Bordered by Thomas Road on the north, Buckeye Road to the south and bookended by Seventh and 19th streets, downtown is Phoenix‘s historic and cultural hub, with 19th-century Historic Heritage Square at its center. A stay in a hotel here puts you close to restaurants, shops and museums. A block south of the square is the Wells Fargo History Museum and Arizona Science Center. A few blocks north, are the Heard Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum. Performing arts thrive at the Orpheum Theatre and Symphony Hall, while sports fans head for Chase Field and US Airways Center. Mass transit links downtown with Sky Harbor International Airport, Scottsdale and Tempe.
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Camelback Mountain, northwest of downtown, draws outdoor enthusiasts for its rocky, cacti-fringed hiking and biking trails. Camelback Road, between 24th and 44th streets, serves as the area’s bustling center. Modern office buildings share space with upscale shopping boutiques and sleek residential towers. The iconic Arizona Biltmore Hotel lies to the northwest, while Biltmore Fashion Park shopping mall draws the well-heeled to its outdoor garden paths. The lavish estates of the rich and famous who live in Paradise Valley make for some first-rate sightseeing.
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Just five minutes east of downtown Phoenix is Sky Harbor International Airport. The adobe ruins of Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park lie only a few minutes east. A few minutes further east is the Desert Botanical Garden, where vibrant wildflowers bloom along the trail. The Phoenix Zoo is also here, set amid million-year-old red sandstone formations that dot hilly Papago Park. Smart restaurants and boutiques line Camelback Road just a few blocks to the north.
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Twenty- five minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale is where to stay in Phoenix if you’re looking to rub shoulders with the well-heeled. Window- shop the megamalls like Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Fashion Square. Or poke around the luxury emporiums along the Scottsdale Waterfront, east of Scottsdale Road. Old Town Scottsdale sizzles with bustling cafés by day and a buzzing night life after the sun sets.
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Laid-back Tempe, 25 minutes southwest of downtown Phoenix and below Scottsdale, is easily accessible from downtown Phoenix via the Valley Metro Light Rail. Tempe’s main draw is the campus of Arizona State University. Bustling university life is most conspicuous on Mill Avenue, where students browse the funky boutiques by day and hang out at the clubs and bars at night. Family friendly spots nearby are the Arizona State Art Museum and the Tempe Center for the Arts. Wallet-friendly resorts and hotels surround the university area.
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