Monday, October 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in Phoenix 2013

Home Sweet Home

Frequently my holiday posts describe a visit to some warm or scenic destination. Again this year we are enjoying a holiday in our home the Valley of the Sun!

So here is a holiday blog for those lucky enough to be visiting Phoenix over Thanksgiving 2013!


November is arguably the loveliest month of the year to visit Phoenix. Believe it or not, there are leaves falling (from all the big deciduous trees that fill North Central Phoenix.) And our nights are getting cold"isn" (this year the evening low for Thanksgiving will likely plunge to a bone chilling 55° F.) And, it gets dark early now, car headlights start popping on around 5:30 pm.

So what is there to do?

Well here are just a few ideas from Roadboy. My focus is Phoenix. I'm not into the snooty Scottsdale scene. Roadboy prefers "real".

1. Chihuly at the Desert Botanical Garden (or as we call it the DBG)
Nothing is more refreshing than a walk in "the garden". And returning November 10 is another glass exhibit by Dale Chihuly. This is the second time Chihuly has displayed at the DBG and, yes, it is a big damned deal. Click here to visit the DBG website. 


The Desert Botanical Garden

The garden's holiday festival, Los Nochas de las Luminarias begins Nov 29. It typically sells out, so go online to reserve tickets well in advance for that.  

2. The MIM!
Arizona's new Musical Instrument Museum is a treasure. This is a high-tech and very wonderful  addition to Arizona's cultural scene. The MIM displays musical instruments from around the world and with your GPS headset you hear most instruments being played as you walk near them! The MIM recently opened its blockbuster "Women Who Rock!" Exhibition. This is a knockout of a show with great music and Lady Gaga's meat dress. Need we say more?

Also, if you plan to visit any time in November or December the amazingly intimate MIM theater with its awesome acoustics) will host to the likes of John Sebastian, Shemekia Copeland, Rita Coolidge, Joey DeFrancesco, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, and the Manhattan Transfer is returning with their Holiday Show (saw that last year - Yeah it was awesome!) Click here to visit the MIM's website.

3. EAT!
A proliferation of spectacular new restaurants have joined my list of tried and true favorites. For scenery (and old Arizona charm) the best spot hands down is a lunch or romantic sunset dinner on the patio at Lon's at the Hermosa Inn. Adventurous? Try Restaurant Noca (who will feature a thanksgiving tasting menu.) For amazing Mexican it is the Barrio Cafe or the new upstart Cafe Otro. For down home Mexican I love El Bravo. For meet market Postino's wine bar on Central or Hanny's downtown should work. For wood fired yumminess it's Timo's in Sunnyslope. For neighborliness try Windsor. Want Chicken and waffles, its Lolo's. For N'awlin's it is Little Cleo's. How about a chicken fried turkey dinner? TexAz has got you covered. Or there's Maizies or Federal Pizza or brunch at the Lux Coffeehouse. And there is always a sandwich with house made mozzarella at Chris Bianco's Pane Bianco.

4. Culture!
The Phoenix Art Museum is a true gem. After two major expansions by the husband and wife team of Tod Williams / Billie Tsien it has wonderful space to display an extensive permanent collection as well as mount special expositions.

The Entry Courtyard of the Phoenix Art Museum

This Thanksgiving they have four special exhibitions: Latin American photography, Fashion Design: The Cape, Madelyn Albright's incredible Pin Collection goes on display Nov. 23, the Xul Solar and Jorge Luis Borges Exhibit continues, and The West Select western art exposition and sale will be on. Click here to visit the Phoenix Art Museum website.

5. Get Smart!
Antoine Predock's stark concrete Arizona Science Center is a perfect place to go with kids (of all ages). It has great interactive displays and a cool planetarium. Alas it will be closed on Thanksgiving.
Click here to visit the Arizona Science Center website.

6. For the Jocks
For the "get out and do it' set November is the perfect time to go mountain or road biking in Phoenix. Sip a Latte while getting fitted for a excellent rental bike at the Trailhead Cafe / Bike Shop at 16th Street and Glendale. From there you can pedal away on the nearby AZ canal or go single track at the North Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Visit the Trailhead's website here. For the "sit and watch" set the Suns play Portland and Utah at the US Airways Center and the Cardinals will play the Colts at Peter Eisenman's University of Phoenix Stadium on Nov. 24th.

7. Shop!
All the museums above have great gift shops. But there are also great little boutiques like Frances near Camelback and Central. For Black Friday there is The Biltmore Fashion Park - a perfectly sized outdoor mall featuring one-of-a-kind shops at its UNION "alternative" mall. It also features great restaurants plus an Apple Store, Saks, and a cute little 1960's vintage Macy's thrown in for good measure. On friday nights there are free movies on the lawn! All of the parking facing Camelback is strictly valet. The free parking is located in the big garage behind the mall. Visit the Biltmore Fashion Park website here.

8. Ogle!
Walk the Grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Resort. The only Frank Lloyd Wright inspired hotel left standing in the world. Since it opened every sitting president has checked in at the Biltmore. Marilyn Monroe opined that The Biltmore's Catalina Pool was her favorite......

9. The Heard
In the tradition of saving the best for last, I recommend the Heard Museum. In my opinion the Heard ties with the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (near Tucson) as my favorite museums in Arizona. The Heard is the premier showcase of Native American art and culture. It has grown from "a little museum in a little western town" to what it is today - peerless.

For Thanksgiving the Heard presents its 4th Annual American Indian inspired Harvest Feast! It also features a special holiday ornament marketplace November Nov 28-Dec. 1.

Come for Thanksgiving. Enjoy our weather, our culture and everything Arizona does well!

Oh, and the Grand Canyon is "open" again!

Roadboy's Travel © 2013

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