You’ve got to have photos to show for your vacation. As much as friends and family will claim to be jealous, they’ll want proof that you went somewhere pretty; how better than a self-portrait or posed family shot taken with a piece of curious local art? And for children who can hardly sit still for a photo or teens who use their cameras as minute-by-minute mirrors, the following sites will add a dimension of intrigue to each snap.
“Welcome to Old Town Scottsdale” cowboy sign: A very tall, double-sided cowboy figure stands on a prominent corner in the “souvenir district” of Scottsdale. It’s not silhouetted in motion-simulating neon like flashier cowboy signs in Nevada—and that’s just fine with scores of daytime picture-posers ’round these parts. • FIND IT: northeast corner of Scottsdale Road & Main Street
“Greetings from Tempe” mosaic niche: At a perfect height for two children to sit upon and one to stand between them, this colorful, tile-laden statement piece is particularly fun for young siblings seeing their big brother or sister off to college at ASU. • FIND IT: east of Mill Avenue between 5th & 6th Streets
Downtown Mesa’s sculpture collection: Three or more sculptures per block, per-side-of-street line the sidewalks of downtown Mesa. A variety of artists and styles are represented, and most are at a scale that makes interactive selfies easy. Favorites include a polar bear and cubs, Humpty Dumpty and an old-time newspaper boy. • FIND THEM: Main Street between Morris Street and Sirrine Street/Centennial Way
“The Ziz” baseball monument: Baseball fans, regardless of team affiliation, should trek to the Cactus League stadium of the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. Donald Lipski designed a spire-like sculpture of a seemingly stretched, red-stitched baseball to be as tall as the distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate. • FIND IT: Goodyear Ballpark, 1933 S. Ballpark Way
Lumberjack statue: Fabricated to be Paul Bunyan for a themed cafe along Route 66 in the early 1960s, this 40-foot character was later co-opted by Northern Arizona University (nickname: the Lumberjacks) and placed outside the student athletics venue. • FIND IT: Walkup Skydome, 1705 S. San Francisco St.
“The Town Too Tough to Die” street marker: Strike your own tough pose in front of this low billboard. Then wander Allen Street’s row of Old West businesses and attractions on the lookout for a (staged) gunfight to photobomb. • FIND IT: Allen Street between 3rd and 6th Streets