Archive for the ‘Travel, Shopping & Leisure’ Category

Margaret T. Hance Park Redesign Meeting Scheduled for Next Week

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Photo by AP Photography
Photo by AP Photography

Great cities have great parks, and Phoenix should be no exception.

For that reason, the process of re-envisioning Margaret T. Hance Park into a communally and culturally significant space is underway.

The team leading the redesign started the project in July of last year and will present its second Concept Plan for the park next Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the Phoenix Art Museum.

This is the second time the public will have the opportunity to view the proposed design. The first draft, introduced in November, includes recommendations made by the Hance Park Steering Committee such as a skate park, a permanent performance space, food concessions and much more.

(See November’s Master Plan Concept Presentation here)

The light rail, ASU downtown campus, stabilization of historic neighborhoods and a new generation of people wanting to live in urban areas is giving Phoenix a second chance to create a downtown community, said David Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and a member of the Hance Park Master Plan Advisory Committee.

And, “if you’re going to have a community, you’ve got to have great park facilities,” he said. “Hance Park gives us that real opportunity to have a great urban park.”

Krietor said that there were two separate visions for the 32-acre lay of land: one as a meeting place for the surrounding neighborhoods, and the other as a “signature park,” or a space that—while also serving the community—would act as a regional park and host major events.

However, “The designers came back with both,” he said. “They split the park in two, and they tried to marry these two ideas together.”
Hance Park Master Plan
Hance Park Master Plan

The presentation next week will contain a second Master Plan Concept design taking into account the public comments received since November.

Though the public meetings have been well attended, Krietor said the next step in the process is accelerating the momentum to get people interested in the park so that these designs are realized.

He said funding for the project so far only includes the design process. Additional funds would need to be raised to transform the project from an idea into a reality.

“It’s about taking this planning and design process and getting people excited about it so the park becomes a priority,” he said.

You can keep up to date on the Hance Park Master Plan redesign by liking the Facebook page,, or visit this website here.

McDowell Mountain Music Festival Announces 2014 Line-Up

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

25FDF391-7A7B-4F6E-9D60-B8845347BAB6[17]The McDowell Mountain Music Festival does so much more than just bring awesome music to Downtown Phoenix. The non-profit attracts visitors from around the country, and in doing so highlights the culture and energy that’s present in our Urban Core.

The festival announced yesterday the line-up for the main stage of its 2014 festival, which takes place March 28-30 at Margaret T. Hance Park.

The main stage line-up includes:

Friday, March 28

STS9 9:30 PM
Gramatik 7:30 PM
Lettuce 6:00 PM
Sara Robinson & The Midnight Special 4:30 PM
Decker 3:30 PM
Lettuce After Party @ The Crescent 11:30 PM
Ex Mag After Party @ The Renaissance 11:30 PM

Saturday, March 29

Disco Biscuits 9:00 PM
Slightly Stoopid 7:00 PM
Dispatch 5:00 PM
Allen Stone 3:00 PM
Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers 1:00 PM
Jared & The Mill 11:30 AM
Allen Stone After Party @ The Crescent 11:30 PM
TBA After Party @ The Renaissance 11:30 PM

Sunday, March 30

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite 8:00 PM
Dwight Yoakam 6:00 PM
G Love 4:00 PM
Donna the Buffalo 2:00 PM
West Water Outlaws 12:30 PM
The Wiley Ones 11:30 AM
Donna the Buffalo After Party @ The Crescent 11:30 PM

With performances like these, you certainly won’t want to miss out on three full days of vitality driven by music, food, arts, shopping, a kid’s zone, a silent auction and raffle, and more.

As part of it’s mission to support the community, all proceeds from the festival benefit two local, non-profits Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and UMOM Day Centers.

12 Holiday Gift Ideas from the Downtown Phoenix Partnership Staff

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Still searching for that special something for that special someone? You’re in luck. Downtown Phoenix is full of creative gifts that you’d be strained to find anywhere else. Choose from food and drink, a pair of jeans, or tickets to an incredible day – here are 12 holiday gift ideas from the staff of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

Happy shopping!

Urban Olive Oils18 year ‘Traditional Balsamic’ from Urban Olive Oils, $20 – Anna Consie, Communications Manager

This very rich, very thick balsamic is great for every person you know who claims Italian heritage. It’s from Modena, Italy –  the place for balsamic vinegar – and is a steal at $20. It’s great for salads, sauces or drizzled on ice cream (seriously). The best part of gifting this vinegar? The lovely staff at Urban Olive Oils will let you sample every olive oil and vinegar in the store, which is a surprisingly fun way to spend an afternoon.

CartelCartel Coffee Lab Gift Set, prices vary – Brandi Porter, Community Editor

The folks running things over at Cartel Coffee Lab know a thing or two about brewing the perfect cup of coffee, and now you can too. In honor of the holidays, the boutique coffee shop has put together a special holiday gift set. Each specialty coffee brewer purchased comes with a bag of filters and two samples of their specialty coffees. At $30, $35 or $40, each bundle is a bargain and sure to impress even the most persnickety of coffee addicts. They also have the items available for individual sale, in case you aren’t into giving gift sets.

The Tamale Store at Phoenix Public Market, $28/dozen – David Stevenson, Marketing Coordinator and What’s Happening Editor

These Tamales are better than your abuela’s. Made with fluffy massa, fresh meat and cheeses, authentic Mexican spices, and no lard, these yummy holiday favorites can also be shipped directly from the kitchen to your family. They arrive in a Styrofoam cooler wrapped in an insulated freezer bag with gel ice packs to ensure they keep cold. They last 7 days refrigerated upon arrival, although my family in Washington State steamed and ate theirs immediately.

Charming Charlie, prices vary – Dan Klocke, Vice President of Development

If you’re a guy who happens to know the color of your significant other’s clothes, Charming Charlie is the best place to find her some matching accessories… Alternatively, let the sales people tell you what’s best. They take you right over to a table covered in accessories, and tell you (the dumb guy) exactly what she’ll need. Lo and behold, by the end of this nightmare adventure you’ll have the perfect matching accessories for that special someone.

Lawless DenimLawless Denim, prices vary – Chuck Padilla, Downtown Phoenix Ambassador

I recommend a pair of custom handmade jeans from Lawless Denim at CityScape. Round off the look with a handmade belt or hat, and you’ve got the perfect present. How bad*** and hot would it be to get a pair of jeans tailored to fit your body?

Pedicure from Downtown Phoenix Salon, $48 – Nicole Friedrichs, Controller

I would love to receive a gift certificate for a pedicure from the Downtown Phoenix Salon. They have exceptional services and staff, and just a few steps away from the office. It’s the perfect way to break up the monotony of the day!

Commemorative Glassware from Hard Rock Café Phoenix, $10-$25 – R.J. Price, Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Imagine There's No Hunger braceletNot only does this iconic restaurant boast bodacious burgers and a full slate of live music, but they also have a hip gift shop that sells glassware, commemorative rock T-shirts, hats, pins and collectables at all price points.

And this holiday season you can join Hard Rock Café in the fight against global hunger and poverty by purchasing limited edition Imagine There’s No Hunger merchandise like scarves, bracelets and T’s. [pic of bracelet]. Head over to Hard Rock Café Phoenix this Friday for the Imagine There’s No Hunger benefit concert featuring local wailers Whiskey’s Quicker.

Arizona Science Center membership, $150 – Sara Anderson, Events Manager

I love to gift experiences, so I bought the Explorer Membership package to the Arizona Science Center for my niece and nephew – BONUS – the membership comes with guest passes, discounts on several activities throughout the year, and three passes to the Planetarium… I guess it’s pretty much a gift for me as well!

HannysHanny’s gift certificate – Ray Cabrera, Program Manager – Operations

I love getting gift certificates to Hanny’s. It’s such a great atmosphere, especially when they decorate for the holidays.  They happen to serve my favorite pizza and cocktails, so hopefully whoever I give the gift certificate to will be just as giving as me – and share!

Arizona Latino and Cultural Arts – Jane Hart, Executive Assistant

If you are looking for unique and handmade items for that quirky, fun friend in your life – we all have one – Arizona Latino and Cultural Arts (ALAC) is the place to go!  They have a ton of unique items, and many them are made right here in the Valley by local artists!

CrescentTickets to Crescent Ballroom – Terry Madeksza, Vice President – Operations

The best kind of present is the present you can experience! With a great selection of local, indie and big-name performances, as well as great food and drinks, a pair of tickets to Crescent Ballroom would make the perfect holiday gift for any music lover in your life.

Urban Outfitters – Samantha Jackson, Community Services Director

I brought my family downtown to CityScape for the tree lighting ceremony and my daughter, who is almost 13 years old, went into Urban Outfitters and FELL IN LOVE.  I could buy her any of the fun stuff they have in there. The kitty slippers, the mini walkie radios (conveniently in a set of two) or the beaded pouch that looks like pepperoni pizza. The best stocking stuffers ever!

A Phoestivus for the Rest of Us

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

It was a merry good time at Phoestivus last night! The best part is, it’s happening all over again next week! Take a look at some of the vendors and moments we captured last night at the Phoenix Public Market, then make sure to come out next Wednesday, Dec. 18 from 4 to 8 p.m. for the encore.


There were vendors aplenty all through the night, hocking creative gifts you won’t find anywhere else, including a variety of succulent plants, jewelry, as well as original holiday decorations and cards.


Vintage vendor

Hazel and Violet

Raffle booth

When you’re not shopping around for the perfect gift, stuffing your face with delicious food, or sipping a glass of Phoestivus ale, make sure to check out the customary Feats of Strength, Phoestivus Pole, and Airing of Grievances. ‘Tis Phoestivus after all!

Phoestivus pole

Airing of Grievances

There was certainly no shortage of food at the market, so plan to arrive on an empty stomach. You’ll have a difficult time thwarting the enticing eats coming from food trucks or the Phoenix Public Market Café—which certainly isn’t a bad thing!

My only grievance from the night: I wasn’t wearing this awesome top hat.

Downtown Ambassador

Holidays Huzzah!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

holidaysWith the opening of CitySkate, holiday inspired shows and a number of different shopping experiences occurring this weekend, the city will be bustling with activity and life. Partake in the joy and holiday spirit at some of these wonderful events in Downtown Phoenix.

Fri., November 29, Alternative Black Friday Vintage Market

Trade in long lines and sleep deprivation for vintage shopping, mimosas and ice skating this Friday at CityScape’s Alternative Black Friday Vintage Market. There will be over 20 local vendors, a mimosa bar by Chloe’s Corner, half-price ice skating and live music from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free admission.

Fri., November 29, Black Friday at the Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum will have an array of specials and deals going on to make your Black Friday a stress-free, joyful day. Get there early and receive free admission into The West Select from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., the first 50 non-members receive a free general membership and museum memberships will be 20% off all day.

Fri.-Sat., November 29-30, Phoenix Flea

Phoenix Flea is an outdoor market with local vendors specializing in salvaged and repurposed furniture, vintage clothing and collectibles, as well as locally designed and produced clothing, jewelry, fine arts and crafts. Benefiting the 100 Club of Arizona, the two-day market will take place at Heritage Square and Science Park, and promises a day full of vintage shopping, arts & crafts, fashion, food and more. $5 admission for ages 12 and up.

Fri.-Sun., November 30-December 1, Holiday Musicals, Concerts and Performances

You’ll find the best holiday performances playing this weekend in Downtown Phoenix, such as Holiday Pops and The Polar Express at the Phoenix Symphony, White Christmas at Phoenix Theatre, and the Nutcracker at Orpheum Theatre.

Fri.-Sun., November 29-December 1, Ornamental Marketplace at the Heard Museum

Going on its fifth year, the Heard Museum’s Ornamental Marketplace offers hundreds of beautiful Native-themed ornaments hand-crafted by American Indians. Times vary by day. Free admission (museum admission additional).

Sat., November 30-December 18, Spirits of the Season

This Saturday marks the beginning of our Spirits of the Season holiday cocktail competition. Some of the best Downtown bars and restaurants have concocted festive drinks in celebration of the holidays, and you get to decide which one is the best. Voting is open until Dec. 18 in the quest to crown the Most Spirited Holiday Cocktail of 2013. Vote early, vote often, vote here. All drinks will be available through Jan. 1, 2014.

Sat., November 30, Tree Lighting and Ice Rink Grand Opening

CityScape is taking over Central Avenue again this season with CitySkate, and Downtown Phoenix is throwing a party to celebrate. There will be crafts, face-painting and more for the kids, as well as an appearance by you-know-who. Don’t miss wonderful ice skating and musical performances, and the official tree lighting at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but we ask that you bring a canned food item for our holiday food drive benefiting St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

Sat., November 30, ’80s Soiree

The Rose & Crown Pub is celebrating everything ’80s beginning at 9 p.m. this Saturday with music, games, trivia, a costume contest and more.

Sun., December 1, Elaine’s Holiday Tea Party

Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the Irish Cultural Center this Sunday with a fabulous selection of high quality homemade English scones, fairy cakes, Scottish shortbread and Irish soda bread, served with an assortment of beverages and fun holiday favors. Adults $25, seniors 60+ $20, children under 10 $15. No tickets available at the door. Buy online

Downtown Dominates Best of Awards

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Welcome Poster 2010

We’ve known it all along – the best of the Valley really is in Downtown Phoenix. Don’t believe us? Just read on.

With over 90 business around the Greater Downtown area being named as a best restaurant, venue, festival and more by the Phoenix New Times, Phoenix Magazine and Arizona Republic this awards season,  the results speak for themselves. And, it just so happens, we’ve compiled a complete list of them here for your viewing pleasure.

Additionally, we’ve created this map for easy navigation of Downtown Phoenix Best Of award winners.

Welcome Poster 2010

Downtown Phoenix Best Restaurant Cluster – Arizona Republic

Angels Trumpet Ale House

- Best Reimagined ‘60s Standard (TV Dinners) – Phoenix Magazine

- Best Beer Selection – Phoenix Magazine

- Best Brew and Bite - Arizona Republic

Bliss/reBar Best Gay Bar – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails – Best Destination for A Girl’s Night Out - Arizona Republic

Bonjour Vietnam

- Best-Kept Restaurant Secret - Arizona Republic

-Best Happy Hour - Phoenix New Times

Bragg’s Factory Diner

- Best Waffles (Coconut Curry Waffles) – Phoenix Magazine

- Best Vegan Restaurant – Phoenix New Times

Cibo Urban Pizzeria Cafe

- Best Neighborhood Restaurant - Phoenix New Times

- Best Place for a First Date – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

Cocina 10 at Crescent Ballroom

-Best Burritos - Phoenix New Times

- Best Post-Event Downtown Eats - Arizona Republic

Downtown Phoenix Public Market Best Farmers Market – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

The Duce Best Cocktails (Retro) – Phoenix Magazine

Duck and Decanter Best Downtown Lunch - Phoenix New Times

Friday’s Front Row Best Sports Bar, Downtown Phoenix - Phoenix New Times

Giant Coffee Best Shot of Espresso - Phoenix New Times

Hanny’s Best Vintage Downtown Building to Poke Your Head Into - Phoenix New Times

Lustre Rooftop Garden Best Poolside Happy Hour - Phoenix New Times

Matt’s Big Breakfast

- Best Breakfast/Brunch - Phoenix Magazine Reader’s Pick

- Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Downtown Phoenix – Phoenix New Times

- Best Hangover Breakfast – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

- Best Breakfast - Arizona Republic

Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe Best Soul Food Restaurant – Phoenix New Times

Nobuo at Teeter House

- Best Japanese Restaurant For Izakaya – Arizona Republic

- Best Japanese Restaurant - Phoenix New Times

Phoenix Food Truck Fridays Best Place to Find Food Trucks - Arizona Republic

Phoenix Public Market Café Best Universally Pleasing Eatery - Phoenix Magazine

Pita Jungle

-Best Downtown Lunch - Phoenix New Times Readers’ Pick

-Best Gluten-Free Restaurant - Phoenix New Times Readers’ Pick

-Best Mediterranean Restaurant - Phoenix New Times Readers’ Pick

-Best Vegan Restaurant - Phoenix New Times Readers’ Pick

-Best Vegetarian Restaurant - Phoenix New Times Readers’ Pick

-Best Healthy Restaurant – Arizona Republic

-Best Lunch – Arizona Republic

-Best Mediterranean Restaurant - Arizona Republic

Pizzeria Bianco
-Best Gourmet Pizza – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

-Best Pizza – Arizona Republic

Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana Best Neighborhood Pizza, Downtown PhoenixPhoenix New Times

Rose & Crown Best English Pub - Phoenix New Times

Seamus McCaffrey’s Best Neighborhood Bar, Downtown Phoenix – Phoenix New Times

Short Leash Hot Dogs Best Hot Dog - Phoenix Magazine Reader’s Pick

Songbird Coffee & Tea House Best Homegrown Culture-and-Coffee House - Phoenix Magazine

Tammie Coe Cakes Best Bakery – Phoenix Magazine Readers’ Pick

Thai Basil Best Thai Restaurant – Phoenix New Times Readers’ Pick


- Best Cold-Brewed Coffee (Mornin’ Moonshine) – Arizona Republic

- Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Central Phoenix - Phoenix New Times

Welcome Diner Best Fried Chicken – Phoenix Magazine

Welcome Poster 2010

Arizona Theatre Company performing at Herberger Theater Center Best Equity Theater - Phoenix New Times

Ballet Arizona Best Performing-Arts Company – Arizona Republic

Chris & Lena Jàcome (at Province every Friday night) Best Flamenco Duo – Phoenix Magazine

Crescent Ballroom

- Best Live Music Venue - Arizona Republic

- Best Live Music Venue – Phoenix Magazine

- Best Live Music Venue – Phoenix Magazine Reader’s Pick

- Best Dance Floor – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

- Best Place to be Seen – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

- Best Venue for Local Acts – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

- Best Venue for National Acts - Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

- Best Place to Take a Scenester – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk Best Family-Friendly Flesh-Eating Festival - Phoenix Magazine

Fashion Collection at Phoenix Art Museum Best Museum Collection – Arizona Republic

Feast on the Street Best New Food Event - Arizona Republic

FilmBar Best Independent Movie Theater - Phoenix New Times

Foul Play, Fridays at Bar Smith Best Weekly Dance Night – Phoenix New Times

Grand Canal Best Downtown Run - Phoenix New Times

Gypsy Bar

- Best Party Destination – Arizona Republic

- Best Bar with an Arcade - Phoenix New Times

Last Exit Live Best Comeback - Phoenix New Times

The Lost Leaf Best Place to Be Seen – Phoenix New Times

Lucky Strike Best Bowling Alley – Phoenix Magazine Reader’s Pick

Lunchtime Theater at Herberger Theater Center Best Afternoon Quickie – Phoenix Magazine

McDowell Mountain Music Festival

-Best Music Festival – Phoenix New Times Reader’s Poll

- Best Reinvented Music Festival - Arizona Republic

Monarch Theatre

- Best Dance Club - Arizona Republic

- Best Place to See Turntablists - Phoenix New Times

The Nash

-Best Jazz Joint – Phoenix New Times

-Best Local Effort at Raising the Profile of Jazz - Arizona Republic

Outside of the Channel 12 EVB Live studio Best Place to Make a Fool Out of Yourself on Live TV – Phoenix Magazine

Phoenix Mercury Games Best Cheap Seats – Phoenix Magazine

Rose & Crown Pub Best Bar Trivia Night (Wednesdays) – Phoenix Magazine

Silent Sundays (Orpheum Theater) Best Vintage Film Series - Phoenix New Times

Sky Lounge Best Latin Club – Phoenix New Times

The Turf Irish Pub Best Place to Drink Guinness and Play OTB – Phoenix New Times

Welcome Poster 2010

ASU Art Auction at First Studio Best Place to Buy Photography - Phoenix New Times

Central and McDowell in Phoenix Best Hot Spot for the Arts – Arizona Republic

Combine Studios Best New Gallery – Phoenix New Times

Her Secret is Patience Best Public Art - Arizona Republic

The patio behind Drive-Thru Gallery and 1Spot Best First Friday Hangout - Phoenix New Times

Sarah Hurwitz’s “Everything I have ever wanted to own” Best Stop on Art Detour 2013 - Phoenix New Times

Space 55 Ensemble Best Black Box – Phoenix New Times

Welcome Poster 2010

greenHAUS Best Eclectic Boutique - Phoenix Magazine

Bison iPhone sleeves Best Urban Cowboy Accessory – Phoenix Magazine

Flag World USA Best Place to Buy a “Parking for Estonians Only” Sign – Phoenix Magazine

Downtown Phoenix Public Market

- Best Farmer’s Market – Phoenix Magazine Reader’s Pick

- Best Farmer’s Market – Phoenix New Times

Phoenix Spokes People Best Bike Advocacy Group - Phoenix New Times

Altitude Aerials & Dance Co. Best Place to Learn How to Fly – Phoenix New Times

Vintage Industrial Best Industrial Vintage Goods – Phoenix New Times

Jackalope Trading Post Best Shopping on Grand Avenue – Phoenix New Times

GROWop Best Homegrown Boutique - Phoenix New Times

Easley’s Fun Shop Best Costume Shop – Phoenix New Times

Cellar Door Vintage Best Vintage T-shirts - Phoenix New Times

Lawn Gnome Publishing Best Used Bookstore - Phoenix New Times

MADE art boutique Best Retail Gem - Phoenix New Times

Welcome Poster 2010

The Icehouse Best Rooftop View of Downtown Phoenix – Phoenix New Times

FQ Story Best Neighborhood - Phoenix New Times

Willo Best Home Tour - Phoenix New Times

Deals, Discounts and Free Fun for Students

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Civic Space Park

Welcome back to school, ASU Downtown Phoenix students!

In between all the learning and memory-making, we understand you will want to have a little fun around our Urban Core. We also understand that college-student budgets are tight.

That’s why we have compiled this short, handy list of awesome deals and free events all around Downtown.

First things first, download and print our ASU Downtown Super Deals coupon sheet. It’s stuffed to the brim with sweet deals on everything from food, to gym memberships, to even shoe shines. Be sure to take advantage of these offers soon, as most of them run until Sunday!

Next, check out these fun, free Downtown events going on this week.

Tomorrow evening, be sure to head down to the open air Phoenix Public Market. Here, you can taste, sample and buy the best in home-grown agriculture and cooking. Stock up on fresh, healthy snacks, or buy some beautiful flowers for your budding college sweet heart. The market runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

On Thursday, get terrified with your new friends at the Arizona Science Center, with their “Creature Feature Film Series.” This week’s free showing is the body-horror classic, “The Fly.” The mad science starts at 7 p.m.

Already tired of dorm food? Well then head back to the Phoenix Public Market the next day for lunch at Food Truck Friday. You’ll find a bodacious food court comprised of trendy mobile culinary innovators.  Nosh on an eclectic set of offerings, like Cajun burritos and authentic Filipino street cuisine. Food Truck Friday runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Afterward swing over to the Pop Up Park at Civic Space Park, which runs from 1 – 3 p.m. The Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors bring out games, books, soccer nets and more.

Looking to start the semester off the healthy way? Then join us for the Community Yoga Project in Civic Space Park on Saturday morning. Practice liberating Ashtanga yoga while surrounded by the park’s beautiful scenery. Be sure to bring your own mat, some water and friends. The fun starts at 8:30 a.m.

Are you a yoga-fanatic? Well then also check out “Sweat Your Asana Off” at Lustre Rooftop Garden on Monday evenings. This free, hour-long yoga session features guest instructors, a rooftop pool and a great view. Get flexible starting at 7 p.m.

* Photo by Michael Ruiz

Come and Watch the Business Boom in Downtown Phoenix

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

downtown-night-smallThe City of Phoenix Finance Department has released sales tax data for the second quarter of 2013 and the results show continued vibrant growth in the Downtown area.

Revenues were up across the board when compared with the same quarter of 2012 with the largest increase coming in restaurant and bar revenue which showed an 11.0% increase in taxable revenue.

Hotel and motel revenue reported an 8.9% increase and retail sales gained 3.2% for an increase in the grand total of 8.3% when compared with the second quarter of 2012.

The increases were much higher when compared with the rolling year through the second quarter of 2012 (total of four consecutive quarters). The rolling year total retail revenues showed an impressive 35% increase with hotels and motels (22.0%) and restaurants and bars (14.0%) reporting significant gains as well. The rolling year grand total increased 21.0% when compared with the same time period from 2012.

These numbers show the growth we have seen in recent years to be strong and steady and investments made in the last decade are paying off. Downtown Phoenix is taking its place as the premiere business destination in the state and companies from a variety of sectors are reaping the benefits.

Despite the summer heat Downtown is still the place to eat and play.  Make August the month you finally check out that restaurant you have been hearing good things about or check out the Herberger Lunchtime Theater or Stand Up-Live.  You are officially invited!

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)