Hot Air Balloons over London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

7 Most Beautiful Cities In Arizona

Arizona is a playground for active sight-seekers, with mountains, deserts, the mighty Colorado River, and city hubs offering year-round getaways into natural sights and adventures. These seven most beautiful cities in Arizona boast unique attractions for a memorable visit.


Beautiful view of the historic city center of Flagstaff, Arizona
Beautiful view of the historic city center of Flagstaff, Arizona, on a sunny day with blue sky in summer. Editorial credit: canadastock /

The city, set along the scenically-legendary Route 66, is backdropped by the fantastic San Francisco Peaks. Flagstaff is an enticing package of sights and adventures on the way to the Grand Canyon. This charming city is different from every angle, with the outdoors at a hand's reach and laidback streets. There are tons of atmospheric coffee shops, and downtown bars in-between marvelous architecture from when Flagstaff was an important railroad stop. 

The energetic college city of 76,831 is excellent for an easygoing vacation of trying local eats at college-student prices, a craft brewery scene, and a handful of natural attractions, such as the unique Walnut Canyon National Monument. The city placed at 2,130 m above sea level, offers splendid recreational opportunities such as skiing, mountain biking, and hiking the foothills of Mount Elden. Flagstaff is one big natural remedy with mountains exuding fresh air that combines with the breathing ponderosa pine forests in the surroundings. 

Lake Havasu City

View of Lake Havasu, Arizona, taken from the London Bridge
View of Lake Havasu, Arizona, taken from the London Bridge. Editorial credit: Pamela Au /

The planned city on the banks of the beautiful Lake Havasu is home to the original London Bridge. The bridge was falling in 1967-London, and was put up for sale by the English city to get rid of the "nuisance." It caught the attention of this American city that, upon buying, reassembling, and transporting in 1971, remains an eye-catching landmark. The city's pride and joy is set along the touristy English Village at one end of the bridge.

The city is an oasis in the middle of the Arizona desert, with the Colorado River drawing crowds of desert-dwellers for an aquatic respite. The lake is Arizona's prime destination for boating and sunsets. It is a recreation galore with water skiing, fishing, swimming, strolls, and picnicking along the banks. There are remarkable hidden coves to scout via kayak, as well as the waterside view of the iconic London Bridge. The shores are strewn with shops, campgrounds, and hiking trails. The wonderful waterfront restaurants offer patios for delicious meals while watching parasailing or spotting lighthouses. 


Beautiful golf course near Red Mountain in east Mesa, Arizona
Beautiful golf course near Red Mountain in east Mesa, Arizona. 

The third-largest city in Arizona was founded by the Mormons in the late 1800s. Mesa is the nation's wintering spot and destination for sight-seekers, with several iconic sites. An impressive assortment of museums includes the famous Arizona Natural History Museum and Mesa's Historical Museum. The city boasts championship golf courses and baseball stadiums, home to Chicago Cubs and the Oakland A's. The Tortilla Flat is a historic town, while the Mesa Arts Center showcases Mesa's vibrant culture through many theaters and art galleries.

The Usery Park is an immense 3,648-acre playground for the active at the northwestern end of the city. There are fantastic hiking, walking, and mountain biking trails, while Saguaro Lake is beloved for cruises aboard Desert Belle, kayaking, and swimming. The scenic Buckhorn Campground boasts RV and tent sites strewn amidst giant saguaro cacti. One of the nation's largest, the Tonto National Forest, is home to the state's best wilderness, with Salt River, rugged terrain, deep canyons, and several lakes just east of Mesa.


A fall day in Prescott, Arizona
A fall day in Prescott, Arizona.

The former capital of Arizona Territory boasts a mountainous backdrop and streets laden with impressive architecture and institutions. There's the marvel-worthy courthouse building and the "Old West" art-themed Phippen Museum on Prescott's significant role in shaping the modern state. Downtown Prescott is a vibrant mix of popular attractions with a Cowboy flair along covered walkways. The famous Whiskey Row is a must-visit, with countless art and jewelry shops in between, to take home a little piece of Prescott.   

The leafy city center is home to cozy cafes and delicious restaurants serving local specialties behind 19th-century facades. The surrounding nature and fresh mountain air feel alien to Arizona's typical heat and desert scape. There are fishing lakes, forested mountains with hiking trails and viewpoints, as well as RV- and tent-equipped campsites just minutes away. Watson Lake is one of the state's best, flanked by epic boulders, rock cliffs, and a scenic ambiance for canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. 


Sedona, Arizona, downtown cityscape and mountains
Sedona, Arizona, downtown cityscape and mountains.

Sedona's dramatically colorful landscape is one of America's most beautiful places for scenic strolls and photoshoots. The Cathedral Rock dominates other towering red formations and jagged sandstone buttes under always-blue skies. The site is considered sacred, with "vortexes" and spirit-balancing powers attracting curious, enlightened, professional artists and photographers from around the globe. The fiery rocks appeared in box-office hits of "3:10 to Yuma," "Broken Arrow," and "Midnight Run."

The "New Age" city with breathtaking scenery around it is a magnet for spiritually-inclined R&R seekers. It is home to fantastic art galleries, restaurants, and medicine shops. The active enjoy mountain biking, swimming, camping, and exploring the wilderness with over 100 miles of scenic trails for hiking. Following a day out, there is a handful of local wineries to achieve mindful zen and a selection of great spas with thematic red clay wraps for body relaxation. 


Tucson, Arizona, downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk
Tucson, Arizona, downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk.

The state's second-largest city is home to the University of Arizona. The palm-laden campus is surrounded by eclectic shops, a great bar scene, and renowned nightlife. Tucson is a hotbed of historical and cultural attractions like fantastic restaurants and museums, along with an intoxicating mix of cultures in local neighborhoods. The El Presidio Historic District and the Barrio Histórico are authentically Mexican with colorful adobe buildings and quaint shops, while the Catalina Foothills district boasts high-end restaurants and luxurious resorts.

The sunny city is surrounded by majestic mountains and sites, like the Saguaro National Park and the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum. Tucson boasts temperatures in the mid-60s during the coldest months and over 340 days of sunshine to explore the entire "great" outdoors. Nicknamed "Old Pueblo," Tucson is also the nation's first "UNESCO City of Gastronomy," home to rich agricultural history, heavenly Mexican cuisine, and vibrant culinary traditions. 


Aerial view of downtown Yuma, Arizona
Aerial view of downtown Yuma, Arizona.

Former Mission Yuma is placed at the US-Mexican border with a pronounced Spanish feel and appealing aesthetics. The absolutely-warmest city in the state boasts an interesting history, and key attractions for a getaway from the snow, like the Arizona Historical Society Sanguinetti, the Yuma Territorial Prison Park, and the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. The Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission in the outskirts is great for cultural strolls amongst traditional architecture.

There is impressive nature at three surrounding national wildlife refuges, the Imperial Sand Dunes, while the Colorado River in the north is a waterside recreation galore. There's also the impressive West Wetlands Park's lake area, gigantic play structures, and a castle for whole families to enjoy. The Yuma Territorial Prison State Park is home to the recognizable prison from "3:10 to Yuma." Dating back to 1875, the site is now an outdoor museum for strolls along cell blocks, stories, and sights experienced by the captive.

Arizona is a popular destination for wintering snowbirds from northern states, with the "most beautiful" natural location in the entire nation. These beautifully-illuminated cities offer unique landmarks, cafe-sits, and authentic Mexican cuisine under the state's persistent sunlight. 

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