As the capital of Arizona, Phoenix offers some of the region’s best cultural experiences. Amongst the skyscrapers, you’ll find a thriving performing arts scene, including world-class opera and a symphony. The city is also home to three fantastic museums – Phoenix Art, the Musical Instrument Museum, and the Heard Museum, featuring Native American art. East of downtown, within the Greater Phoenix area, is Scottsdale, a city known for high-end spas, internationally renowned golf courses, and its access to the Grand Canyon. As one of the seven wonders of the world, the expansive Grand Canyon deserves its vaunted reputation. You can admire the view from the South or North Rims, or experience it up close and personal by hiking through the canyon on the South Kaibab Trail. Wake up early, or head down to the site at dusk, so you can catch a stunning sunrise or sunset at the canyon. South of the Grand Canyon lies the great state of Texas. Dallas, Houston and Austin are the state’s most famous cosmopolitan cities. Dallas is home to American football team the Dallas Cowboys, and several fantastic museums. Houston boasts the NASA Space Centre, the renowned Houston Grand Opera, and an Old Town with 19th-century buildings. Whilst Austin is the trendy up-and-comer, featuring music festivals, a great dining scene, and a hip nightlife.
As a mainly arid landscape, the American Southwest has a dry climate. In summer, the weather is sunny and hot with temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius between June and September. Don’t let the summer heat put you off though, as you’ll find air-con and swimming pools nearly everywhere. Winter brings cooler temperatures of around 15-20 degrees Celsius from December to January. At night time, temperatures drop even further, but this is a great time for trekking into the national parks.
British citizens don’t require a visa to enter the USA but you will need to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) to enter the country. Find out more information and general travel advice at GOV.UK.
Southwestern cuisine is a fusion of traditional American, Spanish, and Mexican influences. Dishes often feature seasonal and local produce, with coriander, chili pepper, and large cuts of meat. Make sure to try chili con carne, fajitas, cactus fries, BBQ or unique dishes like rattlesnake filet. Pair your meal with American wine, signature Southwest cocktails like margaritas, or fireball spirits. The Southwest also has a thriving micro brewing scene, so there are some fantastic local beers.