With hundreds of years of history, it’s kind of ridiculous to create a 26-item list of
everything you could possibly need to know about Arizona. In fact, there could probably be 80 different versions of this list–such as focusing on just landscapes, history, or animals–but let’s attempt a comprehensive list anyway. Hey, maybe someone will learn something new today!
A is for Antelope Canyon.
Colorful and graceful, this slot canyon in northern Arizona offers just a hint of our state’s beauty that is often hidden away.
B is for burrito.
Yes, burritos! It’s an excellent food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack. You can get it huge or make a modest homemade version. It can be ultra-portable or served enchilada style. Plus, if you throw it in the deep fryer, you get a chimichanga which a lot of people argue should be our official state food!
C is for Colorado River.
One of the largest rivers in the southwest, the Colorado River is also one of the most important water sources for the region.
D is for diversity.
This is not limited to just the people, culture, and language. Arizona’s landscapes, wildlife, and climates cannot be limited to one generalization.
E is for Edward Abbey.
If you haven’t had the joy of reading Abbey’s books, now is as a good a time as ever to start. Also known as the “Thoreau of the American West,” Abbey’s lyrical narratives of the environment were partly inspired by his work as a park ranger.
F is for Francisco Vázquez de Coronado.
Although not the first Spaniard to set foot on Arizona land, he is often remembered as one of the more prominent because of the length of the journey. The conquistador’s expedition never found the legendary Seven Cities of Gold (where were they hiding?) but it was the first European sightings of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River.
G is for Gadsden Purchase.
How many of you remember this from your Arizona history class? In a nutshell, this ensured Tucson and Nogales would be in Arizona instead of Mexico; this was a treaty between the United States and Mexico that settled the southern boundary of the former.
H is for Hoover Dam.
Built in the 1930s, Hoover Dam has created the largest reservoir in the U.S., which can hold up to 28.5 million acre feet of water. It also acts as a hydroelectric power generator and a tourist attraction.
I is for Indigenous peoples.
Arizona’s original population, the Indigenous peoples of Arizona still exist here both within and outside their communities. Twenty-one federally recognized tribes call the state home and Arizona has one of the largest populations of American Indians in the country.
J is for Jerome.
This old mining town is a prime example of Arizona’s past in terms of history and architectural style. Still haven’t been here? What are you waiting for?
K is for Kit Carson.
You will hear a lot of opposing views about this guy and that all depends on who you’re asking. Fur trapper, guide, and military officer, Carson is best known in Arizona as a sort of hero of the West (he does have a junior high in Mesa named after him) and as both an enemy and traitor to Indigenous peoples in the region. In the 1860s, he led campaigns for the U.S. military against both the Apache and Navajo, which included scorched earth policy, roundups, relocation, and internment.
L is for London Bridge.
Why, yes, Arizona does have one of the largest souvenirs in our state: the London Bridge, circa 1831, now resting in Lake Havasu City. It was purchased the bridge that once sat over the River Thames for a fair sum of $2.46 million by the city’s founder, Robert McCulloch.
M is for Mexico.
Our southern neighbor is both romanticized and demonized, and this strained relationship is something that probably stems from centuries-long feuds over land. However, our cultures and economies rely on each other, which is something difficult to ignore.
N is for national (and state) parks.
You like the outdoors and unique sceneries? Arizona has plenty of areas to love it, including our state and national parks. Close your eyes, point your finger to a map, and you’re bound to hit one.
O is for (Sandra Day) O’Connor.
Our homegrown former Supreme Court Justice, O’Connor is most noted for being the first female justice and often acting as the swing vote. She also previously served in the State Senate and in the Maricopa County Superior Court.
P is for Pluto.
If anyone is particularly upset with Pluto’s planetary status demotion, it’s probably Arizonans. The planet was first sighted in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.
Q is for quarter.
I’ll be honest; I couldn’t think of anything that started with the letter “q” for this list but Arizona has a commemorative quarter minted in 2008.
R is for The Rim.
Although your average map will show nothing more than a wiggly line working its way across the state, the Mogollon Rim is actually one of the state’s most defining features. It serves as the transitional zone between the northern and southern parts of the state.
S is for statehood.
Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. So, if you happen to be single on Valentine’s Day, you can just let people know you’re instead celebrating Arizona’s birthday.
T is for Tubac.
Tubac has a long history but most notably as the first permanent Spanish settlement in 1752 but not without plenty of revolt from the O’odham people.
U is for US Route 66.
This iconic road still exists in pieces along the 40 here in Arizona and is something that towns along the Mother Road still cling to.
V is for volcanoes.
Okay, Arizona may not have any active volcanoes anymore (despite what you may have heard about Sunset Crater) but they were responsible for creating some of Arizona’s stunning landforms. The San Francisco Peaks were once a stratovolcano while the much smaller Agathla Peak in Monument Valley was a volcanic plug.
W is for (Frank Lloyd) Wright.
Not only was Arizona Wright’s winter home but it also is home to several buildings designed by him, including Taliesin West and Gammage Auditorium.
X is for xeriscaping.
When you live in an area prone to drought, the best measures to take in landscaping is to use drought-tolerant--though, preferably indigenous--plants. That is exactly what xeriscaping is. More people should use it.
Y is for Yuma Territorial Prison.
From 1875 to 1909, the Yuma Territorial Prison housed 3,069 prisoners, including a fair number of women, for a wide range of crimes. These days it exists as a historical museum that is a must-see.
Z is for Zonies.
You! You help make Arizona amazing, so give yourself a pat on the back.
Is there anything else you would add to this list? Let’s hear your suggestions in the comments section below!