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The Phoenix/Scottsdale nomenclature can be misleading: When visiting the area collectively known as "the Valley of the Sun," you may cross over into other cities—such as Mesa, Chandler, and Tempe—during your exploring. The airport is surrounded by Phoenix to the west and north, Tempe and Mesa to the east, and Scottsdale to the northeast. Scottsdale has grown so much that the northern part, starting at the 101 freeway, is practically its own city, now called North Scottsdale. You'll do most of your traveling along I-10, which runs east-west (except for one stretch between Phoenix and Chandler, where it runs north-south), and other smaller freeways that help you stay off city streets.



Locals say there are ten good months and two bad ones. The bad ones generally start in mid-July and last through September, when the monsoons bring their magnificent lightning storms and heavy rains. Those months are unbearably hot—about 100 degrees every day—so things like CD cases and lipstick are doomed if left in your car. Bring a midweight jacket in the winter, when evenings can dip as low as the 30s. The weather in spring and autumn is absolutely divine.


Phoenix and Scottsdale are both served by Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), just three miles from downtown Phoenix and about 30 minutes to an hour from Scottsdale, depending on which end of the city you're headed for (3400 E. Sky Harbor Blvd; 602-273-3321;


Since the area is not pedestrian-friendly, we recommend renting a car. The Valley is so vast, a single cab fare can justify the car rental fee. The drive from Los Angeles takes about five to six hours along Interstate 10; it's the same from San Diego. Tucson is 100 miles southeast, Flagstaff is about 150 miles north, and Palm Springs is four to five hours west.


Phoenix Visitor Information Centers

Biltmore Visitor Information Center
2502 E. Camelback Road, Suite 101, Phoenix
Tel: 877 225 5749

Open Mondays through Sundays with variable hours.

Downtown Phoenix Visitor Information Center
125 N. Second Street, Suite 120, Phoenix
Tel: 877 225 5749

Open Mondays through Fridays 8 am to 5 pm.

Scottsdale Visitor Information Centers

Galleria Corporate Center
4343 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 170, Scottsdale
Tel: 800 782 1117
Tel: 480 421 1004

Open Mondays through Fridays 8 am to 5 pm.

Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall
Mall Concierge Desk
7014 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale
Tel: 800 782 1117
Tel: 480 941 2140

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 4 pm.

Kierland Commons
Mall Concierge Desk
15044 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 150, Scottsdale
Tel: 800 782 1117
Tel: 480 348 1577

Open Thursdays and Fridays 10 am to 4 pm.

Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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