Vacations to Phoenix, AZ

Have you been thinking of vacations to Phoenix, AZ? With WestJet Vacations, you’ll find a package that suits your interests and budget. Home to great things to see and do like CityScape entertainment district, SMOCA and the Arizona Science Center, stylish, eclectic Phoenix, AZ makes a great destination spot. We know how hard it can be to plan an escape, no matter how big or small, which is why we’ve worked hard to take the stress out of planning by offering safe and comfortable package deals. Start your journey to Arizona's Urban Heart by browsing the packages below to find a trip that’s right for you.

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Phoenix Overview

The Greater Phoenix Area is a sprawling metropolis, home to more than 4.2 million people and designated as the most populous city in the Southwest region. But far from a hectic and overwhelming cluster of gleaming skyscrapers, Phoenix, is a destination where quaint charm and small-town sociability can still be found in day to day life. For the travel-loving tourist it's a city with a surprise around every corner.

Boasting more than 200 golf courses in the region and 300 days of sunshine, golfers migrate to Phoenix in hope of perfecting their handicap. Not a sports enthusiast? There's countless activities from which to choose, like shopping, relaxing at some of the world's best spas or venturing further afield to significant sites like the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater or the Arizona badlands. Saddle up partner because a Phoenix vacation is quite the ride?

Aerial View of a Golf Course in Phoenix, AZ

What to do during the day?

Known as the Valley of the Sun, the Phoenix metropolitan area is surrounded by a unique desert landscape. As arid and remote this may be, the dry conditions are responsible for cultivating rare flora and fauna, many of which you can see without having to venture into the desert heat. At Phoenix's Desert Botanical Gardens, visitors can find a variety of desert plants from around the world, including a stunning collection of cacti.

Surprising to some, Phoenix has gained quite the reputation as a spa lover's paradise, owing in part to the town's early 20th century history as a warm haven that can cure what ails you. Later in the 1930s, Elizabeth Arden opened a spa in the neighbouring city of Scottsdale, inspiring many more companies to follow suit and take advantage of the desert climate. Today some of those top resorts include the four-star award winning Spa at Sanctuary, Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms and Scottsdale's The Centre for Well Being.

Music lovers will find much of interest at Phoenix's Musical Instruments Museum, the largest museum of its kind opened in 2010, where visitors can explore a collection of more than 15,000 instruments from every corner of the globe. There's even the option to take in a concert during a coveted after-hours performance or else explore the rest of Phoenix's electric nightlife?

Arizona Desert in Phoenix, AZ

What to do at night?

When the sun goes down, Phoenix locals come out to play at some of the city's top nightspots. Nestled in the downtown core, the Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour makes its home in one of the city's first ever high-rise buildings, a space once used as the nerve center of Arizona's prohibition headquarters. Today it's a suave venue serving a round-the-world selection of classic and speciality cocktails made with spirits, tonics, syrups and other delicious ingredients.

For an evening filled with laughter, comedy clubs are a favourite nighttime option for slap-happy patrons. At downtown Phoenix's Stand Up Live, an ever-changing roster of comedians and celebrities take to the stage to spin their best jokes, entertaining patrons as they snack on nachos and bar snacks.

Going to the chapel?

While Nevada can lay claim to the "quickie" wedding, the neighbouring state of Arizona is becoming known as the destination boasting the most unique ceremony locations. Desert resorts boast matchless backdrops as brides and grooms exchange vows in the moon-like landscape. At the eclectically decorated Saguaro boutique hotel in the centre of Scottsdale's Art District, ceremonies are performed amid contemporary Southwestern d'cor, perfect for making photos pop. Meanwhile at The Wigwam resort, shady towering palms and the scent of 8,000 rose bushes will set the tone for your Phoenix wedding, which here comes with an endless choice of package options.

Cactus & Sunset in Phoenix, AZ

What else is nearby?

Aside from being a choice destination in itself, a vacation to Phoenix also serves as a great base to explore more of Arizona's popular sites. The Grand Canyon, just over a three-hour drive away is one of the state's most visited attractions as millions of tourists each year make the trek to gaze into the desert abyss. Sprawled across 277 miles, the 17 million-year-old geographical landmark offers unmatched views, scenic hikes and a whole new perspective on our ancient planet.

A slight detour on your journey between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, curious travellers will be intrigued by Meteor Crater, a meteorite impact crater 3,900ft in diameter and 570ft deep. It's believed that this natural curiosity occurred about 50,000 years ago by a meteor about 160ft across.

Enthralled by the expansive desert landscape and longing to see more of this much romanticized region? A three and a half hour trip from Phoenix will find you in the Petrified Forest National Park and, nearby, the Painted Desert badlands. Both beautiful and brutal, these protected areas offer the ultimate to escape for quiet solitude and contemplation as you marvel at the multi-layered topography.

Cactus with a View in Phoenix, AZ

What to eat?

Like many southwestern towns, Phoenix combines its love of good meat with that of full-flavoured tex-mex, influenced by its large Hispanic population. Guacamole and margaritas go hand in hand at Barrio Cafe, a central Phoenix Mexican restaurant ran by the ebullient Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, who mixes spice combinations to coax flavour over heat.

Another much-buzzed about eatery in the Phoenix area is Rusconi's American Kitchen, where Chef Michael Rusconi whips up crowd-pleasing plates of buffalo sirloin, racks of lamb and burgers. Of course, visitors to the Southwest can't leave without sampling a traditional chili dish and, indeed, many restaurateurs are happy to serve up a bowl of this comforting chow. One of the best eateries for this is arguably Texaz Grill, where steaming bowls are topped with fistfuls of grated cheese.

Where to stay?

Low budget:

Cheap and chic or upmarket expense, in Phoenix, Arizona there's an accommodation option to suit every budget. In the low end price range, countless motels and B&Bs offer clean, simple surroundings from just $60 per night. The 3 Palms hotel with its outdoor pool, spa amenities and fitness centre is one such lodging that will make your Phoenix stay a memorable one.

Mid-range:

In the mid-range price category, Phoenix offers an extensive array of options for those looking for a little luxury without breaking the bank. From $96 per night the Arizona Golf Resort and Spa offers access to two outdoor swimming pools and a golf course to practise your swing. Nearby the Embassy Suites Phoenix North, from $98 a night, also features an outdoor pool and makes getting around the area a breeze thanks to the complimentary shuttle.

High roller:

Phoenix's upper echelon of hotels are well-equipped to satisfy traveller whims with their extensive amenities. At Paradise Valley's DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel, all rooms include private balconies, air conditioning and designer toiletries from $151. Likewise Scottsdale's Hotel Indigo,from $120 per night, sets the stage for a peaceful night's sleep in exquisitely decorated contemporary rooms.

When to go?

Phoenix's weather and extensive conference facilities make it a prime destination to host large scale multi-cultural fairs and events. The Arizona State Fair takes place in Phoenix in September, drawing crowds from across the plains, as well as international snowbirds who flock from Canada in the early Autumnal months. Spring vacation makes April and March a heavily trafficked season, occasionally influencing hotel room hikes, however, as the mercury rises from June through to August, prices during this time can reduce by as much as 30 percent.

Getting around?

As a densely populated city, Phoenix offers a number of public transport options to make getting around an easy feat. The Metro Light Rail runs from central Phoenix, through downtown and on to Mesa in the east, while stopping near some of the city's top attractions. Fares are $2 per ride or $4 for an all-day pass, which can be used across all Valley Metro services, including buses. Taxis are abundant in downtown Phoenix and charge $3.50 for the initial fare and $2 for each additional mile. For a novel experience, pedicabs can be a fun choice for short trips, though rates are considerably higher than automotive taxi services.

Weather

Phoenix experiences little humidity and, given the desert locale, is best known for its dry heat. Summer highs can reach 41°C (June to August), while winter lows can fall to 7°C (December to February). Unlike other towns in the region, there's little cooling between Phoenix's day and nighttime temperature due to the urban heat island effect, whereby heat stored in buildings and pavements is radiated back at night. Rainfall is an infrequent occurrence with monthly averages rarely exceeding 23mm.

Currency

As a city within the U.S. state of Arizona, the currency of Phoenix is that of the American dollar (sign: $; code: USD), which can be purchased at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Likewise, most hotels will exchange foreign currency and traveller's checks are still widely accepted. Always inform your bank of any travel plans if you intend to use a credit card.

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