Practical Art’s SUMMER TOP TEN LIST #1

Who doesn’t love a good TOP TEN list?  Especially heading into the season where the heat drives our attention spans into hibernation mode. So today we’re kicking off our series of TOP TEN lists for all you brave locals who’ll be stickin’ it out with us all summer– lists like our TOP TEN favorite local hikes, charities, pool parties, and more.

In the famous words of David Letterman, “Here it is! Your top ten list!”

Top Ten Things We Love About Phoenix

Number 10: Its proximity to everything—Land! Sea! Air!

We’re just a few hours from amazing parks and landmarks (Grand Canyon? Canyon De Chelly? Bartlett Lake? etc!), from the coast!, from freakin’ MEXICO!, Vegas anyone?, and really just about 0 minutes from a major airport that’ll get us wherever else we want to head for a few days outta the burg.


Number 9: All of the Fairs & Festivals!
To be sure, we’re kind of an event-driven town. So it’s no surprise that we have about a bajillion fairs and festivals. We have fests for all things foodie & bevvie: Devour, AZ Cocktail Week, AZ Beer Week, Scottsdale Culinary Festival, etc; we have fests to celebrate the melting pot of culture we are from Oktoberfest to the Matsuri Festival and more; we celebrate the arts with ArtDetour, with the Tempe & Scottsdale Art Festivals, with First Fridays, and more; there’s even fairs for Neighborhood organizations! Phoenicians just like to mingle.

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Number 8: Bikes!
Bikes! Bikes! Bikes! Where else can you ride ALL YEAR ROUND? It doesn’t get too frigid, certainly doesn’t snow, and the times we’ve had to deal with a soaking rain while pedaling around? I can count on one hand in 5 car-free years. Plus, we have awesome local bike shops (Slippery Pig! Domenics!), our very own bicycle makers (State Bicycle Co.), a bike share program, and a plethora of bicycle advocacy groups and repair collectives.

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Number 7: The Politics!
Totally kidding. You guys, please register to vote, uh?

Number 6: The HEAT. Truly, dudes, truly. Where else in the nation can you have legitimate pool parties in February? And you know that pain-in-the-butt seasonal shift of wardrobe? Where you haul out all of your heavy winter sweaters and coats, and put all your fun, bright clothes away? Yeah, we don’t have that. Sure, we have to wear less make-up, less clothing, we still sweat a little, we get tan, we get some extra Vitamin-D…. oh, no, wait…. these are all good things! I think things humans are even built to do! Crazy.

Number 5: Our crazy seasonal population shifts. We love the energy in town when the weathers in the 70’s and 80’s, Phoenix is full of students and snowbirds, travelers and tourists! Its event season, sales are up, every corner of Phoenix is bustlin’. And in the summer, the pace slows down, the traffic clears up, and the desert warriors are left in town! There’s a little more nodding to one another on the street in greeting. As summer dwellers, a lot of native Arizonans in that mix, we’re all kindred spirits.

Number 4: The glorious sunsets and overall beauty of our landscapes. The desert may be beige, but that makes every spark of color that much more vibrant– from the cactus blossoms, to the agaves, the lilacs, the big, blue skies, the bougainvillea, the red clay of the region, the orange blossoms…. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And with those sunsets, the amazing silhouettes offered by our desert sentinels, the cacti… what a sight. The perseverance of the flora & fauna here is truly, truly remarkable. We’ve been left with the toughest of the tough, and that’s respectable.

Number 3: SPRING TRAINING – The way Lisa has it figured out is that there are only two months in AZ where you can’t watch baseball– ASU baseball starts in February, Spring Training in March, the Diamondbacks play through the summer and the AZ Fall League runs in October and November. If you like or love that kind of thing, AZ just might feel a little like heaven.

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Number 2: The Local Movement! I have a gal pal who is going to miss this the most when she moves away– the way Phoenix has embraced its Local-ness.  Whether its buying local, eating local, staycations, or the like, we’ve really chosen to love what’s around us, appreciate our neighbor’s hard work, and celebrate all things Phoenix! Make sure to swing through Local First Arizona’s local directory when making plans for summer! Lots of hidden gems!


And, Number 1: How about September through June?! Or really, MARCH. Even if you just want to narrow this down to one single month, compare March here to ANYWHERE else. It’s pretty symbolic as to what we have to ‘deal with’ when it comes to climate.

Still not overly appreciative of the heat that joins us for the next few months, and need a little extra prep?

Read our Best of the Best blog post from Summer 2013, and check out the Erica Blares! blog post that was published recently in response to the Negative Nelly at Vice.

We ❤ AZ


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