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Phoenix Comes to Life with Limitless Recreational Activities

This guest post comes to you from Heather Lissner, acting public information officer at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is serving as host of the 84th AAAE Annual Conference & Exposition (#AAAEPHX). Heather is just one of hundreds of PHX employees who are working diligently to make this year’s AAAE annual conference the best one yet.

One of the many highlights of attending an AAAE Annual Conference is not only the extraordinary learning and networking opportunities, but also getting to see the host destination. Phoenix and the surrounding area, known as the “Valley of the Sun,” offers visitors an experience unlike anywhere else in the United States.

The host; the gateway

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport serves as the gateway to the southwestern United States. From here, travelers can visit the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and other beautiful places throughout the state. But travelers should take note – Phoenix has much more to offer. The area has activities that appeal to all types of visitors – nature lovers, history enthusiasts, avid shoppers, gamblers and those who just want to relax and be pampered.

The biggest question many travelers to the Phoenix area have is what they should see and do downtown or within a short drive. Following are just a few of the suggestions.

Phoenix, Arizona--Host of the 2012 AAAE Annual Conference

A southwest experience

If you are looking for a true Southwest experience, several of the area’s attractions give visitors a unique taste of what Arizona has to offer. The Desert Botanical Gardens (pictured, below) is a point of pride for Phoenix. See desert plants, blooms and butterflies in a beautiful desert habitat. If you’re interested in learning about the area’s native peoples, their art, and their history, look no further than the Heard Museum, located in the heart of downtown. This museum is one-of-a-kind and will give visitors a truly memorable look into Phoenix, Arizona and the Southwest.

If you are an art lover in general, right down the street from the Heard Museum is the Phoenix Art Museum with an assortment of exhibits including western, modern, contemporary, European and much more. Art galleries are also located throughout downtown Phoenix where there will be and Art Walk Friday evening, May 4. This takes place during a larger event downtown called First Friday where visitors can take free self-guided tours of 100 art spaces in and around Downtown Phoenix from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Other First Friday activities include opening receptions, performance art, comedy, music, food and more. For maps and a listing of venues, visit

The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix

Active outings

If you like adventure, hiking trails abound in the Phoenix area in places like Papago Park, which offers an easy hiking opportunity and a chance to see some amazing rock formations. Climb up to the Hole in the Rock to get a vantage point of the Phoenix area. Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain also provide more strenuous hiking trails. Visit this link to find out more. Make sure you bring plenty of water! Phoenix also has numerous golf courses and places to go horseback riding.

Shoppers will find many delights from the Biltmore Fashion Park to Kierland Commons and everywhere in between. The Phoenix area offers many local stores that pride themselves on offering unique treasures

Visitors wanting to try their luck at our casinos have many to choose from in the area and those visitors who just want to relax will find some of the nation’s finest spas in the world. Pamper yourself and enjoy access to top-notch facilities and treatments special to the Southwest.

These are simply a few suggestions. Visit the Phoenix Convention & Visitor’s Bureau’s website for additional information on even more activities.