Encircle Arizona: Traveling from north to south through Arizona is a picturesque drive through natural phenomenon, national parks, the state’s capital, resort communities and back into the old wild west.

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1 The Colorado River Encircling Horseshoe Bend near Page, Arizona

Just off Route 89 near Page, Arizona, you take a hot, dusty walk across ancient sand dunes while seeing nothing but rocks, scrub brush and perspiring tourists. Suddenly, a giant canyon emerges. The view of the Colorado River meandering 270° around Horseshoe Bend is heart-stirring. If you also want it to be breathtaking, then dare to inch towards the rim for a better view of the sandstone escarpment 1,000 feet below. Once you are positioned for the best possible photo, your spouse will yell that you are crazy and to crawl back immediately.

Horseshoe Bend, Hwy 89 S, Page, AZ
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2 Entry to the Upper Canyon of Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona

Enjoy a rugged ride across a desert in a four-wheeler driven by a Navajo Nation guide to the Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona. Then, stand in awe at the entrance; it’s a majestic mouth to this Corkscrew Canyon that’s continually carved by wind and flash floods. Inside is a twisting path of narrow fissures where the changing light creates a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. It’s a photographers’ idealistic experience.

Indian Rte 222 and AZ-98, Page, AZ 86040
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3 Sand from a Sunbeam in the Upper Canyon of Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona

The sand cascading over red sandstone in the Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona resembled liquid sunbeams. This is only a sample of the amazing beauty and fantastic images you will see during a tour from a Navajo Nation guide through a narrow, twisting passage of sculptured rock. It is also known as “The Crack” or the Navajo name Tsé bighánílíní meaning, “The place where water runs through rocks.”

Indian Rte 222 and AZ-98, Page, AZ 86040
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4 Canyon Sunbeams in the Upper Canyon of Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona

Near Page, Arizona, are two slot canyons called Antelope Canyon. These phenomenal geological sites are managed by the Navajo Nation of Native Americans. The Upper Canyon is famous for sunbeams. After magically appearing, the slivers of light streak and dance through the corkscrew formations of sandstone while creating brilliant orange and purple colors. Then they vanish in seconds. These canyon sunbeams are best seen at mid-day during the summer.

Indian Rte 222 and AZ-98, Page, AZ 86040
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5 The South Rim from Yavapai Point at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

The word “grand” is inadequate to describe the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Arizona. Carved by the Colorado River and 1.7 billion years of erosion, it extends 277 miles. Although ten miles across, it requires a 250 mile drive around it. This view from Yavapai Point is the shallowest at 2,400 feet. The canyon is 7,800 feet deep at the North Rim. Nearby is the Yavapai Geology Museum where park rangers provide interesting facts using a scaled model of the canyon.

Yavapai Point Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
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6 Layout of South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

The Grand Canyon’s South Rim is well developed and open all year (the North Rim is closed in the winter). The two main sections catering to tourists are the Village, which includes accommodations, and the Visitor Center. Between them is the Rim Trail. This is a pedestrian-only walkway providing canyon views. West of the Village is Hermits Rest. East of the Visitor Center is Desert View. The roads leading to both extremes each have at least six major observation points. Shuttle buses and tours are available. Your best bet is to enjoy exploring one direction per day.

Hermits Rest, Hermit Rd Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
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7 Desert View Watchtower at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

The Desert View Watchtower was built in 1932 near the Grand Canyon National Park’s east entry. Architect Mary Colter patterned the structure after construction techniques used by the Ancient Pueblo people. Inside is a gift shop plus murals by 20th century painter Fred Kabotie. He was a member of the Hopi tribe of Native Americans and a former tower caretaker. The observation deck near the 70 foot summit provides a panoramic lookout over the canyon.

1 Desert View, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
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8 Visiting the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Arizona

The Grand Canyon has been attracting visitors for thousands of years since when the Ancestral Pueblo people made pilgrimages here and built their communities. Over 4.5 million visit annually. Accommodations are available on the South Rim, but space is limited. So book well in advance, especially during peak season. Camping is also popular. There are several activities to consider such as hiking, helicopter and plane rides plus bus or private tours. However, most people are thrilled to go to the different observation points and simply admire this breathtaking marvel.

Grand Canyon Visitor Center S Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
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9 Bicyclist with a Band-Aid Mural on Absolute Bikes by Lyle Motley in Flagstaff, Arizona

This mural of a bicyclist with a Band-Aid on his knee and a boy starring from a passing car was voted Best Public Art in the Editor’s Choice Awards by Flagstaff Live in Flagstaff, Arizona. This is a detail of a larger mural on the Absolute Bikes’ building. If you’re interested, it is fun to watch the time-lapse, on-line video of how Lyle Motely created it in 2007.

202 Historic Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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10 Painted Mountain Lion Sculpture from PAWS Project in Flagstaff, Arizona

This is one of the eventual 40, life-size painted mountain lions found around Flagstaff, Arizona, a town of about 70,000. The PAWS project is sponsored by the Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth. Each sculpture portrays one of the developmental assets essential to raising a healthy and successful child. For example, this is “Asset #15 – Positive Peer Influence.” A new sculpture is added annually. The mountain lion, also called a puma or panther, is native to Arizona and is typically eight feet and 115 to 160 pounds. The town’s new city buses are called Mountain Line with a cat painted on the side.

6 E Aspen Ave, Heritage Square, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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Colorful Window Security Grate Mural in Alley in Flagstaff, Arizona

Most window security bars are functional and unattractive, but not this colorful piece of art that guards a basement window in a downtown alley in Flagstaff, Arizona. Despite the graffiti that’s blemished it, the whimsical figures look characteristic of a children’s book illustration. By the way, there is a Flagstaff Art Walk on the first Friday of every month during which retailers stay open late in order to display various works of art. Tour maps are available.


11 Victorian Citizens Piano Room Mural on Former Speakeasy Bar in Flagstaff, Arizona

In the Leroux Street parking lot on the former Speakeasy Bar wall in Flagstaff, Arizona, is this mural of Victorian dressed citizens called “Piano Room.” It was painted by Sage, Jill and Dan Drilevich and Ricco Distefan in 2010. The woman on the left resembles Gustav Klimt’s 1907 portrait called “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” That artwork sold in 2006 for $135 million. Flagstaff buildings have wonderful wall murals representing different artists, themes and styles. Thanks to the City of Flagstaff’s Beautification and Public Arts Commission, this outdoor gallery is growing. They frequently sponsor wall mural competitions. A Flagstaff Public Art Map is available.

12 N Leroux St Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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12 Entertainment Alternatives in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you get bored during your vacation in Scottsdale, then you never left your hotel room. There are plenty of alternatives for fun. Serious shoppers enjoy Scottsdale Fashion Square. Arizona’s largest mall features over 225 stores. Also visit the Scottsdale Waterfront for more shopping plus restaurants or a stroll along the Arizona Canal. The Art District is filled with galleries. They display a range of styles and artists suitable for the budget-minded to the experienced collector. Old Town is where you can walk along the wooden storefronts, peek into the boutiques and, if you get tired, sit a spell with this pigeon-toed cowboy. Finally, the Entertainment District is the place to go for nightlife.

7240 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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13 Sheet Metal Horse Sculpture and Longhorn Sheep Skull in Scottsdale, Arizona

A consequence of affluent snowbirds flocking to Scottsdale, Arizona, for its warmth, golf, charm and nightlife is very expensive real estate. In Old Town, the streets, façades and art have a Western theme. So, if you’re looking for a horse sculpture or an animal skull with horns, you’ll find it here. The downtown is also filled with shops, bars, restaurants, entertainment and a high-end mall.

3925 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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14 Jack Knife Sculpture in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale’s motto is “The West’s Most Western Town.” To reinforce their theme, the city’s logo is a cowboy riding a bucking bronco. Artist Ed Mell brought this symbol to life when he created this 8 ½ foot tall, bronze sculpture he calls Jack Knife. The artwork was installed at the intersections of Main Street and Marshall way in 1993 in the heart of the Art District.

7060 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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15 Two Cowgirls Mural by Medína in Scottsdale, Arizona

In 2012, this wall mural of two cowgirls was painted above an art gallery’s roof in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona, by Medína. The pretty, pin-up girls in western wear resemble Coca Cola cowgirl advertisements on signs and magazines from the 1940s and 1950s. The painting now adorns the vintage clothing boutique Fashion by Robert Black.

7144 East 1st Ave., Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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16 Day of Dead Mural in Scottsdale, Arizona

Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona, has a cowboy setting for active, wealthy tourists and snowbirds who love to shop, particularly in art galleries. Sometimes the street art is equally appealing, like this mural by Moisés of a Day of the Dead smiling skeleton with a flower bonnet. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration on November 1 and 2. The tradition dates back two or three thousand years. The image of a dressed up woman skull in a Victorian hat is popular during the holiday. It was made famous in a 1913 etching called “La Calavera Catrina” by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.

7228 E 1st Ave Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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17 Old Adobe Mission in Scottsdale, Arizona

During the early part of the 20th century, Mexicans fled tremulous times in their country and immigrated to Scottsdale to work in cotton fields and on ranches. Being devote Catholics, they wanted a church. So they banded together to create 14,000 adobe bricks in order to build the Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The first mass was in 1933. This humble, whitewashed church at the intersection of First Street and Brown Avenue was replaced by two subsequent building projects. Now, the Old Adobe Mission attracts tourists and wedding couples as a testament to a bygone era in Scottsdale’s history.

3817 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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18 Arizona State Capitol Building in Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix opened in 1901 and became a museum in 1977. At the peak of its copper dome is an adornment resembling the Greek goddess Nike from the headless statue called the Winged Victory of Samothrace from the second century B.C. The legislative branches are located in adjacent buildings. Arizona became the 48th state on February 14, 1912.

1700 W Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007
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19 Arizona State Capitol Rotunda From Third Floor in Phoenix, Arizona

The circular rotunda of the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix is decorated with red, white and blue banners and plunges past a chandelier and four levels to the mosaic state seal on the first floor. Surrounding it are exhibits explaining the history of the territory, state and politics.

1700 W Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007
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20 House of Representatives Building in Phoenix, Arizona

When the Territorial Government building opened in 1901, the city of Phoenix had 5,500 people. When Arizona was declared a state in 1912, the population had doubled. Its slowest decade of growth was the 1980s at 24.5%. During the 1950s, the increase was over 300%. No wonder the three branches of Arizona’s government outgrew their original statehouse. In 1960, the Capital Mall became a triad of buildings. The Senate and this House of Representatives building face each other with the historic Arizona State Capitol in the middle.

1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007
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21 USS Arizona Anchor in Phoenix, Arizona

The USS Arizona was a U.S. Navy battleship launched in 1915. Her namesake is the 48th state admitted to the union. The ship was part of the Pacific Fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941. 1,177 crewmembers died in the explosion. The wreck is now honored at the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii (see the O’ahu travel guides for photos). The ship’s mast and 16,000 pound anchor were salvaged and are on display in Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix. The square contains 30 other memorials.

100 N 15th Ave #201, Phoenix, AZ 85007
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22 Phoenix Old City Hall in Phoenix, Arizona

In 1927, the decision was made to construct a conjoined building for the Phoenix City Hall and the Maricopa County Courthouse. That was the easy part. Afterwards, the city and county had a tough time agreeing on anything (imagine that!). The Mission Revival structure was finished in 1929. The terracotta panels glisten with a warm hue in the Valley of the Sun. Flanking the Old City Hall entrance are sculptures of a phoenix. This mythical bird that rises from the ashes was adopted as the official seal when Phoenix was incorporated as a city in 1881. Then it had less than 2,500 residents. Today, Phoenix is the sixth largest U. S. city with a population over 1.5 million.

125 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85003
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23 Arizona State Courts Building in Phoenix, Arizona

As its name suggests, the Arizona State Courts Building has housed the city’s and state’s justice and appeals courts plus the Arizona Supreme Court since opening in 1991. Most interesting are the words etched above the northern façade. These are a partial quote delivered to the House of Lords in 1770 by William Pitt, the 1st Earl of Chatham. An expanded version is, “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it … where law ends, there tyranny begins.” Pitt the Elder was also the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

1501 W Washington St #411, Phoenix, AZ 85007
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24 Sandra Day O’Connor U. S. Courthouse in Phoenix, Arizona

The Ninth District of the U. S. Court of Appeals covers Alaska, Arizona, California and Hawaii. Those judicial proceedings have been conducted in this courthouse since it opened on West Washington Street in 2000 after spending $123 million. The six-story, glass façade was designed by architect Richard Meier. The building’s namesake is Sandra Day O’Connor. She was an Arizona judge and Majority Leader of the State Senate. In 1981, she was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice. O’Connor retired in 2006.

W Washington St & N 6th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
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25 Former First Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, Arizona

A community of Presbyterians was established in Phoenix in 1875. In 1927, they opened this church with a Spanish Colonial Revival design. The First Presbyterian Church was listed by the U. S. Register of Historic Places in 1993. In late 2012, the historic property was purchased by City of Grace, an Evangelical church. Then in 2016, this became the Hillsong Church of Phoenix.

402 W Monroe St Phoenix, AZ 85003
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26 Downtown Basketball Arena in Phoenix, Arizona

This arena opened in downtown Phoenix in 1992. It is home court for the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury, the professional men’s and women’s basketball teams. The 16,000 square foot facility also features the Arizona Rattlers, an indoor American football team. From 2006 until 2015, the arena was named US Airways Center until the Tempe-based company merged with American Airlines. Now the naming rights belong to Talking Stick Resort. However, the locals call this sports venue “The Purple Palace” or “The Snake Pit.”

201 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
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27 Swimming Pool at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona

There is a good reason why Phoenix, Arizona, is part of the Valley of the Sun: it averages 85% sunny days and reaches above 100 degrees for over 100 days a year. Its record high is 122. When it’s that hot, a swimming pool is a great respite. That’s why I always stayed at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Hotel. It offers eight pools for cooling off.

11111 N 7th St Phoenix, AZ 85020
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28 University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale near Phoenix, Arizona

In 1898, a group of amateurs named the Morgan Athletic Club started playing football. Three years later, their coach (Charles Bidwill) purchased old jerseys he described as being “Cardinal red.” The Cardinals name was born. They played in the NFL at Chicago before being moved to St. Louis and then to Phoenix in 1987. In 2006, the Arizona Cardinals celebrated their new, half-billion-dollar facility in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix. The stadium’s most interesting feature is the playing field. It can be rolled outside so the natural grass gets sunlight. Naming rights belong to the University of Phoenix. UOPX is a locally-based, non-profit learning intuition without its own sports team.

1 Cardinals Dr Glendale, AZ 85305
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Phoenix, Arizona Composite of Two Photos

Two photos of Phoenix, Arizona are The Greek mythological bird Phoenix sculpture on the front of the Old City Hall, and the Arizona Cardinals’ logo on the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The Phoenix, which is a bird that is associated with the sun and rises from the ashes, was adopted as the city’s seal in 1881.


29 Overview of Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge, Arizona

Around 5500 BC, the Archaic people were the first inhabitants of the Casa Grande area in south-central Arizona. The Hohokam arrived in 300 AD. Also called the Ancient Sonoran Desert People, they were master architects of building canals from the Gila River for irrigation. When channeling water became increasing difficult, these Native Americans moved out circa 1450 AD. The ruins they left behind are fascinating. An example is the Great House seen in the background. On the right are the remains of another structure in the compound. In 1892, President Harrison signed into law the first federal protection of a prehistoric site in the U. S. The Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, Arizona is managed by the National Park Service. The park is well worth a detour in order to visit.

1100 W Ruins Dr, Coolidge, AZ 85128
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30 Great House at Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge, Arizona

The Great House is the archeological centerpiece of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. The structure was built by the Hohokam people during the Great Pueblo Period (1150 – 1350) and abandoned about 1450 AD. The purpose of Casa Grande (meaning Big House in Spanish) is unknown. The four-story structure was constructed from caliche. This is a form of rock that can be used like cement. It is a very rare treat in the United States to explore ruins from such an ancient civilization.

1100 W Ruins Dr, Coolidge, AZ 85128
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31 Flora at Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge, Arizona

Tourists come to the Casa Grande Ruins to see the remnants of an ancient culture. They are equally impressed by the incredible vegetation like this blooming cactus. The Flora Project estimates there are 2,400 species of plants in the Sonoran Desert Network. About 160 of them are represented at Casa Grande. Botany enthusiasts will want to download an online field guide published by the National Park Service called, “Plants of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.”

1100 W Ruins Dr, Coolidge, AZ 85128
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32 Exchange at the Presidio Monument in Tucson, Arizona

In the mid-19th century during the Mexican-American War, the 101st Infantry, better known as the Mormon Battalion, marched from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California. The 500 soldiers traveled 2,000 miles! On December 16, 1846, they arrived in Tucson to free the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson from Mexican occupation. Instead of exchanging gunfire, the two armies bartered and the area became a United States property. This monument, called the Exchange at the Presidio, was erected in 1996 to commemorate the historical event. The bronze sculptures are located in El Presidio Park.

165 W Alameda St, Tucson, AZ 85701
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33 Gazebo in La Placita Park in Tucson, Arizona

This delightful gazebo in Plaza de Mesilla was built in La Placita Park during the 1800s. It is a great place to escape the summer heat while on The Presidio Trail. This is a circular walking tour of the historical sites in downtown Tucson. The self-guided excursion is about 2 ¾ miles long. Annotated maps are available from tourist centers or online.

Plaza de la Mesilla 199 W Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85701
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34 Pima County Courthouse Dome in Tucson, Arizona

When the Pima County Courthouse opened in 1930, it first served the Supreme Court and then the Consolidated Justice Court. Both have moved to newer facilities. The fate of this property listed by the U. S. National Register of Historic Places is uncertain. It is worth walking by this Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial style building to admire its colorful, mosaic dome. The architect, Roy Place, did a masterful job of designing a visual gem for downtown Tucson.

115 N Church Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701
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35 Cathedral of Saint Augustine in Tucson, Arizona

In the lower left corner is one of two spires towering over the Cathedral of Saint Augustine. This Roman Catholic parish was founded by the Spanish in 1776. Their first chapel was replaced in 1868 and reconstructed again in 1897. 100 years after the first church was built, the cathedral’s interior was completely refurbished. On the right is an external metal sphere in the churchyard. The artwork features several of the desert plants that are also incorporated into the design of the Cathedral of Saint Augustine.

192 S Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701
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36 Contrasting Architecture in Tucson, Arizona

Tucson’s architecture is an image of contrasts. Some buildings mimic the sunbaked adobe appearance commonly used by Native Americans. Others are modern high-rises. In the background is One South Church. When this glass skyscraper designed by architect Curtis Fentres opened in 1986, it became Tuscan’s tallest at 330 feet with 23 floors.

S Church Ave & W Jackson St, Tucson, AZ 85701
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37 Toby the Griffin Sculpture in Tucson, Arizona

In Middle East cultures dating back 5,000 years, the griffin was a mythical beast with power over all living creatures. Also called a griffon and gryphon, it had the body of a lion and the head, wings and talons of an eagle. This legendary animal often guarded over collections of riches. Perhaps that is why four griffins once stood watch on top of the Carnegie Library in Tucson. They have been gone since 1938. However, this orange metal sculpture by Joe O’Connell took their place on Scott Avenue in 2009. For unknown reasons, he named it Toby.

150 S Scott Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701
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38 Fox Tucson Theatre in Tucson, Arizona

From the 1910s until the 1940s, audiences flocked to elaborate theaters called a movie palace. Nicholas Diamos commissioned his version using a Southwestern Art Deco design. Opening night in 1930 featured an MGM movie named “Chasing Rainbows” starring Jack Benny plus a Mickey Mouse short. For years, the Fox Tucson Theatre was the epicenter of Tucson’s entertainment. After closing in 1974, it sat idle and deteriorated for 25 years. A $13 million restoration was required to reopen the performing arts landmark in 2005.

17 W Congress St, Tucson, AZ 85701
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39 Locomotive 1673 at Historic Train Depot in Tucson, Arizona

The Historic Train Depot is an active Amtrak station plus the home to the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum. Inside is the vintage Locomotive 1673. The engine was put in service by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1900 and logged a million miles before retiring fifty-five years later. This spot has been a train terminal since 1860. During your visit, look for the statues of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp wielding shotguns. This is where the dual revenged the murder of Morgan Earp in 1882 by shooting Frank Stilwell. He was one of the assumed assassins and a member of the Cochise County Cowboys gang.

410 N Toole Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701
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40 Rattlesnake Bridge in Tucson, Arizona

Simon Donovan designed this innovate pedestrian bridge in 1997. The project was completed in 2002. This 280 foot span over Broadway Boulevard is shaped like a western diamondback rattlesnake. This venomous reptile is widespread across the southwestern states and parts of northern Mexico. Named after the diamond-shaped pattern of its skin, the rattler can reach a length of four feet. The snake senses its prey by detecting heat. Curiously, when this bridge senses someone approaching, its giant “coon” tail begins to rattle.

700 E Broadway Blvd # 200, Tucson, AZ 85719
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41 Arizona Barrel Cactus Blooming in Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona

It seems logical that Arizona would name a national park after its state flower, the Saguaro Cactus Blossom. Located in Tucson, the 90,000 acre park protects various cactus species. One is the Arizona Barrel Cactus, which blooms with small yellow and orange flowers on the top in the spring. Cars are only allowed in an eight-mile loop. However, there are many hiking trails, assuming you can tolerate the heat.

Signal Hill Picnic Area, Signal Hill Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
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Tucson, Arizona Composite of Six Photos

Six photos of Tucson, Arizona are A blooming Arizona Barrel Cactus, Close-up of Captain Jefferson Hunt as bronze statue called “Exchange of the Presidio” at Mormon Battalion Monument in El Presidio Park, The fangs of the diamondback rattlesnake pedestrian bridge, Lattice artwork sphere next to the Cathedral of Saint Augustine built in 1897, The Fox Theatre which was built in 1929, closed in 1974 and reopened in 2005, and the One South Church which is the tallest building in Tucson.


42 Stagecoaches along Historic Allen Street in Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone, Arizona’s motto is, “The Town Too Tough to Die.” However, many of its gunned-down, hung and lynched residents are buried in Boot Hill. Also gone forever are the 100 saloons, dozen gambling halls and the busy brothels that once served the pioneer townsfolk. Today, Tombstone replicates the silver boom years of 1879 through early 1880’s. The population of about 1,300 lets tourists experience the Wild Wild West. This includes the chance to ride a stagecoach down Allen Street at the core of the Historic District.

414 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ 85638
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43 Golden Eagle Brewing Company in Tombstone, Arizona

In 1879, the Tombstone Gold and Silver Mining Company found rich silver deposits at the Tough Nut Mine. The influx of workers gave birth to a town in 1879 that shared its name: Tombstone. And of course where there were miners, there were saloons. One of the first was the Golden Eagle Brewing Company. In addition to serving drinks, the Wehrfritz Building served as the office of Deputy Marshall Virgil Earp. Today it is the Crystal Palace Saloon catering to thirsty tourists.

436 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ 85638
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44 O. K. Coral Shootout Reenactment in Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone, Arizona may have been another nameless boomtown gone bust except for 30 seconds of infamy between the Blacks and the Whites. At about 3:00 on October 26, 1881, thirty shots were exchanged near the O. K. Corral. All of the good guys- Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt Earp together with Doc Holliday – survived. However, Frank and Tom McLaury plus Billy Clanton of the Cowboys died. Two other gang members – Billy Claiborne and Ike Clanton – lived. No visit to Tombstone is complete without watching this historic reenactment.

O.K. Corral, 326 East Allen Street, Tombstone, AZ 85638
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45 McLaury Brothers and Billy Clanton Graves at Boot Hill in Tombstone, Arizona

“Old Man” Clanton was the patriarch of a family of outlaws called the Cowboys. They victimized the Arizona Territory in the late 19th century by rustling cattle, robbing stagecoaches and stealing from miners. Robert Findley McLaury and Thomas Clark McLaury joined their ranks after purchasing a neighboring ranch. Their lawlessness came to an abrupt end at the O. K. Corral shootout. The brothers Frank and Tom, along with Billy Clanton, were buried side-by-side at Boot Hill. This famous Tombstone graveyard interred mostly criminals from 1878 until 1883. The cemetery has become a popular tourist attraction. Be aware: several of the markers are fictitious.

408 AZ-80, Tombstone, AZ 85638
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46 Wyatt Earp Portrait in Tombstone, Arizona

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born in Illinois in 1848. Wyatt spent his early years drifting as a gambler, buffalo hunter, saloon keeper, railroad worker and stagecoach driver. His fame as a law officer began in 1875 when he joined the Wichita, Kansas police force. In 1880, he went to Tombstone to join his brothers. Virgil Earp was the town’s marshal. The Earps showed their gunslinging skills at the O. K. Corral in 1861. Unlike most notable figures from the Wild West who had short lifespans, Wyatt Earp lived for 80 years. He died in Los Angeles in 1929.

417 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ 85638
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47 Doc Holliday Portrait in Tombstone, Arizona

Although he earned a dental degree, John Henry Holliday was a quintessential gunfighter and gambler. After saving Wyatt Earp’s life, the friends rode throughout the west until they arrived in Tombstone. It was there Doc Holliday became a frequent customer of The Shady Ladies. This was a brothel run by Big Nose Kate, the town’s first prostitute in 1881. She was also his common-law wife for five years. This portrait of Doc hangs in the Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. After surviving the O. K. Corral shootout, Doc joined a posse to hunt down and kill outlaws until he died of tuberculosis in 1887 at the age of 36.

417 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ 85638
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