Some Phoenix Favorites
Collected by Greg Sullivan, AFAR Founder
I moved to Phoenix for a job in 1983, thinking I would stay a few years and move on. Turned out, I really grew to love it, and stayed well over 20 years. There is a ton of character beyond the strip malls and the acres of orange-roofed houses. And Sonoran desert is perhaps the most beautiful desert in the world. Anyway, here is a list of some of my favorite places. i will continue to add to the list, and I urge you to explore and find the charm throughout the Valley.
6820 E Cave Creek Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331, USA
Outside Scottsdale, the little Western town of Cave Creek is full of kitsch. One shop in particular stands out. The Town Dump is a sprawling indoor/outdoor store devoted to eclectic curios of every kind. From antlers and Mexican glass to beads and...
7011 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
Tis the season to be jolly! If you’re feeling festive around the holidays or perhaps you want to keep Christmas going all year long, then a visit to the Coach House should be on your holiday wish list. When the holiday season approaches, ...
4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050, USA
Don a headset, approach an exhibit, and wirelessly listen to African thumb piano or Mongolian throat singing at the vast Musical Instrument Museum. Besides browsing some 15,000 artifacts that represent different musical genres, visitors can catch...
810 N 2nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
Angels Trumpet Ale House boasts a rotating roster of 36 beers and 6 wines on tap. Their building design is centered around beer, so patrons are served only the freshest, coolest beer. Committed to encouraging craft brewing, their beer knowledge...
12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA
The city’s most famous snowbird, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, spent winters at his home and architecture school in the Sonoran Desert. Taliesin West brings the horizontal lines and organic materials of Prairie School design to the desert...
225 W University Dr #101, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Cartel Coffee is a growing establishment in Arizona, with a hip, edgy feel and a deep knowledge of the craft. While the coffee is consistently rated as among the best in Phoenix, the baked goods are anything but ordinary as well—try a bacon...
3815 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
You will want reservations to get into this place. The Mission Restaurant and Lounge serves modern Latin cuisine in a fantastic bar restaurant with a wonderful outdoor back patio (seen here). The chef is Matthew Carter, also known for the House...
2502 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016, USA
When I heard Smeeks was moving from their downtown Phoenix location I thought I might lose it until I heard about the hip new concept they were becoming a part of thanks to the opening of Union at Biltmore Fashion Park. It is a one-stop shop for...
Scottsdale Vista Estates, Scottsdale, AZ 85266, USA
In downtown Scottsdale, Arizona, there's a new taco place called Barrio Queen Tequileria. They serve more than 50 kinds of tacos, and I wish I could have tried them all. I lingered there yesterday, and enjoyed a long lunch of shrimp and carnitas...
4402 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012, USA
Lux has the best vibe in town. Jeff built the coffee shop in such a central location to be near the soul of creative Phoenix. The coffee is hand-roasted in house, and you can pair it with a seasonal pie or a bear claw, or even a full-fledged meal....
6335 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016, USA
I've been going to Richardson's as my favorite neighborhood local since they opened over 20 years ago. Great southwestern food, seafood and margaritas. They opened a sister restaurant a few blocks away called Rokerij a few years ago. It was really...
825 N 1st St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
Sometimes the experience of coffee is enhanced by pleasing color schemes. That is exactly what I discovered at Matt’s Big Breakfast in Phoenix, Arizona. The menu is everything that it should be, and more, with griddlecakes, omelets, waffles, and...
623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
This place always has a wait (though reservations are available for a party of six or more). Thankfully, the bar across the street makes waiting a little easier, and when you taste the pizza, you'll know why Pizzeria Bianco has...
5532 N Palo Cristi Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253, USA
LON’s at The Hermosa Inn is our favorite in the Scottsdale area because the outdoor patio dining has a genuine vintage Southwestern feel. The indoor dining experience is superb, but for the ultimate romantic atmosphere try to reserve a spot on the...
5532 N Palo Cristi Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253, USA
The Hermosa Inn, first opened in 1936, has the kind of history that a cowboy keeps under his hat. With 43 rooms and casitas spread across six acres of Arizona desert in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley, the inn was originally the home...
2320 E Osborn Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016, USA
Kevin Binkley is a James Beard acclaimed chef who has wonderful places to eat north in Cave Creek. His new place is in midtown Phoenix. The cocktails are as good as the food is excellent. The photo shows Joesy preparing cannon ball cocktails,...
3146 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016, USA
Rated A+ by Phoenix Magazine for best burgers. These are worth going out of your way to check out, and carry out is a very good option. There is a small patio eating area that looks out on a shopping center parking lot. The inside is cool blue....
7114 E Stetson Dr Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
Silvana Salcido Esparza's food is exactly what it says in street lingo on Barrio Queen's T-shirts: A TODA MADRE—"totally awesome." This is Northern Mexican Cuisine but in a casual cafe setting. Esparza's more formal Barrio on 16th St. has this...
3961 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018, USA
The Grind grills its burgers in a 1,000-degree coal-fired oven. Choose from nine varieties, including the Peppercorn with charred onion, matchstick fries, arugula, and a whiskey-peppercorn sauce (pictured). Located in a small corner shopping...
5802 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018, USA
Arizona falls is a large man made water feature as part of the Salt River Project irrigation canal running for over 65 miles through the Phoenix area. Artistically constructed, it is not only refreshing to see, it is refreshing to be near as the...
4410 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018, USA
Located in a former orange grove, LGO is a neighborhood gem of a grocery store, café, pizzeria, wine shop, music store, and more. Parking is limited, so be patient or go by bike. If you come for lunch, try the Rocket Man pizza, topped with Fresno...
6166 N Scottsdale Rd #601, Scottsdale, AZ 85253, USA
Tacos. Traditionally Mexican. These days, however, tacos are taking on some new personalities. Though some of the most memorable flavors I've ever had on a corn tortilla are still traditional, (pickled onions, please) there are a few new taco...
4041 E Thomas Rd #107, Phoenix, AZ 85018, USA
Owner Chef Pedro Delgado opened this casual but excellent comfort food Italian restaurant late in 2014 after over 25 years in the Italian restaurant business in Southern California. The whole family is involved, with his daughter having the name...
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