20 Things Arizona is Known and Famous For

Please note that some posts may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission should you choose to purchase using these links but at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Arizona has a reputation for being the land of cacti, cowboys, and desert. This is largely because it’s one of the most arid states in the country. However, there are many more things that Arizona is known for that makes it such an attractive destination for travelers.

What Is Arizona Known For?

Arizona is famous for many things, including beautiful scenery and rich history. It’s also known for its sun-drenched desert landscapes and cacti. Visitors to Arizona can experience all of these, as well as the state’s more recent attractions like shopping centers, theme parks, and golf courses. There’s truly something for everyone in Arizona.

Some of the most popular tourist destinations in Arizona include the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Tucson, and Phoenix. These cities offer a variety of activities and attractions that appeal to all types of travelers.

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the state’s stunning natural landscapes, while history buffs can learn about its Native American and Old West heritage. And, of course, there are plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining throughout Arizona.

Famous Food In Arizona

Piki Bread

Piki bread is a type of Native American flatbread that is made from blue cornmeal. The bread is thin and crunchy, with a slightly sweet flavor. It is often served with honey or jam.

Piki bread is one of the most popular dishes in the Hopi tribe. The bread has been made by the Hopi people for centuries. It is a traditional food that is served during ceremonies and celebrations. Piki bread is also eaten as a snack or for breakfast.

Navajo Tacos


Navajo tacos are made with frybread, which is a type of Native American flatbread. The frybread is topped with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and other toppings. Navajo tacos are a popular dish in the Navajo Nation.

Frybread is a traditional food that has been made by the Native American people for centuries. It is usually made with flour, water, salt, and baking powder. Frybread can be eaten plain or topped with various ingredients.


Posole is a traditional Mexican stew that is made with hominy, pork, and green chiles. The stew is usually served with tortillas, cheese, and sour cream.

Posole is a popular dish in Arizona and New Mexico. It is often served during holidays and special occasions. Posole has a long history in the Southwest United States. It is a traditional food of the Pueblo people.

Sonoran Hot Dogs


Sonoran hot dogs are a type of hot dog that is popular in the Sonoran Desert region of the southwestern United States. The hot dogs are wrapped in bacon and grilled. They often come with onions, tomatoes, mustard, mayonnaise, and jalapeños.

Sonoran hot dog is a popular street food in Arizona and California. You can find it in food carts or trucks. Sonoran hot dogs have become popular in other parts of the country as well. They are the perfect snack or meal for any occasion.

Don’t miss out on all these delicious Arizona food that you need to try when visiting.

History, Culture And Traditions

The culture of the southwestern United States is a blend of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo-American influences. The region has a long history of human habitation. Here are some History, culture, and traditions Arizona is known for

Saguaro Cactus

The saguaro cactus is a type of cactus that is native to the Sonoran Desert region of the southwestern United States. The cactus can grow to be over 50 feet tall. The saguaro cactus is the official state flower of Arizona.

The saguaro cactus is a symbol of the desert southwest. It is often used in art and literature to represent the region. The saguaro cactus is also a popular tourist attraction. Visitors to Arizona can see the cacti in many different places, including the Saguaro National Park.

Desert Landscapes


The desert landscape is one of the most iconic features of Arizona. The state is littered with stunning red rock formations, deep canyons and cactus forest. The Sonoran Desert, which covers much of the southern part of the state, is the most significant of them all.

You can see the unique plants and animals that live in the desert, and also experience the beauty of the desert scenery. Hiking, camping and photography are all popular activities for obvious reasons. There are many different trails to explore where you can see some of the most incredible views in the state.

Spanish Missions

The Spanish missions in Arizona were built by Spanish in the 17th and 18th centuries. They have pretty distinct architecture style that blends European and Native American elements.

These missions were set up with intention to convert Native Americans to Catholicism, thereby establishing a stronger Spanish presence in the region. That said, these missions are a significant part of Arizona’s history and culture.

Today, the historic sites are popular tourist attractions. You can visit them and each of them will give you a glimpse to the state’s interesting past. Some of the notable landmarks are San Xavier del Back, Tumacacori Historical Park and San Agustin del Tucson.

Native American Culture


The Native American people have a long history in the state of Arizona. The state is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, each with its own unique traditions and customs. Some of the more well known ones you might have heard of include the Navajo, Hopi, and Pueblo.

Native American culture is not just alive and well in Arizona, it has an evident influence to the state’s modern day developments. You will be able to see and experience these indigenous cultures through the art, music, crafts, and dance of the Native American people.

Many of the natural wonders throughout the state also has historical traces of different tribes. Some of them are even considered sacred sites for the native people.

The Wild West

The state of Arizona is known for its wild west history, with legends of cowboys, outlaws and shootout. After all, the state was once a part of the Wild West frontier. You will find that this fascinating history is evident in many of the state’s attractions/towns, including Prescott and Tombstone.

The wild west is a big part of the state’s cultural heritage. It is reflected in many aspeccts such as the southwestern cuisine and music scene. Unsurprisingly, Arizona also hosts many cowboys and western-themed events and festivals.

So if the wild west theme is your jam, definitely don’t miss stopping by Arizona.

Turquoise Gemstone


The turquoise gemstone is one of the most popular and recognizable stones in the world. It’s distinct visuals makes it a great ornamental piece.

This precious stone is found in many different parts of Arizona and there are several mines across the state. Commercial mining of turquoise began in Arizona in late 19th century, and the industry has continued to thrive ever since. Therefore, the state is a key producer of Turquoise till today.

The turquoise gemstone is prized for its beauty and uniqueness. It is often used in jewelry and other art forms.

Many Native American tribes in Arizona, including the Navajo and Zuni, are known for their beautiful turquoise jewelry. These make for representative and special souvenirs to take home. The people believe that this special gemstone represent wealth, health and happiness.

Cities And Travel Destinations

If you’re looking for a great American road trip, consider traveling through Arizona. The state is home to some of the most top tourist destinations in the country. Here are some cities and travel destinations Arizona is famous for.


Phoenix is capital and largest city in Arizona. Consequently, it is also one of the most popular travel destinations in the state. There are a ton of different attractions, both in and around the capital city.

The most well known is of course, the Grand Canyon! However, other interesting sites like the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo are more than capable of pulling their own weight as key landmarks in the city.

An attractive feature of Phoenix is its desert climate as it is located in the Sonoran Desert. The city experiences very hot summers and mild winters, getting over 300 days of sunshine each year. This makes it a popular destination for people who want to escape the cold weather of the northern United States.

Being a modern city, Phoenix is also known for its cultural scene and nightlife. You will find many events, bars and clubs that are popular with tourists and locals alike.



Flagstaff is a small city in Arizona that is nestled near the tall pines of the San Francisco Peaks. The city is a perhaps most famous as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, camping, and fishing are all popular activities in the surrounding area of stunning natural beauty.

Flagstaff also has a thriving arts and science community and is home to the Lowell Observatory. It is open to the public and offers tours of its facilities. That said, it is no coincidence that there is an observatory here; the surrounding outdoors is known for its pitch dark skies that are great for stargazing.


Sedona is a small city in the northern Verde Valley region of Arizona that is most well known for its red rock formations. It comes as no surprise then that the city is a popular destination for hiking, camping, and rock climbing.

That said, that’s not all that Sedona has to offer. The city is also famous for its rich spiritual and metaphysical culture. Tons of people visit to explore all sorts of stuff from energy vortexes to crystal shops and psychic readings.

This Arizona city also has its fair share of art galleries and shops. The arts and culture scene here is not to be overlooked, and is a worthy destination for people who appreciate the arts.



Tucson is the largest city in the southern part of Arizona. It is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a mix of historical attractions and modern amenities. There is a whole bunch of diverse attractions entangled with deep cultural heritage from the city’s past.

You will find influences from Native American, Mexican and Spanish cultures. This is reflected in the food scene and historic sites such as Mission San Xavier del Ba and Presidio of Tucson.

The city is home to the University of Arizona, which is one of the largest universities in the country. There are also a great number of nature destinations, including the Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon, around the region. That is why it is a popular destination for outdoor adventures and activities.


Famous People From Arizona

There are many famous people from Arizona, including athletes and celebrities. Some were born there, while some call it home. Here are some of the famous people from Arizona.

Emma Stone

Emma Stone is one of most popular actress and performer in Hollywood. She was born in Scottsdale, Arizona and began acting even at a very young age before moving to Los Angeles.

Emma is best known for her work in the films ‘Easy A’ and ‘La La Land’, which earned her wide spread recognition from the industry. With her charming personality and impressive range of talents, she will continue to build a successful career. Stone has won numerous awards for her work in film, including an Academy Award and Golden Globe Awards.

John McCain

John McCain was a respected American politician, best known for his impeccable service to his country. He was a senator representing the state of Arizona for six terms. John was also the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States in 2008.

He served in the Vietnam War as a naval aviator. Unfortunately, he was taken prisoner during the war and held as a POW for more than five years.

After his release, McCain continued his military career and finally retired from the Navy in 1981 as a captain. Subsequently, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 and served there until his death in 2018.

Throughout his career, McCain was known for his independence, his willingness to work across party lines, and his commitment to serving the country. His fierce dedication to his country was a hallmark of his distinguished career.

Architecture And Landmarks

There are many iconic landmarks in Arizona that help to understand the history and current status of the region. Here are some of the places and attractions that Arizona is well known for.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous geological features in the world. The canyon is over a mile deep and extends for 277 miles. Some consider it one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

The rock formations in the Grand Canyon are some of the oldest and most beautiful in North America. It also provides a window into the Earth’s geological history.

With much natural beauty on offer, it is no surprise that the Grand Canyon is a popular tourist destination. Millions of people visit the canyon each year as it is a great place for hiking, camping, and rafting.

> Check Canyon Tours From Sedona/Flagstaff
> Check Canyon Tours From Phoenix

Monument Valley

Monument Valley is often considered an iconic place to visit if you are in Arizona or Utah. It is located on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, near the border with Utah.

This natural destination is known for its striking sandstone formations, which rise up out of the surrounding desert landscape. The most iconic of these formations are the Mittens, a pair of towering rock spires that are often used as a symbol of the American Southwest.

With all that amazing beauty, it is no wonder that Monument Valley has been featured in countless movies and TV shows. This is a popular destination for hiking, photography, and cultural tours as plenty want to witness that beauty first hand.

The park is also an important part of Navajo history and culture. You can learn about the tribe’s traditional way of life and their deep connection to the land.

> Check Convenient Day Tours To Monument Valley

The University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is a public research university. It was founded in 1885 and is one of the largest universities in the United States. The University of Arizona is a major cultural center in Tucson. Despite being an education institute, it also has a variety of interesting attractions, including museums and theaters.

This includes the Arizona State Museum, which is one of the largest museums in the southwest containing an impressive collection of artifacts. The university is also home to the Arizona History Museum and Museum of Art.

Petrified Forest National Park


Petrified Forest National Park is a national park in northeastern Arizona. The park is known for its large deposits of petrified wood stretching back ages ago.

The petrified wood is estimated to be from the Late Triassic period over 200 million years ago and is some of the best-preserved in the world.

Petrified Forest National Park is a popular place to hike and camp. There are also a number of different ranger-led programs that offer visitors an insight into the park’s history and ecology. It is also a great place to see the night sky as it is one of the darkest places in the United States.

Discover Things Arizona Is Known For

These are just some of the things that Arizona is known for. With such a diverse range of things on offer, it is no surprise that Arizona is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States.

From the beautiful landscape to the rich history, there is much to be explored in this desert state. You are bound to discover more things that Arizona is known and famous for on your trip!

FAQ About Arizona

What is the most famous thing in Arizona?

The most famous thing in Arizona has to be the Grand Canyon. Such an incredible natural landmark that is not just visually incredible, filled with cultural insights and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. There is a reason why the state’s official nickname is “The Grand Canyon State.”

What are 5 facts about Arizona?

Here are some quick statistics, and you can read more about fun facts about Arizona here.

  • Capital: Phoenix
  • Population: 7.4 Million (14th Populous State in the U.S)
  • Land Area: 113,990 sq mi / 295,234 km² (6th Largest in U.S)
  • Nickname: The Grand Canyon State
  • Abbreviation: AZ

What makes Arizona so unique?

The beautiful desert landscape is one of the most unique things about Arizona. It is the foundation for many attractions and activities that draw so many visitors year after year.

Why is Arizona so popular?

Apart from the Grand Canyon, there are many amazing historic sites and natural parks to visit. This makes it attractive to all kinds of tourists and travelers. Regardless if you are an adventurous backpacker, a foodie or cultural geek, there are many things to do in Arizona.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

More Adventures


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


other stories