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10 Things to do around the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus

by Taylor Bishop
Community Food, Restaurants & Dining Travel, Shopping & Leisure Taylor Bishop August 21, 2020

New school year, new places to explore. Whether you’ve been to downtown before or you just moved here, we hope this guide will present you with some exciting, socially distanced options for having fun this semester in Downtown Phoenix:

1. Go mural hunting

(Photo: @tillythetriever)

There are hundreds of murals and public art projects surrounding the ASU Downtown campus. You’ll find stunning work by local artists with just a walk down Roosevelt or near the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. In fact, there are three public art pieces just on the Renaissance Hotel – including hidden letters on the side of the building.

Bring some water and friend for an afternoon of photos and fun, and don’t forget to tag us in your pictures (we’re @downtownphoenix on Instagram).

P.S. If you get a great photo you can also write us a love letter for the chance to win the ultimate DTPHX prize package. Use #DearDTPHX through Aug. 31 – the best four photos/love letters will win a package that includes a hotel stay, gift cards, arts & culture memberships and more.

2. Shop at the Downtown Farmers Market

(Photo: @phxambassadors)

Not only is there a new grocery store down the street from ASU Downtown, but there’s also the classic Downtown Farmers Market just minutes from Taylor Place.

There are so many treasures at the market beyond fresh fruits and veggies. From coffee crafters to bread bakers, the vendors at the Downtown Farmers Market offer many quick and tasty options for on-the-go students.

The market looks a bit different right now with COVID safety protocols in place, and it’s encouraged to shop the market online for Saturday pickup.

3. Take the light rail to the Heard Museum

Heard Museum at dusk

(Photo: Heard Museum)

Just a few stops from ASU Downtown, there isn’t anywhere quite like the Heard Museum. Dedicated to American Indian art, the museum grounds are worthy of at least a couple of hours to explore.

4. Get hot chicken for takeout 

(Photo: @monroeshotchicken)

A little bit of Nashville in DTPHX. Try one of Monroe’s Hot Chicken’s secret menu items or spicy chicken strips with a side of ranch to cool it off. And, stop in one of downtown’s beautiful parks for a picnic – if weather permits.

5. Take in the skyline from a rooftop

(Photo: Cambria Hotel Downtown Phoenix)

Day or night, the views at “From the Rooftop” at the Cambria Hotel are stellar. Some other hot spots for rooftop photos is Floor 13 Rooftop Bar at the Hilton Garden Inn or the Compass Arizona Grill at the Hyatt Regency (temporarily closed).

6. Fuel up on caffeine at a local shop

There is no shortage of good coffee in downtown. The cold brew at Hidden Track Cafe is a downtown favorite, while the sweet treats at Dapper & Stout will give you the energy you need to tackle any procrastinated project.

Keep your receipts from Downtown Phoenix dining, sipping and shopping and redeem it for free DTPHX merch (like the masks pictured above on our friends at Fillmore Coffee Co.)! See the full list of participating businesses and the merch here.

7. Discover historic buildings just steps from campus

You may not think there’s much history to the urban core of Phoenix, but a few minute’s walk from campus should change your mind.

Approximately three minutes from ASU Downtown campus, the Hotel San Carlos has been a downtown landmark since 1928. Once considered a home-away-from-home by stars such as Mae West, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and others, the hotel is a great first stop on your tour of downtown’s historic gems. And, there’s a great Mexican restaurant, Centrico, on the ground floor.

Whether you’re a history buff or just into exploring, there are so many other historic buildings you need to see. Take a look at our blog that has before-and-after photos of downtown buildings for more inspiration to add to your self-guided tour!

8. Find peace at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix

Located by the west side of Hance Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden is an oasis in the desert. As you stroll the path, you will enjoy flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall, and a Koi pond with over 300 colorful Koi fish.

Whether you only have an hour or an entire evening, the garden provides a place to take a break from the outside world and admire nature while also learning about Japanese culture.

9. Celebrate First Friday (virtual now)

(Photo: @rooseveltrowcdc)

Although this Second Street block won’t be filled with First Friday vendors, there are still ways to experience art and support local artists.

Visit Roosevelt Row CDC’s website to see this street come to life *virtually* and browse local artist websites to buy in the comfort of your home.

10. Try aerial yoga at Elevate Yoga & Wellness

The Roosevelt Row studio is currently closed to regular classes, but there are still private classes and online options for those looking to flow and meditate.