By day four in Phoenix, I was on the top of my game as far as “What to wear while in Phoenix” goes. Desert weather means brisk mornings, followed by hot days and cool (pretty chilly actually) evenings. We were told to wear comfortable clothing on day four, although I always dress for comfort, in preparation for a walking tour of Downtown Phoenix. But first… Food!
We had a quick breakfast at Desoto Central Market. It was the kind of place I could eat at everyday and, in fact, many people who live and work in the area say they do! I don’t blame them, Desoto Central Market offers local eats from seven different vendors, all in one place. While we only had time to try one of the vendors, you could tell that they were all going to be equally just as good as the other. I ate at Tea & Toast, where I had the best gourmet avocado toast & yogurt parfait I’ve had in awhile.
Kelly Barcas from AZing Tours (short for “Arizona-ing”) met us at Desoto where we embarked on our walking tour of downtown. The tour is about 2-3 hours long and includes a guided walk through portions of Roosevelt Row Arts District focusing on murals and street art.
There is so history still intact in downtown Phoenix. We visited buildings like the historic boutique hotel, Hotel San Carlos, and the Hilton Garden Inn. Built in the 1930’s, the Hilton garden Inn still features it’s original Art Deco design (like a gorgeous green marble flooring). The Luhrs Tower and Luhrs building, which formerly housed Arizona’s Prohibition Office, were other favorites of mine on the tour. There were many stories to be told from inside that building – One’s which you’ll have to take the tour yourself to hear about!
The tour concluded with a group lunch at Tom’s Tavern. While the building itself dates back to 1929, the menu was vibrant & new! We dined on the newest additions to the Tom’s Tavern menu, like Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad and Tom’s version of Caprese Salad featuring locally grown campari tomatoes and fresh-pulled mozzarella, as well as a dessert dish featuring honeycomb (seen here)!
Lucky for me, the Emphatics Exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum was taking place during the time we were there, which featured avant garde fashions collected over decades by boutique owners James and Karin Legato. The duo owned an exclusive boutique in Pittsburgh which led them to curate an archive of clothing and accessories (and even original fashion show invitations) from designers like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Alaïa, and Jean Paul Gaultier, styles dating from 1963-2013. The swimsuit pictured above (on the left) is Stella McCartney for Chloe spring/summer 2002.
The Arizona Biltmore was such an awesome place to stay. Before dinner, on our last night at the resort, we were guided through the Biltmore – Another historic landmark in Phoenix. Pictured here is “The Wonderbus,” the Dodge truck turned tour bus, that the Biltmore’s pioneers (brothers, Warren and Charles McArthur) used to give guided tours around Phoenix. They are known as one of the firsts to envision Phoenix as a tourist destination, which led to their development of the Arizona Biltmore. Crowned “The Jewel of the Desert,” the resort first opened in 1929 exclusive to only “high society partygoers,” and remained that way until the 1940’s when Hollywood’s biggest stars, like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra, discovered the resort. You can read more about my stay at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in my last post here!
While it was hard to say goodbye to the Biltmore, it was easy to say hello to the Wigwam! Designated as a “Historic Hotel of America,” The Wigwam is an iconic Arizona landmark. What was first created as lodging for cotton farmers, quickly caught on and evolved into a winter vacation destination.
We arrived and headed down the palm tree lined grounds, straight to the Red Door Spa to wind down from an amazing four days in Phoenix. It was the perfect ending to a perfect trip to the desert!
I have always been fascinated with the west, maybe being because I grew up on the East Coast. Phoenix turned out to be both a fascinating, front row view of American history, but also a luxurious and relaxing place to be. I can’t wait to go back! To learn more about visiting Phoenix, Arizona, visit Visit Phoenix and plan your next trip.