When you’re trying to figure out where to go for spring break (or just a general getaway), you might initially think of places like Miami or LA. But between the two, you’ll find another solid option, where the sun is always shining and there’s plenty to do. The Phoenix metro area is home to museums, restaurants, bars, and sports galore— all enough to keep you plenty busy during a short vacation. The capital of Arizona is surrounded by cacti and good vibes, and you’ll want to get in on them. But if you need more convincing, read on for some solid reasons to make it your next destination. But first, a few logistics:
How To Get There
Fly into the modestly-sized Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, or drive into the metro area via the I-17, I-10, and I-40 highways.
Where To Stay
The Phoenix metro area is relatively large, and while you might think you need to stay within central Phoenix, there are plenty of other areas worth checking out (and checking into). Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale Resort is an excellent choice, just a short drive from downtown Phoenix, and even closer to charming Old Scottsdale — a mecca for boutique shopping, dining, and art galleries. For a fun, modern boutique-style stay, you can’t go wrong with the Clarendon Hotel and Spa in the downtown area. If your budget is a little tighter, try seeking out 3-star chains in the Glendale, Tempe, and Mesa areas.
Phoenix has a 35 station Light Rail you can use to get around from northern Phoenix, past the airport and all the way to eastern Mesa. Uber and Lyft are both available here, though expect somewhat longer waits than other metropolitan areas as shared rides are not available. Some hotels, like the Embassy Suites Scottsdale, also offer shuttle rides within a set number of miles.
The Weather Is Spectacular
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Blue skies, oranges, green trees 😍Scottsdale is a seriously pretty town. Still reminiscing about that #suiteweekend! . . . . . #visitarizona #visitscottsdale #explorescottsdale #scottsdale #scottsdaleaz #arizona #explorearizona #downtownscottsdale #oldtownscottsdale #southwest #latinaslovetravel #latinaswhotravel #travellatina #lgbttravel #lgbtqtravelers #queertravel #travelmom #familytravel #orangetrees #travelwriter #travelwriting #momswhotravel #mujeresviajeras #viajeras #latinatraveler
Phoenix enjoys plenty of sunshine year-round (over 300 days of it). But while summers can become a bit of a scorcher, the springs are exceptionally pleasant. Days are generally in the 70s and low 80s, while evenings always cool down into the 40s and 50s. Moreover, rain is practically nonexistent, meaning you’re able to plan plenty of outdoor excursions while you’re there (I highly recommend the Desert Botanical Garden for a stroll among the flowering cacti). This is especially appreciated while most of us are still dealing with the flip-flop between warmer and snowy days. Make sure to pack some shorts, flip flops, and swimsuits for the moment you spot an available pool.
It’s A Baseball Lover’s Dream
Latinxs make up over 30% of all professional Major League Baseball players, and we also account for a huge chunk of the fan base. As such, many of us know that the Phoenix metro area is the place to be for spring training baseball. In fact, there are about 10 spring training ballparks (from Avondale to Scottsdale to Mesa) and 15 professional teams that play there between February and March. But even after training is over, lovers of the game can regularly catch Arizona Diamondbacks games over at Chase Field, as well as various minor league ball games throughout the metro area in the summertime.
There’s Plenty of Pride
Arizona might not strike you as the most LGBTQ-friendly of states, but things are definitely improving (just ask their new, openly bisexual Senator Kyrsten Sinema). Phoenix has also been hosting a strong Pride parade every year since 1981. This year’s Pride (happening April 6th and 7th) should be a huge hit, in part thanks to appearances by Afro-Latina singer Amara La Negra as well as American Idol-alum and fabulous Latinx drag queen Ada Vox. While you’re in town, don’t forget to check out the local gayborhood, the Melrose District, and pop into plenty of queer-friendly establishments like Stacy’s at Melrose.
Lots Of Art To Appreciate
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Can you name #5WomenArtists? The phenomena of migration and borders are constant preoccupations for artist Betsabeé Romero. Part of her Migrant Series, the 17 tires that constitute Columna Interminable (Endless Column) are inscribed in gold leaf with abstract symbols drawn from Mesoamerican civilizations including the Aztecs in Mexico, the Paracas culture in Peru, and the Hohokam people of ancient Arizona. In 2017, Romero visited Phoenix and presented a lecture at the Museum organized by @calaalliancephx and @azartscomm. This #WomensHistoryMonth and beyond, we are joining @WomenInTheArts and organizations around the world to highlight and support the work of women artists and advance gender equity in the art world. Betsabeé Romero, Columna Interminable, 2015. On view. Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Gift of Friends of Mexican Art in honor of its 50th Anniversary, with additional support from Maria DeLongy, Greta Mock, Jacqueline and Paul Schulz, Kathren and Fritz Thomas, Kotzie Wheeler and Greta Woods. #BetsabeeRomero #PhxArt #PhoenixArtMuseum
Phoenix’s arts and culture scene is impressive, to say the least. For exhibitions on southwestern Native American and Latinx populations, try the Heard Museum. The Phoenix Art Museum houses a permanent collection of Latin American art and they’ve got an incredible Mexican photography exhibition going on now through the summer. Over in Tempe, you can also check out another permanent Latin American art collection at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. And if you’ve got your kiddos with you, make sure you drop by the Children’s Museum of Phoenix to bring them some age-appropriate doses of culture and fun.
Their Food Scene Is Top Notch
Phoenix is known for its exceptional southwestern and Mexican cuisine, which you can find in places like the Original Blue Adobe Grill in Mesa and The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale. Vegetarians won’t have trouble finding something to eat here as well (I highly recommend Farm and Craft, with locations in Scottsdale and Uptown Phoenix). Gluten-free your thing? Definitely check out The Herb Box. Moreover, I was floored by the amount of non-Mexican Latinx food available here! For Colombian, try Mesa’s La Tiendita. In the mood for arroz con gandules? Head to Puerto Rico Latin Grill. You can even get your pupusa fix over at Guanaquito. Rest assured, you won’t go hungry.