Arizona is home to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, crazy desert wildlife, and very hot summers.
More than 4 million people call Arizona’s capitol city their home. Phoenix has an zoo with 1,200 animals, a science center, and a museum dedicated to Native American culture. And, of course, more golf courses and nightclubs than you can count. All set against the stunning backdrop of Camelback Mountain and South Mountain Park, there’s something for everyone to love.
Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona, and the home of the University of Arizona, which has been around since 1885. It has tons of museums and art galleries, and a long list of diverse events. When you’re hosting events like the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase, the Tucson Festival of Books, the Tucson Culinary Festival, and the Tucson International Mariachi Conference, there’s never a dull moment. Tucson is smack dab in the middle of the Sonoran desert, so be sure to check out the legendary Saguaro cacti, too!
If you’re looking for the fun of a big city, but with a small town vibe, Gilbert is the place to be. They’re well known for their Heritage District, complete with a downtown concert series. You could shop for days while still working on your tan in the outdoor SanTan Village Shopping Center, or if you’re feeling more outdoorsy, check out the Riparian Institute. There you can find 110 acres of beautifully preserved nature that’s great for hiking, picnicing, bird watching, or stargazing. Other must-see attractions include the Big League Dream Sports Park, the Cosmo Dog Park, and the Hale Centre Theater.
Scottsdale often gets lumped together with Phoenix, since they’re near each other, but there’s plenty to love in this unique, wild west paradise. It’s not only the home of the Scottsdale Artwalk, but also has so museums that seeing them all is quite the undertaking. Check out the botanical gardens, an amusement park, or even a winery. When you’ve worked up an appetite from a fun filled day, head downtown where you’ll find yourself within walking distance of over 80 acclaimed restaurants. Then on to your choice of lounge or dance club!
Downtown Chandler might not look like much, but take note of that cloudless blue sky, because residents here enjoy more than 330 sunny days a year. Add to that an average temperature of 85 degrees, and we might as well go ahead and call it heaven. Chandler has events galore… more than we could possibly list. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed by the Chihuahua races, the Great American BBQ and Beer Festival, the Classic Car and Hot Rod Show, or the Chuck Wagon Cook-off. If none of these appeal to you, don’t worry, there’s a list a mile long with something you’re sure to love.
Tempe is where you can find Arizona State University, and it has all the energy you would expect from a college town. They also proudly boast that they can entertain both lovers of the indoors and the outdoors alike. First stop for the indoor folks? Arizona Mills. Here you’ll find enough stores to shop till you drop, not to mention a theater and an aquarium. For the outdoor folks, a hike up Tempe’s “A” Mountain is a good bet. In the evening, head into downtown Tempe for endless entertainment, dining, and dancing.
Mesa is Arizona’s third largest city, but they certainly aren’t lacking the beautiful, natural landscape. If you’re craving some Arizona sun, check out the Superstition Mountains, Usery Mountain Regional Park, Saguaro Lake, or Canyon Lake. If an inside day is called for, you can visit the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Commemorative Airforce Airbase Arizona, or the i.d.e.a. museum. Hot air balloon rides are another exciting option. Be sure to save time for the Rockin’ R Ranch, where you’ll be transported back in time, and the Rawhide Western Town and Event Center, where they’d love to feed you steak and teach you the two step.
In Flagstaff, you can find Humphrey’s Peak, Arizona’s tallest mountain. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, this city also has the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest. With seven national parks and monuments, there’s plenty of natural beauty to absorb. And if you’re in the mood for some history, you’re in the right spot to learn about Route 66, or Native American cultures on the Navajo and Hopi reservations. Not to mention, you’re just 80 short miles from the glorious views of the Grand Canyon.
#9 Lake Havasu City
You can find Lake Havasu City on the shores of the Colorado River. Its location is probably why it has been nicknamed the “personal watercraft capitol of the world.” With over 60 miles of navigable waterways, the people in this city definitely enjoy water sports, and its London Bridge is an iconic sight. This adventure-minded city offers a ton of fast-paced activities like, hiking, cycling, and off-roading, but there plenty of opportunities for shopping and leisure as well.
Sedona perfectly mixes the natural beauty of Arizona and the appeal of small town fun. Artists have long been drawn to Sedona’s dramatic setting, and people come from far and wide to feast their eyes on the beautiful red rocks. Whether you’re in a jeep, a plane, or a hot air balloon, the sights are sure to take your breath away. Head into downtown Sedona to check out the art galleries, jewelry stores, and New Age shops. It won’t be long before they’re teaching you about the area’s renowned energy centers.