As usual, I am way behind in writing blog posts about my travels. I went down to Phoenix back at the beginning of December. That was 4 months ago. However, I thought I’d share a few photos from that trip.
I wasn’t lucky enough to be a hotel room with a view, but my manager was. She had a great southerly view of downtown. It gives a good sense of how flat most of Phoenix is apart from downtown.
There are bits and pieces of a very urban downtown, but even downtown itself is fairly flat. There is a cluster of office towers, but Phoenix is not a major business centre in the larger scheme of things.
There are little urban gems like Phoenix’s Heritage Square. It’s a collection of some of the oldest buildings in this desert city. A throwback to some of the pioneer days in Arizona. During our visit, we were lucky to come across their Christmas Market. Yes, a Christmas market in the middle of the sunny desert. It can happen.
The grand dame of the Heritage Square is definitely Rosson House with it’s tall spire and beautiful verandah.
We went back to the Square’s Pizzeria Bianco for some dinner and awesome pizza. Go early and get a table. It’s really busy in there.
Not too far from Heritage Square is the very expansive Phoenix Convention Centre. There was some US Military meeting in town at the conference centre when we were there. This week (April 13-16, 2016) is actually the American Academy of Audiology’s big annual conference.
The home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns is another huge building in downtown Phoenix. The arena is south of the convention center. It’s within walking distance. The name leaves me scratching my head a little. So is the way of name sponsorship, I guess.
One of favourite buildings in Downtown Phoenix is Old City Hall. It’s a beautiful, but small, desert themed Art Deco building. It’s one of the few old buildings that adds a tiny bit of character to a mostly run-of-the-mill American downtown.
In the middle of downtown Phoenix, you can find Phoenix’s Civic Space Park. It’s a large square park with the central bus exchange to the south and a large green space in the middle of it.
The big attraction in the park is the giant netting piece of public art by Janet Echelman. It is entitled Her Secret is Patience. Janet Echelman is also responsible for the Water Sky Garden netting sculpture outside the Richmond Olympic Oval.
Just east of the Civic Space Park is the downtown campus of Arizona State University. So if you feel academically inclined and want to explore an American college campus, then walk on over.
Then my favourite part of downtown Phoenix is the part that feels the least downtown. The Evans Churchill neighbourhood at the north end of downtown. Don’t let the open and sparse lots fool you. There’s a lot of little gems in this little hood.
Evans Churchill is home to variety of eateries, brewpubs, bike shops, light industry, and artists. The large murals on the side of some of the buildings add real beauty to what would otherwise be tumbleweeds, brick and mortar.
Our work team came here to grab some serious grub at the suggestion of the hotel concierge. From what the concierge told us, Matt’s Big Breakfast is the place to go.
The line up was long, but our concierge had helped saved a table. If you’re looking for a great classic American breakfast done well and then some, come here. Just beware that it’s really noisy in there when the place is at capacity. I really had to lean in to hear what people were saying.
Food was awesome and greasy. I guess when in America, do as Americans do. Just don’t overdo it.
Phoenix was a short work trip for about half a week. If I’m honest, Downtown Phoenix has very little offer overall. You really need to know what you’re looking for if you travel with an urbanist eye. However, I was happy enough to discover the places I could during this trip.
I only have one regret from this Phoenix trip. What I really wanted to do, but couldn’t, was visit Taliesin West. The problem is I didn’t have a car and transit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Scottsdale home was next to non-existent. If I ever travel to Phoenix again, then I’ll need to rent a car and explore Taliesin West and more of Phoenix’s surroundings.
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