Who knew you could find water sports, bats, a castle, a Japanese garden and more in the greater Phoenix area? Check out these unexpected attractions that just may surprise you.
Perched atop a cactus-covered hill in east-central Phoenix, Tovrea (pronounced TOE-vree) Castle at Carraro Heights has intrigued generations of Valley residents. The castle and surrounding cactus garden have recently been restored and are currently open for tours.
The Rio Salado Audubon Center is a nature center in the heart of the City of Phoenix’s Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, a 600-acre park along the Salt River. Located less than two miles from downtown Phoenix, this unexpected Phoenix attraction is a gateway to a lush riparian habitat used by more than 200 species of birds. Other wildlife you might spot on a visit to the restoration area includes beavers, muskrats, coyotes, jackrabbits, cottontails and javelinas.
The Japanese Friendship Garden—Ro Ho En—features more than 1,500 tons of handpicked rock, more than 50 varieties of plants, flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall and a Koi pond. The garden is the product and shared cultural vision of the Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji, Japan. This unexpected Phoenix attraction is a great way to spend a sunny day.
Did you know Phoenix has a great urban bat-watching spot? Each summer several thousand Mexican free-tailed bats and western pipistrelle bats use the Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel near 40th Street and Camelback Road as a day roost.
Enjoy the beautiful sandstone buttes that define Papago Park and climb to the park’s most popular spot, Hole-in-the-Rock, to enjoy sweeping views of Phoenix.
Located about 45 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is always bustling with water sports and outdoor enthusiasts. The 10,000-acre lake is enjoyed by windsurfers, boaters, sailors, jet skiers and fisherman.
The Hall of Flame Fire Museum has almost an acre of fire history exhibits with more than 90 fully restored pieces of fire apparatus on display dating from 1725 to 1969. The Hall of Flame sponsors the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, which honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty or have been decorated for heroism.
With the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction zooming into town auction fever has caught on in Phoenix. We've rounded up the car auctions and the auto themed attractions where you can get your auto kicks in Phoenix.
Auctions and Events
The Barrett-Jackson car auctions have been selling collector cars in Scottsdale since the 1970s. The auction fun kicks off Jan. 12 and ends Jan. 19.
You can’t miss The Henry when you drive by it on Camelback Road. The office building turned restaurant and Fox Restaurant Concepts headquarters is the home to the newest Arcadia/Central Phoenix neighborhood restaurant. The Henry is an American brasserie that serves lunch and dinner during the week and breakfast, lunch and dinner on the weekends. You can also stop by in the early morning to pick up some breakfast, coffee, pastries, and fresh pressed juices from the group’s Juby True brand.
My husband and I stopped into The Henry on an early Sunday evening and found the placed packed as if it were a Saturday night. We were seated inside with a view of Camelback Mountain. When perusing the menu there were several creative non-alcoholic drinks listed like the Chai Lime Ginger Beer and Orange Hibiscus Cooler. There was also an inventive cocktail menu. Looking at the full bar and the lounge seating at The Henry, I made note that it would be the perfect location for a get together and some libations.
Phoenix may not come to mind first when you think of great coffee cities, but you'll find a wide variety of local coffee shops in our city. We have so many to choose from that you're sure to find just the coffee shop with just the vibe you're looking for.
A hispter's paradise, Lux Central not only serves some of the city's most popular coffee drinks, but has a full menu to enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Part coffee house, part wine bar, Urban Beans makes everything in house. Make sure to try one of their seasonal scones.
Lola Coffee Bar is a popular stop for the downtown commuters, but is also a nice place to enjoy your coffee during an afternoon break as you'll find it a nice quiet spot at that time of day.
2 oz. Cruzan Single Barrel Rum
¼ oz. St. Elizabeth All Spice Dram
½ oz. freshly pressed lime juice
1 oz. freshly pressed grapefruit juice
½ oz. simple syrup
1 small egg white
Shake ingredients together and add a light dusting of silver flake
Recipe courtesy of Ryan Magarian at the Jade Bar at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
Enjoy the “spirits” of the season with these holiday drink recipes from The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.
Hot Buttered Toffee
1 ¼ oz. Baileys
½ oz. butterscotch schnapps
Hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and crushed toffee
After Dinner Mint
1 ¾ oz. peppermint schnapps
Hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream, crushed candy canes and mint