Phoenix, located in Maricopa County, is the largest city in Arizona and also the state capital. Other prominent cities in the Phoenix metro area include Mesa (the third largest city in Arizona), Glendale, Peoria, Chandler, Sun City, Sun City West, Fountain Hills, Surprise, Gilbert, El Mirage, Avondale, Tempe, Tolleson and Scottsdale, with a total metropolitan population of just over 4 million.
View of suburban development in Phoenix metropolitan area.
Tucson is the state's second largest city, and is located in Pima County, approximately 110 miles (180 km) southeast of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Tucson metropolitan area crossed the one-million-resident threshold in early 2007. It is home to the University of Arizona, which is considered a Public Ivy and, along with Arizona State University in Tempe, is considered the state's flagship university.
The Prescott metropolitan area includes the cities of Prescott, Sedona, Cottonwood, Camp Verde and numerous other towns spread out over the Yavapai County area. With 212,635 residents, this cluster of towns form the third largest metropolitan area in the state. The city of Prescott (population 41,528) lies approximately 100 miles (160 km) northwest of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Situated in pine tree forests at an elevation of about 5,500 feet (1,700 m), Prescott enjoys a much cooler climate than Phoenix, with average summer highs in the upper 80s Fahrenheit and winter temperatures averaging 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yuma is center of the fourth largest metropolitan area in Arizona. It is located near the borders of California and Mexico. It is one of the hottest cities in the United States with the average July high of 107 °F (42 °C). (The same month's average in Death Valley is 115 °F (46 °C).) The city also features sunny days about 90% of the year. The Yuma Metropolitan Statistical Area has a population of 160,000. Yuma also attracts many winter visitors from all over the United States.
Flagstaff is the largest city in northern Arizona, and is situated at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m). With its large Ponderosa Pine forests, snowy winter weather and picturesque mountains, it is a stark contrast to the desert regions typically associated with Arizona. It sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona, with Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m). Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to numerous tourist attractions including: Grand Canyon National Park, Sedona, and Oak Creek Canyon. Historic U.S. Route 66 is the main east-west street in the town. Flagstaff is home to 57,391 residents and the main campus of Northern Arizona University.