You might think you know a thing or two about sun-soaked Phoenix, Arizona, but let us tell you: for every thing you know about the city, there’s a lot more that you don’t.
If you’re plotting a visit to Phoenix, and you want to wow your fellow travelers with your knowledge of the city, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about this sprawling city in the Sonoran Desert.
1. It’s the 5th Largest City in the U.S.
Phoenix is a big city. In fact, it clocks in as the fifth largest in the entire United States, behind New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. As of 2019, its population was a whopping 1,680,992 — more than twice the size of cities like Seattle and Denver.
2. It’s Growing Fast
Phoenix is already a big city—and it’s still growing. The city has consistently outpaced U.S. population growth over the last two decades, and some projections forecast that its metro area could grow by as much as 60 percent between now and 2030.
3. 16 Million People Visit Each Year
Phoenix isn’t just home to a lot of people, it’s also visited by a lot of people. Before the pandemic reduced the rate of global travel, the city welcomed some 16 million visitors each year.
4. It Gets More Sun Than Any Other US Metropolis
According to data compiled by the National Climatic Data Center, Phoenix is the most sun-soaked city in the entire United States. On average, the city gets 334 sunny days per 365-day year—so don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!
5. There’s No Daylight Saving Time
Forget springing forward and falling back. Arizona—which of course includes Phoenix—doesn’t use Daylight Saving Time, so there’s no need to adjust your watch!
6. It’s 1,117 Feet Above Sea Level
Phoenix is situated in the Sonoran Desert, which gives the impression that it’s a fairly low-lying city. That’s not the case—it actually sits at an altitude of 1,117 feet. For context, New York City is just 32 feet above sea level.
7. It’s Home to More Than 200 Golf Courses
If you like golf, you’ll like Phoenix. Not only is the city the home of the immensely popular Waste Management Open, which draws a bigger crowd than any other PGA Tour event, but it’s also the home of more than 200 golf courses. Fore!
8. It’s One of the Few Native Habitats of the Saguaro Cactus
You know those cacti you used to see in old episodes of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner? The giant ones with multiple “arms?” Those are Saguaro Cacti, and the Sonoran Desert, which surrounds the Phoenix area, is one of the species’ only native habitats. These spiny specimens can grow up to 50 feet tall and live up to 200 years. Needless to say, they’re a sight to behold.
9. It’s Home to 2 Castles
Phoenix probably doesn’t strike you as the kind of place where you’d find a castle, but it’s actually home to two of them: the “Mystery Castle” and Tovrea Castle. Granted, these aren’t the kind of castles you’d find in Europe—they’ve never been invaded or sieged by trebuchets—but they’re still worth checking out!
10. It’s a Home Run for Baseball Fans
Phoenix is the home of the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, but that’s certainly not the only team you’ll encounter in the city. Every February, 15 major league baseball teams converge on the Phoenix area for Cactus League Spring Training—that’s 50% of the entire league!