Standing at the top of Camelback Mountain , a red sandstone peak that dramatically rises from the center of metropolitan Phoenix , it’s easy to appreciate why so many people have migrated to the Valley of the Sun. The city’s two great natural resources — light and space — seem infinite, especially at sunset when the sky is streaked with bold swatches of yellow, vermillion, and hot pink.
It’s also an extraordinary illustration of how being so popular can utterly transform a landscape. The vast desert floor, once dotted by saguaro cacti and mesquite trees, is now a sweeping expanse of red-tile roofs and slender palm trees, punctuated by lush golf courses, swimming pools, and an efficient grid of streets and freeways. Glass skyscrapers cluster in the city’s downtown, marking Phoenix’s status as the commercial center of the American Southwest.
That’s not to say the Sonoran Desert has been lost to the conquistadors of modern-day development. The rugged, millennia-old landscape is far too tough and enduring to permanently tame. Its rounded boulder formations, mountain ranges, and coyotes and lizards easily coexist in the metropolis of four million people.
Phoenix  is where a ranch house and a pool in every backyard are not just an expectation, but a seemingly God-given right, and where sunny summer days and warm winters have given birth to a resort lifestyle that can often lure a visitor to make a permanent move.
Phoenicians live like they’re on vacation, with a hike before work or a late-night swim after a full day. You should join them. Taste the best Sonoran-style cuisine this side of the Mexican border. Enjoy Scottsdale ’s two favorite pastimes: shopping  and nightlife . Discover the rich culture of the Native American tribes who first settled the Valley and still govern independent tribal land. Venture 90 minutes north of Phoenix to the leafy respite of Oak Creek Canyon , and witness the red-rock monoliths of Sedona .
First-time visitors may be surprised to find a desert playground that caters to demanding foodies, diehard shoppers, and outdoor adventurers in search of world-class hiking and biking. Sure, the desert may seem inhospitable, but once you get to know this incredible, beautiful place, you may just consider a move yourself.