Photo: Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

11 Customs You Need to Know Before Visiting Arizona

Arizona Culture
by Angela Orlando Dec 11, 2017

1. Don’t touch it.

Whatever it is, it bites, hisses, stings, and/or burns.

2. It’s not courteous to ask an Arizonan if they’re packing a gun.

They are. Nod and smile, and don’t stare at any holsters.

3. Don’t ask and don’t tell about politics.

Then again, don’t assume. Arizonans defy stereotypes. There are conservative Mexican border patrol agents and liberal Navajo ranch owners, and libertarian peaceniks protesting The Wall. We’re a diverse group of people who all love our state, and we keep the peace by not discussing our voting record.

4. No, you’re not allowed to take the shopping carts home from the grocery store.

Yes, some of us still do. And yes, we consider them functional yard art.

5. If you want to make friends with an Arizonan, offer your truck or install a swimming pool.

6. If you can’t stand the hot food, stay out of the taco joint.

No one wants to gringo-ify your quesadilla or blend your margarita.

7. On Christmas, we don’t go sledding or roast chestnuts over an open fire.

It’s tamales and nature walks and/or naps. And shorts are perfectly acceptable holiday wear.

8. Southern Arizona doesn’t really do Day of the Dead.

Instead, we celebrate our take on All Soul’s Day with a grand-scale procession. It’s a big deal.

9. Don’t use your turn signal.

Why bother? No one here does — they just pass on the right really really fast and do other unexpected car stunts. Keep your foot hovering over the brake and you’ll be fine.

10. It’s technically not illegal to ignore border patrol agents’ questions at inland roadway checkpoints.

But blowing them off is a great way to make enemies. Don’t flex those rights unless you want the local sheriff to stop you for something else up the road.

11. You need to go to the Grand Canyon.

Customarily, a too-cool local will minimize the experience by saying, “Ohhh! What a beautiful hole in the ground!” or something equally snarky. Meanwhile, they’re tearing up at the sight of its majesty.

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