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 Phoenix: Urban Sophistication In The Midst Of Both Desert And Mountains

AHCA/NCAL 64th Annual Convention & Expo

 

 

From Oct. 6 to Oct. 9, American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) members from around the country will converge on Phoenix for the organization’s 64th Annual Convention & Expo.
 
From culture to mountain climbing to professional sports events, Phoenix offers visitors a bountiful buffet of recreational and entertainment options.

Enjoy The Unique Nature

Far from a bleak and arid wasteland, Phoenix’s Sonoran Desert boasts blooming cacti and hillsides carpeted with wildflowers that you can explore on your own or let Hike in Phoenix take you on a guided tour.
 
Or hike without ever leaving the city by taking advantage of Phoenix’s more than 200 miles of hiking trails. In fact, TravelNerd has named Phoenix one of the Top 10 Urban Destinations for Nature Lovers.
 
The largest municipal park in the United States, South Mountain Park and Preserve, provides 16,000 acres of hiking, biking, and horseback trails. Other notable spots for outdoor recreation include Camelback Mountain, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, and Superstition Mountains.
 
A number of local organizations can help visitors create the perfect outdoor adventure. Take on Desert Dog Adventures’ 4X4 “desert stormin’” extreme adventure, or let Adventures Out West take you on an off-road Segway tour. Drive your own ATV through Box Canyon in the heart of the Sonoran Desert with Arizona ATV Adventure Tours, or do it yourself and rent your own ATV; jet ski; dirt bike; sports quad; kayak; or pontoon, wakeboard, UTV, or fishing boat at Arizona Outdoor Fun.
 
If motorcycles are more your style, choose from a wide array of rental motorcycles at Arizona Street Eagle Motorcycle Rentals. Or Cave Creek Outfitters, Ponderosa Stables, and Cave Creek Trail & Horseback Rides will help you put together the perfect horseback experience.

For those preferring a more “civilized” outdoor experience, choose from among Phoenix’s more than 200 golf courses.

Sports Abound

Plunge into Phoenix’s abundant professional sports venues and cheer on the NBA’s Phoenix Suns or its sister team the WNBA’s Mercury, the Arizona Cardinals NFL team, the Arizona Diamondbacks major league baseball team, or the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League.
 Cardinal Field
If college sports are more your thing, there’s always the Arizona State University Sun Devils or the Grand Canyon University Antelopes. Or cut loose and whoop it up at one of the city’s two NASCAR races at the Phoenix International Raceway.

Museums And Entertainment

Then improve your cultural literacy with a visit to the Heard Museum of Native American Art and Culture or, for contemporary art, the Phoenix Art Museum and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Kids will love the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and the Arizona Science Center. To revel in nature’s diversity, visit the Phoenix Zoo or the Desert Botanical Garden.
 
Live music thrives in Phoenix. In fact, during the days immediately surrounding the AHCA/NCAL convention, you can see live performances from Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, the Indigo Girls with the Phoenix Symphony, John Mayer, The Lumineers, the Avett Brothers, or Depeche Mode.
 
Or throw together a sampling of different cultural experiences and watch performances of The Diary of Anne Frank and take part in the 10th Annual Ales on Rails, the Arizona State Fair, or the Way Out West Oktoberfest.

Casual To Fine Dining

And, finally, don’t miss some of Phoenix’s outstanding dining experiences, such as El Chorro Lodge at the base of Camelback Mountain or the nearby Elements at the Sanctuary resort, considered by some to be the most picturesque restaurant in the area with appropriately superior cuisine.
 
Downtown PhoenixFor a dining experience reflective of Phoenix’s own history and culture, try Kai, the only five diamond Native American restaurant in the world. Or for something less formal, try the Pizzeria Bianco, said to make the best pizza in the country, or take the advice of locals, who say Mexican restaurant Los Dos Molinos is the city’s best-kept secret.
 America’s sixth-largest city, Phoenix, offers world-class restaurants, resorts, spas, stadiums, and arenas against a breathtaking mountain and desert backdrop with the Grand Canyon itself just around the corner. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the American West at its best.
 
Kathleen Lourde is a freelance writer based in Dacoma, Okla.
 
Author sources: Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and various individual websites listed below.
 
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