1. Old people
They drive us crazy but their golf addiction steers our economy with great dexterity. If only that applied to the roadways as well.
2. Sunny days and stunning sunsets
Though there are at least three skiable mountains throughout the state, no one visits for snow fun. They come for the sun. It’s sunny 90% of daytime hours in Yuma, Arizona — the most sunshine of anywhere in the country. And they come for the most spectacular sight ever — sunset over the Big Ditch.
3. Mexican food
Arizonan Mexican food is the best outside of Mexico. It just is.
4. Out-of-this-world phenomena
Not only does Arizona have the sunniest skies, but some of the darkest and clearest. That’s why there are about 30 observatories scattered throughout the state. Arizonans ponder the big questions.
5. Antique stores
They go hand-in-hand with the old people. So many estate sales, so little time.
Phoenix is spread out over 517 square miles, compared to Los Angeles’ measly 469. And Phoenix’s houses match better.
7. Extreme weather
Dreadful, scorching, dehydrating heat meets torrential, deadly rain meets dust storms sent straight from the Tasmanian Devil, meet uncontrollable wildfires… all in one season. The rest of the year is nice, though.
8. Knowing what time it is
Why, why, WHY is the rest of the country still falling back and springing forward?
9. Scary monsters
We’ve got hundreds of animals that can cause great pain. These include 13 species of rattlers; other venomous snakes; two kinds of killer spiders; at least 30 kinds of scorpions; centipedes; a beautiful but deadly lizard called the Glia Monster… and much, much more. And those are just the animals.
About 300,000 people live in the sovereign Navajo Nation. That’s right, sovereign. It has a judicial, executive, and legislative branch and it’s considered a domestic dependent nation. There’s another country inside Arizona. Most of it is in Arizona but it extends into New Mexico and Utah as well. At 27,000 square miles, it’s bigger than 10 US states. There are 20 other reservations in AZ as well, including the nation’s second largest, the Tohono O’odham.
11. Gold, copper, silver, and all that mining entails
Or entailed. We have literally hundreds of abandoned mines and cities that grew up once a mineral was struck — and then died when the veins ran dry.
12. Gun toters
Our gun laws are hardly restrictive. At all. You can buy and openly carry a gun pretty much everywhere as long as you’re 21 or older. Some restrictions apply. You can’t have a gun if you’re a danger to yourself or others, if you’ve really messed up to the felonious level, or if you’re in the country illegally. Otherwise you don’t even need a license.
13. Stop-the-car scenery
Throw a rock (there are a lot of those!) and you’ll hit the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen. Repeat. We have 24 distinct sites protected by the National Parks Service, from monuments to trails to areas of cultural heritage. And, of course, we have three full-on national parks.
We caught John Dillinger hiding out in the Hotel Congress in Tucson. We hosted the most famous shootout in the world. Pearl Hart robbed some stagecoaches here — and she got away. We have Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and his wife Big Nose Kate, Butch Cassidy… the list goes on.
15. Cowboys and cowgirls
They’re real, people.