Category Archives: Loco for Local

You Tell Us: What’s the Best Burrito in Arizona?

We’ve been closely following the Burrito Bracket, a FiveThirtyEight project in which burritos around the country face off, March Madness style, to see which is the best burrito in America. Arizona’s own Carolina’s Mexican Food advanced to the Sweet 16 with its red machaca burro, but last week, it lost out to a Los Angeles bean-and-cheese burrito in a closely contested semifinal.

Some of us here can personally vouch for the deliciousness of Carolina’s burritos, but there are plenty of other great burrito joints in the Grand Canyon State. In fact, it’s a travesty that the FiveThirtyEight bracket included only one other Arizona restaurant, Vincent’s on Camelback in Phoenix. (While Vincent’s is a fine establishment, its entry was a lobster chimichanga, which isn’t really a burrito and also isn’t on the menu anymore.)

This isn’t the first time we’ve polled you on this, but you tell us: What’s the best burrito in Arizona? (We’ve started with a few old favorites in this poll, but feel free to add your own suggestions.)


Filed under Loco for Local, Poll

Try a Different Burger Every Day in August at Gilbert’s Liberty Market

Black and Blue Burger (August 6) | Courtesy of Liberty Market

Black and Blue Burger (August 6) | Courtesy of Liberty Market

Burgers might be the world’s greatest food. That’s not the official opinion of Arizona Highways, just of the person typing this blog post right now. If you share that opinion, and if you’ll be in the Valley of the Sun in August, you’ll want to head down to Gilbert and check out Liberty Market.

Starting Friday, the restaurant will feature a different burger every day of the month as part of its fifth annual Burger Daze celebration. As Mouth by Southwest reports, the offerings include the Billionaire Burger, topped with filet mignon, lobster tail and caviar; the Elvis Burger, with peanut butter and bacon; and the Elk Burger, with an elk patty and wild mushrooms. (There are some vegetarian burger offerings, too.)

If you’re up for a real challenge, anyone who eats 10 different burgers in the series will receive a $25 gift card. If you eat all 31 offerings, you’ll get a $100 gift card. Most of the burgers come with potato chips, and most range from $12 to $15, although the Billionaire Burger will set you back $25.

Click here for the full list of Burger Daze burgers. Liberty Market is located at 230 N. Gilbert Road in Gilbert. For more information, call 480-892-1900 or visit


Filed under Et Cetera, Loco for Local, News

Grand Canyon National Park Hosting 24th Annual Star Party

Don Lawrence | Grand Canyon

Don Lawrence | Grand Canyon

Our friends at the Grand Canyon, along with amateur astronomers from across the country, will provide free telescope viewing at the park June 21-28. If you haven’t done this yet, add it to your bucket list. Get the scoop below:

Grand Canyon, AZ – The 24th annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held from Saturday, June 21, through Saturday, June 28, 2014, on the South and North Rims of Grand Canyon National Park. This event is sponsored by the National Park Service, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (South Rim), and the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix (North Rim), with funding from Grand Canyon Association. Amateur astronomers from across the country will volunteer their expertise. Free slide programs will be offered and numerous telescopes will be set up to view planets, double stars and star clusters, nebulae and distant galaxies by night, as well as the sun by day. National parks such as Grand Canyon are protective harbors for some of the last remaining dark skies in this country. Weather permitting, expect spectacular views of the universe!

On the South Rim, events include a slide show nightly at 8:00 p.m. in the theater of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, followed by free telescope viewing behind the building.  Green-laser Constellation Tours will be offered at 9:00, 9:30 & 10:00 pm.  Parking is available in Lots 1 through 4 (use Lot 4 if accessibility is an issue), or arrive by the free Village Route shuttle bus, which runs until 11:00 p.m. To guarantee a seat at the slide show, arrive early; doors open at 7:40 pm. Telescope viewing is best after 9:00 pm and continues well into the night; visitors may arrive anytime after dark. A flashlight is recommended for the walk to the viewing area, but white lights are not permitted on the Telescope Lot.  Give your eyes time to dark-adapt, or use a red flashlight, easily made by covering any flashlight with red cellophane, nail polish, or permanent marker.

On the North Rim, telescopes will be set up on the porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge every evening. Check the Visitor Center and park bulletin boards for additional daytime and evening events.

Nighttime temperatures on both rims can be quite cool, even in summer. Those attending the star party are encouraged to bring warm layers of clothing. When traveling in the park on the South Rim, it is best to find a parking space and use the free shuttle bus system to access points of interest in the Grand Canyon Village area. See the park newspaper The Guide for tour bus routes and schedules. If you plan to stay overnight at Grand Canyon National Park, plan your visit well in advance. Browse our official website at, or download the “2014 Trip Planner” at

For additional information on the Grand Canyon Star Party see or contact Marker Marshall at (928) 638-7830.  For questions about visiting Grand Canyon National Park, visit the park web site or call (928) 638-7888. Images from the 2013 Grand Canyon Star Party (South Rim) are available at:


Filed under Loco for Local, Things to Do

History at Your Fingertips at the Arizona Capitol Museum

Courtesy of the Arizona Capitol Museum

Courtesy of the Arizona Capitol Museum

If you haven’t yet made a trip to the Arizona Capitol Museum, you should — and soon. First, it’s free. Second, the museum specializes in teaching Arizona government and civics, using, per their website, “a balance of technology, hands-on activities, historical artifacts and public programs to help visitors learn about and interact with the government of the 48th state.” Third, a new exhibit at the museum, “Arizona Takes Shape,” will show visitors just how Arizona came to be, and it includes a cool interactive component called “History at Your Fingertips.”

Below, Jason Czerwinski, the museum’s on-site experience manager, talks about this exhibit:

Talk to us about “History at Your Fingertips.” What is it exactly, and what can visitors expect?
“History at Your Fingertips” is actually a smaller component (or an exhibit within an exhibit, if you will) of the Arizona Capitol Museum’s newest exhibit, “Arizona Takes Shape,” which covers the changes in Arizona’s government as well as physical boundaries in the pre-statehood era. It is a rich display, featuring a timeline of pre-statehood Arizona, marked by key events and how they coincided with national history. In addition to the “Fingertips” kiosk, we also have the very flag carried up San Juan Hill by Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders (as made by the Woman’s Relief Corps of Phoenix), and a pair of military sabers, one used in the Apache Wars, and another presented to Governor Alexander Brodie by the people of the Territory of Arizona.

The emphasis of the whole exhibit is on the evolution of our state (and pre-state) using examples such as assignment of boundaries by the federal government, appointment of Territorial oversight by the Fed, annexation of land through purchase and conquest, and the documentation of these events in newspapers and other media.

How did this exhibit come to be?
Many factors came together at the right time to make this exhibit possible.  After several delays, our exhibit production team was finally able to dedicate the time needed to research and assemble all the data needed to illustrate the complex journey we took to joining the Union. Fabricating the displays that illustrate their research took months of develop, working with our colleagues in the state archives, the Arizona Memory Project, as well as the team behind the Digital Newspaper Program.

Probably the most long-awaited element we wanted to complete was a new case for the Rough Rider flag, which up to now had to be completely covered to retard light damage for part of each year. The new case is a much more practical solution featuring UV-blocking glass and a movable and adjustable base. In all, it is a very handsome custom display for this one-of-a-kind artifact.

The AZCM’s mission, to “connect people to their government — past and present,” needed “Arizona Takes Shape” to thoroughly show how our state came to be, both for its historic importance, but also as a teaching tool to explain the fundamentals of a citizen-driven democracy.

How long did it take to scan hard copies of newspapers and microfilms?
The scanning program is actually ongoing, and new pages are constantly being added. The Arizona Digital Newspaper Program has been working for almost five years at this point.

What has the response been from the public?
Amazing! We had over 100 people at our grand opening this past Saturday. The opening reception, featuring Arizona Historical Society director Dr. John Langellier, the Territorial Brass Band and Rough Riders re-enactors, was as popular as the exhibit itself, and we have people coming in every day to see the display. Teachers and students, many of whom have visited in previous years, are struck by how much more thorough and immersive the two revamped rooms are.

Are there any specific events in Arizona’s history that may not be common knowledge, and that can be found here?
Oh my, “Arizona Takes Shape” is such a thorough exhibit, there is so much information that I doubt anyone would know all of it before coming in. Serendipitously, “History at Your Fingertips” features an informative quiz about some of the Territorial governors—I didn’t know all the answers, but it is a delight to play through. What might be most informative about the new exhibit though is its timeline, which overlays the history of Arizona over national history to show the relation and overlap of key events of both.

What makes this exhibit different from other exhibits at the museum?
Aside from having the most thorough timeline of any of our exhibits, “Arizona Take Shape” explicitly covers our years before statehood (including time as part of Mexico). It is also a physically immersive exhibit where the historical elements (the Rough Rider flag, scabbards), digital technology and interactive pieces are spread across the footpath — rather than some pieces set behind barricades.
You have another exhibit in the works called “Your Vote, Your Voice.” Tell us about that.
“Your Vote, Your Voice”  will be an exhibit and meeting place to talk about and showcase current and upcoming electoral events, such as campaigns for elected offices and constitutional amendments. Our goal is for this to be a continually updating space with news about the election process and how every citizen can be a participant in it.  Plans are still in development, but we expect to feature streaming election news, an easily accessible candidate map, text of all proposed amendments and a history of voting access for the state.

For more information about the Arizona Capitol Museum, call 602-926-3620 or visit or

—Kathy Ritchie


Filed under History, Loco for Local, Things to Do

Make Your New Year’s Resolution Now!

camping bookStill contemplating your New Year’s resolution? Let us help inspire your resolution for 2014 (translation: Get outside and explore our beautiful state):

Take the family camping this summer. Pick up the Arizona Highways Camping Guide and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer. From quiet, isolated high-mountain sites to low-desert locations, Arizona Highways Camping Guide features 100 of the best campgrounds in Arizona. The book, which includes Arizona Highways’ iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about locations, amenities, seasonal accessibility and fees is included with each listing.

Camping isn’t your thing? Check out the Arizona Highways Hiking Guide. With 52 of the best day hikes in Arizona (one for each weekend of the year, organized by seasons), Robert Stieve, editor of Arizona Highways and an experienced backwoods trekker, selected hikes ranging from easy walks in the woods to challenging journeys to Arizona’s highest peaks and deepest canyons, including the Grand Canyon.

If you haven’t already, order a subscription to Arizona Highways and make it a point to travel our beautiful state. Maybe dine out at a new restaurant, enjoy a quiet night at a locally-owned B&B or take the road less traveled on one of our many scenic drives. Without a doubt, there’s something for everyone in every issue of Arizona Highways.

Stay organized and plan ahead this year (while enjoying stunning photography) using one of our 2014 calendars. Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back, while our large wall calendar (14” x 12”) includes descriptive text and information about each location.

Step outside of your comfort zone and join one (or more) of our amazing photographers on an Arizona Highways Photo Workshop. All of our workshops are designed to provide outstanding instruction in the fundamentals of photography and the latest in industry practices.




Filed under Books, Loco for Local

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act with a Subscription to Arizona Highways

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 8.31.32 AMSeptember 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, a landmark law that helped protect some of America’s last great wild country and created 90 protected wilderness areas in Arizona. Now, you can help protect the state’s wilderness areas, too. With each new Arizona Highways subscription purchased using promo code M3WILDC, we’ll donate $5 to the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. To subscribe, visit

For more information about Arizona’s wilderness areas, visit 

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Filed under Eco Issues, Loco for Local, Mother Nature