Phoenix, Arizona


If you missed part one of Amy and Anna’s Arizona Adventures, you can catch it here. This is part two: Phoenix! We flew in and out of Phoenix and explored the city a bit in the beginning and the end of our short trip.

Since I had inadvertently begun a tour of various state capitols earlier this year (Providence, Rhode Island; Austin, Texas; and Boston, Massachusetts), I figured we might as well continue and visit the capitol of Arizona in Phoenix. This building is oft listed on ugliest state capitols lists, but at least this middle building is fine, if a little bland. It’s flanked by quite ugly brown office buildings from the 1980s. Frank Lloyd offered a redesign, but alas, his unsolicited advice was ignored.

This building is the capitol museum and includes various exhibits including one about the state lottery, which is apparently a huge deal.

I don’t even know what to say about this window. But the great state of Arizona sees fit to have that be the entrance to their House of Representatives.

I’ve been collecting enamel pins since the spring, and I successfully bought state pins from all three other state capitols I visited since the fall. Arizona has a perfectly good looking state flag, but it was the first one to fail at having a pin. They only had these American flag pins, but on the plus side they were only $1. So I got that instead.

But actually, right when I was about to go to the gift shop and buy the pin, the gift shop was closed and the whole capitol building was mysteriously deserted. I finally gave up and decided to just leave without any pins after all. Just as we were leaving, we noticed a lot of people standing outside with cell phones pointed at the sky. It turns out that everyone went outside to watch this plane fly overhead at the exact time Pearl Harbor had been struck 77 years prior.

Afterwards, brunch at Matt’s Big Breakfast.

We walked around the neighborhood to see the murals around the area as well.

And then we went for a hike at South Mountain, which we just found by searching the internet. It wasn’t until afterwards that we figured out it’s actually a municipal park owned by the city of Phoenix. It’s one of the nicest and largest city parks in all of America. Very impressive! We definitely satisfied our desire to see some saguaros here!

So many!

We also learned from the visitor’s center that the holes in saguaros are made by birds, but the bottom parts that look gnawed are actually eaten by coyotes, rodents, and other birds.

My favorite one: top knot.

Also: side bun.

So scenic. Still can’t believe this is a city-owned park.

The ‘skeletons’ of cacti are so strange and cool!

Finally, fast-forwarding to the last day of our trip, we paid a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden, which like a huge arboretum (but with lots of cacti) in Phoenix.

Creepy snake cacti.

When I saw a sign that said they had a workshop about making jewelry from cholla cacti I was very intrigued. Those are the cacti that are notoriously painful to even accidentally touch. But it turns out they use the skeletons of the cacti, which is almost like a lightweight wood in this honeycomb pattern and also makes so much more sense than using the crazy cactus balls.

Broccoli head.

Outie belly button.

So pretty!


Our very last stop of the trip, in Tempe: this board game cafe! Very cool, with so many games to choose from. But we didn’t really have time to pay and instead just had some very mediocre desserts before heading to the airport.

See below for the rest of our Arizona Adventures! More to come.

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco. She creates beautiful, soft, and timeless imagery while capturing the most fleeting of moments. View her work at, follow her daily adventures on instagram, and contact her to book your own session today.