Downtown Phoenix is one of the best-kept secrets in the Valley that is hidden from locals and tourists alike. Over the past decade the city has spent a lot of effort making downtown Phoenix into a must-see destination. With music, art, fine dining, packed bars and pro sports, downtown Phoenix is now the place to be. Here are just some of our favorite spots to hit up while you’re in town.
Where To Eat
Want the perfect way to start your day? Matt’s Big Breakfast is the place to get all of the energy you’ll need for hiking, shopping, or just learning at Digital Summit. The food is simple, but delicious because of the care taken into each and every plate. If you want to order what Guy Fieri did on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” get The Chop & Chick, a breakfast pork chop with eggs.
James Beard award winner Chris Bianco’s Pizzeria Bianco has been named by numerous publications as the best pizza in America. It’s been highlighted on the Food Network, USA Today, and almost every other publication because of its delicious pies. One word of warning though, there is only room for a few dozen people, which is why nightly waits can routinely exceed two and even three hours.
This downtown Phoenix staple says its decades-long secret for success is simple: perfect martinis, fantastic steaks, and incomparable service. Take a step back in time with the dark wood, leather booths and 48-oz. mesquite-broiled porterhouses. Here’s an insider tip, if you park in back, don’t hesitate to come in through the kitchen, they won’t mind.
Kettle black is one of the newest restaurants in downtown Phoenix, but go in on any Tuesday night and it’s packed as if everyone in the city has heard of it. At first glance inside you might think this pub was transported right from the east coast, but look under the table and you’ll find more outlets and USB ports than seats. Oh yeah, and the food is awesome too. So far it’s just burgers but the menu will be expanding before you know it.
Where To Drink
Downtown Phoenix is hopping at night these days. And if you’re in the mood for some great drinks and even better late night food, check out Hanny’s. If you leave Hanny’s without going into the upstairs bathrooms (they used to be dressing rooms for a department store), or the basement (we’re not going to give away this surprise), you’ve done yourself a major disservice.
This is one of the newest additions to the late night downtown scene. Bitter & Twisted is going to take you back in time with its classic cocktail list and music. The bartenders are friendly, the drink list has everything anyone could want, and the décor is anything but ordinary. Don’t be afraid to ask your bartender to help you find the perfect cocktail.
Beer fans, this is the place you need to hit up. Angels Trumpet Ale House has almost three dozen rotating taps that feature craft brews from every corner of the globe, including some Arizona favorites. Sit down, try something you can’t order at your local grocery store, and find your new favorite brew to keep stocked year-round.
From the outside, the Duce doesn’t seem that impressive. But walk into the bar/gym (yes, gym, with a boxing ring that’s really used to train) and you’ll see why it’s one of the must-see places downtown. The cocktail menu has everything, the food truck is serving up some delicious meals, and don’t forget to spend some time playing foosball or ping pong before calling it a night.
What To Do
Ok, so maybe this season hasn’t turned out the way we all hoped, but there is no denying that the Suns are an entertaining team. It’s hard to find a bad seat at Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly known as US Airways Center) and with the younger roster, the team is only going to get better.
The D-Backs are the one Phoenix pro sports team to bring home a title. The team, once led by Schilling, Gonzo and the Big Unit, is now led by superstars like Zach Greinke, Paul Goldschmidt and Shelby Miller. You can get seats on game day for as little as $20, and they’re a steal of a deal.
The Orpheum Theatre is a Phoenix classic. The building, first build in 1929, has been spectacularly restored and is now home to concerts and other performances year-round. Now a music or theater fan, that’s fine. Tours of the historic building are offered once a month for fans of architecture and valley history.
Indie, rock, alternative and local music fans have found a home at the Crescent Ballroom. From the nightly shows that include nationally-known names and local DJs, to the stadium seating along the back wall for comfort, this is the place to see and be seen taking in a show while downtown.
Can’t choose and want to see everything? Phoenix has you covered. Meet Me Downtown is a three-mile tour that takes groups to all of the hot spots every Monday. Museums, restaurants, local businesses, and great people. Meet Me Downtown has something for everyone who just can’t make up their minds.
Almost everything we’ve mentioned so far is in walking distance from each other. But if you don’t feel like hoofing it, downtown has you covered with its comprehensive bicycle master plan. There are bike sharing stations strategically placed around downtown that lets people take a bike in one location and drop it off in another. For guests trying to avoid a taxi fare, this bike sharing program is the perfect way to get where you need to go faster than on foot.