Posted December 21, 2020

Can’t-Miss Cultural Activities in Phoenix


When you think about Phoenix, you might think green golf courses and urban hiking opportunities, but this is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country — there’s so much more to discover than the old standbys. Set up your home base in downtown’s Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, then venture out for an experience that goes beyond palm trees and mountain peaks.

palomar phoenix lobby image credit kimpton

Need a break between cultural outings? There’s no shortage of space to relax or top-notch reading material in the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix lobby.

Let the Music Play

Take an auditory trip around the world at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), where you can check out more than 6,500 instruments by geographic region; an audio system along the way lets you hear the sounds in cultural context. If you’re jonesing to jam yourself, the Experience Gallery lets you try your hand at banging a gong or strumming a Burmese harp.

This should be music to your ears, too: There are several live-music venues within walking distance of the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, including Talking Stick Resort ArenaComerica Theatre, and the Phoenix Symphony.

Arts and Culture

phoenix wall mural @anniejanssen via twenty20

Take a walk through the Roosevelt Row Arts District, where color bursts from every corner. Image credit: @anniejanssen via Twenty20.

Find a wealth of inspiration y taking a visit to Roosevelt Row, downtown Phoenix’s arts district. Grab an Ooey Gooey Cupcake from Tammie Coe Cakes or a Spicy Cold Brew at Be Coffee + Food + Stuff, then stroll the streets in search of the dozens of larger-than-life murals that dot the buildings.

roosevelt row graffiti image credit @amynmc via twenty20

The city pulses with creativity during the First Fridays Art Walk. Image credit: @amynmc via Twenty20.

On First Fridays year-round, a self-guided art walk in downtown Phoenix from 6 to 11 p.m. includes a market with local, handmade goods; pop-up containers exhibiting artists of all kinds; and shuttles throughout downtown, headquartered at the Phoenix Art Museum (a great place to see a little of everything, from a 1960s Emilio Pucci dress to an 18th-century suit of Japanese samurai armor).

phoenix art museum sculpture image credit phoenix art museum

Sui Jianguo’s playful addition to the Phoenix Art Museum’s contemporary collection is among the most iconic sculptures in the city. Image Credit Phoenix Art Museum.

phoenix art museum image credit phoenix art museum

Ignite your curiosity with head-tiltingly complex art. Image Credit: Phoenix Art Museum.

Something Old, Something New

When Bob Oldfather opened Bookmans, he never dreamed it would grow into a multi-location business thriving decades later. “I just wanted a cool place for me to hang out,” he says. Find a cool place to hang out yourself at the Phoenix outpost, where it’s easy to get lost among the stacks of well-organized new and used books and other media. Also an oldie-but-goodie, the Desert Botanical Garden dates back to 1939. While dry heat and vibrant flora seem an unlikely pairing, this spot is one of the coolest around. Who knew cacti could be so beautiful?

Bookmans image credit bookmans

You can’t help but feel part of the Phoenix community at Bookmans, a vibrant local trading post for books, jewelry, instruments and so much more. Image Credit: Bookmans.

On the newer end of the spectrum, The Churchill debuted in September 2018 as a collective of locally owned shops and restaurants within a shipping container complex. Eat an açai bowl or sip a Latin-inspired cocktail in the central courtyard, featuring furniture made from reclaimed pallets.

While Blue Hound Kitchen + Cocktails has been around long enough to cement its reputation as a go-to place for craft cocktails in the city, you could visit often and never have the same drink twice. Try something seasonally inspired, complemented by house-made tinctures and syrups, and toast to Phoenix’s bounty.

desert botanic garden image credit desert botanic garden

As impressive as its cactuses are the seasonal tasting experiences at the Desert Botanical Garden. Check their events calendar for details. Image Credit: Desert Botanic Garden.


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