|From its ancient roots to its present day inhabitants,
Phoenix has long been a beacon for those searching for a better way of
life. In our modern city amenities are abundant, the possibilities for
exploration are vast indeed. Take a trip with us back in time to our
ancient roots and travel onward through the decades, witnessing progress
at every turn.
#1 ' Walking tour of Downtown Phoenix
Your introduction to Phoenix begins at Heritage Square, home to the only remaining structures left of the original turn of the century city. While in the square, be sure to stop in at the Teeter House for mid-morning tea and pastries. In the shadows of the square sits the Arizona Science Center where over 350 exhibits, shows and a planetarium can be found. For lunch, try Pizzeria Bianco for a delicious and satisfying bite. Escape the afternoon sun with a visit to the Phoenix Museum of History and trace the citys roots. Then, cross Monroe to the Phoenix Mercado and St. Marys Basilica, the oldest Catholic Church in Phoenix. A trip to the downtown area would not be complete without a visit to Bank One Ballpark, where guided tour tickets can be purchased at the box office. While you're in that neck of the woods grab an afternoon brew at Leinenkugels Ballyard Brewery, a great place to party especially on game days. Recharged, head over to the Arizona Center (Van Buren, between 3rd & 5th Streets) an energetic spot with shops, bars and restaurants surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens and a delightful fountain at its center. After dinner, take in a show at the Orpheum Theater , The Herberger Theater Center , or Symphony Hall. Or, relax in the cool evening air at Patriots Square Park.
#2 - Guided Tour of Taliesin West
Walk through the magnificent home, studio, architectural campus and gardens of famed 20th Century architect Frank Lloyd Wright and explore his vision as buildings and natural surroundings commune as one. Guided tours range from one to three hours, and offer an opportunity to explore the various structures. You will be enchanted by the dramatic desert flora which forms the backdrop for this bastion of creativity. Learn the history of the Wright legend and his apprentices, and understand the architectural genius of his work in which indoors and out lives in harmony. Don't forget to visit the bookstore where books, prints and Wright inspired clothing and gifts are on sale. While in the North Scottsdale area take a short hop to the Fleischer Museum where the works of over 80 artists from the California School of Impressionism can be viewed.
#3 - Desert Foothills Scenic drive
When Arizonas highways beckon, you can begin your journey traveling northbound on Scottsdale Road starting at Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Before reaching the designated scenic drive area mosey into Rawhide and experience life in the Old West. Then take Happy Valley Road to begin the Scenic Drive, where you will be surrounded by spectacular native plants. As you drive the surroundings become more open and breathtaking views of the magnificent Pinnacle Peak, Black Mountain and McDowell Mountains can be seen. This area is particularly beautiful at sundown; or plan your return trip if possible at dawn. As you reach the end of the scenic drive the Boulders come into a view; this 12 million year old rock formation is the site of the famed Boulders Resort. Stop for a little browsing through the el Pedregal Marketplace Festival, a unique shopping environment fashioned in an Old Morocco style. It offers a collection of upscale shops and galleries, and houses the renowned Heard Museum North. For a relaxing meal sit on the outdoor patio at Cantina del Pedregal. If you would like to travel further , Carefree lies to the north with its funky mixture of boutiques and galleries, and the K.T. Palmer Sundial. Then, follow the signs west to the town of Cave Creek, a quaint Old Western style town perfect for souvenir shopping and antique hunting.
#4 ' Garden tour
Flora fans will love the Desert Botanical Gardens, where you can stroll the trails and bear witness to over 4,000 species of cactus, succulents, trees and flowers. Organized around four trails, the garden takes a look at desert dwellers and their use of plants for food, fibers and construction, the interactions between the plants, insects, birds, reptiles and mammals and showcases thousands of desert plants from around the globe. Throughout the garden volunteers are on hand to provide information and insight. Stop in at the plant shop and purchase a living souvenir of your visit. Finish the adventure with a bite to eat at the café and browse through the gift shop for the ultimate desert treasure.
#5- Downtown Scottsdale Walking Tour
Leave your car in one of the many municipal lots surrounding the Downtown area and begin at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall (2nd St ' 3 blocks west of Scottsdale Rd), where you can stop at the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center and pick up information on local events and businesses. Visit the Scottsdale Center for the Arts , Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the Scottsdale Historical Museum, a red brick building used as Scottsdales first schoolhouse which displays a version of the original 1910 schoolroom. Walk into the heart of Old Towne Scottsdale where remnants of the past can be seen. Shops here are plentiful and unique, and Scottsdale is still thought of as 'The Wests Most Western Town?. Sit a spell and enjoy a cool treat at the Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor (Scottsdale Rd. between Main St. & Indian School) then cross Scottsdale Rd. to the Main Street Arts & Antiques District, Marshall Way and Fifth Avenue. Here upscale art galleries are joined by inviting bistros, award winning shops and breathtaking galleries showcasing a wide variety of native and local talents. For your convenience Ollie the Trolley runs throughout the area and can transport you through the downtown districts if the heat makes walking uncomfortable.
#6 ' Arizona State University '
Guided tours are available with student ambassadors known as Devils Advocates as your guides. If you prefer, a self-guided walking tour can be found at the ASU Visitor Information Center (826 E Apache Blvd)--but be prepared--it is a long walk to Mill Avenue where your trip ends. Have no fear, though, as the end of the line is the ideal place to stop, eat and soak up the local flavor. Along the way you'll see public art exhibits and interesting architecture, including a music center bearing a striking resemblance to a wedding cake and an open book disguising itself as a law library. Travel on to SunDevil Stadium, headquarters of the NFLs Arizona Cardinals. Onward you go to the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium, an opulent music center designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Visit the Arizona State Art Museum where art comes alive in this academic setting. As you walk you will be caught up in the hustle and bustle of life on this 750-acre campus and the energy surrounding you will be infectious.
#7- Desert Tours
Surrounding the urban clamor of Phoenix is the worlds second most diverse ecosystem. Learn about the desert and its impact on desert dwellers of the past and present. If walking tours are your style let Walk Softly Tours be your hosts. If a trek on two feet is not your hearts desire let Arizona Desert Mountain Jeep Tours show you the sites. For a look at the desert on four feet , mount a four-footed friend at Arizona Sunset Desert Tours and explore the wilderness like the cowboys used to do, on horseback. For an adventurous trip back in time let Apache Trail Tours show you the sites, including, Goldfield Ghost Town and Tortilla Flat. Or, enjoy beautiful Canyon Lake aboard Dollys Steamboat Cruise.
#8 Pueblo Grande Ruins
Walk the 2/3 of mile interpretive trail at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park that takes visitors to the ruins and an ancient ballcourt of the mysterious Hohokam Indians, Phoenixs first inhabitants. Indoor exhibits, workshops, tours and events are scheduled year round.
A word to the wise to travelers not accustomed to the desert climate-- make sure that you have water with you during any outings as the Arizona sun can be quite powerful and dehydration can occur quickly. Also, strong sunscreen and a good shade hat is a must.