile-dependent nature holds implications for greenhouse gas emissions. Like most United States cities, its public transit system remains unused for the majority of passenger trips. Its public transit system accounts for just one per cent of the passenger miles that New York City's does. One of many reasons is that Phoenix’s layout has a far lower population density; greater Phoenix, whose population is a little more than twice that of Manhattan, covers more than two hundred times as much land.
Phoenix has six neighborhoods:
Modern buildings downtownThe early economy of Phoenix was primarily agricultural, dependent mainly on cotton and citrus farming. In the last two decades, the economy has diversified as rapidly as the population has grown. As the state capital of Arizona, many residents in the area are employed by the government. Arizona State University has also enhanced the area's population through education and its growing research capabilities. Numerous 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 and recreation, and has a particularly vibrant golf industry.
Phoenix is currently home to two major Fortune 500 companies: electronics corporation Avnet and mining company Phelps Dodge Corporation. Phoenix also is a de facto home base for several Fortune 100 companies such as Honeywell, Intel, Motorola, and American Express. Honeywell hosts many factories for the building of military grade engines, as well as their company network gateway in Phoenix. American Express hosts their financial transactions, customer information, and their entire website in Phoenix. The area is also home to US Airways Group, Fortune 500 company located in Tempe). Nearby Scottsdale is also home to Allied Waste Industries, Inc. (also listed on the Fortune 500), the second largest non-hazardous solid waste management company in the United States.
The 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 3 military bases: Luke Field (still in use), Falcon Field, and Williams Air Force Base (now Williams-Gateway Field), with numerous auxiliary air fields located throughout the region.
Phoenix is also a popular location for filming for various media. The city government operates a film office that provides services for motion picture and advertising companies that are interested in filming at city-owned sites or in the metropolitan area. Some of the major feature films that have been filmed in the area include Song of the South, The Gauntlet, Psycho, Raising Arizona, Waiting to Exhale, 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, The Nutty Professor (1963 version with Jerry Lewis; the college exteriors were shot on the campus of Arizona State University), Blue Collar Comedy Tour:The Movie, Just One Of The Guys, Terminal Velocity, Taxi, and The Banger Sisters.
As with the rest of Arizona, Phoenix does not observe daylight saving time. Because of the desert weather, an extra hour of sunlight would only cause increased use of air conditioning and waste energy.
See also: List of major corporations in Phoenix.
City of Phoenix
Population by year
At the census of 2000, there were 1,321,045 people, 465,834 households, and 307,450 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,782 people per square mile (1,074/km²). There were 495,832 housing units at an average density of 1,044 per square mile (403/km²).
There were 465,834 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-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 males.
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.
Race and religion
As of 2000, the racial makeup of the Phoenix was 71.07% White, 5.10% African American, 2.02% Native American, 2.00% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 16.40% from other races, and 3.28% from two or more races. 34.06% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In 2000, the Phoenix metro area's religious composition was reported as 45% Catholic, 13% Mormon (concentrated heavily in the suburb of Mesa) and 5% Jewish. The remaining 37% are largely members of protestant denominations or are unaffiliated. 
City skyline from the zoo.The first newspaper in Phoenix was the weekly Salt River Valley Herald, which later changed its name to the Phoenix Herald in 1880.
Today, the city is served by two major daily newspapers: The Arizona Republic (serving the greater metropolitan area) and the East Valley Tribune (serving 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. For 40 years, The Bachelor's Beat, 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 according to September 2006 Nielsen estimate is the 13th largest designated market area (DMA) in the U.S. with 1,725,000 homes (1.55% 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 (UPN), KASW 61 (WB) and KAET 8 (PBS, operated by ASU). Other network television affiliates operating in the area include KPAZ 21 (TBN), KTVW 33 (Univision), KTAZ 39 (Telemundo), KDTP 48 (Daystar), and KPPX 51 (i, formerly PAX). KTVK 3 (3TV) and KAZT 27 are independent television stations operating in the metro area.
The radio airwaves in Phoenix cater to a wide variety of musical and talk radio interests. Due to the region's large Spanish-speaking population, there are also several Spanish radio stations with the majority of them playing music from the Northern parts of Mexico as well as the American Tex-mex styles.
See also: List of radio stations in Arizona
Club Sport League Stadium
Arizona Cardinals Football National Football League; NFC University of Phoenix Stadium
Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball Major League Baseball; NL Chase Field
Phoenix Suns Basketball National Basketball Association US Airways Center
Phoenix Mercury Basketball Women's National Basketball Association US Airways Center
Phoenix Coyotes Ice Hockey National Hockey League Glendale Arena
Arizona Rattlers Arena Football Arena Football League US Airways Center
Phoenix Roadrunners Hockey East Coast Hockey League US Airways Center
Arizona Sting Lacrosse National Lacrosse League Glendale Arena
Phoenix is home to several professional sports franchises, including representatives of all four major professional sports leagues in the U.S.
The Arizona Diamondbacks play at Chase Field in the National League - West Division of Major League Baseball. They began as an expansion team in 1998. 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, but also the youngest expansion franchise in U.S. professional sports to ever do so.
In addition, nine Major League Baseball teams conduct spring training in the area. These teams, plus three that train in Tucson, are collectively known as the Cactus League.
The Arizona Cardinals moved to Phoenix from St. Louis, Missouri in 1988 and currently play in the NFL's National Football Conference - West Division. They used to play at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University in east suburban Tempe, and are now playing at University of Phoenix Stadium in the northwest suburb of Glendale. University of Phoenix Stadium was actually featured on the TV show Modern Marvels for the roll-out natural grass field. Glendale is scheduled to host the Super Bowl in 2008.
The Arizona Rattlers are an arena football team that play in the Arena Football League (they play their games at US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix).
Phoenix's first major professional franchise was the Phoenix Suns, the city's National Basketball Association team, which started play in 1968. It holds a special place in Phoenix culture as it was the city's only top-level sports franchise for nearly twenty years. The Phoenix Mercury are a professional women's basketball team in the WNBA. Both teams play at US Airways Center.
Glendale Arena, adjacent to University of Phoenix Stadium, is the home of the Phoenix Coyotes (formerly the Winnipeg Jets), a member of the National Hockey League. They have played in the Phoenix area since moving from Winnipeg in 1996.
The Phoenix Roadrunners are a minor league hockey team in the East Coast Hockey League, owned by the Suns and Mercury ownership group and also playing in US Airways Center. This makes Phoenix one of the few cities where minor and major league teams in the same sport coexist.
The Arizona Sting are a professional lacrosse team, which is also a tenant of Glendale Arena, and plays in the National Lacrosse League.
The Phoenix International Raceway is a major venue for 2 NASCAR auto racing events per season. Boat racing, drag racing, and road course racing are also held at the Firebird International Raceway. Sprint car racing is held at Manzanita Speedway.
The Arizona State University Sun Devils compete in football, basketball, baseball, as well as a number of other sports in the NCAA. The Sun Devils football team plays their games at Sun Devil Stadium, which had hosted the annual Fiesta Bowl, until the 2007 game moved to the new University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Their nearest rival is the University of Arizona Wildcats, in Tucson.
Other major sporting events in the area include the Insight Bowl at Chase Field (will move to Sun Devil Stadium after the Fiesta Bowl moves to the new stadium in Glendale), and several major professional golf events, including the FBR Open of the PGA TOUR, the Safeway International of the LPGA, and The Tradition of the PGA Champions Tour. It was planned to host the 2006 NHL All-Star Game, but it was canceled due to the 2006 Winter Olympics (the recently adopted NHL collective bargaining agreement prohibits the All-Star Game to be held during Olympic years). As compensation, Phoenix has been granted the 2009 All-Star Game.
Phoenix's Ahwatukee American Little League reached the 2006 Little League World Series as the representative from the U.S. West region.
See also: U.S. cities with teams from four major sports.
Museums and other points of interest
The Phoenix Pride Commission maintains a list of 30 landmarks and attractions designated as Phoenix Points of Pride through resident voting. There are many other noteworthy locations in the metropolitan area.
The Arizona State Capitol, which used to house the state legislature, is now a museum
Saguaro in Phoenix
Barrel cactus in PhoenixArizona Biltmore
Arizona Historical Society Museum
Arizona Science Center, designed by Antoine Predock
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds
The Bead Museum - Glendale, Arizona
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
Burton Barr Central Library, designed by Will Bruder
Castles N' Coasters amusement park
Chase Tower (formerly Bank One Center), the tallest building in the state of Arizona
Desert Botanical Garden
Hall of Flame
Hotel San Carlos
Phoenix art museum
Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area
Phoenix Museum of History
Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
St. Mary's Basilica
South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the world with 16,500 acres.
Symphony Hall for the Phoenix Symphony at the Phoenix Civic Plaza
Taliesin West and Gammage Auditorium, both designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
The Arizona State Capitol in PhoenixIn 1913, the commission form of government was adopted. The city of Phoenix is served by a city council consisting of a mayor and eight city council members. The mayor is elected At Large, to a four-year term. Phoenix City Council 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. The mayor and city council members have equal voting power to make laws and set the policies that govern the city.
In addition to eight voting districts, the city is also divided into 15 "urban villages," the primary purpose of which is to assist the city council with zoning and planning ordinances. These urban villages are: Ahwatukee Foothills, Alhambra, Camelback East, Central City, Deer Valley, Desert Ridge, Desert View, Encanto, Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, North Gateway, North Mountain, Paradise Valley (not to be confused with the town of Paradise Valley), South Mountain, as well as a fifteenth which is as of yet unnamed (created in 2004 and currently called, "New Village."). The fifteenth is sparsely populated (if at all) and new development is not expected in the near future.
Former mayors of Phoenix include Emil Ganz.
Public education in the Phoenix area is provided by over 30 school districts. The Phoenix Union High School District operates most of the public high schools in the city of Phoenix.
The main institution of higher education in the area is Arizona State University, with its main campus located in Tempe, and satellite campuses in Phoenix and Mesa. ASU is currently one of the largest public universities in the U.S., with a 2004 student enrollment of 57,543.
The fast growing Western Governors University opened a business office in Phoenix in 2006. WGU is an online non-profit university. Governor Napolitano is on the WGU board.
The University of Phoenix is also headquartered in Phoenix. This is the nation's largest private, for-profit university with over 130,000 students at campuses throughout the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Mexico, and the Netherlands.
University of Advancing Technology is also located in Phoenix, and is a small private technology oriented school. They do not have a campus, and instead rent apartments from apartment complexes, in which students can live.
There are also ten community colleges and two skills centers throughout Maricopa County, providing adult education and job training.
School districts that serve the city of Phoenix
Many separate independent school districts serve Phoenix.
Some are elementary school districts that serve grades kindergarten through 8. The elementary school districts are paired with high school districts that serve grades 9 through 12.
Small portions of Phoenix are served by unified school districts, which serve grades K through 12.
Deer Valley Unified School District
Paradise Valley Unified School District
Scottsdale Unified School District
Peoria Unified School District
High School Districts
Glendale Union High School District
Phoenix Union High School District
Tempe Union High School District
Tolleson Union High School District
Elementary School Districts
Alhambra Elementary School District
Balsz Elementary School District
Cartwright Elementary School District
Creighton Elementary School District
Fowler Elementary School District
Isaac Elementary School District
Laveen Elementary School District
Littleton Elementary School District
Madison Elementary School District
Murphy Elementary School District
Osborn Elementary School District
Pendergast Elementary School District
Phoenix Elementary School District
Riverside Elementary School District
Roosevelt Elementary School District
Tempe Elementary School District
Tolleson Elementary School District
Washington Elementary School District
Wilson Elementary School District
Phoenix is served by Sky Harbor International Airport (IATA: PHX, ICAO: KPHX), which is centrally located in the metro area near the intersections of I-10, I-17, US 60, and State Routes 51, Loop 101, and Loop 202. Sky Harbor is the fifth-busiest airport in the U.S. and the world for passenger traffic for takeoffs and landings, handling more than 36 million travelers in 2000. The airport serves more than 100 cities with non-stop flights. British Airways, Air Canada and Aeromexico are among several international carriers providing flights to destinations such as London, Toronto, Costa Rica and Mexico.
The Williams Gateway Airport (IATA: WGA, ICAO: KIWA) in neighboring Mesa also serves the area's commercial air traffic. It was converted from Williams Air Force Base, which closed in 1993. Attempts are being made to convert it to a commercial airport to relieve traffic at Sky Harbor. The airport has occasionally received Boeing 737's from charter airlines to carry passengers to nearby destinations.
Smaller airports that primarily handle private and corporate jets include Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (IATA: DVT, ICAO: KDVT), located in the Deer Valley district of northwest Phoenix, as well as municpial airports in several area suburbs.
Public transportation throughout the metropolitan area is provided by Valley Metro, which operates a system of buses and a rideshare program. Valley Metro is currently building Valley Metro Rail, a light rail project, which is scheduled for completion in 2008. As of 2004 (when Houston started running its METRORail), Phoenix has been the largest US city devoid of a rail transit system. Interest has also been expressed in Phoenix and several neighboring cities for the creation of a commuter rail system operating on existing railroad lines.
Amtrak no longer serves Phoenix Union Station; Phoenix is the largest city in the United States, and perhaps the developed world, with no intercity passenger rail service. 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.
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 apart. The one-mile blocks are divided into 800 house numbers, although this varies. Scottsdale Road, being 7200 East, is approximately 7200 / 800 = 9 miles 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.
I-10 (the Maricopa and Papago Freeways) from Los Angeles travels from the west through downtown, and exits the metro area in a southeast direction towards Tucson. I-17 (the Black Canyon Freeway) begins in downtown Phoenix and travels north to Flagstaff. US 60 (the Superstition Freeway) also travels through the heart of the city, heading northwest through the suburbs of Glendale, Peoria, and Surprise. It also exits to the east of downtown, travelling through the suburbs of Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, and Apache Junction, and beyond. State Route Loop 101 (the Agua Fria, Price, and Pima Freeways) is also a major highway that forms a semicircle around the northern suburbs of the city, starting from I-10 in the west and travelling around to the Santan portion of Loop 202 in the southeast.
Phoenix has been rapidly expanding its highway system. In 1985, voters passed a proposition establishing a ½ cent general sales tax to fund new urban freeways: Arizona 51, Loop 101, Arizona 143 (the Hohokam Expressway), 153 (the Sky Harbor Expressway), Loop 202 (the Red Mountain and Santan Freeways), and Loop 303 (the Estrella Freeway), and the final section of I-10. Most of these have been completed by 2005, with Loop 202 and Loop 303 being in the final stages of construction and development.
Bicycle transportation is also an option, and the Maricopa Association of Governments has a bicycle advisory committee working to improve conditions for bicycling on city streets as well as off-road paths.
Phoenix, Arizona has ten sister cities, as designated by the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission:
- Calgary (Alberta, Canada)
- Catania (Italy)
- Chengdu (China)
- Ennis (Ireland)
- Grenoble (Rhone-Alpes, France)
- Hermosillo (Sonora, México)
- Himeji (Japan)
- Prague (Czech Republic)
- Ramat-Gan (Israel)
- Taipei (Taiwan)