Posted May 6, 2016

Desert Dreams: Three Ways to Savor the Flavors of Phoenix

Destinations

The American Southwest is a magical land marked by intensely blue skies, scorching temps and sensational sunsets where dramatic hues splash against radiant red rocks. In the midst of this cactus-dotted region, aptly named the “Valley of the Sun,” sunshine reigns more than 300 days a year. As the Southwest’s most populous city, Phoenix proudly welcomes visitors to its vibrant cultural offerings, top-notch sports venues and an evolving culinary circuit that proves as enticing as the natural landscape glowing just beyond restaurant windows. The secret’s out: Arizona’s near-perfect year-round weather is just one reason to visit this pocket of paradise.

Camelback Mountain AZ

An unforgettable bird’s-eye view of Phoenix from the top of Camelback Mountain.

For Outdoors Enthusiasts:
Hikers love exploring Arizona’s rugged terrain on trails not far from downtown; try South Mountain Preserve, Echo Canyon at Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak Mountain Preserve. (Be sure to tote along a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.) At Desert Botanical Gardens, meander the massive grounds to discover a stunning showcase of cacti and blooming plants. Also check the website schedule for jazz concerts that enliven the gardens’ small, picturesque stage. Sports aficionados root for Phoenix’s MLB Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field; for those wanting to get in on Arizona’s thriving golfing culture, tee time beckons at The Raven and Legacy Golf resorts.

Heard Museum Front Lawn

The front facade and lush lawn of the popular Heard Museum.

For Art Lovers:
The fascinating Heard Museum, founded in 1929, educates visitors on the Native arts and cultures of Arizona and beyond. Families can roam around the Arizona Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, where children under one enter for free. Phoenix’s Central Library—formerly part of the Phoenix Art Museum, another spectacular venue—proves an architectural wonder. Designed by local talent Will Bruder, the venue boasts walls of glass on its entire north and south sides.  Every Solstice around noon, Bruder gives a presentation during which visitors witness a visual phenomenon he describes as the room’s “perfect geometry.” The 5,000-seat Comerica Theater regularly hosts big-names acts in music, comedy and boxing (among other live-entertainment genres). Also downtown, the nonprofit Herberger Theater Center describes itself as a “performance venue and arts incubator” that has revolutionized the city’s dance and theater scene.

Chairs in the Dining Room Detail.jpg

Come solo or bring friends (including furry ones) for American comfort food at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails.

For Foodies:
Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails plus the LUSTRE Rooftop Bar are no-brainer hubs for a welcoming vibe and delicious fare. Think food-friendly spirits like sherry, port and vermouth paired with locally-sourced dishes ranging from shareable small plates like Fried Green Tomatoes to mains like Braised Pork Shank with citrus risotto, chicos and roasted peppers. If exploring local eats away from the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, start the day off right at popular destinations like Ocotillo, Okra and Matt’s Big Breakfast. Mealtime always shines at the Upwards Projects’ restaurants in Central Phoenix (Postino’s, Joyride, Federal Pizza and Windsor) and anything created by Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza (Barrio Cafe/Barrio Urbano) causes a delicious buzz, too. When happy hour rolls around, wander to gems like Valley Bar and Crescent Ballroom. Seeking a post-meal nightcap? Pop into speakeasy-inspired bars like Melinda’s Alley, Second Story Liquor Bar and the Ostrich. (Foodies will also want to keep their eyes peeled for Herb Box at the Colony, slated to open soon.)

However you choose to relish Phoenix, we promise you’ll leave sun-kissed, refreshed and inspired to return again soon.

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