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Downtown Phoenix Directory Showcases New Mural Project

February 6, 2015 by Fara Illich

With a vibrant new cover, co-created by Jose Andres Giron and Carlos Rivas, two resident artists at the Latino Arts and Cultural Center (ALAC), the Downtown Phoenix Directory January-June edition hit the streets just in time for Super Bowl 2015.

The cover art depicts a mural project in the Paseo de ALAC, the alleyway behind the arts and cultural center, featuring a vibrant community gathering place bridging art, culture, tourism and downtown businesses. This makes it the perfect complement to the restaurant and business guide.

directorycover“For ALAC to be represented is a proud moment for us all,” said ErLinda Torres, president and CEO of ALAC. “It’s urban, it’s ethnic, it’s contemporary – it really represents the state of Arizona and the people of this city.”

With a local artist-designed cover, local photography and more than 400 restaurant and business listings – this edition of the directory really showcases greater downtown’s immense growth and diversity.

Andres Giron, the cover designer, grew up in the Golden Gate Barrio of Phoenix and watched the cycles of change in Downtown Phoenix since the 1950s. The design really celebrates downtown’s revitalization and talented Latino artists, many of whom will be collaborating on the mural project.

According to plans, the mural will stretch across the entire backside of the city-owned building at 147 E. Adams Street.

“I was just trying to tell a story and create a spectacular impression of an otherwise dirty alley by beautifying it,” Giron said. “It’s also about encouraging artists to work together and learn from each other.”

Eight different artists will be collaborating on the project, including Carlos Rivas, whose signature “shape-shifters” can be seen in murals around the city.

Individuals see different things in the abstract figures Rivas designs, which is why the interpretation is fluid and shifting. Each unique form is a reflection of the music he listens to, friends and family who inspire him and the vibrant urban landscape around him.

The directory is distributed to businesses, restaurants, visitors and conventioneers throughout downtown. To pick up your copy, just look for a Downtown Phoenix Ambassador, who can always help you find one, or download it here.


15 Things to Watch For in 2015

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15 Things to Watch For in 2015

With the launch of Grid Bike Share and new events like Viva PHX, 2014 rounded out to be quite the year for Downtown Phoenix. More people are living and visiting the core, new businesses, restaurants and events are attracting more activity, and there’s a progressive interest in enhancing the walkable, urban and vibrant downtown we want. The downtown story is still being written, with several major projects, developments, openings and events already in the works for 2015. Here are 15 we’re excited about.

Photo courtesy of Super Bowl Host Committee

1. Super Bowl Central

It’s the game everyone’s talking about, and it’s at our doorsteps in just two weeks. Super Bowl Central is coming downtown from Wednesday, Jan. 28 to Sunday, Feb. 1 for several days of game-related activities. Both visitors and residents are invited to partake in the festivities, which include a 30-by-100-foot rock wall with a waterfall in the center as well as musical performances by Walk the Moon and The Roots. Coming downtown? Live downtown? Here’s some tips to get you in and around the core.

Space Between

2. Opening of the Space Between Pocket Park

A vacant piece of land currently sits on First Street near Fillmore Street, in a place that falls between developed and underdeveloped; between public space and private space; and between distinct neighborhoods. To fill in the gaps, Downtown Phoenix Inc. in partnership with Logan Simpson Design and Balfour Beatty Construction, a soon-to-be pocket park will emerge this year in its place, acting as an open space where the community can gather for lunchtime and events or as a quiet corner to study and relax.


3. March Means Music (and more)

Music lovers and festival goers might as well block out the entire month of March as there are numerous events that you don’t want to miss. The month begins with Local First Arizona’s Bartending Competition at Crescent Ballroom, where the finest bartenders from across the Valley compete to concoct “Phoenix’s Best Cocktail of the Valley.” A week later, Artlink Phoenix’s 27th annual Art Detour will celebrate Phoenix arts and culture, from March 7-8, with special gallery and artist-studio openings and exhibits, hands-on activities, food trucks and more.

Kicking off March Means Music, Phoenix Chorale will perform “Desert Song” on Saturday, March 7 at Trinity Cathedral. Join them for a desert-inspired concert that celebrates the rich hues, history and heritage of the southwest. The following weekend, Viva PHX returns to Downtown Phoenix Saturday, March 14 bringing an eclectic, and to-be-announced, line-up of bands and musicians to stages scattered within walking distance in downtown. Just one week later, Phoenix Lights, a new music and arts festival at Civic Space Park, will light up the stage on Sunday, March 22. Later that month, the music festival and fundraiser, McDowell Mountain Music, takes over Margaret T. Hance Park for three days of performances, food trucks, vendors and more from Friday, March 27 to Sunday, March 29.

4. Downtown West Side Development Planning Process

It’s early in the planning process for a 7.5-acre publicly owned piece of land on Fillmore Street between Fourth and Sixth avenues. Neighborhood leaders and property owners have spent the past six months working with a planning and architectural firm to generate conceptual ideas for some potential uses of the parcel. And in two weeks, Tuesday, Jan. 27, the community is invited to an Open House, where the City of Phoenix will present the ideas and community members can provide feedback and voice their own. Though the parcel of land may not be complete by the end of the year, it will still be interesting to see what comes from the planning process this year.

Desoto Central Market

5. Desoto Central Market opening

After months of anticipation, the Desoto Central Market is close to finishing with plans to open early this year. Final details haven’t been announced, but chef Stephen Jones, formerly of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, is opening his own restaurant there called Yard Bird + The Larder.

Urban Wine Walk

6. Urban Wine Walk

The self-guided tour to some of Phoenix’s finest bars and restaurants returns to the light rail corridor on Saturday, May 16. From downtown to midtown, various wine samples will be available for purchase with complimentary, complementary bar bites to fuel your journey.

7. Finalization of the Roosevelt Streetscape

Roosevelt Street between Central Avenue and Seventh Street is in the process of getting a makeover by the City of Phoenix, making it a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly place. By December of this year, the expected completion date, you’ll see new shade trees, expanded sidewalks and new bike lanes.

containers on grand

8. Containers on Grand

A new housing project is coming to Grand Avenue, which we wrote about in December, that’s recycling shipping containers and transforming them into comfortable places to live. With a wait list already formed, the 20-unit apartment complex, Containers on Grand, will open this year on the corner of 12th and Grand avenues.

Roosevelt Row

9. More Events and Activity Coming to the Roosevelt Row Arts District

Adding to their already popular annual events, the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation (CDC) is adding more vitality to the area this year with both new and reemerging events.

Along with community favorites like Chile Pepper Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26, Pie Social on Saturday, Nov. 14, and the second annual New Year’s Eve Flannel Ball on Thursday, Dec. 31, save the date for the return of the Roosevelt Row Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 17! And though the date has yet to be announced, the organization will bring more pie love to the area with the new Roosevelt Row Pie Pairing. Follow Roosevelt Row CDC on Facebook for updates on event details and dates.

10. Renovations to Begin on historic Barrister Place building

Last year, the city issued and awarded a request for proposals (RFP) to renovate without compromising the historic significance of the building, which is located on the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Jefferson Street. According to this AZCentral article, renovations of the building and construction of the two new buildings on the surrounding land will begin this year and upon completion will include new apartments and commercial space.

Urban Ale Trail

11. Urban Ale Trail

Last year’s inaugural Urban Ale Trail was a hit and you can keep trekking this year on Saturday, Sept. 19 with more beer specials and bar bites at various restaurants around the core.

12. Near completion of the Hilton Garden Inn in the historic Professional Building

Make sure to look up as you pass this beautiful art-deco building standing on the corner of Central Avenue and Monroe Street as it will be nearing completion by the end of the year. It’s being renovated into a Hilton Garden Inn and will include retail space along Central Ave.

13. Breaking ground on 1,000 housing units all over Downtown

With increasing activity in the housing sector in Downtown Phoenix; the year 2015 will see the breaking ground of 1,000 housing units around the core.

Zombie Walk 6

14. Zombies

Each year, thousands of zombie-loving folk shuffle through downtown, celebrating the undead way of life. Join us this year on Saturday, Oct. 24 for the biggest, baddest and bloodiest gathering west of the Mississippi: Zombie Walk 7.

15. Completion of the University of Arizona Cancer Center

Construction is expected to finish on the five-story, 220,000-square-foot cancer center located on Seventh and Fillmore streets this year, further expanding the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. Through a partnership with Dignity Health St. Joseph’s, the center will function as a cancer clinic providing outpatient services. It will, according to this Phoenix Business Journal article, generate 360 permanent jobs.


TrueDTPHX Blends Art, Music, Community


Experience the true downtown at TrueDTPHX, a free local music festival at Civic Space Park during 2015 Pro Bowl weekend, Friday, Jan. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 24.

Just days before Super Bowl Central transforms Downtown Phoenix into an NFL-themed fan campus and Pro Bowl kick off in Glendale; we’re celebrating everything that makes our community great.

In addition to beautiful weather, a vibrant art scene, breathtaking public spaces like Civic Space Park and top-notch restaurants, Phoenix boasts some of the very best local music. While our city sits under the spotlight during two major back-to-back sports events, let’s share a slice of the TrueDTPHX with visitors, loved ones, strangers and friends.

In addition to great live performances by Jared and the Mill, Luna Aura, Decker, Captain Squeegee and many others, Phoenix-based painter and designer Isaac Caruso will be constructing a visually stunning interactive art piece, with the help of the public.

As a means of connecting the community through art and music, True Music Xperience, the group behind 2013’s successful True Music Festival, and Downtown Phoenix Inc. developed a concept that really captures what locals love about their city – and brings it all together.

Featuring food trucks, local craft breweries, a solar powered stage and multiple composting and recycling vessels, TrueDTPHX is a festival for the people by the people.

So hop on your bike or take the light rail down to Civic Space Park Friday, Jan. 23 for a night of indie-pop and electronica from 7-10:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Jan. 24, don your dancing shoes for an eclectic mix of jam-rock and multi-genre music during a full day of family-friendly fun from 3-10:30 p.m.

Design Our Directory and Dining Guide Cover

Call for local art submissions:

The Downtown Phoenix Partnership seeks to commission a local artist to create the cover artwork for its upcoming 2014 July-December Downtown Phoenix Directory and Dining Guide.

90,000 copies of the Directory are distributed during a 6 month period. This is the second edition of an artist designed cover.

The brochure-sized cover should capture the spirit of Downtown Phoenix’s diversity and vibrancy while paying tribute to the urban landscape.

For more information about the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, visit


– Once commissioned, the artist will be required to complete the job to satisfaction by June 2, 2014.

– All two-dimensional media will be considered, however, the final product must be able to be used in a graphic design program (high quality photographs and scanned images are acceptable).

– The cover will be rectangular, 4 x 9 inches and printed on gloss paper.

– Submissions from outside the greater Phoenix area will not be considered.

– One-time payment of $1000.

– The Downtown Phoenix Partnership will retain all usage rights and may re-use the image for other promotional purposes.

– All applicants must be 18 and older.

Requirements for Submission:

– Link to online portfolio or minimum of 5 images in .jpg or .pdf format.

– If submitting 5 images, please include an image list with title, year of creation, dimensions and medium in .pdf or word .doc file format.

– A 350-word proposal detailing your plans for the cover artwork in either .pdf or .doc format. Be sure to list contact information, including a phone number and email address.

Deadline for application: April 30, 2014.

How to apply: Email, subject line: 2014 DOWNTOWN DIRECTORY COVER


Downtown Phoenix Spring Into Action

Downtowners, this is your call to action: Spring has sprung and now is the time to transform our city into the Downtown you want.

With well over 30 community engagement events taking place over the next three weeks, this is the time to join the community and make your voice heard.

Whether you want a say in future transportation planning and urban design or want to hear 34 bands in one weekend and catch D-backs opening day fun, this Downtown Phoenix Spring into Action Community Engagement Calendar is the place to start.

It unravels the who-what-when-where-why of each event, meaning there’s no excuse not to go to, for example, the unveiling of a new park design or a neighborhood bike ride.

Click here to explore the options and plan how you’re going to get involved in our city. We’ll see you out there!


Downtown Phoenix Will Be Super Bowl Central

Downtown Phoenix Will Be Super Bowl Central

super-bowl-announceIt’s official: Downtown Phoenix is Super Bowl Central for Arizona’s 2015 game! We’d like to say we’re surprised, but as we’ve seen over the last year, Downtown is THE place to be for major events.

Super Bowl Central – which includes all fan activities as well as the media center, NFL experience, NFL Headquarters and NFL House – will take over 12 city blocks in the heart of our city from Fifth Street to First Avenue, Jefferson to Monroe streets.

With two entertainment stages, beer and wine gardens, football fun, and cultural activities, you’re going to want to head straight for Downtown next February to be a part of the action.

Did we mention that the most iconic image for Super Bowl will be here too? You’re definitely going to want to snap a selfie next to the 30-foot tall Super Bowl XLIX Roman Numerals on Washington Street (you’ll also be able to see them as you go past on a Light Rail train).

Want to know what will go where? Read on for the breakdown:


Super Bowl Central

Twelve blocks of family-friendly fun. Look for two live performance stages featuring local and national acts, beer and wine gardens, and outdoor cultural- and football-themed activities (because it’ll be gorgeous in February). Super Bowl Central is a new addition from the last time we hosted the game in 2008, and one million people are expected to attend.

NFL Experience

Billed as the world’s largest interactive football theme park, this is the the big dog. It’ll take place at the Phoenix Convention Center and have everything from kid’s football clinics, interactive football games, free autograph sessions and so much more. Round up the kids and make this a priority!

NFL House

CityScape will play host to the VIP hospitality headquarters where the high-end business partners and VIPs will mingle.

NFL Media Center

Also in the Phoenix Convention Center, over 5,000 members of the media from 30 different countries will headquarter here for the week.


Play Urban Bingo To Win Free Tickets to MMMF

Play Urban Bingo To Win Free Tickets to MMMF

McDowell Mountain Music Festival returns to Downtown March 28-30. And, we have free tickets for you!

That is, if you can solve the new Downtown Urban Bingo and be the first to claim the tickets.

For your shot at a pair of tickets to the upcoming McDowell Mountain Music Festival, all you have to do is join us for a Twitter scavenger hunt through the streets of Downtown.


Here’s how it works:

1. Follow the Downtown Phoenix Partnership on Twitter.

2. On Wednesday, March 19 at 11 a.m., the first of five Urban Bingo clues will be called out.

3. Your job will be to solve each clue, take a selfie with the answer and tweet us your picture as proof.

4. Every 10 minutes we’ll announce another Urban Bingo clue for a total of five clues.

5. We have four prizes to give away. The first three people to solve all five clues and tweet us their selfies as proof will each win two passes to one of the three days of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival. The fourth person will win one three-day pass to the festival.


Tags: McDowell Mountain Music Festival, MMMF, urban bingo


March 7-9: A Collection of Weekend Downtown Events

It’s here—the weekend we’ve all been waiting for. Well, at least the weekend that I’ve been waiting for.

With Viva PHX, Art Detour 26 and myriad other events taking place this weekend, it’s sure to be one for the books.

To help you navigate your way through the merriment and festivities, here’s a list of things to do this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Hit Up Each Stage at Viva PHX: A Downtown Music Festival – Friday starting at 7 p.m.

This Friday night music lovers and festival goers alike will witness the birth of Viva PHX, a Downtown music festival featuring over 65 bands on 13 stages all within walking distance of one another. The lineup features in- and out-of-state favorites like Black Carl, Dry River Yacht Club, The Neighborhood and—oh yeah—Sir Mix-a-Lot. The festival is proof of the success of the growing Downtown music scene. If you haven’t already, you can view the full lineup and get your tickets here.

Tour Downtown Phoenix Art Spaces at Art Detour 26 – Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Art Detour 26

The Downtown art scene has had an instrumental impact on the growth of the Core and this weekend is the perfect opportunity to see why. Galleries, artists, pop-up galleries and more will open their doors this weekend for the 26th Annual Art Detour hosted by Artlink Phoenix. Their map paints the way—leading you on a self-guided tour of some of the finest art spaces in town. This free weekend long event features a circulating trolley, exhibit, hands-on kids’ activities and more.

Bust a move at the Heart and Sol Health and Wellness Festival – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Finding a free Zumba class is almost impossible these days but not this weekend. The Heart and Sol Wellness Festival at Civic Space Park will be a full afternoon of free activities including Zumba, yoga, Pilates, a youth football camp and more—did I mention it’s free? The event is meant to teach and inspire healthy lifestyle choices.

See Phoenix’s Finest Paint Fresh Murals Around the City – Friday through Sunday, various times

While you’re making you’re way from stage to stage and gallery to gallery, make sure to check out PAINT PHX, a weekend long mural event taking place in and around Downtown. Starting Thursday, local and out-of-state artists will paint various walls in popular areas like 16th Street, Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue. This is the first artist-organized, multi-mural event and is sure to bring new life and vibrancy to some dull walls.

Travel to the Future at Emerge: Carnival of the Future – Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Featuring dancing industrial robots, singing drones, aerialists, clowns and a circus tent to boot, this annual festival will inspire you to think creatively about the future. This year they’ll explore individuality in a digital world and host a gallery opening right next door at Combine Studios to showcase the creative process behind Emerge.

Start Art Detour 26 Early at First Friday – Friday starting at 6 p.m.

Kickoff the weekend with a little pre-Art Detour tour of galleries and art spaces this First Friday. Starting at 6 p.m., the show lights switch on, doors open and thousands of people are invited to experience the arts and culture of Downtown at numerous galleries, venues and outdoor spaces. Find your First Friday guide here.

Soak Up the Sun at Blues Blast – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Blues Blast is a family-friendly festival featuring local and national Blues acts, food and drinks, and some Vitamin D. Bring a blanket or chair, or just lie down in the grass and listen. The festival will feature food by Lucille’s BBQ and drinks by Four Peaks Brewery. You can find tickets here.

Photo of Viva PHX Mural by Kelsey Wong


What’s the Rain Plan for Devoured 2014? (Hint: Don’t Forget Your Umbrella)

Diana Lustig
Thirty-six-hour pork ribs prepared by Clint Woods and Andrew Ashmore of Culinary Dropout at Devoured Culinary Classic 2013.
The annual Devoured Food and Wine Classic is one of our favorite culinary events of the year. Between the limited number of tickets and consistently impressive line up of restaurants and chefs, it’s always an event to remember.

But this year’s event seems poised to deliver more than food and drink — if you haven’t seen a weather forecast for the weekend, there’s a 100 percent of rain during the day on Saturday, and a lesser chance of showers on Sunday too. So what’s the plan for the rain-or-shine event? Well, to put it simply, don’t forget your umbrella.

See also: 10 Best Culinary Events in Metro Phoenix

Sara Fassil of Tony Felice PR tells us that the outdoor portion of the event will not be moved inside the museum. Doing so would be impossible since attendees will be walking around with food and drinks.

The good news is that about half the event — including the chef demos — was already slated to take place indoors.

But if you’ve been to Devoured before, you know that still means wet concrete and wetter grass in the museum’s open air courtyard. In the past, tents have only been provided to each of the restaurants to serve food out of — so things might be poised to get a little soggy.

There will be an umbrella check — like a coat check, so you don’t have to hold a dripping umbrella while you’re checking out an indoor part of the event. Better be digging out those umbrellas along with your rain boots and slickers.

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New Website Connects Tourists to the Local Downtown Scene

new website quietly launched Feb. 9 night that aims to connect tourists to local businesses and events in Downtown Phoenix.

Daniel Zayas founded the start-up project,, in hopes that it would drive tourism, which he said could be the answer to many issues regarding historic preservation and development in the Urban Core.

He said the site was inspired by his other project,, which contains a variety of housing options but is focused on Downtown.

His new project is hyper-local as well, featuring events, guides to the city and walking tours that showcase the historic architecture and urban character of Downtown Phoenix.

The city guides and walking tours will be crafted by locals and local businesses using pop culture references. Since launching the site, Zayas has only published one of these tours and it isn’t just a simple walk around the town. The references may seem small for fans of “Doctor Who,” but it makes for a fun, interactive way to show visitors what Downtown has to offer.

Zayas mentioned a passion for historical buildings, walkability, local businesses and visitor experience, and his hope that the tours will turn historic buildings and small businesses into cultural destinations.

“I’m trying to add context to what we care about,” he said. “If every tour location on the site has a… cultural reference…it helps to preserve them.”

Even though the site has technically launched, much of the content has yet to be placed. Zayas said he’ll be filling in the gaps over the coming days and weeks.

Zayas, who’s lived in Downtown for four years, said he will manage the events aggregation tool, which automatically combines multiple events sites, such as and He also said that the site will feature articles and lists of restaurants, bars and more.

“I really hope it’ll turn into a community project,” Zayas said. He wants community members to contribute articles that promote their favorite places and parts of Downtown, he said.

*Photos courtesy of Daniel Zayas