When it comes to attractions, Phoenix is not your average city. Here, the beautiful Sonoran Desert shares top billing as a world-class destination. The city's extensive desert preserve system offers visitors easy access to the Sonoran Desert and its surprising biological diversity. Additionally, the Phoenix Points of Pride highlight many of the city's most unique attractions. City-run facilities such as Pueblo Grande Museum and Heritage and Science Park offer residents and visitors a chance to learn about the Valley's native heritage and history. Indoors or outdoors, Phoenix has attractions for everyone, whether you are a longtime resident, recent transplant or tourist. Museums and other points of interest includes the Arizona Science Center, Fleischer Museum, Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, Mystery Castle, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Wrigley Mansion, Chase Tower, Camelback Mountain, Papago Park, Phoenix Museum of History and the Phoenix Zoo, to name a few.
Currently, Phoenix has 30 school districts throughout the city with its main institution of higher learning being Arizona State University's main campus located in Tempe. There are also ten community colleges and two skill centers throughout Maricopa County, providing adult education and job training. Two other nationally regarded schools in Phoenix are the Thunderbird School of Global Management and Grand Canyon University. The academic community that makes up Greater Phoenix has also made a tremendous economic impact on the region, especially in the central portion of this metropolis.
Central Phoenix boasts a vibrant economy, alluring neighborhoods, and a dynamic business district that serves as the employment hub in the entire Valley. In addition to Honeywell, Intel, Motorola, and Boeing, other Fortune 100 major corporations in the immediate area include American Express, US Airways Group and Allied Waste Management, as well as the military presence of Luke Air Force Base which is located in the city's western suburbs.
The opening of Phoenix's first major resort hotel, the Arizona Biltmore, in 1929 signaled the beginning of tourism as a primary force in the state's economy. The importance of this moment in Arizona history is underlined by the fact that this is also the first day of scheduled airline service between Los Angeles and Phoenix. At a time when Arizona was still struggling for its identity as a new state, the creation of the Biltmore provided the state with the allure and glamour it needed to be considered as a travel destination. It also served to highlight the state's reputation for having a pleasant and healthful climate. Similarly, 1929 was also the first full year of operation for the classy Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix. Over the years the Biltmore played host to charismatic guests such as Clark Gable, Harpo Marx, Irving Berlin and Marilyn Monroe. In fact, it was here that Berlin wrote the classic song White Christmas in the privacy of his hotel room.
Neighborhoods that are near the resort property such as the Biltmore Drive Estates are just steps from the 24th Street and Camelback Road business and shopping hub. Additionally, they are only a quick freeway hop from Sky Harbor International Airport and a short drive to downtown's sports and cultural amenities. Hence, it is easy to understand why so many celebrities and professional athletes make their homes in this exclusive area due to the proximity to such major attractions and amenities.
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