Let’s face it. Phoenix has great climate, expertly groomed golf courses, world-famous spas and resorts, trendy shopping, and chef-inspired dining. Any one of these attributes explains why it’s one of America’s favorite cities. But in just a few weeks, we will once again host the Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix !
The city has been busy making sure that every detail is taken care of before tens of thousands of visitors descend on the Valley of the Sun. It’s a big order, but if any city in the US can take care of it, it’s Phoenix. The city has some of the finest amenities for hosting large crowds of people. From the spacious and accommodating Sky Harbor Airport, to the state-of-the art Phoenix Convention Center, the facilities are some of the finest in the Great Southwest. And even in most of the country.
Easy to Navigate
It is a good thing that Phoenix is one of the easiest cities to navigate because it is huge. Talk about urban sprawl! A map of the city gives the appearance that the planners laid Phoenix out on a grid. Central Avenue runs north south through – you guessed it – the center of Phoenix. Streets and avenues run parallel to Central, streets are on the east side and avenues on the west side of Central Avenue.
Why am I explaining the layout? Because it will make a difference if you’re planning to come for the Super Bowl. Glendale, Scottsdale, and Phoenix all have Super Bowl activities that you’ll want to attend.
Site of the Super Bowl XLXV
The Super Bowl game will take place at the University of Phoenix Stadium (home to the Arizona Cardinals football team) in Glendale. The stadium is located 10+ miles from the heart of Phoenix. That means if you plan to attend the NFL Experience or NFL Media Day, you’ll have to pay for a taxi or drive your rent-a-car to get from Glendale to downtown Phoenix. Although the activities will take place at the Convention Center and the US Airways Center, which are just blocks away from each other, they are miles away from Glendale.
Easy Access in Downtown Phoenix
If staying in one of the downtown or mid-town hotels in Phoenix, it’s not only the close proximity to Super Bowl activities that is attractive. There’s also a convenient light rail public transportation system from the airport to downtown. In a matter of minutes, and for only a couple of bucks, you can ride light rail rather than rent a car or wait for a shuttle or taxi. Check to see which hotels are located along the route and it will save you lots of time and money by riding light rail.
For those who want to explore, the city has also recently implemented bike rental stations so you can hop-on and hop-off at different places interspersed for your convenience. It is really is quite an ingenious way to get around. You only pay for the time you’re using the bike. Then, when you’re finished with your ride, just lock the bike in one of the many locations, wherever you happen to be. The bike doesn’t have to be returned to the same place where it was originally rented. Pretty cool!
Places to Eat in Downtown Phoenix
What can I say here. Phoenix is famous for its delicious southwestern cuisine! But three of my favorite restaurants are located within a few blocks of the heart of the city. For example, The Vig was originally a family residence during the early 1900’s that was transformed into a comfortable yet trendy dining establishment. Their patio is inviting and comfortable and even has a large outdoor fireplace, just in case it gets cool in the evenings. This place is a favorite for the locals. There’s a Happy Hour menu with several items that are more than enough to share. But the Vigazz burger, prickly pear shrimp salad, and five spice edamame are standouts. Brunch is served on the week-ends from 10:00 to 2:00 and that’s our favorite time to come. Everything we’ve tried has been delicious but the breakfast burritos are outstanding! And, if you’re into making your own, there’s a Bloody Mary bar complete with a variety ingredients so that you can make it just the way you want.
We have always loved Copper Blues because their patio looks right over CityScape in the heart of downtown. It’s a great place to watch the ice skaters during the holidays or the wave runners who are surfing in the courtyard in the summer. It’s also a pretty happenin’ place in the evenings because they have live band most nights of the week. And many of these bands are phenomenal! The menu includes items such as pulled pork sandwiches with chipotle BBQ sauce, super food and strawberry salads, potato skin nachos, and a southwest burger that will leave you licking your fingers.
And our very favorite (drumroll, please) is Cibo which is a family run eatery that has an awesome reputation for outstanding authentic Italian food, consistent service, and inviting ambiance. It is not uncommon to find local TV personalities, the city mayor, and other local celebrities enjoying dinner at this adorable eatery. Like the Vig mentioned above, this was once an historic home that’s been renovated just enough to make it charming. The cuisine is authentic Italian. So, if you love pizza, homemade mozzarella, fresh salads, and lighter-than-air homemade crepes, be sure to stop. It will be well worth your time!