It’s probably the Valley of the Sun’s greatest claim to fame: the near-perfect weather—well, at least for a good portion of the year. In February, blue, sunny skies and balmy temps in 70s and 80s delight residents and visitors alike. The good times last well into April, as hiking trails, golf courses, and restaurant patios fill up with people hoping to spend every last second soaking in the spring nirvana. And because this is the desert, the arid climate’s low humidity means nighttime temps fall 20 to 30 degrees, providing a cool counterpoint to the warm days.
The Sonoran Desert heats up quickly in May, and its reputation for sizzling summer temps isn’t an exaggeration, with an average high in the 90s and lows in the 70s. Still, the low moisture means that it actually feels quite a bit cooler than comparable days in New York, Miami, or Houston. By July, though, watch out. It’s hot—as in a 115-degree kind of hot. Phoenix  has the warmest climate of any major metropolitan area in the country, and its record high of 122 degrees on June 26, 1990, caused even the toughest of desert-tested Phoenicians to break out in one heck of a sweat.
Most people cope by switching to an early morning or nocturnal schedule in the summer, as overnight lows drop into the 80s. Also, there are frequent breaks from the scorching heat and constant sunshine in the late summer, when the monsoon storms roll into the city from the desert. These afternoon showers, caused by a seasonal change in weather patterns, can be sudden and torrential, stranding motorists and even mountainside hikers. The dramatic bolts of lightning force golfers off the course and swimmers out of the pool.
By October, a “second spring” emerges with lush, green plants and colorful wildflowers. The triple-digit temps become a memory with fall temperatures dropping back into the 80s, which means you’ll be able to fit in plenty of outdoor time. In the high deserts of Sedona , which is typically 15 to 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix  throughout the year, the sycamore trees along Oak Creek begin to turn, revealing golden yellow and fiery red leaves against the green ponderosa pines.
Believe it or not, there is a winter in the Sonoran Desert. Don’t laugh—there is. The 60-something highs and 40-something lows chill Phoenicians to the bone. OK, the weather is darn-near perfect, and residents love nothing more than calling up snowed-in relatives in other parts of the country to gloat. Still, nighttime lows do fall below freezing a few times a year, and a rare light snow does happen, especially in Sedona.