Tuesday, February 14, 2012

100 things I love about Arizona

In honor of Arizona's centennial Feb. 14, I wrote a list of reasons I love my home state. I was inspired by azcentral.com's list.

These are in no particular order.

 1. Havasupai waterfalls: The most beautiful place in the state and worth the 10-mile hike. Can't wait to go back this year!
2. Spring training: The most wonderful time of the year in the Valley. Baseball, friends, gorgeous weather, food, booze. What more can you ask for?
Salt River Fields
3. Camelback Mountain.

4. Grand Canyon National Park.

5. Mexican food, culture: You can find it everywhere!

6. Saguaros: Also everywhere, towering, majestic.

7. Piestewa Peak.

8. Downtown Phoenix: So many bars and restaurants to choose from. Some of my favorites: Crescent Ballroom, Film Bar, Rose and Crown.

9. Sedona.

10. Murphy's Bridle Path: My favorite place to run, but also great for walkers, bike riding, and parents with strollers.

11. Phoenix Art Museum.

12. Chase Field and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

13. Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden: While the garden is lovely year-round, it's magical during the holidays.

14. Gabby Giffords: Such as inspiration.

15. Saguaro Lake.

16. Tubing on the Salt River.

17. Coyotes games.

18. Never dull Arizona politics.

19. Downtown Prescott, especially Whiskey Row and Prescott Brewing Company.

20. Meteor Crater.

21. Beautiful sunsets and sunrises.

22. Lowell Observatory.
 23. The light rail.

24. Flagstaff.

25. Wildflowers.

26. Jerome.

27. Pizzeria Bianco.

28. Mill Avenue.

29. Bowl games.

30. Route 66.

31. Westgate.

32. Wine country tours.

33. Heard Museum.

34. Fossil Creek.

35.  Sandra Day O'Connor.

36. Walnut Canyon.

37. Humphreys Peak.

38. Driving down Central Avenue.

39. Historic homes and buildings in central Phoenix.

40.  Haboobs and monsoons.
41. Four Peaks Brewery.

42. Delux.

43. Phoenix Zoo.
44. Hot-air balloons.
45. Tovrea Castle.

46. Oak Creek Canyon.

47. Parks.
Lost Dutchman State Park
48. Payson.

49. From desert to snow in two hours.

50. ZooLights.

51. Parades.

52. Outdoor festivals.

53. Slide Rock State Park.

54. Tempe Town Lake.

55. Snowbowl/Sunrise.

56. Local bands, especially Black Carl!

57. Canyon de Chelly.

58. "A" mountain: A short but good workout with a nice view.

59. Driving down Arizona 89A.

60. Scenic overlooks.

61.Wildlife sightings.
Off a forest road in Flagstaff

62. Races, especially P.F. Chang's Rock and Roll Marathon, Pat's Run and Ironman Arizona.

63. Native American culture.

64.  Farmers markets, especially Central Avenue Farmers Market.

65. Arizona Science Center.

66. Valley charities.

67. Swimming pools everywhere!

68. Sky Harbor Airport.

69. Heard Museum.

70.  Waste Management Phoenix Open.
71.  South Mountain and the overlook of city lights.

72. Street grid and how everything is easy to find. As azcentral.com pointed out, the view from a plane.

73. Arizona State University!

74. Phoenix Suns.

75. It's a short drive to the beach, either in Rocky Point, Mexico, or California.

76. Navajo Code Talkers.

77. So many camping spots!

78. Outdoor misters and ice cream in the summer.

79. Lake Havasu City.

80. Williams.

81.  Outdoor shopping centers.

82. Arizona State Fair.

83. Painted Forest.

84. Winter weather in the Valley: Driving with the windows down, leaving your front or back door open, patio dining, wearing flip-flops with a light sweater, I love it all.

85. Hoover Dam.

86. No daylight-saving time.

87. White Tank Mountain Regional Park.

88. Montezuma's Castle.

89. Old Town Scottsdale.

90. Brunch spots.

91. First Fridays.

92. University of Phoenix Stadium and the Arizona Cardinals.

93. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.

94. Water parks.

95. Valley resorts.

96. Downtown Phoenix.

97. Rawhide.

98. Papago Park.

 99. The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com.

100. Downtown Glendale.

Of course, there are many other things. What's on your list?