Archive for the ‘Travel, Shopping & Leisure’ Category

All the World’s a Stage – Especially Downtown

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

I was introduced to the theater when I was eight years old when my parents brought me to see the musical, “Cats.” Instantly, I was hooked – not only on the production, lights, sets, and costumes, but also on the fact that grownup actors were getting paid to be the center of attention for two hours! Many years have passed since that memorable night at the theater, but one constant has remained and that’s my passion for theater and the arts. Fortunately, I live in Downtown Phoenix where there are several options for theatergoers.

Orpheum nightThe oldest theater in Downtown Phoenix and the one with the most history is the Orpheum Theatre. Construction of this Spanish Baroque Revival-architecture began in 1927 and was completed in 1929. Intricate murals and moldings were incorporated into the design giving guests the feeling they were enjoying shows “al fresco.” Through the years, the building has been a movie theater, a performing arts theater, and a place to watch traditional Spanish films. At one point, the murals and moldings in theater were painted black to prevent any distractions from the shows and films. The black paint among other things were removed and repaired when The City of Phoenix undertook the task of a twelve-year $14 million restoration. The Orpheum Theatre has hosted great acts such as Chris Botti, Bryan Adams, Lewis Black, Morrissey, Jerry Riopelle, Alvin Ailey and Momix. Now the theater is home to musicals, plays, comedy shows, concerts, and special events. You can even take a guided tour, free of charge, to learn more about this beautiful piece of Phoenix history.

The Herberger Theater Center sits in the heart of Downtown Phoenix across from Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel at Third Street and Van Buren and is home to three stages where you can watch amazing performances by Actors Theater, Arizona Theatre Company, and Center Dance Ensemble. Spending time in Downtown Phoenix during lunch? Enjoy the Herberger Theater Center’s popular Lunch Time Theater series that features one act matinees. The Center Stage seats 800 while Stage West seats 320 and the black box-style Performance Outreach Theater (Kax Stage) seats 120. I recall attending “Five Guys Named Moe” at The Herberger Theater Center in my high school years and quite honestly, there’s not a bad seat in the house! You feel as though you are watching a show on Broadway with the intimacy this theater offers. The Valley Youth Theatre also puts on productions at The Herberger Theater Center during the summer months, which allows young and old opportunities to escape the summertime heat and enjoy this space.

Comerica Theatre is the newest and largest addition to Downtown Phoenix. Boasting 5,500 seats this massive addition to Downtown Phoenix is unique in the sense that it can change the seating and layout of the theater depending on the use of the space. Concerts, comedians, dance shows, and even boxing can be accommodated. My sister and niece recently enjoyed a night with Long Island medium Theresa Caputo. Interested in a behind-the-scenes perspective? Stroll along Fifth Avenue where you might see tour buses and trucks for the traveling sets and lights parked and waiting for the tour’s next destination. I recently walked by Comerica Theatre on the night of the “American Idol” tour and was surprised to see so many trailers!

As Shakespeare said, “All the worlds a stage,” and Downtown Phoenix is certainly no different. So buy your tickets, get dressed up, and enjoy a night at the theater.

Orpheum Theatre
203 W. Adams Street, Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 534-5600

Herberger Theater Center
222 E. Monroe Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 254-7399

Comerica Theatre
400 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 379-2800

* This post was written by both Alex Turley and Katie Brashear, Complex Director of Public Relations, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

Another Season of Culture

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Earnest fpo

Can you believe September is already almost here?

While we probably won’t be seeing falling temperatures anytime soon, Downtown is set to be drenched a culture storm of electrifying plays, operas and symphonies in the next few months.

Here’s a small preview of what’s to come this fall to excite your inner performance geek.

Herberger Theater Center

As usual, the Herberger Theater Center Stage is packed with an eclectic selection of both contemporary and classic productions.

Looking for some family-friendly wackiness of the Seuss-variety? Horton and his lovable Whos will take the stage from Sept. 13 to Sept. 29 in Valley Youth Theatre’s Seussical. Oscar Wilde’s beloved satirical comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, will run from Oct. 10 to Oct. 27. Directed by Stephen Wrentmore, this is first time the Arizona Theatre Company has produced this classic in over 25 years. Rounding out 2013 will be the Arizona premiere of The Mountaintop, running from Nov. 14 to Dec. 1. This critically acclaimed drama tells a reimagining of events on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

Arizona Opera

Take to the high seas with the first half of the Arizona Opera’s 2013–2014 season. Once again performing out of Symphony Hall, the opera kicks off on Oct 11. with Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. Afterwards, the oceans turn red with tragic love as The Flying Dutchman haunts the stage on Nov. 15.

Phoenix Symphony

The Phoenix Symphony’s 2013–2014 season is packed with plenty of popular contemporaries and classics. The music starts on Sept. 20 with the Opening Night performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, as conducted by Andrew Grams.

The September performances will only getting bigger from there. Symphony Idol features past American Idol contestants singing alongside The Phoenix Symphony. This crowd-pleasing spectacle will take place on Sept. 27 and 29. Legendary composer John Williams and special guest Steven Spielberg will take the symphony stage on Sept. 28 for a special benefit concert, as well.

Harry Potter fanatics will also want to check out Halloween at Hogwarts on Oct. 10, which features musical favorites from the beloved films. Make sure to dress up for this one!

Valley Youth Theatre

Looking to immerse your kids into the wonderful world of theater? Valley Youth is packed with plenty of family-friendly hits for their 2013—2014 season. The fairy tale classic, The Princess and the Pea, will be running from Oct. 18 to Nov. 3, while Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail will start putting smiles on holiday faces on Dec. 6. Upcoming productions also include The Jungle Book and Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs.

(Photo of The Importance of Being Earnest from the Arizona Theatre Company)

Weekend Fun without spending a dime

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Flamenco Por La Vida

It’s hard to believe it’s August already!

Fortunately, this weekend is packed with plenty of FREE Downtown events to celebrate the last weeks of summer, and our much more stubborn temperatures.

On Friday, experience the bright colors and surreal acrylics of local-artist Aztec Smurf. His works will be on display from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at ICON Lounge, located in the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Aztec Smurf’s works are known for their inspiring qualities, evoking feelings of beauty, mystery and heartache.

Afterwards, visit the area around Chase Field for fireworks after tomorrow’s Diamondbacks game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Saturday’s fun begins early. Start your weekend off the right way with community Ashtanga yoga in Civic Space Park at 8:30 a.m. Those looking to get their stretch on should bring a mat, water and friends!

Looking for some family-friendly fun? Stop by the Arizona Science Center later that day for entertaining, educational activities and exhibitions perfect for kids.

Monster Manual enables children to create colorful monsters from molecular models, all while learning about how life is made. Busy Bones teaches kids the complexity of the human body and the skeletons that support us, while Nano Latch ‟n‟ Catch will let them create specialized nanoparticles to seek and destroy threatening diseases. These activities will also be present on Sunday, and are free after general admission.

Over 21? Saturday night has plenty of free fun for music-lovers. Local dance and music collective Flamenco Por La Vida is performing at Crescent Ballroom at 6 p.m. Their passionate and vibrant Spanish sounds are sure to get your hips shaking as you experience an authentic slice of life from the South of Spain, Andalusia.

Craving something more laid back? District American Kitchen and Wine Bar will feature live jazz playing from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., with Reverse Happy Hour specials starting at 10 p.m.

On Sunday, return to Crescent Ballroom for its Indie Rock Trivia Night. Test out your Pitchfork knowledge as you compete for free tickets and gift cards to Crescent. Stay hungry for food and drink specials as well.

Downtown Staycations

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

408552_330348373736695_913863974_nYou guys, it’s summer. It’s really, really summer.

And while we can walk around for one more weekend – a long weekend at that – and enjoy cooler temps, there’s no longer any point in pretending it isn’t going to get hot and soon.

But that’s a-ok – it means staycations and pool parties and maybe, if you can swing it, a real vacation too.

So just where to take that overnight bag for a weekend in your own city?

We’ve got the lovely Hotel Palomar rolling out  deeply discounted room rates at $102 a night which includes a round of beers for four at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails (use rate code: BREW).

Or, if the family is in tow, rates start at $124 and include two children’s tickets to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix or the Arizona Science Center (Rate code: PFAM). To reserve, visit www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com or call 602-253-6633.

If you want to make your staycation last a bit longer, The Westin Phoenix Downtown Hotel has a new Westin Weekends program that gives you a complimentary third night’s stay if you book two weekend nights. To make a reservation, call -800-937-8461 and mention “Complimentary Night,” or visit www.westin.com/weekends.

If you have your plans together already, book at The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel before May 30 for rates at 30% off starting at $119 a night and kids eat free. Book online or call 866-716-8147 and ask for rate plan CC0APKG.

Finally, if brews and music is more your cup of tea, check out the Notes ‘N Ale package at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown. The fun includes a tasting at Phoenix Ale Brewery, two tickets to live music at Crescent Ballroom and breakfast for two in Marston’s Cafe. Rates start at $199, visit their website to book.

Downtown Revenue Growth Continues

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Palomar-Phx-Guestroom-full-Last week the Downtown Phoenix Partnership received the quarterly tax revenue report from the City of Phoenix Finance Division that shows receipts are up across the board. For the area bounded by Fillmore on the north, Seventh Street on the east, Third Avenue on the west and the Union Pacific railroad tracks on the south, revenues in the first quarter of 2013 for restaurants and bars were up 17.4 percent when compared with the same quarter in 2012. Additionally, spurred by the opening of the Hotel Palomar last summer, hotel and motel revenues were up 40.5 percent when compared with the first quarter of 2012. Occupancy and revenue per room rates have increased for the other existing Downtown hotels.

A recent analysis of tax receipts from 2007 to 2012 highlights the steady growth Downtown has experienced despite the recession. 2012 revenues were 64 percent higher than the totals for 2007 and Downtown businesses increased their sales from under $200 million to over $300 million. Another indicator of Downtown’s business friendly environment is the number of listings in the Downtown Business Directory. There are 35 percent more businesses and services listed in the most recent issue when compared with 2007.

For more information on locating your business in Downtown Phoenix or the continued rise in Downtown revenues please call David Noble at 602-744-6408 or visit the research portion of our website: downtownphoenix.com/business/downtown_research.

Downtown Phoenix Recycles Presents I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

DPR_standardIn celebration of Earth Day and spring cleaning, Downtown Phoenix Recycles, a program of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, is hosting a charity I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale benefiting the beautification of Downtown Phoenix’s streets.

The April 27 street sale, in partnership with Keep Phoenix Beautiful, will bring needed shade and greening to our urban core through the sale of donated household and office goods from nearby residents and businesses.

This giant street sale will feature live music, children’s entertainment and great deals on:

Small appliances | Furniture |Electronics | Sporting goods |Tools | Décor |Toys | Children’s items | Clothing | Bikes | Office Supplies | And more!

All proceeds from the street sale will be used in the greening and beautification of Downtown with new trees, public art, bike racks, flowers, repairs and other much-needed improvements.

Hard-to-recycle items will also be collected at the I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale, including:

Electronics | Cell Phones | Hard drives| Phone books | Computers |Writing Utensils | Plastic bags | Ink Jet cartridges | Rechargeable batteries |Glass | Plastic | Cardboard | Metal| And more!

Document shredding will be provided for FREE during the I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale by the Arizona Center for the Blind. Attendees are invited to bring up to five banker boxes of documents to be securely shredded off-site.

Computer recycling will also take place during the street sale. All hard drives will be shredded and recycled for free by Westech off-site.

Rechargeable batteries will be recycled by Batteries Plus and LMI will handle toner cartridges.

The I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale takes place Saturday, April 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Phoenix School of Law parking lot at 30 N. First Street on Central Ave and Adams St.

For more information and full list of recyclable items, visit: Downtownphoenix.com/recycles

Help Make Downtown Beautiful

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

DPR_standardYou know all that stuff crowding up your space? Collecting dust? Preventing you from seeing your closet floor? Yeah, we’ll take it.

It will no longer be that thing you stub your toe on twice a week instead, we’ll turn it into trees, flowers and public art in Downtown Phoenix.

Seriously, we’ll take all of it.

Just finished your spring cleaning? Then come buy some new stuff! You know you want to shop our I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale on April 27. (Psst: there are oversize copper pots, hundreds of plates and hotel quality chairs just perfect for that DIY project).

Spread the word and help beautify our Downtown.

We’ll see you there.

spring-cleaning-week-flyer

Get Your Pampering Downtown

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

barber-shopWe spend a good deal of time heralding the great bars, restaurants and entertainment options in the Downtown area – with good reason. However, there is much more to Downtown Phoenix than some of the best food in the Valley. Downtown is home to a number of businesses dedicated to keeping all of us looking and feeling good. From barber shops to full service beauty salons, the Downtown community is well-stocked with professionals who are ready to help our employees and residents look their best.

Like many other Downtown businesses, for our beloved barber shops the key is convenience at a reasonable price. Whether it’s Gentleman Joe’s near Central & Adams, the Downtown Barber Shop in the Hotel San Carlos or Tony’s Barber Shop in the Luhrs Complex, a great shave and a haircut are only a few blocks away. Longtime Downtowner Tony Verdugo, owner of his eponymous shop, has been cutting hair is his one chair spot for more than 40 years.

If you are looking for a full-service salon, you won’t find another business district in the Valley with more beauty options. Each patron has their favorite, and the possibilities are scattered throughout the area. Downtown Salon Phoenix in the Hyatt Regency and Youngblood Haircutters in the Renaissance Hotel have served travelers and Downtowners for years. You have to take an escalator to the second level retail of the Collier Center to find Perry Monge but word is it’s well worth the trip. Downtown’s newest beauty addition, Par Exsalonce at CityScape, is earning rave reviews and making a name for itself despite being open for less than two years.

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to visit one of our Downtown barbers or beauty salons, its time to make the jump. There is nothing better than taking a break from the grind with a little pampering or returning to admiring co-workers with a fresh haircut. As always, you can find a complete listing of all beauty services in our business directory.

Urban Wine Walk Returns April 20

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Urban Wine Walk LogoSpring in Downtown Phoenix means two things: 1) The Diamondbacks begin their pursuit of an NL West championship and 2) The return of Urban Wine Walk, Downtown’s seasonal celebration of the grape.

Wine enthusiasts from all over the Valley—with palates ranging from rookie to refined—will pour into the streets April 20 from 1-6 p.m. to sample wine and snacks from 18 restaurants located in close proximity to METRO Light Rail as Urban Wine Walk makes its seventh appearance in Downtown Phoenix and the Central Corridor

Whether you’re passionate about food and wine or just looking for a good time, Wine Walk encourages urban adventurists to safely park-and-ride while soaking up some sunshine and our vibrant central city scene. With $4 all-day light rail pass in hand, Wine Walkers can pick a starting point and let their stomachs lead them from restaurant to restaurant to taste a wide variety of wines. Urban Wine Walk restaurants are strategically clustered to allow Walkers to maximize their experiences at each stop along light rail.

Participating restaurants will pour three featured wines from 1 to 6 p.m. but Wine Walkers will need to get to Tom’s Tavern & 1929 Grill early to get a gift. Commemorative Urban Wine Walk glasses will be handed out to the first 300 folks who purchase a wine sample at Tom’s, beginning at 1 p.m.

Participation is FREE and wine samples cost between $2 and $3.

In addition to Tom’s Tavern, featured Urban Wine Walk restaurants include 1130 The Restaurant, Bonjour Vietnam, Brick Pizzeria, Cheuvront, District American Kitchen, FEZ, Hula’s Modern Tiki, ICON, Kincaid’s, LUSTRE, Networks, Province, The Rose & Crown, Steve’s Greenhouse Grill, The Arrogant Butcher, The Duce and The Strand Urban Italian.

Make it a weekend getaway downtown and take advantage of special hotel room rates for Urban Wine Walkers at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel starting at $129 or The Westin Phoenix Downtown starting at $139. Use the code WINEWALK when you book.

Urban Wine Walk is proudly sponsored by the Downtown Phoenix Partnership and Tom’s Tavern & 1929 Grill.

For all things Urban Wine Walk, including maps and menus, visit

downtownphoenix.com/winewalk

Declutter for Spring Cleaning Week

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

2013 SCW -logo-dateClean your clutter. Donate your items. Beautify your neighborhood.

From April 22 – 27, Downtown Phoenix will become spring cleaning headquarters as Spring Cleaning Week brings together the community and businesses to beautify Downtown Phoenix.

This weeklong donation and recycling drive will end with a giant charity I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale with all proceeds used to bring shade, greening and art to our streets.

But we need your help!

Clean out your closets, donate your items and shop our Street Sale.

The weeklong donation drive will take place from Monday, April 22 to Friday, April 26 and do-gooders are invited to drop-off items for resale including household items, sporting goods, books, electronics, clothing, children’s items, tools and more. All donations are eligible for tax deduction as the DPP is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Resalable items – especially those unique treasures you’ve been holding on to – will be sold at the I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale on Saturday, April 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Phoenix School of Law parking lot at 30 N. First Street on Central Ave and Adams St.

All proceeds from the street sale will be used in the greening and beautification of Downtown with new trees, public art, bike racks, flowers, repairs and other much-needed improvements.

little-library-smallDonated books will be used to stock our Free Little Libraries – artistic free-standing structures placed around Downtown – which house magazines and books for borrowing, sharing and gifting.

Throughout Spring Cleaning Week and at the I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale, Downtown Phoenix Recycles and Keep Phoenix Beautiful will also collect hard-to-recycle items like toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, non-functioning electronics, plastic bags and more.

Document shredding will be provided for FREE during the I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale on Saturday by the Arizona Center for the Blind. Attendees are invited to bring up to five banker boxes of documents to be securely shredded off-site. Please note this service is available Saturday only.

Computer recycling will also take place during the street sale. All hard drives will be shredded and recycled for free by Westech off-site. Please note this service is available Saturday only.

Items can be donated or dropped off for recycling Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Downtown Phoenix Info Center located at 101 N. First Avenue, Suite 190, Phoenix, AZ 85003. The center is located on the north side of Adams Street between Central and First avenues.

For more information and a complete listing of accepted items, visit:

Downtownphoenix.com/recycles