Visit Phoenix: The Desert You Never Knew

Diverse landscapes, sun-tipped mountain ranges, and communities rich with culture. Experiencing Arizona has never felt so good.

Director of Media Relations and Arizona native Doug MacKenzie has the coveted role of Arizona storyteller and national and international media representative.

What’s your Arizona story – why Arizona?

Desert character. It can’t be conjured, landscaped or kindled with twinkling bulbs. John Ford knew that. So did Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis L’Amour. Come to Greater Phoenix and you’ll understand, too.

America’s fifth-largest city still has cowboys and red-rock buttes and the kind of cactus most people see only in cartoons. It is the heart of the Sonoran Desert and the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and its history – both living and preserved – is a testament to the spirit of Puebloans, ranchers, miners, and visionaries.

Projected against this rugged backdrop is a panorama of charm – resorts and spas infused with Native American tradition. Golf courses that stay emerald green in the middle of winter. Mountain parks crisscrossed with trails. State-of-the-art sports arenas worthy of the Super Bowl.

This is the desert you never knew!

Is there something about Arizona animates what you do?

With 320 days of sunshine, an amazing culinary and agri-tourism component, tasty craft beer, and Arizona vineyards are all exciting. Our nonstop sporting events from the Phoenix Open to our Baseball Spring training and as host to the Super Bowl in 2023 and the Final Four in 2024, you can’t be in a better sports town.


What made you choose Arizona?

Surrounded by the scenic landscape of the Sonoran Desert, Greater Phoenix provides the excitement of the Old West within a thriving metropolitan area brimming with cultural activity. More than 40 luxurious resorts are scattered throughout America’s sunniest metropolis, and many of them feature spectacular spas that offer treatments native to Arizona.

Recognized worldwide for its broad spectrum of outdoor recreational opportunities such as golf, biking, and hiking, Greater Phoenix basks in sunshine more than 300 days each year. This is the perfect place to enjoy almost 200 picturesque golf courses or call out the adventurer in you. The options include hot-air balloon rides, Jeep and Hummer tours, racecar-driving lessons, horseback riding, and rock climbing.

When it’s time for fun and relaxation, get out and see a show, symphony or ballgame in downtown Phoenix, visit museums filled with Native American art and history, and enjoy incredible culinary delights. As one of only 13 U.S. cities to field teams in all four major professional sports, Greater Phoenix is a sports haven. It’s also a genuine shopper’s paradise with fabulous malls, unique boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and outlet centers.

With so many ways to keep busy, or simply lounge out and do nothing at all, it’s easy to see why visitors find themselves completely satisfied in Greater Phoenix.

What people or businesses do you admire here in Arizona?

If escape is what you’re after, you can indulge your every whim at any one of our unique accommodations. Home to some of the world’s most fabulous destination resorts, our collection includes the elegant Arizona Biltmore, The Phoenician, Royal Palms, Westin Kierland, JW Marriott at Desert Ridge, Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch, Mountain Shadows, Andaz and the Pointe Hiltons.

If you were going to pitch the Arizona experience to someone, what would you say?

Three major mountains buttress metropolitan Phoenix, providing visitors an outlet for every grade of outdoor activity—hiking, trail running, cycling, mountain biking, climbing, and canyoneering. Phoenix is also the largest city located within the Sonoran Desert, the lushest desert in North America. In spring, blooming cactuses and wildflowers carpet hillsides and valleys, and cool streams ripple through hidden canyons. And, of course, the sun shines on all of it—more than 310 days a year. Enveloped by such scenery and weather, outdoors enthusiasts who visit Phoenix come to the same conclusion as so many coyotes and jackrabbits: The Sonoran Desert is a great place to play.

The new AZ5Cs are community, commerce, culture, catalysts, connectivity. So, what C would you add?

Cosanti – for the unique bells made here. Cactus League – for the 15 baseball teams that play here every March.

What does the future hold for your endeavor?

The international visitation is increasing and the opportunity to showcase the Sonoran Desert and our city will be a large and vibrant task.

Visit Phoenix

125 N 2nd St #120
Phoenix 85004