I live in Arizona. It has been my home for 20 years. I’ve visited the Grand Canyon many times over the years and travel through the mountains, deserts, mining towns and resorts on a daily basis. Despite this, I forget the beauty in my adopted home state. We get wrapped up in the triple digits every summer, the crowded freeways during rush hour and the tourists that flock to the state every summer. I recently spent a week exploring Arizona, paying close attention to the art and architecture in our state.

We started at the Grand Canyon. Yes, the most amazing art at the Grand Canyon is the natural beauty created from years of the Colorado River carving its way through the rocks and the way the sun reflects on the rocks at different times of day. But, there’s also the historic treasures of El Tovar Lodge and Hopi House, both created in 1905 when the railroad still ruled the west.

After spending a night at the Grand Canyon—a chilly night with millions of stars and one of the most peaceful sleeps I’ve had in months—we headed back through Flagstaff toward Phoenix, stopping for the night at Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti. Arcosanti is an intriguing experiment created back in the 1970s by Italian architect Soleri as an urban experiment he called arcology, a study of architecture and ecology. The quirky culture and beautiful art created by those who call Arcosanti home made me realize how diverse this state really is.

Heading back into the Valley, I rediscovered some of my favorites: The Arizona Biltmore (check out details about an earlier stay at Arizona Biltmore’s Ocatilla here), the city of Tempe, ASU Gammage Auditorium, the Scottsdale Waterfront, Soleri’s Cosanti studio in Paradise Valley, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West and the beautiful Sonoran desert. Here’s a look at the Arizona I’ve grown to love in a short video.

If you want to create your own exploration of Arizona, the Arizona Office of Tourism can help you plan a visit to the Grand Canyon state.

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