Phoenix highlights photographed in November 2010:
This city is located in the very hot 'Valley of the Sun' in the beautiful Sonoran Desert in Arizona. It is the state's largest city, and with 1.6 million people is the 5th most populous in the United States; its metropolitan statistical area is 4.3 million, ranking 12th in the US.
The area of Central Phoenix is connected to downtown by this major street. It is a stretch of several miles primarily lined with average 1980's and 90's office towers, loosely interspersed with a few civic and cultural facilities. Empty lots, some neglected older properties, and low-density commercial strips typical of the sprawl of the metro area result in a fairly unexciting urban experience (but several notable facilities are still present). Fortunately, a cohesive streetscape gives it an identity, and a new light rail line runs the middle of much of its length with several platforms. The single light rail line is a great addition to the city, connecting Central Avenue with downtown with Sky Harbor Airport with the major suburbs of Tempe and Mesa.
The 10 Freeway runs underground for about 1/2 mile, with a park on top that features several plazas and lawns. Central Avenue crosses above the subterranean freeway and park on an attractive bridge.
Burton Barr Central Library:
Adjacent to Deck Park, along Central Avenue, is this impressive public library.
Phoenix Art Museum:
Also on Central Avenue, this complex of 1959 buildings has been expanded and renovated recently, with further work in progress. It is a successful blend of slick modern enhancement that respects the original concept.
Phoenix Financial Center:
One of Central Avenue's first business landmarks, this midcentury classic was designed by Wenceslaus Sarmiento. The first 11 stories opened in 1968, and the upper 8 stories were added in 1972!
The spiral lawn bowl along Central Avenue leads to this expansive Southwest art museum housed in a pleasing complex of simple mission revival buildings.
Downtown Historic Buildings:
Central Avenue leads South into the relatively compact downtown. It is not a particularly bustling downtown for a city of its size, but it is clean and features a good selection of representative buildings from various eras and styles. Most of the limited selection of historic buildings from the first half of the 20th century are pictured here.
Downtown 1960's and 70's:
A good variety of buildings from this era house government offices and chambers, hotels, and a symphony hall.
This downtown shopping and dining and office complex surrounds a nice planted plaza and garden.
New City Hall:
Phoenix Convention Center:
This large complex of three buildings covers 9 blocks of downtown.
Downtown Sports Facilities:
The US Airways Center is home to the metro area's professional basketball teams as well as arena football and popular concerts; Chase Field features a retractable roof and is home to the metro area's professional baseball team. Both are 1990's creations, adjacent to each other on the South side of downtown.
Downtown, Various Modern Buidlings:
This new downtown development, still being completed, features lowrise buildings for shops and dining and entertainment on two blocks with a shiny highrise towering above.
Much of the North side of downtown is being greatly enhanced by new buildings that compose an urban satellite campus of the Arizona State University, including a park dominated by sleek shade structures and a suspended sculpture.
Steele Indian School Park:
This large greenspace is in Central Phoenix on the site of a former campus, and features a lake and formal circle as well as a spiral desert garden.
Pueblo Grande Museum:
This visitor center is near the airport and interprets the Hohokam people's civilization in the area. It is built next to one of the most important archaeological sites of their culture.
On the edge of the city and separating it from a few of its suburbs, this large park is mostly landscaped with its native Sonoran Desert vegetation. It is studded with several rocky buttes and attractions.
Desert Botanical Garden:
One of the attractions in Papago Park is this wonderful assembly of themed trails that interpret the local flora as well as those from other desert regions of the world.
Another attraction in Papago Park is this large zoo. Its greatest area is an exhibit complex called Desert Lives, which features a trail with scattered interpretive ramadas and several large natural habitats for endangered Desert Bighorn Sheep (natives) and Arabian Oryx (exotic antelope which this zoo has had a major role in saving from extinction).
For my related Phoenix Metro picture threads, see: