Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Help Shape the West Side Development of Downtown

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

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On Fillmore Street between Fourth and Sixth avenues in the western part of downtown, lies a large parcel of land — 7.4 acres to be exact — that could catalyze development in the Roosevelt Historic District.

Still in the early stages of the planning process and after six months of conceptually planning what the space could be, the site concepts are being shown to the community for feedback and input at an Open House next Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Urban Living 2 (650 N. 2nd Avenue).

The concepts and community feedback will be included in the request for proposals (RFP) issued to developers by the City of Phoenix with approval from the City Council.

“It’s not telling people how to develop, but it lays out the expectations of the community,” said Dan Klocke, vice president of development for Downtown Phoenix Inc. (DPI). “Things like density levels; having an east-west roadway to break up the super blocks and to create better circulation of traffic and people; it should have complete streets — all of this gets written into the RFP.”

The land is owned by the City of Phoenix and Phoenix Industrial Development Authority as well as Maricopa County, and in partnership with those landowners, DPI was able to spearhead this planning process.

“We’ve (DPI) run the whole thing,” Klocke said. “We stepped in because no one else had the capacity to handle the project, and we did.”

From hiring architects and financial analysts to engaging with community leaders and hosting the Open House; the process has been overseen by DPI and funded by a grant the Downtown Phoenix Community Development Corporation (CDC), a sub-corporation of DPI, received from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in 2014, he said.

“We received a grant to do some conceptual planning,” Klocke said. “And conceptual planning is the key here, it’s not master planning,” meaning that the designs shown at the Open House are just ideas and may not be the final product.

Given the significant size of the parcel, he said that the City of Phoenix has taken a balanced planning approach, bringing in parties with experience in urban design as well as talking to community leaders, which “really allows us to get the kind of urban, walkable, dense development that we want. That’s the hope.”

The City of Phoenix is currently in the process of purchasing Marciopa County’s stake in the land, which will streamline the RFP process. With the City of Phoenix City Council’s go-ahead, the RFP would be issued by the end of February with responses expected by the end of May or June. A panel consisting of city staff, community leaders and developers, which are not submitting an RFP, would then make a recommendation to city staff who in turn make a recommendation to City Council.

“And then the process would begin,” Klocke said.

Discover the TrueDTPHX January 23 and 24

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

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Explore the best of downtown during TrueDTPHX –- a weekend of artistic programming, cultural events, great shopping and culinary delights.

On Friday, Jan. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 24 (Pro Bowl weekend) just days before Super Bowl celebrations commence, Downtown Phoenix is pulling out the stops with a packed roster of events and activities.

So take the light rail, hop on your bike, wear your best walking shoes and let the TrueDTPHX journey begin.

Friday, Jan. 23

Food, shopping, music and more

Roosevelt Row Sidewalk SaleRoosevelt Row Sidewalk Sale
Similar to First Friday art walk, local restaurants and businesses are keeping their doors open late for the Roosevelt Row Sidewalk Sale Friday, Jan. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 24. Walk around and explore downtown’s vibrant arts district as merchants and vendors spill onto the sidewalks and parking lots –- creating an art bazaar-like atmosphere. Expect to find great artwork, clothing, collectibles, jewelry and one-of-a-kind merchandise. The Sidewalk Sale extends from Seventh Avenue to 16th Street and from McDowell Road to Fillmore Street, with a concentration of activity along Roosevelt Street.

City-Sampler-Graphic1DTPHX City Sampler
With DTPHX City Sampler, experience the best food and drink in downtown for just $5. Head to Short Leash Sit…Stay for Corndog Bites and Sausage Meatballs, Carly’s Bistro for artichoke dip and a pale ale, or the newly-opened Paz Cantina, featuring a seasonal draft beer and either a Handmade Chicken Tinga or Carnitas Taco.

Each signature pairing for the first annual DTPHX City Sampler –- whether it’s two food items, food and drink or two drinks –- is just $5. Click here for a full list of participating bars and restaurants and all the fabulous offerings available until Feb. 1.

Super Foos 2015

Get in the game literally, with a life-sized foosball game hosted by local design firm Kitchen Sink Studios. Starting Friday, Jan. 23, friendly practice and tryouts will be held at 828 N. Third Street for the inaugural tournament Saturday, Jan. 31. For those who want to take life seriously, swing by Kitchen Sink Studios to play from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $10.

The Scarlet Cord
Don’t miss the opening night of Scarlet Cord –- a poignant art exhibit by Pamela Alderman inside a 40-foot storage container.

Hosted by StreetLightUSA at 813 N. First St., a Phoenix-based residential program that provides safe haven for sex trafficking victims, the exhibit sheds light on the important local, national and international issue of sex trafficking and its young victims. Alderman’s compassionate and inspiring installation is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily Jan. 23 through Feb. 1.

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True DTPHX Concert at Civic Space Park
After getting your fill of food, art and shopping, take a 10-minute walk south (or the next light rail stop) from the Roosevelt Row Arts District to TrueDTPHX at Civic Space Park. On Friday evening, dance the night away to a blend of indie-pop and electronica from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. featuring Steve Ayotte, Luna Aura and WLFPCK.

Saturday, Jan. 24

Music, art, community and more

True DTPHX Concert at Civic Space Park
On Saturday, check out day two of TrueDTPHX at Civic Space Park with an eclectic mix of jam-rock and multi-genre music from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. In addition to great live performances by Captain Squeegee, Decker, The Routine, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and Jared and The Mill — Phoenix-based painter and designer Isaac Caruso will be constructing a stunning interactive art piece.

DTPHX City Sampler
Just a few block away from Civic Space Park is a host of downtown bars and restaurants including District American Kitchen and Wine Bar. For $5, enjoy a 6-ounce selection of Arizona craft beer and delicious bacon-wrapped dates, also known as Devils on Horseback. Thirsty? Enjoy any two 6-ounce samples of beer for $5 and don’t forget to check out the vast array of food and drink pairings at other participating DTPHX City Sampler locations.

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The Space Between
After wandering around and sampling great craft beer, wine and fabulous downtown cuisine, take a peak at the first phase of the Space Between pop-up park. In a vacant strip of land between the Valley Youth Theatre and Taylor Place Student Housing, passersby will soon be able to enjoy comfortable seating, shady trees, a colorful mural and community gathering space.

First Street
After resting a spell at the Space Between, take a stroll north on First Street –- a pedestrian friendly corridor linking the downtown core with Roosevelt Row Arts District.

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Phoenix Public Market Featuring Kalliope
Before heading to the second day of Roosevelt Row’s Sidewalk Sale, be sure to check out Phoenix Public Market. A local treasure, the market and adjacent café is the best place to shop, listen to music, enjoy craft beer and try delicious local food. In addition to Saturday’s normal open-air market hours from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. with vendors, beer and food trucks, the market is hosting an electric dance party in the evening.

With the help of Kalliope, a three-story custom stage with its own personality, 70,000 watts of high-fidelity audio, fog, LED lights and lasers, local DJs Blake Ascension, Klu and Sean Watson will be rocking the house from 3-10:30 p.m. Stop by in the evening to catch Kalliope in its full glory.

Desoto SheildDeSoto Central Market
Come celebrate the much-anticipated rebirth of the beautiful DeSoto Central Market – a historic building on the corner of Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street, which is slated to open mid-February.

The market may not be open yet, but the Evans Churchill Community Association is celebrating its arrival with an outdoor patio party complete with food trucks, beer and wine garden, DJs, live music, games, food and art vendors.

Dog, bike and pedestrian friendly, the DeSoto is likely the next hip local hangout. Get an exclusive sneak peek from 3-10:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Roosevelt Row Sidewalk Sale
It feels like art walk and it’s not even First Friday. Peruse the wonderful, playful and eclectic wares along Roosevelt Row during the Sidewalk Sale on Saturday. Wonderful galleries, restaurants, vintage shops, handmade items and more stretch from Seventh Avenue to 16th Street and McDowell Road to Fillmore Street.

It Is Good To Be Orange

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

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The NFL isn’t the only game in Downtown Phoenix this month.

Your Phoenix Suns (22-16) are climbing up the Western Conference standings and have nine (9!!) home games between now and Feb. 2.

Even better there are three Suns Night Out games in January. What’s that rad-sounding thing you ask? Well, for every Friday and Saturday home game fans can purchase 2-4 tickets and receive a FREE round-trip ride to and from the arena (up to $20 each way) from Uber. [Follow this link for details and restrictions.]

gorilladunk copy1. Jan. 13 vs Cleveland

Some James fella plays for the Cavaliers now. He’s a kind of a big deal.

**2. Jan. 16 vs Minnesota

Rookie of the Year candidate Andrew Wiggins makes his Phoenix debut. It’s also #OrangeFriday with the first 5,000 fans receiving an orange towel.

3. Jan. 19 vs L.A. Lakers

It’s incredibly gratifying to mock the Lakers when they’re down, especially in person.

4. Jan. 21 vs Portland

One of the teams the Suns are chasing in the standings. Also the Gorilla’s birthday bash, with first 10,000 fans receiving a Gorilla dress-up magnet.

**5. Jan. 23 vs Houston

download (22)Another team the Suns trail in the playoff chase. It’s also #OrangeFriday with the first 5,000 fans receiving an orange towel.

6. Jan. 25 vs L.A. Clippers

The Suns’ closest competitor, currently holding the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. It’s also Miles Plumlee Growth Poster Night with first 2,500 fans under age of 16 receiving the prize, which is exactly what it sounds like.

7. Jan. 28 vs Washington

Did you know that the Wizards have the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference? That’s crazy, man.

download**8. Jan. 30 vs Chicago

Da Bulls boast the Eastern Conference’s second-best record. It’s also another #OrangeFriday, with the first 5,000 fans receiving an orange towel.

9. Feb. 2 vs Memphis

One of the league’s toughest teams. This is Isaiah Thomas Bobblehead Night with the first 5,000 fans receiving a commemorative statue of the diminutive sixth man spark plug.

So you see, January provides excellent opportunities to spend some intimate time with your local basketball squad.

[**denotes Suns Night Out opportunity]

Marriott Launches Creative Concept Lab at Renaissance Downtown

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

renaissance

In the former Starbucks at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, Marriott wants you to open your dream restaurant. The hotel is offering $50,000 in start-up funds and six months of free rent to prove your concept.

canvasJust pitch your big idea through Canvas, Marriott’s new in-house concept lab before Friday, Jan. 16, and you could be selected to incubate your idea for two months and test out your entrepreneurial chops.

The 1,400-square-foot former Starbucks on the ground floor is a completely blank canvas, allowing the winner to design and create a brand new food or beverage concept from the ground up.

In the online application form, entrepreneurs must submit a business and marketing plan, along with a short video showcasing their passion, creativity and skills. Things like financial viability will also be evaluated.

The selected entrepreneurs must be available for in-person interviews Wednesday, Jan. 28 and Thursday, Jan. 29.

The goal of the Canvas program is to reimagine under-utilized hotel spaces around the world. In the first-of-its-kind hotel industry global incubator, Marriott aims to develop destination hot spots that will attract the millennial market and harness the vision of hungry entrepreneurs.

For more information and to submit an application, please visit the Canvas website. The program launched Dec. 2014 with a project at the JW Marriott Shenzhen in China and the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown. Over the next six months, the number of participating locations will grow to about a dozen hotels around the world.

#DTPHX + NYE x 15

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Way back in 2009, one of the first blog posts I wrote for this website was a roundup of New Year’s Eve happenings in Downtown Phoenix.

The pickings were slim that year, although I was fortunate enough to attend the Joel McHale show at then-Dodge Theatre, along with pre-show drinks at Majerle’s. Good times.

Fast forward to 2014 and our downtown is a profoundly different place, as evidenced by the number of ways you can do NYE in DTPHX. Here are 15 suggestions:

1. Ride light rail. For free (beginning at 7 p.m. Dec. 31.)

2. 90s New Year’s at Rose & Crown

Free party with DJ Evil Luck including a champagne toast. Odds you’ll hear 2Pac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love?” Strong.

3. New Year’s at Mother Bunch Brewery

Downtown’s new brewery is hosting its first New Year’s party with a special beer tapping and free champagne toast at midnight, plus live music and a best-dressed competition 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. No cover.

4. Resolutions! A New Show for an Old Year at Space 55

Join the offbeat theater troupe for music, funny-but-true stories and a celebration of possibilities at 8 p.m. $10.

coe_5077FE3A-5056-A855-8B86AB5C92F982995. Flannel Ball and Art Show at Growhouse

Join the quirkiest gathering downtown for an art show, live music and grunge-tastic party scene. A celebration of the most dependable, versatile and washing machine-friendly fabric ever 9 p.m. $10-$20.

6. New Year’s Eve 2015 at Seamus McCaffrey’s

Downtown’s oldest running NYE bar-ty features music from the Brazen Heads, midnight champagne toast and party favors starting at 9 p.m. $5.

7. New Year’s Eve Ball at Crescent Ballroom

DJ Sean Watson controls the turntables and Second Avenue will be closed to host a “Funky Dance Tent.” Cool Kids will be out in force. Party starts at 8 p.m. $5.

images (9)8. Laugh away 2014 with Jay Pharoah at Stand Up Live or Brian Regan at Comerica Theatre

Pharoah (7 p.m. and 10 p.m.; $27) does spot-on impersonations of POTUS, Denzel Washington and Kanye West while Regan (8 p.m.; $35-$65) serves up a smorgasbord of jokes about bodily functions.

9. New Year’s Eve 2015 Rock Gold at Copper Blues

Rock out with The Instant Classics and tiered experience packages beginning at 6 p.m. General Admission $20 with Gold and Platinum record packages available.

10. Hassle-Free NYE at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

Bummed out by big crowds? Rent your own bar stool at downtown’s No. 1 destination for craft cocktails from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. $50.

11. NYE Boogie Ball at FilmBar

Celebrate the close of 2014 Boogie Nights-style with a 70s, ahem, adult film costume contest, plus a champagne toast. Starts at 8 p.m. $6 in advance; $10 at the door.

12. NYE On the Roof at LUSTRE

Stars above, lights below and a party in between. DJ Swirl, signature cocktails, tasty treats and the best views of downtown. Get there at 8 p.m. $50.

13. New Year’s Eve Celebration with Phoenix Symphony or Afrobeat Orchestra at Last Exit Live

End the year on a high note with the symphony’s guest conductor Stuart Chafetz (4 p.m. and 7 p.m. $30-$99) or head over to Last Exit Live for a dance party with Phoenix-based Afrobeat musicians (9 p.m. Free)

14. Epic NYE with Scarface at The Pressroom

Nineties rap king Scarface, who broke into the game with Geto Boys, headlines this party highlighted by special drinks, photo booth, food trucks and more 9 p.m. $40-$50 with VIP available.

15. Dinner, Champagne Toast and a Hysterical Whodunit, Murder for Two, at Herberger Theatre

What an all-in-one package!  Get your choice of dinner entree from Canyon Cafe or 1130 The Restaurant, ticket to Murder for Two and a pre-show champagne and chocolate reception 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $71.

And that’s not all. Downtown also boasts a wide selection of NYE dinners (Compass Arizona Grill, Arrogant Butcher and Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails),  family fun (Phoenix Theatre), plus dancing at Monarch Theatre and Gypsy Bar.

Have fun, be safe, and Happy New Year!

Containers on Grand: Thinking Outside the Box

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

containers

Taking a rough-looking 740-square-foot metal box and modifying it into a sleek, comfortable living space is just the kind of challenge Brian Stark loves.

“For us, it just makes sense,” Stark said. “We try to look for projects like this.”

Brian is one-half of STARKJAMES llc, the young architecture and contracting firm working on Containers on Grand, a new 20-unit apartment complex on the corner of 12th and Grand avenues using decommissioned shipping containers. Construction on the first eight units begins this month.

In 2005, an estimated 700,000 of these unused freight containers laid in stacks by the hundreds in U.S. port cities, according to the ISBU Association, a nonprofit providing resources and education on container housing. This prompted many innovators, urbanists and builders to start thinking about how to deal with this environmental hazard.

Since then, recycled containers have become trendy to use as vacation homes, storage units and construction site offices. Utilizing containers as architectural elements is pretty simple – they’re cheap, plentiful, and as it turns out, incredibly strong and versatile.

According to Kathleen Santin, one of the partners in Containers on Grand, integrating shipping containers into multi-family residential developments moved slower into the U.S. mainstream than in other countries, but she hopes this project will pave the way.

“I would like this to be a start for more privately-financed young, innovative projects,” she said. “That’s what will grow a city.”

floorplanThe small group of investors is pioneering the second apartment-style container development in the entire U.S., according to Santin, so this is certainly a proof of concept.

“I think the project is a very bold and innovative way to create housing opportunities in the Grand Avenue corridor,” said Dave Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix Inc. “Everyone will be watching to see how they do.”

The architects, Brian Stark and Wesley James, specialize in adaptive reuse projects and utilizing inexpensive materials. For this project, they designed a system and structure that allows the containers to be stacked and interlocked for optimal strength, space and energy efficiency.

“I’m excited that it hasn’t been done before,” Brian Stark said. “This is something new for Phoenix and new for the country.”

Construction on the first phase of the project could begin as early as next week and completed by mid-March, 2015. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Containers on Grand complex will cost between $850 and $950 per month and a wait list has already started.

*The original post incorrectly listed the square footage. We regret the error.

Downtown Phoenix Holiday Gift Guide

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

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Still searching for that perfect gift? Browse this carefully curated list of holiday gift ideas from the folks at Downtown Phoenix, Inc. Ranging from inexpensive stocking stuffers to modern art, these items are bound to please even the most particular person on your shopping list.

Tamales from the Tamale Store, $28 per dozen – Chuck Padilla, Downtown Phoenix Ambassador
With more than a dozen different kinds of tamales to choose from, everyone is likely find a favorite. Select from savory meat tamales, vegetarian, vegan, seasonal varieties and even dessert tamales. With so many choices, how can you go wrong? All the tamales are gluten free except the Chicken Mole and Red Velvet Cake, so they’re perfect for people with certain dietary restrictions. The Tamale Store sets up at the Phoenix Public Market on open-air market days and will be at Phoestivus Dec. 10 and 17 from 4-9 p.m.

tcroppedTerrarium by TerrarIAN, $50 – R.J. Price, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
From a small converted workshop in his Willo Historic District home, Ian Christiansen of TerrarIAN builds complex miniature ecosystems of vegetation, housed in decorative glass vessels. The closed terrariums create a unique environment for plant growth and allow for the casual observation of essential natural functions that I don’t completely understand. Like photosynthesis and stuff. Pick up your own tiny wonder at Phoestivus Dec. 10 and 17 from 4-9 p.m.

Earrings from Southwest Designs in Jewelry, $20, Fara Illich, Content Manager
I love Southwest Designs because the jewelry is not only beautiful, but incredibly practical and comfortable too. Made of oxidized copper, each piece is a truly unique shade of marbleized turquoise and sienna. I bought a pair of $20 earrings for my mom last year for Christmas and they’re incredibly light weight, stylish and most importantly, she wears them all the time. Jewelry in all shapes, sizes, designs (and prices) will be available at the Phoestivus market Dec. 10 and 17 from 4-9 p.m.

purecroppedMinimalist Geometric Triangle Necklace from Pure Life Jewelry, $30 – Sara Anderson, Events Manager
I recently bought two matching necklaces for me and a friend back home as an adult version of a best friends necklace. The necklaces are handmade by Arizona-native Jenny Melissa, founder and designer of Pure Life Jewelry, and are cute, affordable and very modern. The designer sells her work at Bunky Boutique, First Friday Art Walks and trunk shows around town.

Stone Grindz Chocolate, $7 per bar – David Stevenson, Marketing Coordinator and “What’s Happening Guide” Editor
Chocolate, of course, is a great gift for everyone on my Christmas list. My favorite is the Salty Almond Chocolate Bar made with single source cacao beans, direct from a Camino Verde farm in Ecuador. The salt really intensifies the raspberry and caramel notes and there’s a distinct brownie-like finish. Stone Grindz is sold at the Phoenix Public Market and will be at Phoestivus Dec. 10 and 17 from 4-9 p.m.  Free shipping is offered on all order overs $50.

saguarocroppedHoliday Saguaro Racer-Back Tank from Bunky Boutique, $34 – Brandi Porter, Community Editor
Take a tour around Bunky Boutique and peruse the local shop’s finely curated selection of clothes, jewelry, handbags and more — many of which are locally made. My favorites are the AZ Love brand t-shirts, which come in an assortment of colors and shapes, and have gone festive with this Holiday Saguaro Racer-Back Tank, featuring the iconic cactus strung with holiday lights. It’s fun, seasonal and just quirky enough to wear year-round.

Fire-Scented Candle by Aspen Bay Candles at Growop, $28 – Mira Word, Marketing and Events Coordinator
This is my favorite candle because of its deliciously fruity and slightly sweet smell. It has a nice soft glow, looks beautiful and burns forever. Not only do these candles smell amazing but all the products are hand-poured in the U.S. using high quality eco-friendly materials. After your candle is done, I love finding ways to up-cycle the pretty glass jar for creative uses around the house.

jeffcroppedOriginal Artwork by Jeff Davis at the Monorchid, prices vary – Dorina Bustamante, Director of Membership Services
I’m obsessed with an exhibit by local digital artist Jeff Davis. I saw his work at the December First Friday Art Walk at Bokeh Gallery inside the Monorchid and was so inspired by it. He creates beautiful geometric artwork using a computer algorithm, which generates really cool blocky and abstract shapes. The results are mesmerizing and the shapes appear to be abstractions of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s architecture. This would be a great gift for my dad who loves and collects art.

Santa Claus is Coming to Downtown

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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For Santa Claus, who goes by the alias Glenn Reathaford in the off-season, being jolly isn’t just a job description; it’s a way of life.

“When you’re doing something you truly enjoy, you’re bound to look happy,” he said. “I’ve never had a bad Christmas.”

While his primary residence is obviously the North Pole, Santa actually keeps a second home in Phoenix and works as a bus driver for Washington Elementary School District. But he admits it’s sometimes difficult to hide his true identity from the kids.

santacell“It’s just amazing, even when I’m in the grocery store they’ll look up at me and smile,” he said. “You start to learn what a celebrity feels like.”

As a public figure, Santa takes his job seriously. That includes a pretty extensive wardrobe of custom red velvet suits and what he calls “casual Santa attire.” He also maintains a strict hygiene regimen.

“It’s major work,” Santa said. “You don’t just transform to a good beard overnight, I use lots of oils, conditioners and protein treatments.”

Being the front man for Christmas is no small feat. From the second week in November to New Year’s Eve, he rarely gets a day off, especially in the three weeks leading up to The Big Day.

But even with all the hard work and long hours, seeing the way a child’s face lights up when they see him makes it all worthwhile.

“A smile makes a smile and that smile makes another,” Santa said. “It’s just contagious.”

To meet Santa in-person and catch that magical smile, come to Civic Space Park Friday, Dec. 5 for PJs in Park, a free double feature beginning at 6 p.m. with “The Polar Express,” followed by “Elf” at 8 p.m. Or visit him during one of his Saturday appearances at CityScape.

“I absolutely love the atmosphere being created Downtown,” Santa said. “It can become a tradition to go ice skating, eat dinner, drink hot cocoa and make a whole day of it – it’s just wonderful.”

Santa’s Schedule:
Friday, Dec. 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Civic Space Park
Saturday, Dec. 6 from 2 to 5 p.m. at CityScape
Saturday, Dec. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at CityScape
Saturday, Dec. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at CityScape

Spirits of the Season 2014

Monday, November 24th, 2014

holidayscroppedMake a toast to friends, family and loved ones with Spirits of the Season, a five-week holiday cocktail competition in Downtown Phoenix Nov. 29 through Dec. 17. Create a festive happy hour after work or turn a normal Saturday into a fabulous self-guided cocktail tour. Sample all 11 holiday-inspired concoctions at participating Downtown bars and restaurants and pick your favorite. Voting begins Nov. 29 and the winner is announced Dec. 18. All drinks are available until Jan. 1, 2015.

Vote here for Most Spirited Holiday Cocktail 2014.

catchafirethumbCatch a Fire

Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails at Hotel Palomar, $8

10 Cane Rum, coconut cream, allspice dram, cinnamon syrup and grated nutmeg.

dirysnowmanthumbThe Dirty Snowman

Copper Blues, $10

Baileys Irish Cream, Rumple Minze Peppermint Schnapps, Kahlúa, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur and cream. Garnished with carrot, mint, chocolate and cinnamon.

RudolphsredemptionthumbRudolph’s Redemption Cider

District American Kitchen and Wine Bar at Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, $9

Redemption Rye, ginger beer, orange bitters, lemon juice and homemade hard apple cider over holiday ice cubes made with rosemary and maraschino cherries.

southcentralnogoutthumbSouth Central Nog-Out

The Duce, $10

Crusoe Organic Spiced Rum, egg nog, Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg.

PumpkinpaloozathumbPumpkinpalooza

Hard Rock Cafe, $8.25

Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon Whisky, Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream and simple syrup infused with pumpkin puree.

renhotelcroppedR Merry Cocoa

Icon Lounge at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, $9

Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, peppermint schnapps, hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, a drizzle of crème de menthe and candy cane sprinkles.

SantajitoMojitothumbSantajito Mojito

My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, $8

Three Olive Raspberry Vodka, fresh raspberries, fresh lime, muddled mint leaves, Sun Orchard Margarita Mix and a splash of Sprite.

frostedmistletoethumbFrosted Mistletoe

Province at Westin Phoenix Downtown, $9

Peppermint schnapps, Midori Melon Liqueur, Prosecco sparkling wine and a Bing cherry served in a sugar-rimmed champagne glass.

snowtinithumbSnowtini

Squid Ink Sushi, $9

Vanilla vodka, Kahlúa, hazelnut liqueur, milk, cinnamon, homemade salted caramel and topped with toasted marshmallows.

strandcroppedAlmond Joyful

The Strand Urban Italian, $8

Malibu coconut flavored rum, chocolate, caramel and cream.

kentuckykringlethumbKentucky Kringle

1130 The Restaurant, $10

Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon, spiced turbinado syrup made in-house and chocolate bitters.

Kick Off the Holiday Season in Downtown Phoenix

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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In between decorating the tree, hanging Christmas lights and eating your weight in pie, make some time to gather with friends and family to ring in the holiday season with Downtown Phoenix.

Tree Lighting and CitySkate Grand Opening
CityScape transforms into an urban winter wonderland Saturday, Nov. 29 for the grand opening of CitySkate and official kick off to the holiday season Downtown. Bring the whole family for a tree lighting ceremony, sledding in real snow, photos with Santa, ice skating performances, festive food, live music and more. CitySkate on Central Avenue between Washington and Jefferson streets opens at 3 p.m. and the holiday fun lasts until midnight.

While sipping hot cocoa and eating cookies with your loved ones, don’t forget the many families in need this Christmas. Get into the spirit of giving by donating a non-perishable food item benefitting St. Mary’s Food Bank. Collection boxes will be available at the event.

Holidays-in-Downtown_thumbSchedule
Tree lighting: 6 p.m.
Sledding: 3-7 p.m.
Santa photos: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Food vendors with holiday goodies: 3-10 p.m.
Public ice skating: 3-3:20 p.m.; 3:50-5:45 p.m.; 6:25 p.m.-12 a.m.

Looking for some one-on-one time with the big jolly guy? Write a wish list or thank you letter for Santa’s Mailbox – a direct line from CityScape to the North Pole. Or come see him in person. Besides the Downtown holiday kick off Nov. 29, Santa will be dropping by CityScape regularly to make lists, check them twice and find out who’s been naughty or nice.

ice-skatesSanta at CityScape:
Saturday, Nov. 29: 4-8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 6: 2-5 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 13: 6-9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 20: 9 a.m.-noon

cocktail-glassSpirits of the Season
Toast the holidays with Spirits of the Season, a five-week holiday cocktail competition Nov. 29 through Dec. 17. Create a festive happy hour after work or turn a Saturday into a self-guided cocktail tour by sampling holiday-inspired concoctions at your favorite Downtown bars and restaurants. The best part? You decide the winner. Voting begins Nov. 29 and the winner is announced Dec. 18.

pjsPJs in the Park
Cozy up in your favorite warm pajamas Dec. 5 and board Downtown’s version of the Polar Express (the light rail) for a free holiday double feature at Civic Space Park. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and your Christmas spirit for a viewing of Disney’s “The Polar Express” at 6 p.m. followed by “Elf” at 8 p.m. PJs in the Park features festive food, a surprise visit from Santa, photo opportunities (and maybe even presents!)

*Top photo courtesy of CityScape Phoenix.