By MacKinley Lutes-Adlhoch
As the school year comes to an end, it’s time to enjoy some summer fun. With projects and finals finally out of the way, unwind and enjoy all this beautiful state has to offer. From an Arizonan to you, here are some awesome things you must do this summer!
The Grand Canyon
This giant hole in the ground happens to be one of the seven wonders of the world and is the most popular tourist attraction in Arizona. Depending on who you speak to, some say it’s boring and overrated, and others (like me) say it’s breathtaking.
This site is beyond beautiful. If you’ve been living in Arizona for a while and haven’t seen it, you must go. I swear, it looks like a painting! There are beautiful waterfalls and numerous shops to see. Hiking trails are scattered around the canyon for the more adventurous, and for those who would rather chill, there are wondrous lookout points. It’s an experience you cannot miss.
The Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest art museum in the southwestern United States and is filled with incredible pieces. This is a treat for those who love museums. I have visited it for class and just for fun and must say I am always excited to see what new exhibits they have up (my favorite being a vintage fashion exhibit!).
Student admission is only $13. What’s even better, though, is that the museum offers free admission on Wednesdays from 3-9 p.m., as well as on the first Friday of each month.
If you have friends from Arizona, I’m sure you have heard them rave about food from a few specific places…so much you’ve probably told them to shut up once or twice. One of my favorite things to do in AZ is eat at its delicious restaurants. Here are a few I absolutely love and think you will too.
Oregano’s holds a very special place in my heart. When someone asks my favorite restaurant, this one is the first to come to mind. It’s a casual Italian joint that makes me feel so at home.
Oregano’s Pizza Bistro has 18 locations across Arizona, meaning it’s easy to find one wherever you may be in the state. This is my go-to place for lunch or dinner with friends, family, a date or just by myself.
I swear, everything on the menu is amazing. My personal favorites include the Julius Caesar Salad, Big Meatball Sandwich with waffle fries, and of course, the scrumptious Pizza Cookie.
This next restaurant also happens to be Italian…what can I say? I love my carbs. Sauce Pizza and Wine may be casual, but has the food of a nice sit-down restaurant. After ordering at the counter, servers bring out your food to either eat there or take-out.
They have 14 locations around the valley and recently expanded by opening one in New Mexico. This restaurant is another go-to for my family and is very college budget-friendly.
For anyone with a tomato soup weakness, they have the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. They are also famous for their mac and cheese and make a mean pizza. Plus, they serve every meal with a bread roll, so you really get to go crazy with the carbs.
The last restaurant recommendation is a little more upscale, but not too crazy. (We all have tuition hanging over our heads). Culinary Dropout is a cute place with a small menu that does everything well. My friends and I always end up here for birthday celebrations!
They have three locations in the valley so you can get your gastro-pub grub in Tempe, Scottsdale or Phoenix. The dim lighting and cool decorations are just hipster enough for cute Instagram pics, but not too hipster to distract from the amazing food.
I can’t go without ordering the Soft Pretzels and Provolone Fondue for an appetizer. Soooooo gooooood. Although my favorite entree is the Crispy Shrimp Caesar Salad, everything is pretty much a hit.
For a fun, free and adventurous morning activity, I suggest hiking! Any Arizonan will tell you that hiking is a must.
Camelback is great for people who are a little more experienced in the climbing department and features a couple of trails with varying difficulty. For those who would rather walk up a paved road and relax, Tempe’s “A” Mountain is super easy and fun. An early morning walk up “A” Mountain to watch the sun rise is a magical experience.
Papago Park is another popular place to find trails. Its unique rock structures are sure to impress any out-of-towner. Make sure to go before it gets too hot!
Last, but not least, comes baseball season. With baseball season comes days of peanuts, fresh grass, shorts and sunscreen. Even if baseball isn’t your thing, games are fun to go to with friends as you can eat delicious stadium food while ignoring the game.
Arizona Diamondbacks tickets can be purchased for less than $20; sometimes student deals bring the cost down even more. Who knows, maybe one game will turn you into a DBacks fan!