Phoenix: a heady mix of futuristic architecture and real cowboys.

The current capital of America’s state of Arizona was named after the mythical bird, the phoenix, which soared from its own ashes, and Phoenix city has certainly followed the lead of its namesake. Located in the Sonora Desert, nearly 150 years on from its foundation by pioneers, miners and ranchers, the city boasts huge skyscrapers, cutting edge technology, air conditioned shopping malls and the amazing Taliesin Institute, a branch of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural school and studio.

It’s a popular destination for Americans seeking to escape the cold northern winters, attracted by a large number of golf courses, hotel resorts and spas. In town, must sees include the Phoenix Museum of Art, the Heard Museum which focuses on native American culture, the Phoenix Science Centre and the new copper-coloured library.

In contrast, the town’s natural surroundings offer rugged mountains, real cowboys, amazing red rock and the chance to be dwarfed by a 15 metre tall cactus, the saguaro which can live up to 300 years. Remember, this is where many a a John Ford western was shot! Phoenix is also gateway to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley so why not base yourself here and explore America's Wild West?

British Airways flies to Phoenix from London Heathrow. Visit www.ba.com/phoenix for flight information and good holiday deals. Remember, temperatures can reach 43º in summer, so plan when to take your trip carefully.

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