Take a minute and enjoy this tour through downtown, Phoenix's urban heart. It's where you go to dine beneath the skyline, see live music at a club or concert hall, shop for fashion or gifts at an independent retailer, watch pro sports teams, or take in the arts at a museum. All of this (and more) is within walking distance of downtown hotels and light-rail stations.
Featured in this video are Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, Vintage by Misty, Phoenix Art Museum, Nobuo at Teeter House, Crescent Ballroom and CityScape Phoenix.
When it comes to the best things to do in Phoenix, few people know more than the experienced concierges at Phoenix resorts and hotels. We've got the the insider tips, secrets and recommendations of more than a dozen concierge hosts that we'll be bringing to you in the coming months.
This week we feature Jesse Perry of the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
What are your top five recommendations for visitors to do/see while they are in Phoenix?
Desert Botanical Garden - A wonderful dose of what the Sonoran Desert has to offer with a convenient café and beautiful glass work by Dale Chihuly at the entrance. If you visit during spring, be sure to check out the butterfly exhibit, which usually takes place March to mid-May.
Piestewa Peak – For anyone who enjoys being outside and being active, this a perfect mountain to hike. It has a variety of trails, for the novice all the way to the experienced hiker. Piestewa is the second-tallest peak in Phoenix (behind Camelback Mountain) and offers a spectacular view.
Stand Up Live – This is one of the top five comedy clubs in the country, with some of the biggest names rolling through on a consistent basis. It has a great atmosphere and keeps things intimate. The only time I can remember not laughing is when I’m eating one of the delicious menu items they have to offer.
Cosanti – This experimental town is technically in Scottsdale, but it's worth the travel. Construction began in 1970, headed up by archeologist Paolo Soleri, who demonstrated the reduced environmental impact people can have when building in an urban location. Using compressed sand, shaped trenches and concrete, a team of archaeologists developed a micro-city that you have to see to believe.
Taste It Tours – As far as I know, this is the only consistent food tour of Phoenix that happens every day (except for a short while during the hottest parts of the summer). The tour changes every day but always begins at the Urban Olive Oil shop, where you taste infused, aged balsamic and olive oils paired with white wine, red wine and even gelato. The tours are not only tasty, but packed with historical information about the restaurants and city itself.
Last year when the word got out that a brew house would be opening in downtown Phoenix I, along with the rest of downtown Phoenix, got very excited. Fast forward to the last week in August 2012, the much anticipated Angels Trumpet Ale House finally opened its doors. The craft brew house/restaurant is located just across the street from Filmbar, on 2nd Street just south of Roosevelt.
Angels Trumpet Ale House has only been open for two weeks and I’ve already been twice. With over 35 craft beers on tap (and several wines on tap too), I’ll be in many more times to sample the local and not-so-local beers as they change. I’ve also had the chance to sample several items off the eclectic menu with friends. Not your typical menu, Angels Trumpet Ale House has sandwiches, flatbreads, salads, tacos, burritos and other seasonal items that you normally wouldn’t expect at a brew house. The standouts for me are the salads, which are made from fresh ingredients; including herbs to add an interesting flavor, and the seasonal pop tarts (we tried the strawberry rhubarb, yum).
Angels Trumpet Ale House recently started serving Sunday brunch and since they have a great patio – I’m really looking forward to trying it this fall.
Angels Trumpet Ale House is located at 810 North 2nd Street in downtown Phoenix.
Phoenix may have gussied itself up from its days as a frontier town, but the Old West is still alive and well – you just have to look for it. So, dust off those cowboy boots and enjoy these Western-themed attractions in the Greater Phoenix area.
Frontier Town is a themed replica of an Old West town located on the original spot where Cave Creek, AZ was founded in the 1870s. Enjoy a Western meal at the Smokehouse Restaurant then do some shopping in the town’s unique shops.
During Arizona’s territory days, Greasewood Flat was an old stagecoach stop. Today, instead of serving weary Western travelers, Greasewood Flat is a great place to enjoy a cold drink, good food and live music under the stars.
If you’re looking for a place to do some two-steppin’, Handlebar J Restaurant & Saloon is your place. Enjoy Western-style cuisine and live country music seven days a week.
Johnny Walker opened the Corral Bar in 1935 to serve the workers who were building Bartlett Dam. Today, Harold’s is a popular stomping ground for both locals and visitors. You can always count on lively entertainment and a great Western meal at Harold’s Corral.
Pinnacle Peak Patio Steakhouse has been around for over 50 years. Enjoy cowboy-style dining, live music and desert views. Be warned – do not wear your favorite tie to dinner.
Step back in time and experience territorial Arizona through a walk around this living history town, comprised of authentic buildings that have been moved to this location from other places in Arizona.
Explore America's largest municipal park the cowboy way. Ponderosa Stables offers a variety of horseback rides and cookouts through the South Mountain Park and Preserve.
Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse is Arizona's largest Western-themed attraction. Rawhide is an authentic replica of an 1880's town complete with a Main Street, gunfights, stagecoach and train rides, burro rides, mechanical bull, climbing wall, gold pannin', shootin' gallery, unique shops, and sundown cookouts.
Rustler's Rooste mountaintop eatery boasts one of the best places to catch a sunset in Phoenix. You can also enjoy nightly live Country Western music, casual dining, and their famous tin slide.
Recently added to the City of Phoenix Historical Register for both its central role in Arizona’s cattle industry and its relevant architectural style, The Stockyards, Arizona’s Original Steakhouse, has retained its Old West comfort and charm while regaining its foothold as one of Phoenix’s favorite steakhouses.
The Superstition Mountain Museum collects, preserves and displays the artifacts, history and folklore of the Superstition Mountains, Apache Junction and surrounding region.
Tortilla Flat started out as a stage stop in 1904 and neither fire nor flood has been able to remove this historic stop along the Apache Trail. Today you can enjoy Western-themed fun, food and re-enactments.
Celebrating Wells Fargo’s role in Arizona’s colorful history, the Wells Fargo History Museum is just steps away from popular downtown Phoenix attractions. The collection includes an authentic 19th century stagecoach, a replica stagecoach you can climb aboard, gold and precious minerals, a replica mine shaft, antique firearms, working telegraph and other artifacts depicting western development.
The first time I walked into Sens in downtown Phoenix, I thought, “Am I cool enough to be here?” Downtown Phoenix lost a little hipness the day Johnny Chu closed Sens, but have no fear, Jonny Chu opened SoChu House just a few miles north of downtown at Thomas and Central Avenue. Now, the hipness of SoChu House is masked by its strip mall location, but as soon as you walk in you’ll think, “I am so cool for finding this place!”
Carrying over the look and feel of Sens, Johnny Chu also carried over the majority of the menu items. On a recent visit for lunch I ordered my favorite Johnny Chu dish, the Pad Thai with tofu. A great lunch destination, SoChu House offers salads, soups, noodle dishes and main dishes. There is even a lunch portion that includes a choice of main dish, salad and dessert.
The bar area of SoChu House has a lounge feel with several places to sit in small groups. I’m looking forward to going back for happy hour and enjoying some cocktails and tapas with some friends. Of course, they’ll think I’m so cool for showing them this new hip spot in Phoenix.
SoChu House is located at 2801 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix.
Our marketing intern extraordinaire, Michelle, seems to have caught the blogging bug. Here's her second contribution to The Hot Sheet.
Adding to the list of great restaurants along Central Avenue is the latest addition, Timo. This wood fire oven restaurant and wine bar opened by the talent behind Brick Urban Kitchen, features a full menu with tapas, pizzas, bruschetta and sandwiches during weekday lunch and dinner, and a brunch menu on the weekends.
I dropped in during their Sunday brunch, and found the patio already packed - I could see why. Their patio, much larger than other wine bars, was very inviting with a center placed fire pit surrounded by leather couches and tables.
After a recommendation by the waiter, I tried their bruschetta. With choices of smoked salmon, apple and brie, and my favorite the roasted eggplant and goat cheese, I was not disappointed! The flavors were well paired and had a great smoky flavor brought out by the wood oven. I paired this with the mimosa flight, which is three glasses of champagne with fresh squeezed grapefruit, cranberry and orange juices.
When I was looking over the menu I had noticed they had foie gras with fig jam, and feeling a little adventurous, I decided to give it a try. For those not familiar with foie gras, it’s a pate like substance made from duck liver. I tried it and as instructed, treated the items as if they were butter and jam by spreading it on the provided crostini. Well, I can say this may not be my new favorite meal, but it was interesting to say the least, with a very rich, bitter like taste.
If you miss their weekend brunch, you can stop in on Mondays they offer flatbread and a bottle of wine for only $19 from 5:30-9:30pm.
Timo is located at 8801 N. Central Ave.