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Phoenix, Arizona

For 2,000 years the Hohokam peoples found a way to irrigate the north Sonoran Desert and grow plenty of food. They appear to have vanished in the 15th century - but the paths of their life-giving water canals remained. This "Valley of the Sun" oasis land became Phoenix in 1861.

Go to the Pueblo Grande Museum to see a 1500-year old village that the Hohokam left behind. Find calm in a cactus grove at the Desert Botanical Park. Walk around Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's home that he made out of local desert rocks and boulders. Afternoon sun paints the mountains above Phoenix in vivid colors. The warehouse district lights up downtown with dance and live music at night.

The Welcome Diner, built in 1940's Kansas and trucked to Arizona, serves up Southern country kitchen grill specials and locally brewed beers. Or, enjoy Asian snacks at Nobuo's rustic bungalow Japanese pub. For local Mexican fare, enjoy spicy fish dishes at Barrio Café.

You might glimpse wild horses as you kayak on the nearby Salt River. Find your way to Grand Canyon National Park and cascading blue Havasu Falls. Travel two hours from Phoenix to magic Sedona - a short hike through Red Rocks State Park takes you to a creek you can swim in. Discover in Sedona's Tlaquepaque Arts Village the transforming studio of Honshin, master meditational artist.

Photo 1 Photo Credit: Greater Phoenix CVB