Phoenix is the capital and the most populous city of the state of Arizona and the county seat of Maricopa County, as well as being the largest state capital in the United States by population. It is the largest city in the American Southwest and the Mountain Time Zone, and is the region's primary government, cultural, economic, and transportation center. Phoenix is located along the banks of the now normally dry Salt River.
Population: The city's estimated population as of 2006 was 1,512,986, making it the fifth largest city in the United States
Climate: Phoenix has an arid climate, and its average annual maximum temperature is the highest of any major US city. The temperature reaches or exceeds 100°F (38°C) on an average of 89 days during the year.
Things to See and Do: Several performing arts venues are found throughout the Phoenix area, but primarily in and around downtown Phoenix and in Scottsdale. One such venue is the Phoenix Symphony Hall, where performances from groups such as Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona often occur. Concerts also regularly make stops in the area. Venues for concerts include the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix, Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, and the Dodge theater (also in downtown Phoenix). Phoenix is home to a large number of parks and recreation areas. Many waterparks are scattered around the valley to help residents cope with the harsh desert heat during the summer months. Some of the notable parks include Big Surf in Tempe, Waterworld Safari in Glendale, Golfland SunSplash in Mesa, and the Oasis Water Park at Pointe South Mountain Resort in Phoenix. The area also has one amusement park in central Phoenix called Castles N' Coasters, next to the Metrocenter Mall.
Universities and Colleges: The University of Phoenix is headquartered in Phoenix. There are also ten community colleges and two skills centers throughout Maricopa County, providing adult education.
Transportation: Phoenix is served by Sky Harbor International Airport , which is centrally located in the metro area near several major freeway interchanges east of downtown Phoenix.
Public transportation throughout the metropolitan area is provided by Valley Metro, which operates a system of buses and a rideshare program.
Housing Costs: Estimated median house/condo value in 2005: $184,300 (it was $112,600 in 2000). Median gross rent in 2005: $708.
Retirement Communities: Olive Grove Retirement & Assisted Living Community, www.sunriseseniorliving.com