EXPERIENCE IT Phoenix

EXPERIENCE IT Phoenix

MEETING PLANNERS RELY ON THE PHOENIX EXPERIENCE

In the summer, Will Sutton, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, will come to Phoenix along with some 3,000 colleagues for the group’s National Convention.

“Our two primary hotels will be the Hyatt Regency and the Crowne Plaza, which are right around the corner from each other in downtown Phoenix,” Sutton says. “We will also be using the Civic Center nearby.”

The organization, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is made up primarily of journalists under the age of 40, many of whom will bring partners and children to the convention.

“With the wonderful things to see and do in Phoenix, Tucson, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon, there are some really good family attractions,” Sutton says. “Not only is the convention a time for professional development and networking, but also it is an opportunity for members to spend time with their families.”

Almost two-thirds of the NABJ membership lives east of the Mississippi. “We like to make sure our members out West have an opportunity to have a national convention close to them as well,” Sutton says.

Acknowledging that the summertime is not high season in Phoenix, Sutton says that the NABJ is a summer convention organization. Rather than be daunted, Sutton says the meeting is “an opportunity for our members to see a community on the rise, a community that has a wonderful reputation already and is building one that’s even better.”

DOWNTOWN: WHERE THE ACTION IS

Two convention-oriented hotels and the Phoenix Civic Plaza are the center around which downtown revolves. History is alive at the restored Orpheum Theatre and Heritage Square, where Victorian homes now are gift boutiques, tea shops, and small museums. The Herberger Theater Center, Symphony Hall, Arizona Science Center, and sports venues that include America West Arena and Bank One Ballpark all are within several blocks. The Arizona Center is filled with restaurants, boutiques, nightclubs, and a 24-screen movie theater. All are just a stroll from each other. Or, visitors can hop on DASH, the free downtown shuttle that runs every 6 or 12 minutes, depending on the time of day.

HERBERGER THEATER CENTER

Mainstream productions, children’s theater, ballet, and performances by the Arizona Theater Company and others are delightfully presented on the two intimate stages of the Herberger Theater Center. Directly across from Civic Plaza, this lovely venue is conveniently located for theater-goers who have been involved in meetings during the day and are ready for top-quality evening entertainment.

THE PULSE OF CULTURE

Phoenix prides itself on moving forward while retaining a strong sense of the importance of its past. Nowhere is this more evident than in its culture, much of which centers around-downtown. Historically multicultural, the “” recognizes the cultural contributions of Phoenix made by African-American Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, all of whom enrich the city’s social fabric. Go to www.phoenixcvb.com for more information.

ORPHEUM THEATRE

A Phoenix grew and flourished, so did its thirst for entertainment. The Orpheum Theatre opened in 1929, hosting vaudeville luminaries that included Mae West and W. C. Fields. Its original, ornate luxury was restored in 1997, and now it welcomes downtown theatre-goers to a full season of concerts, plays, and performances.

TALIESIN WEST

North of Scottsdale, Taliesin West was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937 as his winter studio, home, and architectural school. Students from around the world come to study here in the desert that Wright found appealing for its rocks, boulders, cactus, and subtle colors. Visitors can stroll the grounds or take guided tours.

PHOENIX ART MUSEUM

At any given time at the museum are exciting temporary exhibit, such as the paintings of Monet or Treasures of Ancient Egypt, adds Juster to the museum’s respected permanent collection. A comprehensive exhibit covering North a “” “” year career is scheduled for early 2001. Always on display are Art of Asia Art of the Americas and Europe to 1900, and Art of Our Times.

ARIZONA SCIENCE CENTER

Imaginative interactive exhibits at the exciting new center help explain the basics of science and entertain for hours. Chatter with a HAM radio operator, “fly” a Cessna, and tickle a giant nose until it “sneezes.” A show in the Dorrance Planetarium simulates heavenly happenings and explores the question of life in outer space, while the Iwerks Theater’s five-story screen shows movies that simulate being an astronaut and a race-car driver.

HEARD MUSEUM

Founded in the same year as the Orpheum, the Heard Museum is recognized as the country’s most prestigious repository of artifacts documenting the history of Native American cultures. A recent $18.1 million expansion has added dramatic display spaces. Contemporary Native American art is the focus of the soaring Crossroads Gallery, while collections emphasizing the Southwest are displayed in another. Barry Goldwater’s collection of more than 400 historic Hopi kachina dolls occupies its own special room. An excellent Museum Shop offers true Southwest treasures that include authentic Navajo rugs, baskets, jewelry, weavings, and more.

PUEBLO GRANDE MUSEUM

Among Phoenix’s earliest residents, the Hohokam occupied a site along the Salt River from 450 to 1450, creating a culture with an extensive irrigation system that allowed them to grow cotton, corn, and other crops. Remnants of

their daily lives are evident in Pueblo Grande Museum, the only National Historic Landmark in Phoenix.

PHOENIX: ACTIVITIES GALORE

Phoenix’ climate is among the areas biggest draws. Lovely days are so reliably consistent that at one time city hoteliers advertised free rooms on days that lacked sunshine. When planning outdoor events, it’s doubtful that weather will interfere. Skies that are sunny during the day and star-filled at night encourage planners to take full advantage of all Phoenix has to offer.

PARKS AND GARDENS

Get acquainted with the Sonoran Desert stroll through the 150-acre Desert Botanical Garden. Learn about Native American uses for prickly pear, test whether jumping cholla cactus really jump, or simply sit on a shaded bench to watch the dozens of bird species that are at home in the garden.

South Mountain Park, a giant 16,500-acre outdoor playground, is the world’s largest municipal park. Take a break from meetings to explore dozens of hiking, cycling, and equestrian trails. Or hop in a Jeep to cover the rugged terrain that once was home to the ancient Hohokam people, whose presence is still felt in their well-preserved petroglyphs. Nature lovers may spot one of the park’s elusive coyotes, a playful family of chipmunks, or a hovering redtailed hawk.

BIG TIME SPORTS

The newest addition to Phoenix’s professional sports teams is the MLB’s Diamondbacks, playing diamond-studded baseball at the dramatic Bank One Ballpark. The Diamondbacks complete Phoenix’s roster of top professional teams, which also includes the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, and the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. The Phoenix Mercury has established itself as one of the WNBA’s premier women’s basketball teams. Spring visitors can watch laid-back Cactus League action, when 10 major league teams tune up during spring training.

BEYOND THE FRINGE

Arizona’s most famous attraction, Grand Canyon, is a five-hour drive from Phoenix, with new air service making it possible to fly to the canyon in the morning and return to Phoenix in time for supper. Or, combine the Canyon with Sedona and Oak Creek, or a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway, for a pleasant two-day trip.

The dramatic Mogollon Rim, a sheer 200-mile escarpment beneath a pine-covered plateau about four hours from Phoenix, inspired many of Zane Grey’s Western novels.

Half a dozen lakes are within an hour or two of Phoenix, providing opportunities for boating, swimming, fishing, watching wildlife, and more. A lunch or dinner cruise on the Dolly at Canyon Lake often is highlighted by sightings of bighorn sheep, bald eagles, and other native wildlife.

PHOENIX: A DESERT DREAM

Cities that flourish in the desert seem to have a serene beauty all their own. The creatures, cactus, and geologic features that define the Sonoran Desert create a unique persona for Phoenix that is felt in its character, cuisine, and style. The sum total is a quality of life and a warm hospitality that are unsurpassed.

DINING

Whether it’s cowboy steaks mesquite-grilled under a velvety tar prinkled sky, or a sophisticated white-linen dining experience built around the finest wines and most elegant cuisine, Phoenix offers terrific dining options.

Some Phoenix area mainstays–Monti’s La Casa Vieja, El Chorro, The Stockyards–remain unchanged after decades. Mexican food stays true to its authentic roots at more than a dozen family-owned restaurants. Newer stars on the culinary scene–Fleming’s Steakhouse, Roy’s, and Barmouche–are creative options. Brew pubs, cybercafes, ethnic eateries, and specialty restaurants are all part of the mix. Many offer patio dining to take advantage of the area’s superb weather.

SHOPPING

Biltmore Fashion Park, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue Shops, Arizona Center downtown, and the value-oriented Arizona Mills in Tempe are among the prime venues for seeking out take-home gifts and items with Southwest style. For special and unusual treasures, the Heard Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Science Center’s Awesome Atoms, and the Bank One Ballpark Team Shop are promising spots.

GETTING THERE

Sky Harbor International Airport makes Phoenix one or the nation’s easiest cities to reach. The large number of airlines serving Phoenix helps to keep fares competitive, even during peak-season. Nearby destinations like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Thcson are served by frequent connecting flights.

Major airlines that offer service are AeroMexico, Alaska, America West, America West Express, American, ATA, British Airways, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Mesa, Midwest Express, Northwest, Scenic, Skywest, Southwest, Sunrise, TWA, United, and US Airways.

Sky Harbor is 10 minutes from downtown Phoenix and less than 30 minutes from major resorts and hotels.

BACK IN TIME

EARLY ARIZONA GOLF COURSES KNEW NOTHING OF ROLLING GREENS. IN PLACE OF GRASS, THEY USED OILED SAND.

BACK IN TIME

BACK IN TIME

PHOENIX WAS WITHOUT PALM TREES UNTIL EARLY DEVELOPER AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE HEARD MUSEUM, DWIGHT 13. HEARD, BROUGHT THE TREES FROM EGYPT TO ARIZONA.

BACK IN TIME

BABE RUTH BROUGHT “SPRING TRAINING” TO ARIZONA IN 1927 WHEN HE SHOWED OFF HIS SKILLS NEAR THE PHOENIX RAILROAD DEPOT.

BACK IN TIME

POPULAR MEXICAN RESTAURANT LOS DOS MOLINOS is WHERE SILENT SCREEN STAR TOM Mix STAYED WHEN VISITING PHOENIX.

PHOENIX HIRED ITS FIRST MOTORCYCLE POLICEMAN TO ENFORCE AN 8 MPH SPEED LIMIT IN 1910, A YEAR BEFORE THE TOWN GOT ITS FIRST PAVED STREETS.

BACK IN TIME

THE CHEVROLET BRAND AUTOMOBILE WAS NAMED FOR A RACER WHO TESTED HIS CARS IN THE LOS ANGELES-PHOENIX ROAD RACES OF 1910-1914.

CONVENTIONS FLOURISH AT PHOENIX CIVIC

At the heart of the gracious hospitality that Phoenix extends to meetings and conventions is Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center. Located downtown, steps from two world-class hotels, it is surrounded by top-notch restaurants, sports, cultural venues, and great shopping.

The plaza has five exhibit halls on a single level totaling 221,000 square feet, along with a 28,000-square-foot ballroom. The 43 meeting rooms total 53,000 square feet of space.

A palm-lined patio, ideal for outdoor buffets, sit-down dinners, and cocktail functions augments the indoor space. Rain? This is Phoenix, where a scant seven inches of rain Falls annually. And there’s no problem setting that extra place for dinner. Plaza food services can serve as many as 10,000 guests at a function.

GREAT GOLF

More than 190 golf courses in the Greater Phoenix area offer play on traditional layouts, Scottish-style links, and desert target courses, many with the spectacular scenery that you’ll find only in the desert. The new Sanctuary Golf Course at West World Equestrian Center is Arizona’s only Audubon signature status course, and includes a wildlife sanctuary regulated by the Audubon Institute.

DESERT DOINGS

Seated in a Hummer or a Jeep are two of the best ways to view the desert. Low, wide Hummers hug the terrain as they crawl aver rocks and washes, while Jeeps stick to established trails as they wind among saguaros and cholla. A regular passenger car is all that’s needed to maneuver the twisty Apache Trail that leads through the Superstition Mountains to Roosevelt Dam. Or get a bird’s-eye view of the desert from a hot-air balloon. Calm air makes the Phoenix area superb for ballooning.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Adams Business Media

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group