Arizona

The US state of Arizona is famous for hot, dry, sunny weather, breathtaking rock formations, cacti, and spiritual desert towns. Join us for a ride through the "Grand Canyon State."

Arizona facts

Capital: Phoenix
Area: 295,000 km²
Population: about 7.2 million
Location: Southwest USA
Nickname: The Grand Canyon State
State animal: Cactus wren, ringtail
Time zone: UTC-7 (MST) Daylight saving time exists only in the Navajo Nation in the Northeast.

Arizona: Location & Population

The US state of Arizona is located in the southwest of the USA on the border to Mexico. Within the state, Arizona is surrounded by California, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. There is also a tiny border with Colorado in the "Four Corners" region in northeastern Arizona.

About 92.6 % of Arizona's residents ("Arizonans") are US citizens, with about 13 % of them being born abroad. The largest immigrant group is coming from Mexico, followed by the ethnic German community, which accounts for nearly 17 %.

There are more than 20 Native American tribes in Arizona, including the Navajo Nation and the Havasupai tribe, which live in the gorges of the Grand Canyon, among other places. Arizona has more Native American land than any other US state.

The biggest cities in Arizona

85 % of Arizona is covered by national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and preserves. In between, however, there are also some desert cities worth seeing. The largest cities in Arizona include:

City Population
Phoenix 1,700,000
Tucson 546,000
Mesa 518,000
Chandler 261,000
Scottsdale 259,000
Glendale 252,000

Arizona climate and nature

Arizona is mostly hot and dry, with 300 days of sunshine a year. However, the US state is divided into three climate zones:

Southwest Arizona

In the desert areas of the southwest, it is dry all year round. Summers are very hot here, with temperatures of up to 48 °C, and winters are rather mild, with temperatures ranging from 4 °C to 24 °C. At times, temperatures in the desert fluctuate between day and night by up to 28 °C.

Southeast Arizona

In southeastern Arizona lies the Mexican Plateau. Here, summers are not quite as hot as in the desert regions. At night, however, it can get cold below 0 °C. The mountain ranges in the southeast are among the rainiest areas in Arizona.

The Colorado Plateau

On the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona, the climate is much cooler than in the desert regions and the southeast. Summers are mild at 20 °C to 30 °C, and in winter, it can get really windy here at below 0 °C. The plateau also gets frequent precipitation, which tends to turn into snow in winter.

Nature and landscape

Most of Arizona consists of wild, beautiful nature. This includes the famous national parks with their breathtaking rock formations. In addition, the Colorado River snakes its way through the state in deep canyons all the way up to the Grand Canyon.

In Arizona's wilderness, you will meet desert animals, deer, and big cats. In very remote regions, you may even see bears. Southern Arizona with its huge cactus fields is particularly spectacular.

Best time to visit Arizona

Arizona is a great place to visit any time of the year. However, in July and August, it gets very hot in many places, so we would rather recommend a trip in spring or fall. A jacket for the sometimes cool evenings and nights is a must all year round.

Arizona in summer

Peaks of 50 °C are somewhat more bearable than in humid regions due to the low humidity in Arizona. Nevertheless, in high summer you should rather go to the mountainous regions in the north, where it is somewhat cooler.

Arizona in winter

The peak season in the desert areas lasts from January to March. To get away a little cheaper, you can also travel to Arizona between October and April.

Snow fans will love Flagstaff in the north: the place is one of the USA's most important winter sports regions.

How to get to Arizona

If you are flying to Arizona from Europe, you will be traveling between 14 and 20 hours. Most of the time, you'll have to make one stop - sometimes two.

It can take 30 hours to get to Arizona from Asia, and visitors from Australia and Africa might spend 20 hours traveling.

Landings at the largest airport in Phoenix are usually the cheapest. Airlines flying to Arizona include Lufthansa, KLM, and British Airways.

The main airports in Arizona are:

  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Tucson International Airport
  • Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport
  • Yuma International Airport
  • Grand Canyon National Park Airport

Arizona entry permit

Remember: If you are not a US citizen or Green Card holder, you will need a visa or ESTA to enter the United States.

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!

Arizona airport transfer

If you took one of the more affordable flights to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, you'd have many different transfer options once you land. These include:

Taxicab

There are three contract cab companies at the Phoenix airport. A cab calculator will help you estimate the price and decide whether you'd rather go with public transit or try the airport shuttles.

Shuttle bus

Phoenix operates intercity shuttles that go from the airport to Flagstaff, Prescott, Sedona, or Tucson. For a ride from Phoenix to Sedona, for example, expect to pay about $50.

Public transportation

Several modes of transportation take you from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to the city: the Valley Metro bus line, bus line 44, and the free PHX Sky Train, which connects directly to Valley Metro Rail. A day pass for the Valley Metro costs $4.

Other options

The convenient Greyhound bus lines take you all over the United States. However, you'll often have to arrange transportation from the airport to the nearest Greyhound station first. In Phoenix, that's taken care of: the Valley Metro runs directly from the airport to the bus stop on Glendale Avenue.

There are also twelve rental car companies at Phoenix Sky Harbor waiting for you to become a customer. Ask your airline about a fly-and-ride deal that can save you money.

National parks and natural wonders in Arizona

In Arizona, (almost) everything revolves around the breathtaking landscape. You are in a magical place and should plan enough time for the most beautiful national parks of the USA:

Grand Canyon National Park

The views at the Grand Canyon are almost unbearably beautiful. That's why a day at the "South Rim," as the section of the canyon in northern Arizona is called, is an absolute must!

You can easily reach the spectacular viewpoint "Hopi Point" by shuttle bus. Don't miss the sunset!

Petrified Forest National Park

The state fossil of Arizona is petrified wood, not without reason. There is a whole national park full of this fascinating material. And the comparatively small area has even more to offer: the petroglyphs of the "Painted Desert" look as if they were painted by an artist, the "Blue Mesa" enchants you with its blue-white clay layers, and in the glittering "Crystal Garden," you almost want to steal the gemstones from the trees.

Saguaro National Park

"OW! OUCH! OW!" This could be the sound of your visit to the Saguaro National Park because it is full of enormous giant cacti!

The beautiful saguaros are up to 20 m high, and some of them look really funny. Please do not touch them because they are not only prickly, but it also takes 100 years until a severed arm grows back.

Attention: If you damage a cactus here, you can go to jail for it!

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

At the state border between Arizona and Utah, the world-famous Monument Valley shines bright red in the afternoon sun. You should only drive through here with an off-road vehicle because the red sand is really hard to drive.

The easiest way is to take a day tour with a guide explaining the petroglyphs, ruins, and arches to you. The Valley is also a wonderful place to camp.

Vermillion Cliffs and Antelope Canyon

These two monuments look like they're from another planet: take some time in Arizona to drive past Antelope Canyon and one hour's drive away Vermillion Cliffs.

Only here in the Copper State can you find such a spectacle of color. However, to get to the big rock wave "The Wave," you need a permit, which you can get only in a "permit raffle." The hike there is also quite strenuous, so think it over carefully.

Top 10 sightseeing highlights in Arizona

The following places in Arizona are a must-see and should definitely be on your travel list:

  • Grand Canyon South Rim, Skywalk + Grand Canyon Village
  • Monument Valley
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Desert Botanical Garden
  • Havasu Falls
  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  • Coconino National Forest
  • Hoover Dam

City trips in Arizona

From sleepy desert towns to mega-metropolises, there is something for every city fan in Arizona. The most beautiful cities in Arizona are:

Booking.com

City highlights Phoenix

The capital city of Phoenix is located in the "Valley of the Sun" and, with 325 days of sunshine, is a mecca for golfers, luxury vacationers, and partygoers.

You should see these places in Phoenix:

  • Musical Instruments Museum
  • Desert Botanical Garden
  • Camelback Mountain
  • Heard Museum
  • South Mountain Park

City highlights Sedona

The desert city of Sedona is a paradise in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the resorts, canyons, mountains, and artist communities, there's plenty of things to do here. As the center of the New Age movement, Sedona also oozes special energy.

Check out these places in Sedona:

  • Chapel of the Holy Cross
  • Bell Rock
  • Cathedral Rock
  • Devil’s Bridge Trail
  • Red Rock Scenic Byway

City highlights Scottsdale

Scottsdale, like Phoenix, is known as a golfer's paradise and for luxury resorts. Trips to the Grand Canyon can easily start from here.

These are the places you should see in Scottsdale:

  • The Taliesin West exhibit
  • McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
  • Old Town Scottsdale
  • Butterfly Wonderland
  • Penske Racing Museum

City highlights Mesa

You'll be in for a real surprise in the artist capital of Mesa, where there's a lot of Native American history and museums, as well as lots of performance art, theater, and music.

When in Mesa, don't miss:

  • Papago Park
  • Arizona Museum of Natural History
  • Mesa Arts Center
  • Usery Mountain Regional Park
  • Mesa Amphitheatre

Arizona road trip

Thanks to its spectacular and diverse landscapes, Arizona is an ideal place for road trips.You can stay in a comfortable hotel in almost every major city, but in between, you can explore canyons, deserts, waterfalls, and historic western towns.

In some places, it's tempting to leave the car behind and take a helicopter for a sightseeing flight over the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam.

As you drive through the wild west, you'll notice that Arizona is also a spiritual place. Sacred and religious sites are around every corner in the Grand Canyon State.

 

Instagram hotspots in Arizona

Arizona is packed with perfect photo opportunities. Plus, in many spots, there's surprisingly turquoise water beneath bubbling waterfalls. Who wouldn't instantly think of their Instagram account?

Here are our top 5 Instagram hotspots in Arizona:

  • Antelope Canyon
  • Havasu Falls
  • Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Devil’s Bridge Trail

Arizona food highlights

Have you ever tried Native American cuisine? Spicy dishes of cactus, beans, blue corn, and fried bread are often served to tourists in Arizona.

Don't be surprised if someone puts cedar wood ash in your bean soup: it's a common (and delicious) thickener here. You might try the following typical Arizonan treats:

  • Chimichangas - fried burritos imported from Mexico.
  • Navajo tacos - Indian tacos made from the so-called "frybread"
  • Piki bread - bread made from blue cornflour
  • Posole - Mexican corn stew
  • Sonoran hot dog - original Mexican hot dog variation with green chili sauce and pinto beans

Arizonans also have a thing for a good steak.

Arizona fun facts

You probably haven't heard these thrilling facts about the US state of Arizona yet:

  • Arizona is also known as the "Copper State."
  • The boom-time economy of copper mining left Arizona with hundreds of ghost towns.
  • The bolo tie is the official state necklace in Arizona.
  • Among the Havasupai tribe, who live in the Grand Canyon, the mail is still delivered by mule.
  • In 1997, hundreds of people in Phoenix saw a UFO.
  • Four Corners' Point in the north is the only four-country point in the United States.

Moving to Arizona

Working in Arizona

Important industries in Arizona are mining, tourism, and agriculture. There is also a lot going on in the electronics sector in the "Grand Canyon State".

Special features in this US state are the high demand for employees in the aerospace and agricultural sectors as well as the high number of ambulance drivers.

In addition, like almost everywhere else in the states, Arizona is constantly looking for customer service representatives, managers, and salespeople.

Living in Arizona

The quality of life in Arizona is very high, as measured by comprehensive health care coverage and comparatively low prices for real estate, household purchases, food, and transportation.

Most Arizonans live in Phoenix and Tucson. The sales tax is in the middle range at 5.6%.

Come to Arizona with a Green Card

A Green Card is the only visa that allows you to live and work in the US indefinitely. The easiest way to get the popular immigrant visa is through the annual Green Card Lottery, in which the US government gives away 55,000 Green Cards each year.

You can apply for the lottery in parallel, even if you are already trying to get a Green Card through a job. Signing up for the Green Card Lottery only takes a few minutes, and, if you're lucky, it will save you years of battles with the US government and potential employers.

Apply today! We are keeping our fingers crossed for you!

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