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The Phoenix area is called the "Valley of the Sun" and it's a very apt name considering how hot it was there in the middle of the summer. My family did not spend much time here on our trip to Arizona, but I did get to have a day to wander around myself. Though in the middle of the desert, Phoenix has a big modern downtown as well as unique districts all around with good restaurants and museums. (2005)

Get outside the urban core of Phoenix and its easy to know you are in a desert as you see miles of cactus all around. I was surprised to find that downtown Phoenix (called "Copper Square") is full of not only many unique buildings but also huge palm trees throughout. Adding to the interesting landscape of Phoenix are historic buildings such as the Jesuit College seen here. All along the northern edge of Phoenix are large rock outcroppings which serve as parks and resort locations and give a rugged contrast to the modern downtown and flat desert around. The historic square of Phoenix has some of the few remaining old homes in the area.