Arizona, the 48th and last state admitted in the continental United States, celebrated its centennial in 2012. It's best known for having the Grand Canyon, the Saguaro cactus and the Sonoran desert, and plenty of other noteworthy attractions. The Grand Canyon state offers unique interesting subjects seen nowhere else in the United States or the rest of the Earth.
First, let's start off by explaining the significance of this state. Arizona doesn't have the same rate of entertainment born from there like the neighboring state of California. In other words, Arizona is not a place with nothing at all. Its capital, Phoenix, is already among the largest cities in the United States, and it's the biggest capital overall.note
Throughout the times from first settlement in the 19th century to statehood in 1912, the mining industry fuels commercial growth throughout the state, in which the predominant mineral is copper, earning the state nickname "the Copper state". There's also things to do out in the wilderness besides seeing the cacti if you're a foreigner, like offroading (at least in the desert), boating in the main rivers, and such.
Speaking of the natural features, the Grand Canyon is among the biggest canyons in the world, being 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide.
Also of note, the state of Arizona has had one ship of the United States Navy named in its honor, the battleship USS Arizona
(BB-39). If you've ever seen footage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
, you have likely seen footage
of the Arizona's
forward magazine exploding, resulting in the loss of the ship and 1,177 of her crew.
And so here are the many towns and cities:
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- Colorado City (formerly Short Creek): On the Utah border, synonymous with the fundamentalist/polygamist Mormon sects there. Where the Warren Jeffs clan was based before the move to Texas. Also in 1953 the Governor set a armed raid to break up the polygamists but ended up in a PR disaster.
- Flagstaff: Largest city in northern Arizona. Best known as one of the cities in the country with the most days of sunshine, despite not being in a desert. Route 66 crosses the city.
- Holbrook: Town founded along with the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (acquired by the Santa Fe railway; now BNSF Railway). A Route 66 town, and situated not far from Petrified Forest State Park.
- Kingman: County seat of Mohave County, which is the county in the northwester part of Arizona. Also has Route 66.
- Page: Situated near Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell, on which you can cross from Arizona into Utah by water.
- Seligman: A town located at what is called the heart of Route 66. Has been used as a reference for Radiator Springs from the Cars films.
- Winslow: Another one of the Route 66 towns, it has a railroad station hotel and fame from The Eagles' song "Take it Easy". Gateway to Meteor Crater, its most famous attraction.
- Camp Verde: Has the largest Kokopelli (Native American fertility deity) statue. Mentioned in Paul.
- Cottonwood: A town that's southwest of Sedona.
- Prescott: Former capital of Arizona. Alan Dean Foster lives here.
- Sedona: A small city famous for the bright red rocky landscapes surrounding it. It has a small but thriving community of New Agers.
- Wickenburg: A large town which touted itself as the Dude Ranch capital of the world since the old highway goes through it. Still strives today as a strong Old West themed town. Wickenburg has the largest area of all cities in Arizona.
There's a reason this area of the state is called the Valley of the Sun: It experiences most of the high temperatures in the state, particularly during summer (the highest temperature ever recorded in Phoenix was something like 128º Fahrenheit
. Contrary to locals' time-worn assertions that "at least it's a dry
heat", Phoenix and its surrounding cities usually experience a few weeks of humidity during the annual monsoon season.
- Phoenix: The capital and principal city of the state.
- Avondale: Location of the Phoenix International Raceway, despite not directly located on Phoenix.
- Buckeye: Westernmost city in the Phoenix metropolitan area, which currently sees the fastest growth rates in the area. Upton Sinclair of The Jungle fame lived here in one of his last years, making him the only notable resident by now.
- Chandler: A city in the southeast part of the area that is home to most of the area's technology development industries.
- Gilbert: Largest incorporated town by population in the United States.
- Glendale: The city where the NFL Cardinals are currently based at. Their stadium will also host the 2015 Super Bowl.
- Goodyear: Named from the Goodyear company (yes, that tire company), where they established cotton production for their tires.
- Maricopa: The southernmost city in the area. Sometimes known for having the only Amtrak station in the area.
- Mesa: Founded by Latter-Day Saints in the 19th century, this city contains most of the Valley's LDS population, including a Mormon temple (renowned for its Christmas-season display of lights). It's famous for serving the spring training base of the Chicago Cubs.
- Peoria: Site of the Luke Air Force Base. One of the dominant cities in the northwest part of the area.
- Scottsdale: A city located northeast of Phoenix filled with high wealth residents and nightlife amenities. It's basically an Arizona version of Beverly Hills and South Beach.
- Surprise: A city in the northwest corner of the Phoenix area. It has been a winter training place for many major league sports teams.
- Tempe: Home of the Arizona State University's primary campus, as well as US Airways and the aforementioned university's Sun Devils sports team. Birthplace of the nationwide ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery. Acknowledged as one of the central axes of the Valley's music scene, and politically the farthest-left of any city in the Phoenix area.
- Bullhead City: Located in the Colorado River, this city has been experiencing slow but steady growth. It hosts the annual River Regatta event, and is just across the river from Laughlin, Nevada.
- Lake Havasu City: City in western Arizona on the Colorado River. Best known for the London Bridge, which gave it a special relationship to the United Kingdom.
- Parker: A town on the Colorado River. Home of one of the deepest dams in the world, which is front of Lake Havasu. No one is sure to pick who is the namesake of the town, since there's either Ely Parker, first Native American commisioner for the nation's government, or Earl Parker, a railroad surveyor and engineer. Appeared and filmed in Fast Five.
- Poston: A tiny town 15 miles south of Parker, known for having one of the largest Japanese American internment camps that operated during World War 2.
- Quartzsite: A town best notable for having a huge number of winter residents between November and late Spring in every year. These residents are from the northern states or Canada. This period is when Quartzsite hosted flea markets and gem shows from its winter residents.
- Salome: A minor railroad town along US Route 60. Don't confuse its road as Route 66.
- Tucson: Largest city in southern Arizona and the oldest overall in the state, which is 100 miles southeast of Phoenix. Home to the University of Arizona's campus. It has a aircraft boneyard in the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and many companies that specialize in optics here. A bit more left in politics than the Phoenix area.
- Benson: A former Southern Pacific railroad town. Considered to be the gateway of the Kartchner Caverns State Park.
- Bisbee: A town located near the southeast corner of the state. It has well preserved mining scenes from the past, and is built largely on the walls of a canyon, making for many winding roads and a lot of stairs. Come for the scenic vistas, stay for the cardio.
- Douglas: Town that's also located close to the southeast corner. Situated next to the Mexican border, it was used to be a smelting town with ore from Bisbee. One of the state's most famous hotels, the Gadsden Hotel, is in Douglas.
- Gila Bend: A town located southwest of Phoenix and east of Yuma. It has many structures of unusual value.
- Superior: Town where several films such as How the West Was Won and The Prophecy were set in.
- Tombstone: Town that's best known for the quick gunfight in 1881 when Wyatt Earp and others fought at the O.K. Corral.
- Yuma: A small city along the Colorado River near the state's southwest corner. Mostly sunny all year as well. There is an agriculture industry, but it couldn't resist the city from one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, unfortunately.
- Clifton: Town in eastern Arizona where a particularly ugly copper mine strike occurred in the early 1980s.
- Snowflake: One of the few remaining towns that has a logging business in the state. The town's papermill shut down in 2012, causing a potential economic decline in the town and it's railroad, the Apache Railway.
- Safford: A primary setting for the film Lost in America.
- Show Low: A town in the forests within the Mogollon Rim, a highland in eastern Arizona. Many celebrities have secondary homes here.