50 Reasons We're Thankful to Live in Phoenix

To be honest, our thoughts on Thanksgiving tend to align with Wednesday Addams circa 1993. We know we're not alone there — nor are we alone in recognizing the holiday as, well, super problematic. (Please see Chescaleigh for further explanation.) But with mild pyromania and general rage at bay, we know there's a lot to be happy about. In no particular order, here are 50 reasons why we're feeling thankful to live in Phoenix.

Choreographer and dancer Nicole Olson shares her creative perspective — and kicked off this year's 100 Creatives series.EXPAND
Choreographer and dancer Nicole Olson shares her creative perspective — and kicked off this year's 100 Creatives series.

50. The Valley is home to countless creatives — and every other year, we're lucky enough to talk with 100 of them.

View across a sunken courtyard at Mesa Arts Center toward the new El Mac mural and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
View across a sunken courtyard at Mesa Arts Center toward the new El Mac mural and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Jim Louvau

49. Seemingly against all odds, Mesa is developing quite the vibrant arts scene.

Are you ready for Santarchy 2016?
Are you ready for Santarchy 2016?
Benjamin Leatherman

48. Every December, Santas run rampant through Scottsdale.

Dangos by Jun Kaneko exhibited in the Rental Car Center at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Dangos by Jun Kaneko exhibited in the Rental Car Center at Sky Harbor International Airport.

47. Phoenix Sky Harbor has the best airport name ever — and it showcases stellar art. 

Postcommodity artists Raven Chacon, Kade L. Twist, and Cristóbal Martinez during Repellent Fence pre-installation.
Postcommodity artists Raven Chacon, Kade L. Twist, and Cristóbal Martinez during Repellent Fence pre-installation.
Lynn Trimble

46. Postcommodity, an art collective with Phoenix roots, will show at the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

Grant Street Studios in the Phoenix warehouse district.EXPAND
Grant Street Studios in the Phoenix warehouse district.
Craig Smith

45. The warehouse district just keeps getting artier, thanks to ASU and Michael Levine.

Sephora opened at Biltmore Fashion Park this month.EXPAND
Sephora opened at Biltmore Fashion Park this month.
Becky Bartkowski

44. Finally! There's a full-blown Sephora within city limits

Nail artist Jimmy Nguyen reinterpreted the work of Joseph "Sentrock" Perez.
Nail artist Jimmy Nguyen reinterpreted the work of Joseph "Sentrock" Perez.

43. Speaking of beauty, our nail artists continue pushing the boundaries of the medium (and cuticles, too).

Woman with Cat Ears by Jonathan Read on view at Art One gallery.EXPAND
Woman with Cat Ears by Jonathan Read on view at Art One gallery.
Lynn Trimble

42. Scottsdale gallery Art One has been supporting up-and-coming local artists for 23 years.

Clyde Tombaugh at a Zeiss Blink Comparator in Flagstaff, 1935.
Clyde Tombaugh at a Zeiss Blink Comparator in Flagstaff, 1935.
Lowell Observatory Archives

41. Some pretty stellar scientific discoveries have been made in our backyard.

Created in Phoenix, rubberized asphalt concrete (RAC) is used on many highways throughout the state.
Created in Phoenix, rubberized asphalt concrete (RAC) is used on many highways throughout the state.
ADOT

40. And our inventors are impressive, too.

Willo's got the stuff to back up its reputation.
Willo's got the stuff to back up its reputation.
Evie Carpenter

39. Our neighborhoods are gorgeous. 

The inaugural PHX Zine Fest took place at the Icehouse.EXPAND
The inaugural PHX Zine Fest took place at the Icehouse.
Marna Kay

38. We have an entire festival devoted to zines.

City of Phoenix planter, with comment written on nearby sidewalk.EXPAND
City of Phoenix planter, with comment written on nearby sidewalk.
Lynn Trimble

37. It's been a year of tough transition for Roosevelt Row, but at least those god-awful planters are gone.

Fall, is that you?EXPAND
Fall, is that you?
Nina Buday/Shutterstock

36. Fall means highs of 80, a.k.a. dreamy light sweater weather.

Experience Phoenix's natural beauty (and maybe get a little sweaty) at the Desert Botanical Garden.EXPAND
Experience Phoenix's natural beauty (and maybe get a little sweaty) at the Desert Botanical Garden.
Desert Botanical Garden

35. Our tourist attractions are so dope we visit them regardless of towing along out-of-towners.

Randy Slack's installation for "Chaos Theory 17."EXPAND
Randy Slack's installation for "Chaos Theory 17."
Randy Slack/ Photo by Lynn Trimble

34. Two words: "Chaos Theory."

Mellow out at one of Phoenix's top spas.
Mellow out at one of Phoenix's top spas.

33. And anytime we need a break, we know our spas offer world-class treatments.

Carrie Marill's Open Without Force, 2016.EXPAND
Carrie Marill's Open Without Force, 2016.
Lisa Sette Gallery

32. Twenty artists with ties to Arizona will show work during Art Basel in Miami Beach this year.

Día de los Muertos is coming. Here's how to celebrate.
Día de los Muertos is coming. Here's how to celebrate.
betto rodrigues / Shutterstock.com

31. We do Día de los Muertos right.

El Peezo's ode to Donald Drumpf.EXPAND
El Peezo's ode to Donald Drumpf.
Janessa Hilliard

30. From wheatpaste to digital art, our creative set is ready to take on Donald Trump. 

"We have a lot to say. We want to say it in a funny, interesting way and we want other women to be able to do that too," says Meredith Howell of Overtly Sensitive.EXPAND
"We have a lot to say. We want to say it in a funny, interesting way and we want other women to be able to do that too," says Meredith Howell of Overtly Sensitive.
Shaunté Glover / Courtesy Overtly Sensitive

29. Feminist comedians are taking the Phoenix scene into their own hands.

Taliesin West was the house Frank Lloyd Wright used for his winter home.
Taliesin West was the house Frank Lloyd Wright used for his winter home.
Evie Carpenter

28. Phoenix is a hotbed for stellar architecture. These iconic properties are all the proof you need.

Max Lawrence, Paige Davis, and James Gleason in ATC's An Act of God.EXPAND
Max Lawrence, Paige Davis, and James Gleason in ATC's An Act of God.
Tim Fuller

27. It was touch and go for a minute, but Arizona Theatre Company got the funding it needed to produce its 50th season.

Meet Tempe teacher and YA author Suzanne Young.
Meet Tempe teacher and YA author Suzanne Young.
Dawn Goei

26. From fantasy to sci-fi, our local authors are worthy of a spot on your nightstand. 

Literary events are all the rage — and we couldn't be happier.EXPAND
Literary events are all the rage — and we couldn't be happier.
Alexandra Gaspar

25. From silent book clubs to literary readings, Phoenix loves stories — including the ones featured at our own event, Bar Flies.

Poor Little Rich Girl is the place for anyone who wants big-name labels at reasonable prices.
Poor Little Rich Girl is the place for anyone who wants big-name labels at reasonable prices.

24. In need of retail therapy? The Valley's full of amazing places to shop.

The Praise Sanctuary Church in downtown Phoenix.EXPAND
The Praise Sanctuary Church in downtown Phoenix.
Benjamin Leatherman

23. Charlie Levy's opening a downtown Phoenix arts center.

Who needs Vegas?
Who needs Vegas?
Courtesy of Talking Stick Resort

22. From casinos to comedy, there are plenty of places to find entertainment.

A sampling of the 100,000-plus people who attended Phoenix Comicon 2016.EXPAND
A sampling of the 100,000-plus people who attended Phoenix Comicon 2016.
Benjamin Leatherman

21. Phoenix Comicon is one of the biggest pop-culture conventions in the nation. This year, attendance broke records.

Justin Dero as a gender-bent version of Cruella de Vil.EXPAND
Justin Dero as a gender-bent version of Cruella de Vil.
Benjamin Leatherman

20. So it's no surprise that our cosplayers are totally badass.

Bassim Al-Shaker works on a painting.
Bassim Al-Shaker works on a painting.
Deanna Dent

19. Artists are coming to Phoenix — and staying. 

Grand ArtHaus opened in September.EXPAND
Grand ArtHaus opened in September.
Lynn Trimble

18. Laura Dragon, Robert Gentile, and Michael Viglietta are expanding Grand Avenue's artistic offerings.

Last Chance in Phoenix — the one and only.
Last Chance in Phoenix — the one and only.
Lauren Saria

17. The only — yes, only — Last Chance is located here. 

Zombies take over Phoenix.EXPAND
Zombies take over Phoenix.

16. Once a year, we get to live out our Walking Dead dreams/nightmares when zombies are unleashed downtown

Two roommates discuss personality typing and pop culture with When Myers Met Briggs.
Two roommates discuss personality typing and pop culture with When Myers Met Briggs.
Shaunte Glover

15. Covering topics from the Myers-Briggs personality test to Golden Girls, our podcasters are pretty impressive.

With its busy events calendar, Changing Hands serves as a community gathering spot as well as a bookstore.
With its busy events calendar, Changing Hands serves as a community gathering spot as well as a bookstore.
Sara Weber

14. Looking for a new page-turner — or a rare vintage pressing? Our best bookstores run the gamut.

Palabras has opened on Grand Avenue.
Palabras has opened on Grand Avenue.
Sara Weber

13. And we finally have a Spanish-language bookstore.

See red near the Mogollon Rim.
See red near the Mogollon Rim.

12. Beautiful fall leaves are just a short drive away.

Believe it or not, the Grand Canyon State sees its fair share of snow each year.EXPAND
Believe it or not, the Grand Canyon State sees its fair share of snow each year.
Al_HikesAZ/Flickr

11. Same goes for snow — and we don't mean that fake stuff, either.

The Rio Vista Skate Park is a 32,000-square-foot concrete skate court in Peoria.EXPAND
The Rio Vista Skate Park is a 32,000-square-foot concrete skate court in Peoria.
Courtesy of City of Peoria

10. From the longest running skate shop in the state to a plethora of parks, we're pretty serious about skateboarding.

Tilt Studio's collection of pinball games.EXPAND
Tilt Studio's collection of pinball games.
Benjamin Leatherman

9. From Tilt Studio to Cobra, our arcades are not playing.

Jeff Slim's I Beam, You Beam mural.
Jeff Slim's I Beam, You Beam mural.
Lynn Trimble

8. Our murals are inspiring — and give pause to anybody who thinks all our walls are taupe.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park features plenty of gorgeous and accessible nature walks.
White Tank Mountain Regional Park features plenty of gorgeous and accessible nature walks.

7. It's easy to spend time outdoors, even if you're a hiker who's just getting started on the trails.

Alwun House, located in the Garfield Historic District in Phoenix.
Alwun House, located in the Garfield Historic District in Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble

6. As Roosevelt Row deals with gentrification, creatives are flocking to the nearby (and blossoming) Garfield neighborhood.

Sui Jianguo's Jurassic Age in front of Phoenix Art Museum.
Sui Jianguo's Jurassic Age in front of Phoenix Art Museum.
Lynn Trimble

5. Phoenix's museums are stellar resources for contemporary art, musical instruments, and more. 

Detail of Peter Richards' La Sombra Danza located at the Roosevelt Street/Central Avenue station.EXPAND
Detail of Peter Richards' La Sombra Danza located at the Roosevelt Street/Central Avenue station.
Lynn Trimble

4. Even a ride on the light rail is an artistic experience.

Sculpture by Ronna Nemitz installed at hotel entrance.EXPAND
Sculpture by Ronna Nemitz installed at hotel entrance.
Lynn Trimble

3. Downtown is now home to a boutique art hotel

The Heard Museum received a $47,000 grant from Arizona Commission on the Arts.EXPAND
The Heard Museum received a $47,000 grant from Arizona Commission on the Arts.
Lynn Trimble

2. Arizona Commission on the Arts doubled its grant funding for the 2017 fiscal year.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) is the creator of Hamilton, coming to Tempe.EXPAND
Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) is the creator of Hamilton, coming to Tempe.
Joan Marcus

1. Hamilton is coming. (Insert all exclamation points here.)


Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version, which first appeared in November 2015.

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