Phoenix lies 1,117 feet above sea level at the northern end of the Sonoran Desert, in the Salt River Valley. The area within the valley is flat, which has allowed the city to continue to expand out in all directions. Although the Salt River runs through the city, it rarely has any water in it as it has been redirected elsewhere further up the system. It only usually sees water when one of the rare rainstorms that hits the area results in the dams releasing runoff.
Although the valley is wide and flat, it is surrounded by a number of mountains, although not as high as those near Tucson. In the east is Superstition Mountain, the west has the White Tank Mountains, in the northeast the McDowell Mountains, and to the southwest the Sierra Estrella. The city has spread out so far that the South Mountains and Phoenix Mountains are now within the city itself. Although the financial crash of 2008 stopped a lot of building work, it has now picked up again and the city continues to expand.
Temperature And Climate
Phoenix Arizona has what is termed a subtropical desert climate, and the weather can get extreme with summer temperatures often going over 120F (49C). The climate in the area, and that of Nevada is caused by the geological uplift of the continental shelf that forms the ridge of high mountains along the West coast that includes the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The weather that comes in from the Pacific is blocked by this massive range of mountains and prevents the moisture from penetrating inland.
The average low temperature in January is 46F (8C), however it has been known to get down to 16F (-9C), and frost during this period is quite common early in the morning. In 2013 it did actually snow in the mountains just north of Phoenix, a very rare event. Temperatures in the summer average 104F (40C), with over 100 days a year being over 100F (38C). The area only sees rain for around 36 days during the year, and rainfall totals around 8 inches (20 centimeters) during that time.
Due to Phoenix Arizona being so close to the Mexican border, and also having a major international airport, it has a wide variation in nationalities and cultures, and is a very diverse society. It has a total population of around 1.5 million, and that is made up of:
• White – 46%
• Hispanic – 41%
• African American – 6.5%
• Asian – 3%
• Native American – 2.5%
• Others – 1%
The initial economy was based on agriculture, but as the city expanded it moved to producing citrus fruits, cattle, copper and cotton. Most of the farmland that was used in the first few decades of the city has now been converted to housing, and you have to drive some miles out of the city to find the cattle and cotton. One thing that the area has become famous for is its beautiful golf courses, which clearly stand out from the desert backdrop; trees are replaced by cacti making them unique. Due to the excellent summers in the area, tourism is also becoming a major part of the city’s income.
Things To Do
These days there is a lot to do in Phoenix Arizona, especially for those who enjoy the arts. There is usually something on at the Phoenix Symphony Hall to keep classical music lovers entertained. There are also a large number of concert halls such as the Jobing.com Arena and US Airways Center. There is also an abundance of museums that includes the massive Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum.
Phoenix Arizona has many things to do, from nightlife, restaurants and of course sport. Then there are the activities out in the desert and mountains. It is a fabulous place to visit with a rich history for a city so young, and a mixed culture that many other cities in the world have taken centuries to cultivate.