What Only Locals Know in Phoenix

Get familiar with the 10 best-kept secrets of the Arizona city.
By: Amy Silverman
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Phoenix invented the staycation. Long before economists were glooming and dooming and people were staying put, Phoenicians were taking advantage of deals at local resorts during the long, hot Phoenix summer. The Arizona Biltmore shows movies outdoors on weekends while guests float in the pool. Just about all the high-end hotels offer great summer rates. You just have to ask.

There IS a short cut from downtown Phoenix to the East Valley. Take the I-10 to the Sky Harbor exit and cut through the airport. Guaranteed to cut 15 minutes off your commute home.

Irrigated neighborhoods are cooler than nonirrigated. Late spring through fall, many older neighborhoods get weekly flood irrigation, great for keeping big trees alive and lowering area temperatures, if only by a few degrees. But when it’s 115, every bit helps.

There’s one drive-in movie theater left in town, the West Wind 6 Drive-In at 8101 E. McKellips in Scottsdale.

The best playgrounds in town are at the malls. Particularly Westcor malls like Scottsdale Fashion Square and Fiesta Mall. Some even have full-sized carousels.

Everyone goes out to the First Friday art walk but if you want to see the art instead of the people, go on Third Friday, when the artists have their receptions. There's also free wine and cheese.

You can have one last chance at the cheapest designer duds you’ll ever find. Nordstrom sends all its returns and overstocked items to Last Chance, 1919 E. Camelback Road, where you can brave the crowds for amazing deals on designer goods from the likes of Kate Spade and Prada.

There’s a lake in the middle of this dry, dusty town! The barren Salt River bed was dammed in late 1990s to create Tempe Town Lake. It give the locals a chance to row their boats.

If you speed, expect a ticket in the mail. The city is crawling with photo radar cameras. Technically, you don’t have to pay the ticket unless it’s delivered by a process server, but that’s advice best given by a lawyer.

It’s not really a dry heat. Everyone will tell you that, but the truth is it’s downright sticky in July and August, with gorgeous monsoon storms that blow hard through the city. So keep your trees trimmed.

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