Some may consider Arizona to be a barren desert wasteland, but as I drive on the freeway and head towards downtown Phoenix, I see something different; I see life. There are lights glistening in the landscape, beautiful mountains with hues of purple from the setting sun, and the faint smell of a creosote tree after a light rain. These are just a few things that make Arizona home to me and to the hundreds of people that are settling in this great state every day.
Arizona first became a state on February 14, 1912. It has grown immensely since then. In fact, Phoenix is now the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States and is expected to take over Philadelphia as the third-largest city within the next five years. Yet, because of Arizona’s vastness, it hardly seems like there are that many people here at all; unless you are on the freeway during rush hour. Phoenix has many parks and mountain reserves that are mostly within a 10-15 minute drive, and many find that a great way to escape the hectic everyday life. On these mountains, it is possible to see the entire city and it is honestly breathtaking. It is possible to see millions of little houses scattered all around, golf courses with their green grass and blue man-made ponds, and on a clear day you can even make out the San Francisco Peaks. This massive city seems like a little village in a secret valley, and it is easy to get lost in the moment when you realize just how small you are compared to this grand place, you live in.
There are many other recreational things to do in Arizona. Sedona, Payson , and Flagstaff are commonly known as the places to go for a good outdoor adventure. There are literally hundreds of hiking trails and camping sites, which attract enthusiasts with the offer of cooler weather and amazing scenery. In the winter, the snow in the northern parts of Arizona adds the fun of skiing to any winter vacation and provides a beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains for those still in the valley. The weather is great all year round; as long as you’re conditioned to it. The spring and fall seasons provide 75-85 degree weather that is enjoyed by natives and tourists alike. Not too many leaves change colors and fall off the trees before the winter season begins, but the blooms in spring more than make up for it. Wildflowers and planted gardens bloom colors and scents in abundance. The bunnies jet across parks and front lawns along with the array of birds chirping from Palo Verde trees. Even the summers host a variety of activities such as lounging by the pool, tubing down the Salt River, and night barbeques in the back yard.
The city is the core of Arizona with its busy nightlife and leisurely day atmosphere. I enjoy going to Chase Field and getting a hot dog and enjoying a warm and sunny game. It doesn’t matter who the Diamondbacks are playing because they are the home team and they have some pretty dedicated fans. Shopping is even an adventure with luxurious malls like Scottsdale Fashion Square or and outdoor shopping districts such as Desert Ridge. Either provide retail therapy to those who need it. A fun weekend adventure would be one of the many water parks that can be found in Phoenix. Gathering a group of friends to pile into a van and spending the day in the lazy river or down one of the many water slides is a common thing to do in Arizona summers. At night, the temperature cools down, but Phoenix is still going strong. Phoenix has many concert arenas and always seems to have some singer putting on a good show. Sporting events are also very common and exciting to attend because of the support Arizona has for its home teams. If you don’t believe me, try going to a Suns game. The movie theater is always packed on a Friday night and the local In and Out is sure to be a hang out for those getting out of their movies.
Arizona has been my home for most of the 18 years of my life. I am the only native Arizonan in my family and I couldn’t be more proud to exclaim it. Most people wonder why I am so dedicated to this state and what is has to offer, and my reply to them is because it is limitless. Whatever you could want, Arizona has it for you. I’ve vacationed at many other states across the country and my conclusion is that while other states are nice to visit, Arizona is where I want to live.