I grew up spending a great deal of my summer vacations in Phoenix (Mesa, actually) when my grandparents retired there. Two of my uncles later moved there and I think of AZ as a second home. As a vacation spot, the desert is best for active outdoorsy people who enjoy hiking or for more laid back vacationers who enjoy golfing. Of course, the Phoenix area is something like the Promised Land for Canadians and retirees, too. With that said, as a vacation spot in terms of attractions, the desert doesn’t have a lot to offer. Think of Phoenix as one big giant urban sprawl area with all the typical attractions of a suburb. Yes, there is a zoo and sports teams and fancy golf courses and Sedona and the Grand Canyon are within driving distance but in terms of tourist attractions, it’s kind of a stretch to find anything of much significance.
There are plenty of small things to do in the Phoenix area and lots of places to eat but it’s not built up for tourists the way say Orlando, Branson, Williamsburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, the Rocky Mountains, the CA desert (maybe), etc…
I love Phoenix, don’t get me wrong but I think it is a great place to live, not so much to spend a week on vacation doing tourist things. It can be done, don’t get me wrong but outside of golfing, spending a week in Phoenix without golfing is kind of like spending a week at a ski resort and not skiing. Sure, there are other things to do but enough to fill a week? Maybe, but it depends on your vacation style.
I see that you are from New York, so I would imagine just being in Phoenix will be such a change of scenery and weather, that alone will make a week of doing relatively nothing seem like much more. One thing to be prepared for is cooler weather. You can usually bank on sun and pleasant to very pleasant temps in December but I would say half of the days will be surprisingly crisp and the nights are always cool – so pack a light to medium jacket.
Make sure you get outside a lot when you are in Phoenix. The sun is the best tourist attraction there is, especially when you come from December in New York.