Creative Coordinates: Phoenix, Arizona

Travel inspires us. It takes us to new places and new spaces; it transports our minds, animates our spirits, and enlivens our senses. Our Creative Coordinates travel guide series charts the world’s creative hotspots—places beaming with musical, artistic, cultural, and culinary inspiration.

Phoenix, Arizona, known to many as the Valley of the Sun, is a city recognized for its record breaking temperatures, awe-inspiring sunsets, abundant cacti, and rich history. What was once a barren desert full of lawless cowboys is now a flourishing city full of acclaimed restaurants, shopping, and culture.

Stay – The Clarendon Hotel This mod boutique getaway is well-suited for the traveling creative professional. You may even find that you don’t need to leave; it offers pop-up art exhibits, a rooftop deck with expansive views of the city, and a tranquil café.

Stay – Arizona Biltmore Stay at the Biltmore to learn the true meaning of the word “oasis.” This iconic hotel boasts beautiful rooms and all the amenities you could ask for, plus serves as a living architectural masterpiece showcasing the seminal influence of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Morning Coffee – Lux Central Start your day off right at Lux, an understated coffee bar on Central Avenue. New visitors often have to drive by more than once before realizing they’ve arrived. If local brew, an endless assortment of pastries, and a relaxed environment appeal to you, a trip to Lux is a must.

Arts & Culture – Phoenix Art Museum Escape the heat at the Phoenix Art Museum, the largest of its kind in the southwestern United States and home to an outstanding collection of 18,000 works of art. Aside from being a premier destination for visual arts, if you happen to be visiting the city at the right time, you’ll also have access to local film and music festivals.

Eats – Pane Bianco Visit Pane Bianco to experience the best sandwiches Phoenix has to offer. Made with fresh local ingredients, these savory sandwiches have been voted best in the city more than once. Not a sandwich person? You’re in luck—Pane Bianco also has salads, antipasti, and wood-fired pizzas.

Shop – HUB Clothing / Stinkweeds / Frances Get a taste of Phoenix’s local retail scene at HUB, a store known for its denim; Stinkweeds, a record shop dedicated to promoting indie bands; and Frances, a carefully curated boutique where you can pick up locally made jewelry, clothing, and crafty goods.

Afternoon Pick-Me-Up – Churn Yearning for something sweet after shopping? Wander over to Churn, a nostalgic sweets shop, to get your fix of organic ice cream, cookies, and old-timey candy.

Arts and Culture – Roosevelt Row Arts District As the sun begins to set and the temperatures drop, Roosevelt Row comes to life. Known to Phoenicians as RoRo, this walkable, nationally-recognized arts district is home to award-winning galleries, restaurants, painted murals and boutiques. Whether you’re seeking a unique work for your walls or a relaxing stroll speckled with vibrant street art, Roosevelt Row has got you covered.

Happy Hour and Dinner – Valley Bar A hidden gem located in the heart of downtown draws Phoenicians and visitors alike. After finding the disguised entrance, head downstairs to an interior that serves as a reminder of the city at dusk and enjoy a signature cocktail inspired by Arizona’s vivid history and a delicious meal.

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