At a Glance
When to Go
The two major Arizona airports are in Phoenix and Tucson. By car, I-10 and I-40 are the main East–West routes. El Paso to Tucson is about a four-hour drive, and from Los Angeles to Phoenix is about five and a half hours.
A car—with air-conditioning, and ideally with tinted windows—is an absolute must to get around the state. Always carry extra water.
Food and Drink
The historical blend of American Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures gives Arizona (and New Mexico) a unique sense of place and makes it a much more eclectic destination than many realize. Pre-Columbian ruins sit alongside living cattle ranches. The Mission San Xavier del Bac, a masterpiece of baroque desert architecture near Tucson, was founded by the Spanish in the 1690s and is still the parish church for the local Tohono O’odham nation. The state also has some excellent museums, such as the Heard Museum and the Arizona State Museum.
Come spring, baseball training season is a huge draw for sports fans. Anytime of year, the spa scene in Arizona is world class. Arizona also has festivals for every taste and season. Winter brings the Renaissance Festival, Fiesta de los Vaqueros/Tucson Rodeo, Tucson International Gem and Mineral Show, Tucson Festival of Books, and the Fiesta Bowl. Spring sees the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, Tucson International Mariachi Conference, and Country Thunder. Summer is the time for the Annual Festival of Navajo Arts and Culture, Prescott Frontier Days, and the Sedona Hummingbird Festival. In the fall, enjoy grape-stomping at various wineries, the Arizona State Fair, and El Tour de Tucson cycling events.
What the Locals Know
Joseph is a language teacher certified in French and Spanish. After living in Germany, Georgia, Seattle, France, and Nicaragua, Joseph now calls Tucson home. If you spot him on a canyon run, he'll probably have his iPhone in hand. Tastes of place are a constant quest, and his current language-learning project is Korean. His writing and photography have appeared in the Seattle and Tucson newspapers, as well as in mobile photography exhibits. Occasional musings and snapshots can be seen at Allophile.com.