Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau (50 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, AZ 85004, 602/254-6500 or 877/225-5749, www.visitphoenix.com, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) has a free Official Visitors Guide and many brochures downtown. (The office is moving in autumn 2007 one block to the north to 125 N. 2nd St., Suite 120, Phoenix, AZ 85004.) For Valley event news and other services, call the Visitor Information Line (602/252-5588). The Visitors Bureau maintains a branch office in Biltmore Fashion Park at 24th St. and Camelback Rd., open daily during shopping center hours.
Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (4343 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 170, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, 480/421-1004 or 800/782-1117, www.scottsdalecvb.com, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) is in Galleria Corporate Center on the east side of Scottsdale Road, about halfway between Camelback and Indian School Roads; it's on the free trolley route. Staff also provide information at the concierge desk of the nearby Scottsdale Fashion Square (1-6 p.m. Tues.-Sat., Sept.-May, then 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Sat. in summer).
Tempe Convention and Visitors Bureau (51 W. 3rd St., Suite 105, Tempe, AZ 85281, 480/894-8158 or 800/283-6734, www.tempecvb.com, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) is off Mill Ave. at Hayden Square in Old Town Tempe.
Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau (120 N. Center, Mesa, AZ 85201, 480/827-4700 or 800/283-6372, www.mesacvb.com, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) has a central location downtown.
Carefree/Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce (748 Easy St., P.O. Box 734, Carefree, AZ 85377, 480/488-3381, www.carefree-cavecreek.com, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) is in Carefree near the southeast corner of Tom Darlington and Cave Creek Roads in the north Valley.
Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce (567 W. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85220, 480/982-3141 or 800/252-3141, www.apachejunctioncoc.com, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and, except in summer, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.) is in the far east side of the Valley.
Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce (16837 E. Palisades Blvd., P.O. Box 17598, Fountain Hills, AZ 85269-7598, 480/837-1654, www.fountainhillschamber.com, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun.) is one block off Saguaro Boulevard in the northeast Valley.
Glendale Visitor Center (5800 W. Glenn Dr., Suite 140., Glendale, AZ 85301, 623/930-4500 or 877/800-2601, www.visitglendale.com, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.) is in the northwest Valley.
The Arizona Office of Tourism (1110 W. Washington Street, Suite 155, Phoenix, Arizona 85007, 602/364-3700 or 866/891-3640, fax 602/364-3702, www.arizonaguide.com, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) offers information on every region of the state. You can find most of their literature at other tourist offices, but this one has the best selection. It's in a modern building behind the 1893 Evans House. The excellent website has travel tips, event listings, trip planning ideas, foreign-language sections, and links to many chamber of commerce sites; the Kid's Zone entices the younger set to learn Arizona history.
Tonto National Forest
The Tonto's 2.9 million acres include deep canyons, soaring peaks, and gentle hills north and east of the Valley. The Supervisor's Office (2324 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85006, 602/225-5200, www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) has general information, or you can contact one of the Tonto's districts below. Frequent visitors to recreation areas in the Tonto can save money with the Tonto Golden Passport Upgrade Decal. It covers entry fees—but not campgrounds or marinas—in the Cave Creek, Mesa, and Roosevelt districts; contact the supervisor's or district offices for details.
The Cave Creek Ranger District (40202 N. Cave Creek Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85262, 480/595-3300, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) includes Bartlett and Horseshoe Lakes, the Cave Creek Trail System, and other areas north of the Valley. From Carefree, head northeast on Cave Creek Road, turn right on Bartlett Lake Road, then it's on your left. The Mesa Ranger District (5140 E. Ingram St., south of Falcon Field, Mesa, AZ 85205, 480/610-3300, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) covers Saguaro Lake, lower Salt River, Superstitions, Four Peaks, and other areas east of the Valley.
Bureau of Land Management
The Phoenix Field Office (21605 N. 7th Ave., south of Deer Valley Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85027, 623/580-5500, www.blm.gov/az/st/en.html, 7:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) provides information on BLM areas in most of central and northern Arizona.
Arizona State Parks
The main office (1300 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007, 602/542-4174 or 800/285-3703, fax 602/542-4188, http://azstateparks.com, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) provides outdoor recreation information for the entire state, as well as for all of the state parks; there's a gift shop too. Free visitor parking is in back.
Arizona Game and Fish
The main office (2221 W. Greenway Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85023, 602/942-3000, www.azgfd.gov, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) has information and sells licenses for fishing, hunting, and boat registration; you can also learn about off-highway vehicle travel. The office for central Arizona is at 7200 E. University Dr., Mesa, AZ 85027, 480/981-9400.
The massive Phoenix Central Library (1221 N. Central Ave., two blocks south of McDowell Rd., 602/262-4636, www.phoenixlibrary.org, noon-9 p.m. Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat.) looks like a giant glass and metal cube. Once inside the five-story atrium, you'll have much to explore in the spacious facility. A map lists what's on each floor and describes some of the unusual design features of the building. The Friends Place near the entrance sells gift items and surplus books. First floor has fiction, foreign languages, and children's books. Second floor houses periodicals, Internet computers, and a copy center. The Arizona Room (closed Mon. and Fri.) on the fourth floor has great reading on the state's history, travel, and natural life; this is the place to pore over maps and books about lost-mine legends before setting off on your own treasure hunt! You'll need an appointment to see the Rare Book Collection, located across from the Arizona Room. Nonfiction hangs out on the fifth floor, claimed to be the largest reading room in North America. See the website or the blue pages in the phone book under Phoenix libraries for information on the 12 branches scattered around town.
The State Capitol has a research library (1700 W. Washington, Room 300, 602/542-3701, www.lib.az.us, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) filled with Arizona history, maps, state documents, federal documents, and genealogy.
Scottsdale Public Library (3839 Civic Center Blvd., 480/994-2474, http://library.ci.scottsdale.az.us, 1-5 p.m. Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat.) is in the Civic Center complex downtown.
Tempe Public Library (3500 S. Rural Rd., 480/350-5555 recording, 480/350-5511 reference, www.tempe.gov/library, noon-5:30 p.m. Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.) sits next to the Tempe Historical Museum at the southwest corner with Southern Avenue. See the Arizona State University section under Tempe for descriptions of the two largest libraries there.
Mesa Public Library (64 E. 1st St., 480/644-3100 recording, 480/644-2207 reference, www.mesalibrary.org, 1:30-5:30 p.m. Sun., 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.) is downtown.
Apache Junction Public Library (1177 N. Idaho Rd., 480/474-8555, www.ajpl.org, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon., Wed., and Fri., 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Tues. and Thurs., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.) is north of the city hall complex.
The Arizona Republic (www.azfamily.com) comes out every morning and features a big Sunday edition; the paper also does a free weekly entertainment guide, The Rep. The Tribune (www.eastvalleytribune.com) serves the East Valley and publishes a free Valley-wide weekly paper, Get Out (www.getoutaz.com). The free weekly New Times (www.phoenixnewtimes.com) presents hard-hitting journalism, local news, and extensive entertainment coverage. Newsstands and tourist offices can be treasure-troves of free information on golf, tennis, bicycling, running, New Age, and many other topics.
You can find post offices in downtown Phoenix (522 N. Central Ave.), Scottsdale (7242 E. Osborn Rd.), Tempe (500 S. Mill Ave. and at 1962 E. Apache Blvd.), and Mesa (135 N. Center). For postal information or to get the address of the post office nearest you, call 800/275-8777 or check www.usps.com. General Delivery mail can be sent to the Rio Salado Station on 1441 E. Buckeye Rd.; address it with your name, General Delivery, Phoenix, AZ 85034.
American Express (Biltmore Fashion Park, 2508 E. Camelback Rd., 602/468-1199) handles currency exchange.
Need a doctor? Maricopa County Medical Society (602/252-2844, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays) will refer you to one.
On to Valley of the Sun Transportation