A Native’s Guide to Arizona

I am currently sitting at work in my office, which has no windows, daydreaming about being outside under the Arizona sun. It’s October and that means cooler weather is only a few weeks away. No, it’s still not fall here. During the day we reach a high of 94 degrees.

Being a native, I have experienced the many unique characteristics that Arizona has to offer. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, I’ve been jeep riding in Sedona, and successfully survived 22 summers of the 115 degree heat.

Growing up, I always told my parents that I would eventually move away to another state, preferably one where it snows. My mom, born in Illinois, always replied with “you won’t last one winter in a snowy state.” Looking back, I know she is most likely right. When it’s 60 degrees here at night I am freezing.

I’ve grown to love Arizona for all of her beauty. After seriously considering moving to Colorado, I have decided that I just can’t imagine living anywhere else. This will be the state I raise my family in.

For those of you who are not familiar with Arizona, or maybe have a negative opinion about it, let me highlight a few of the benefits to living here.

Valley of the Sun:

Most of the people in Arizona live here. It’s the greater Phoenix area. This is comprised of many cities not too far away from each other. I live in Tempe (Tem-pee not Tem-pay) and I’m about 10 minutes away from 5 other city boarders including Mesa, Scottsdale, and Chandler.

Phoenix is very centralized. I’ve heard tourists say that everyone who lives here says everything is 20 minutes away. It’s true! Phoenix is laid out conveniently, so it shouldn’t take you long to travel from city to city, unless it’s rush hour.

Events and nightlife:

Since there are many different cities, there is always something happening in the Valley. Tempe holds the annual Oktoberfest which brings perfect weather. They also host the Tour de fat, which is a fun day of biking and beer drinking. We also have the salt river not too far away for summer floats. And of course we have the BEST taco festivals around the valley.

Nightlife can get crazy in AZ no matter where you are. There is the infamous Mill Ave which is one street full of bars right next to ASU. A few tips, the sidewalks are made up of brick so ladies be mindful in heels. Also, watch for puke!

Old Town Scottsdale is also known for its nightlife. Being a little classier than Mill, some clubs do have dress codes and charge covers. There are a few pools which have day and night parties, good for summer.

Lastly, there is downtown Phoenix in the heart of the city which offers concerts and sporting events (the Suns and the DBacks). And Westgate in Glendale right next to the Cardinal’s stadium is always fun during football and hockey season.

The scenery:

My boyfriend and I love to hike and the biggest reason I do it is the scenery all around Arizona and that view when you finally get to the top of the mountain! Yeah, greenery and the ocean are nice views to have but the desert landscape is so original. And, I swear I’m not bias, but we have hands down the prettiest sunsets. If you ever get the chance, hike Camelback Mountain around sunset and watch from the top. It’s phenomenal!

No natural disasters!

I mean, anyone who counts our dust storms (haboobs to Arizonians) as a catastrophe is seriously mistaken. We have no earthquakes, no blizzards, no hurricanes, no mudslides, no floods, and no tornadoes. You can’t beat that!

That’s just the beginning, too. Why do you think so many people moved here from the East Coast? Yes, to retire, but also to get away from the snow or the humidity and actually enjoy the outdoors every once and a while.

I have traveled to many different states and countries and have yet to find a place more welcoming and homey as Phoenix, Arizona. I promise, if you can survive the four months of extreme heat, the rest of the year is worth it.

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