Blog Archives

Jackalope Ranch’s Student Guide to Downtown Phoenix

Here is the latest installment in Claire Lawton’s series of great guides to downtown Phoenix!

[Source: Claire Lawton, Jackalope Ranch, Phoenix New Times]

*     *     *

The first week is never about what actually goes on during class. It’s about figuring out what your schedule means by “the Brickyard,” checking out potential lag-time hangouts and figuring out which path will save you three more minutes.

Here’s a peek at our guide to ASU’s Downtown Campus …

Claire Lawton

Click on the image (or right here) for a full-size, printable version.

On the Map:

  • New vending machines, sweet couches and every news show you could ever want to see are up and running in the Cronkite Building’s First Amendment Forum (they also host pretty cool speakers every Monday).
  • Cheap/Free/Easy Date Night: Take a look at a ton of local art that’s featured on the second floor of the UCENT building and check out the view of the city from the eighth floor.
  • For caffeine and munchies, skip the Starbucks down the street and check out Fair Trade Cafe across Central Avenue, Royal Coffee Bar at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market on Pierce Street (Jackalope sighting!), Conspire on Fifth Street, or Cartel Coffee on First and Washington Streets.
Off the Map:
  • The Heard Museum is free for students on Sunday, August 15 (just show your Sun Card). Heard also hosts free admission events every third Friday.
  • Check out the Phoenix Public Library for refuge from the sun, a quiet afternoon, or a ride up and down the elevator (seriously).
  • Third Friday Concerts are back on at the Civic Space Park (under the large, flying blue object) at 424 N. Central Ave. from 7 to 9 p.m. (totally free). This space is also popular for bikini-clad sunbathers, who consequently create a popular activity for those on the fifth and sixth floors of every building that surrounds it.

*     *     *

Read the full post here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike

Visiting the murals in the alley behind 5th St. near Roosevelt (photo source: Tony Arranaga)

[Source: LightRailBlogger.com] — I took my neighbors on a hour long bike tour of downtown Phoenix.  Mike and Jane were not too familiar with the backstory to some of the historic sights in our urban core, so it was fun to give them some background on the landmarks in the heart of the city.

We started in the Evans Churchill neighborhood near 4th Street and Fillmore.  We visited the community garden near Conspire Coffee and the murals in the alley behind 5th Street near Roosevelt in the arts district.  Mike, Jane and I then went to the Phoenix Public Market, the Westward Ho and Civic Space Park.  Our tour then continued south on 1st Avenue to see the Orpheum Lofts, 44 Monroe and the old City Hall.

Next. we made our way over to Hanny’s Restaurant, which used to be home to a high end department store back in the day.  We then stopped by St. Mary’s Basilica where Pope John Paul II visited several years ago.  Our trip ended at Heritage Square and then we stoppped for a bite to eat at Front Row – TGIFriday’s restaurant inside Chase Field where the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball.

How did I do?  Where would you take friends or out of town guests to explore the heart of Phoenix?  [Note: Read the full blog entry at Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike.]

Reviving downtown Phoenix through art

[Source: Michael Tulipan, New York Times] — BOARDED-UP buildings and empty lots in the shadow of office towers hardly seemed a promising foundation for an arts district in rapidly growing Phoenix.  But once-neglected and dangerous Roosevelt Row, on the north side of downtown, turned out to be an irresistible lure for artists looking for cheap spaces in which to live and work.  Galleries, restaurants and a farmers’ market soon followed.

Today, Roosevelt Row is the city’s cutting-edge art destination, full of galleries like Perihelion Arts (610 East Roosevelt Street, No. 137; 602-334-6299) and Eye Lounge (419 East Roosevelt Street; 602-430-1490), which showcase contemporary, often challenging art and performances.  The area is also a popular draw during Phoenix’s monthly First Fridays art walk (artlinkphoenix.com).

Just as vital to the area’s resurgence is the Downtown Phoenix Public Market (721 North Central Avenue; foodconnect.org/phoenixmarket), founded five years ago by Community Food Connections, a local nonprofit with an ambitious agenda.  “The goals of the market were to increase access to healthy food and create a vibrant gathering space in the heart of the city,” said Cindy Gentry, the organization’s executive director.  Today, the market (open 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays) has over 65 vendors offering local produce, jewelry, herbal remedies and treats like delicious lemon strawberry basil sorbet ($2) from Crave Artisan Ice Cream, a local purveyor.

Last October, the market expanded to include Urban Grocery and Wine Bar (14 East Pierce Street; 602-254-1799), downtown Phoenix’s first grocery store in nearly three decades.  The grocery sells products from many market vendors and features an outpost of Royal Coffee Bar, as well as a wine bar serving Arizona labels (starting at $7 a glass).

For the fashion-minded, Spoken Boutique (610 East Roosevelt Street, No. 148) stocks trendy denim labels like William Rast and Bishop of Seventh, Wet Cement T-shirts and flirty dresses.  Local artists and residents drop into two-year-old Conspire (901 North Fifth Street; 602-237-5446), a laid-back boutique and coffee shop with offerings as diverse as handmade paper, quirky clothing and vegan doughnuts.

The area’s transformation was perhaps best encapsulated by Michael Carbajal, a former boxing champion and local celebrity who grew up on the hardscrabble streets of Roosevelt Row and is now a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. On a recent night’s visit to the bar at the year-old Asian tapas hot spot Sens (705 North First Street, No. 120; 602-340-9777; sensake.com) Mr. Carbajal spoke about the changes in the neighborhood. “It was rough,” he said, before dropping a shot of sake into his beer and gesturing to the sleek surroundings. “I like it better now. I can come here.”

“Ambassador” who doesn’t “conspire” against downtown Phoenix

outside[Source: “The Beta on Downtown Phoenix,” A Change in the Wind blog] — While visiting Phoenix recently, learned a useful new phrase — “the beta.”  Learned it from the proprietor at Conspire, a very cool coffeeshop-arthouse-neighborhood collective said to have the best coffee in town. Conspire was once an ordinary house, but has become a 21st-century hang-out.  The Americano-style coffee is absolutely superb, perhaps the best I’ve ever had, and the chatter is spiky and upbeat.

I told the bright-eyed proprietor that his place was changing my opinion of Phoenix, which I imagined (based on the drive in to town) as “this monster city where everyone drove an Escalade.”  A cruel over-generalization, obviously, but he took it in stride, admitted there was some truth to it, but said that his work/live neighborhood of galleries, restaurants, and such was different, and offered me “the beta” on where to go in what is known as the “Artisan Village.”  [Note: To read the full blog entry, click here.  If you don’t understand the title of this blog entry, click here.]

The New York Times spends 36 hours in Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix at night (David Kadlubowski, New York Times)

[Source: Randal Archibold, New York Times] — Like the myth behind its namesake, Phoenix seems to have come out of nowhere to rank as the nation’s fifth largest city. Even long-timers have a tough time explaining the city’s appeal. Phoenix has left no firm mark in pop culture, aside from a bit role in the opening shot of “Psycho.”

The list of famous area residents is rather short: Barry Goldwater, John McCain, Jordin Sparks are among the better known.  And the city is an inferno in the summer.  The other nine months of the year, however, are gorgeous and sunny, making it a perfect time to visit the city’s new bounty of top-notch golf courses, fashionable resorts, eye-opening museums, and cool night life.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]