Why We Live Here
Nearly perfect year-round weather and several impeccably designed championship courses have made Phoenix one of the top golf destinations in the world. But there’s more to this mild-mannered metropolis than pristine greens and tee times. The greater Phoenix area also offers visitors an array of impressive cultural attractions. Visit the internationally renowned Heard Museum for an in-depth look at Native American history or peruse the fine collection at the Phoenix Museum of Art. Enjoy a ballet performance at the ornate Orpheum Theater or catch a concert at the state-of-the-art Comerica Theatre. In addition to golf, the city offers access to numerous outdoor endeavors including rock climbing, hot-air ballooning, desert jeep tours and more. Family-friendly attractions, first-rate shopping, dining and entertainment, and spectacular recreational activities make Phoenix a great place to live.
- Incorporated 1881
- Area 517.7 sq. mi.
- Elevation 1,086’
- County Maricopa
- Website https://www.phoenix.gov
- Population 1,733,630 (2021 est.)
- Population Density 3,348.9 per sq. mi.
- Median Age 33.8
- Families with Kids Under 18 24.3%
- Average Household Income $46,881
- Overall Cost of Living 103.7
For more than 2,000 years, the Hohokam peoples occupied the land that would become Phoenix. During their inhabitation of the valley, the Hohokam created roughly 135 miles of irrigation canals, making the desert land arable. The irrigation provided by these canals enabled the Hohokam culture to spread throughout the valley, and by 1300 AD, the Hohokam were the largest population in the prehistoric Southwest, and the largest native population north of Mexico City. At some point in the mid-15th century, the Hohokam culture simply disappeared from the area. After the departure of the Hohokam, groups of Akimel O’odham (commonly known as Pima), Tohono O’odham and Maricopa tribes began to use the area, as well as segments of the Yavapai and Apache.
The modern history of the city begins with Jack Swilling, a Confederate veteran who, in November, 1867 on a visit to the Fort’s camp, was the first to appreciate the agricultural potential of the Salt River Valley. He promoted the 1st irrigation system, which was in part inspired by the ruins of Hohokam canals. Returning to Wickenburg, he raised funds from local gold miners and formed the Swilling Irrigating and Canal Company, whose intent was to build irrigation canals and develop the Salt River Valley for farming. The next month, December, Swilling led a group of 17 miners back to the valley, where they began the process of building the canals which would revitalize the area. In light of the rebirth of a town after the collapse of the Hohokam civilization, the name Phoenix predominated.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act, allowing for dams to be built on western streams for reclamation purposes. Residents were quick to enhance this by organizing the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association to manage the water and power supply. The agency still exists as part of the Salt River Project. Theodore Roosevelt Dam was started in 1906.
On February 14, 1912, under President William Howard Taft, Phoenix became the capital of the newly formed state of Arizona.
The city fields teams in all four major professional sports leagues: The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, NBA’s Phoenix Suns, MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.
Major Attractions and Events
(See https://www.visitphoenix.com for tourism information.)
- Arizona Science Center
- Camelback Mountain
- Desert Botanical Garden
- Heard Museum
- Heritage Square
- Musical Instrument Museum
- Papago Park
- Phoenix Art Museum
- Phoenix Zoo
- PHX Arena
- Roosevelt Row
- South Mountain Park and Preserve