Just as you leave the Phoenix city limits on I-17, there’s a big outlet mall: the Outlets at Anthem, 4250 W. Anthem Way (www.outletsanthem.com; tel. 623/465-9500). Among the offerings are Ann Taylor, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Levi’s. Take exit 229 (Anthem Way).
Some 10 miles farther north, just before you hit the town of Black Canyon City, exit 242 is a mandatory stop for pie lovers. Follow the signs to the Rock Springs Café, 35769 S. Old Black Canyon Hwy., Rock Springs (www.rockspringscafe.com; tel. 623/374-5794). In business since 1918, it’s a fine family restaurant that has made its name selling a delectable array of pies.
One of Arizona’s most interesting cultural figures is Paolo Soleri, an Italian architect who came to the Valley in 1956 and lived here until his death, at 93, in 2013. Soleri was an architectural utopian who envisioned a grand futuristic city—or “bio-climatic architectural environment”—in the desert. His masterwork is Arcosanti (www.arcosanti.org; tel. 928/632-7135), an array of concrete buildings an hour north of Phoenix, built on ecological principles atop a natural desert canyon. It has slowly been expanded by generations of students since 1970; to help finance the construction, the foundation casts and sells distinctive Soleri-designed bronze wind bells, available at the gift shop. Arcosanti is open daily from 9am to 5pm except on national holidays. There’s no admission per se; tours are held hourly (except at noon) from 10am-4pm with a $10 suggested donation. Most weekday mornings you can see the foundry in action; call after 9am weekdays to see when the bells will be poured that day. If you’d like to stay overnight, basic accommodations ($35–$100 double) are available by reservation. There’s also a cafe. Take the Arcosanti Rd. exit off I-17, 1 mile north of the junction with Ariz. 69.
Between Black Canyon City and Cordes Junction lies Agua Fria National Monument (www.blm.gov/visit/agua-fria), a large tract of land running for miles on both sides of I-17. Within it lies a vast network of prehistoric Native American ruin sites, which date from between 1250 and 1450. Note: There is very limited access to the monument, and there are no facilities for visitors. If you have a high-clearance vehicle, preferably four-wheel-drive, you can enter the monument from I-17 at the Badger Springs exit (exit 256) or the Bloody Basin Road exit (exit 259).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.