Everything is awesome!
But because we can’t very well list everything that’s awesome about living in the Valley, we narrowed the list down to 22 things that make the Valley an awesome place to call home. If you think of more, let us know!
1. Sunshine: Phoenix gets, on average, 211 days of clear, unadulterated sunshine annually. No need for UV lights or snow boots.
2. Outdoor festivals: All that great weather means we get to do a lot of stuff outdoors — for instance, Awesomefest.
3. Hiking in town: South Mountain, Camelback, Piestewa Peak — all great hikes with breathtaking views at their summits, and all within easy driving distance of anyone in the Valley.
4. Ice cream whenever you want: Instead of complaining about the heat, just remember: You can cool off with a cone on Christmas if you want.
5. Sandra Day O’Connor: The Arizona State senator was the first female Supreme Court Justice. Can you say bragging rights?
6. Sports: Some states don’t have any major sports teams; we have four. And Larry Fitzgerald is on one of them.
7. The great outdoors: We are within daytripping distance of forests, red rocks and dark skies.
8. The Grand Canyon: We can go hang out at one of the most beautiful natural wonders whenever we want. People travel halfway across the world to enjoy it; we just have to fill the gas tank and go.
9. Mexican food: Whenever people depart the Southwest, they all share the same primary complaint about their new home: the Mexican food just doesn’t cut it. From pop-up taco carts to the upscale fare at Barrio Cafe, there’s no beating Arizona’s Mexican cuisine.
10. Concerts: Phoenix has no shortage of concert venues, from the indie awesomeness of Crescent Ballroom to the awe-inspiring enormity of Gila River Arena. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that we’re on the road to, and from, Coachella
11. Changing Hands: Indie bookstores are largely a thing of the past, but you wouldn’t know that living in the Valley. Local bookstore Changing Hands brings in a lot of high-profile authors for talks and book signings, and not only are they thriving, they’re expanding; last year they opened a central Phoenix location that boasts the First Draft Book Bar. Beer and books, what could be better?
12. Craft beer: Craft beer has blown up in a big way over the past few years, and Arizona was ready for it. Cheers to Four Peaks.
13. Spring training: The Valley is home to the Cactus League, which means we get a taste of baseball before most anyone else. It means a lot of snowbirds, but it also means a lot of hot dogs and frosty cups of beer in the sun.
14. Swimming: We get to go swimming something like nine months out of the year.
15. Foodie culture: You can eat anything in Arizona. That wasn’t always the case, but now we have everything from Ethiopian to Vietnamese, and the craft cocktails to go with it.
16. Airport: Most people don’t get excited when they think of airport food, but most people don’t get to dig into food from LoLo’s Chicken and Waffles or La Grande Orange or drink beer from Four Peaks. It’s enough to make one wish for a flight delay.
17. Mural art: You don’t need to go to a museum to immerse yourself in art in the Valley; you just need to stroll along Roosevelt Row.
18. Diversity: A lot of people move to Arizona from somewhere else — which means we have a lot of different kinds of people and an ever-changing culture.
19. History: Between rich Native American heritage and Wyatt Earp, history class never was a bummer growing up in Arizona.
20. Downtown arts scene: Not only is the Phoenix Art Museum spectacular, but it’s just a light-rail ride away from a booming downtown arts scene that explodes into life every First Friday.
21. Golf: All that sunshine means a lot of golf courses. Best state for casual business meetings ever.
22. The people: Arizona spawned Alice Cooper. Arizona rocks.