By Gina Mizell
I’ve been told I’m a rare breed. I was born in Phoenix, and lived there until I graduated from Arizona State in 2010. Both of my parents were born there and never left. So when AWSM announced its 2013 convention would be in Scottsdale, I was ecstatic.
Why do I love my hometown? Let me count the ways.
This is something I never truly appreciated until I moved away. Look out the window as your flight lands, and you’ll see why the Phoenix area is called the “Valley of the Sun.” Hello, mountains! And yes, you’ll see plenty of cacti in all shapes and sizes. But the mix of desert plants, Southwestern-style housing and big-city buildings give Phoenix a unique feel. And in its own way, it’s beautiful. The Montelucia resort is nestled near the base of Camelback Mountain. Set the alarm early one day to hike it and watch the sun rise. You will be so glad you did!
There is no shortage of places to spend the night hours after convention activities. The shopping at Fashion Square Mall and Kierland Commons/Scottsdale Quarter ranges from popular stores like H&M, Express and Banana Republic to high-end boutiques such as Prada and Burberry. Also at Scottsdale Quarter is iPic, a luxurious movie theatre with a bar, full-service menu and recliners. Need a restaurant suggestion? I’m partial to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria – which also has an outpost at Scottsdale Quarter – and several of Phoenix’s excellent Mexican food options.
I’ll be the first to admit that, because most people who live in Phoenix aren’t from Phoenix, the city’s sports fans are fair-weathered. However, since the Valley is home to franchises from the core four major professional sports and a Pac-12 school plus hosts numerous teams during spring training and annual events like the Fiesta Bowl – sports are always in season.
Yes, it will be hot – but it is a dry heat. I promise! The good news is this means your hair will look fabulous!
This deserves its own category: To say that Arizona sunsets are spectacular is an understatement.
Gina Mizell is a former AWSM intern who covers Oklahoma State for The Oklahoman. Image “Christmas Eve Sunset 2010” by Cedward Brice courtesy of Flickr.