Phoenix  embarked on a cultural renaissance in 1988, when voters approved an ambitious, architecturally daring series of public works projects that included the Phoenix Art Museum  and Burton Barr Central Library (1221 N. Central Ave., 602/262-4636, www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org , 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Fri.–Sat., noon–6 p.m. Sun.).
The iconic building’s rectangular, rusted-steel facade resembles a red-hued mesa. Phoenix architect Will Bruder, a pioneer in the region’s Desert Modernism movement, gracefully incorporated natural daylight throughout the design, including a glass-and-steel central stairwell and elevator atrium, called the “Crystal Canyon.”
On the equinox, the sun shines directly through overhead skylights in the fifth-floor reading room, lighting its graceful, white columns and creating a stunning show.