March - May
Phoenix basks in sunshine more often than any other major metropolitan area in the U.S.—during 85 percent of its daylight hours—and the weather in spring is consistently perfect. Daytime temperatures flirt with 80 degrees (sometimes 90), while evenings are comfortably cool. April sometimes passes without a drop of rain. The weather attracts spring vacationers in search of poolside bliss or tee-box nirvana, and baseball fans flock to stadiums across the metro area for spring training. This is when hotel and resort rates are highest, and occupancy is at its peak. To get the accommodations you want, book at least a month ahead.
June - August
It’s a "dry heat.” That’s the well-worn cliché about Phoenix’s summer weather, and it’s not untrue. A 100-degree day in the desert actually feels more tolerable than a humid 85-degree day in, say, Memphis. Still, when the mercury creeps past 110 degrees, there's no rationalizing the intensity of a Phoenix summer. Innocuous things like car steering wheels and metal door handles suddenly become instruments of torture. The upside: Prices at resorts, hotels and golf courses plunge as much as 30 percent. Some resorts offer rooms as low as $89. Just be wary of add-ons such as “resort fees” and parking charges, which can quickly transform such a steal into a $140-a-night surprise.
September - February
Early autumn in Phoenix can be quite warm, and high temperatures have been known to eclipse 80 degrees on Christmas Day. But, for the most part, fall and winter are sunny and exceedingly pleasant. It’s a great time for outdoor pursuits, off-season sunbathing and serious shopping. Seasonal visitors from Canada and the Midwest—“snowbirds”—flock into Phoenix throughout the winter, but they mostly nest in houses or condos and don’t take up too many hotel rooms. Rates don’t drop much during the shoulder season, especially during January and February, when big events such as college football’s Fiesta Bowl, the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, the Phoenix Open PGA tournament and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show take place. If you plan to visit during this time, book accommodations at least a month ahead.