6 Things to See in Phoenix / Scottsdale

Do you know how you tell the tourists from the locals in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area at this time of year?  The locals are the ones who are all bundled up!  Yep, that’s what hubs and I found on our trip last week to escape the winter cold of Idaho.  We were basking in the beautiful Arizona sunshine, with temps in the mid 70’s.  The locals wore long sleeves and sweaters!

It was a short, four-day trip, but we had done our research and enjoyed some of the best the area has to offer:

1) The Phoenix Art Museum

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Our first major stop was the Phoenix Art Museum.  Our Christmas gift to each other was a membership to NARM (The North American Reciprocal Museum Association).  This membership not only gives us entry into our own Boise Art Museum, but also 973 other member institutions around North America.  The museum did not disappoint.  In particular, the museum houses some outstanding contemporary pieces – some of our favorites thus far!

 

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Mass (Colder, Darker Matter) by Cornelia Parker

Proposing that matter is never truly destroyed, but merely transformed, this piece is made from the charred remains of a Texas Baptist Church that was struck by lightning.

2) Roosevelt Row

The Roosevelt Row Artists District is a continually evolving funky area of Phoenix, infused with artist studios, public art, murals, street art, events, and locally owned businesses.

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3) Durant’s

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Durant’s Steakhouse on Central Ave. is a Phoenix icon not to be missed.  A long-time hotspot for Phoenix movers and shakers, Durant’s was opened by “Jack” Durant in 1950.  Regulars know to enter through the back door to get an insider’s view of the kitchen operation. You then move into the dining area, where you will find the signature red -flocked wallpaper design and red Naugahyde booths chosen by Durant himself.

 

Jack Durant’s motto was: “Good friends, great steaks and the best booze are the necessities of life.”  And holy cow – that was the best steak ever!

4) McCormick – Stillman Railroad Park

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If you are a train affectionado, McCormick – Stillman Railroad Park is a great place to spend the morning.  Full-sized engines, Pullman cars, a carousel and scale trains for kids of all sizes make this rail museum a family friendly destination.  But the part we most enjoyed was the 10,000 square foot building dedicated to model railroad layouts in all scales.  Not only did this fire up Jeremy’s motivation for his own railroad, but I’m pretty sure that in the end, it’s going to cost us some money!

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5) Old Town Scottsdale

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The original Scottsdale townsite is a collection of art galleries, small specialty retail shops, dining venues, museums and cultural attractions.  It is entirely walkable, or a free trolley makes a continuous loop to make sightseeing simple.  You can find all the information you need at a display staffed by Scottsdale Ambassadors at the corner of Main Street and Brown Avenue.

6) The Scottsdale Artwalk

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If you can arrange your schedule to do so, you will want to be in Old Town Scottsdale any Thursday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.  During those hours, the galleries along Main Street and Marshall Way invite you to enjoy a 40-year tradition of strolling and enjoying Old Town’s lively art scene.  Often, artists themselves are in the galleries, and the street musicians, good food and drink, and festive atmosphere make this a must-do event.

We barely scratched the surface of all the things to do in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  What we did learn from the trip is that it is easy to understand why the “snowbirds” head to this fabulous state.  I know we will certainly return!

Lynn

22 thoughts on “6 Things to See in Phoenix / Scottsdale

    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      Let me warn you in advance. Durant’s is a bit spendy! But I have never eaten a steak that tender – and we have raised our own beef! And I didn’t mention that Jack Durant was once a pit boss for Bugsy Siegel at the Flamingo, Las Vegas!

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  1. karen207

    I’ve never been to Phoenix and, until now, wasn’t particularly interested. But I love, love, love art and your photos show that there’s an abundance in Phoenix. Now I’ll definitely go. Thanks, Lynn.

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  2. snakesinthegrass2014

    I went last year for the first time to visit my sister who winters there. I just literally wrote her today that I wouldn’t be able to make it this year, which after reading your post now makes me sad. I saw quite a bit last year, but certainly none of these. I’m making notes for the next visit — especially Durant’s. It looks like the kind of place Sinatra would have cruised into and led to his favorite booth. Fun shots, thanks for sharing. – Marty

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      This is his THIRD time around! First, he had one in about fifth – seventh grade. Next, shortly after we were married. Sold that one as his career took over. Now he’s starting all over again from a sheet of plywood up! But he still has that childlike fascination with all his new engines and cars! ~ Lynn

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  3. Lynz Real Cooking

    Wow looks like a fun trip! You highlighted so many interesting and cool places!! In saudi when you first arrive you are wearing shorts haha after a few months you are bundled up like the locals, when a new person arrives you think they are crazy wearing short sleeves when is only 80 degrees!!

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  4. Liesbet @ Roaming About

    Thanks for the tips and informative post, Lynn. This is very timely, since Mark and I hope to head to Arizona soon and become a couple of those snow birds for a few weeks as well. I think we’d fit right in, since we are wearing long clothes in San Diego right now and it is in the seventies. 🙂

    Phoenix is certainly on the agenda. Of your list of six, I think we will certainly make an effort to visit Old Town Scottsdale (ideally during the art walk) and Roosevelt Row. The steak house sounds unique as well (did you write “And holy cow – that was the best steak eve” with the pun intended? :-)), but we are not into red meat for health reasons, so we might skip that. For the food anyway.

    I hope your time in Arizona warmed you up enough to deal with the rest of the Idaho winter!!

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      Just for the record, Durant’s also has some wonderful seafood dishes. Hubs had scallops with his steak and said they were delish! The one thing we didn’t get to that many advised us to do was the Museum of Music. I’d probably put that ahead of Roosevelt Row if I had to do it all again. But give yourself lots of time for Old Town. It was really great! Oh, and no, we’re still cold up here – so we’re headed to Hawaii at the end of February! ~ Lynn

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