When you think about Phoenix, you might think green golf courses and urban hiking opportunities, but this is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country — there’s so much more to discover than the old standbys. Set up your home base in downtown’s Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, then venture out for an experience that goes beyond palm trees and mountain peaks.
Let the Music Play
Take an auditory trip around the world at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), where you can check out more than 6,500 instruments by geographic region; an audio system along the way lets you hear the sounds in cultural context. If you’re jonesing to jam yourself, the Experience Gallery lets you try your hand at banging a gong or strumming a Burmese harp.
This should be music to your ears, too: There are several live-music venues within walking distance of the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, including Talking Stick Resort Arena, Comerica Theatre, and the Phoenix Symphony.
Arts and Culture
Find a wealth of inspiration y taking a visit to Roosevelt Row, downtown Phoenix’s arts district. Grab an Ooey Gooey Cupcake from Tammie Coe Cakes or a Spicy Cold Brew at Be Coffee + Food + Stuff, then stroll the streets in search of the dozens of larger-than-life murals that dot the buildings.
On First Fridays year-round, a self-guided art walk in downtown Phoenix from 6 to 11 p.m. includes a market with local, handmade goods; pop-up containers exhibiting artists of all kinds; and shuttles throughout downtown, headquartered at the Phoenix Art Museum (a great place to see a little of everything, from a 1960s Emilio Pucci dress to an 18th-century suit of Japanese samurai armor).
Something Old, Something New
When Bob Oldfather opened Bookmans, he never dreamed it would grow into a multi-location business thriving decades later. “I just wanted a cool place for me to hang out,” he says. Find a cool place to hang out yourself at the Phoenix outpost, where it’s easy to get lost among the stacks of well-organized new and used books and other media. Also an oldie-but-goodie, the Desert Botanical Garden dates back to 1939. While dry heat and vibrant flora seem an unlikely pairing, this spot is one of the coolest around. Who knew cacti could be so beautiful?
On the newer end of the spectrum, The Churchill debuted in September 2018 as a collective of locally owned shops and restaurants within a shipping container complex. Eat an açai bowl or sip a Latin-inspired cocktail in the central courtyard, featuring furniture made from reclaimed pallets.
While Blue Hound Kitchen + Cocktails has been around long enough to cement its reputation as a go-to place for craft cocktails in the city, you could visit often and never have the same drink twice. Try something seasonally inspired, complemented by house-made tinctures and syrups, and toast to Phoenix’s bounty.