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Welcome to Ask An Ambassador, our take on the traditional advice column. The Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors are roving troves of knowledge whose sole mission is to make your day better.
1. As is tradition, I’m heading to Scottsdale for my birthday week. Also as tradition holds, I’ll be going to a baseball game on my actual birthday, ticket already in my pocket! Usually, I spend the day wandering around Scottsdale but this year, for the first time, I’d like to get up early and head into Phoenix to spend the day downtown. I’m looking for ideas for things to see and do that only locals could really suggest.
Happy Birthday (a bit early)! I’m glad to hear you’re heading Downtown to celebrate.
Start your day with breakfast at Province for eggs Benedict. The restaurant uses local ingredients and the patio area is beautiful – even in summer – for enjoying the warm weather while in the shade. Or, head to District American Kitchen for fresh meals with herbs from their rooftop garden. For a workaday breakfast try Focaccia Fiorentina‘s vegetarian burritos with green salsa.
After eating, you could go shopping at either CityScape or the Arizona Center, but it’s the right time of year for lounging by the pool. The Hotel Palomar has a wonderful pool which overlooks the US Airways Center. While it’s only for guests, the hotel bar, Lustre is open to all – you can wander right in – and sip one of their cocktails while in the shade. If you want to swim, head to Hotel San Carlos where $15 gets you all-day access to the pool.
To save on walking, get lunch from Blue Hound – Hotel Palomar’s restaurant. If you want a change of scenery, head over to Heritage Square – which is pretty close to the baseball stadium – and eat at world-famous Pizzeria Bianco. Another gem is Nobuo at Teeter House. The tapas-style Japanese food consistently gets rave reviews from locals and visitors alike. While at Heritage Square, you can check out the Rosson House. Seeing the old house is worth it, but the exhibit of old doctor’s tools on the inside is, well, memorable (maybe go before lunch?).
Finally, for some nightlife, check out Hanny’s – which has serious cocktails in a remodeled department store. Check out the empty elevator shaft and the bathrooms (really, they’re famous locally for being, well, a little odd – even Phoenix Potty Spots has a write up on them).
2. My son will be starting school at ASU’s downtown campus in a couple of weeks. I’ll be flying out to help him get settled. While I’m there, I’d like to take him out do to something special – just father and son – before he starts school. Any suggestions?
I have to say, taking in the sights and smells and sounds of a ballpark has to be one of the top ways to spend time together. The D-backs are one of the top fan-friendly franchises in sports, making the experience memorable and well, just plain enjoyable. Chase Field is a wonderful stadium and it’s kept nice and cool all summer long. If you can, catch a Friday game for free fireworks through the retractable roof, or a weekend game for some fun giveaways. If you have time – in between moving in and getting settled – head to the ballpark well before game time to watch the players warm up. It’s a great way to get close to the players, maybe catch a fly ball and to spend some quality time together.
If you’re feeling hungry from all that moving, head to Friday’s Front Row which is in the ballpark and has a big view of the field. It’s great during warm up and you don’t need a ticket to eat there. Alice Cooper’stown, Majerle’s and Downtown Pizza Lounge are also great places to eat before or after the game.
Before you head to the game, stop by the Ambassadors Info Center first and we’ll print out some coupons – for Friday’s or many other venues near the ballpark – all while making you feel a bit better about the fine city your son will be living in.
Glenn the Ambassador is one of several Downtown Ambassadors roving the streets armed with knowledge. Have a question for the Ambassadors? You can find them throughout Downtown from morning to night, just look for the orange shirts that say, “Ask Me,” call them at 602-495-1500, or email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously: Bowling alleys, preteens and work things