For the fifth year in a row, close to 100,000 holiday revelers will descend on CityScape Phoenix to take part in the 10 weeks of CitySkate, the largest and only real outdoor ice rink in the Valley that is bigger than ever and dramatically placed in the center of Central Avenue. The ice rink this year has been significantly upgraded to a 30 percent larger rink than last year with 5,442 square-feet of real ice, a Christmas tree placed in the center of the rink and hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. Also new this year is a complimentary photo booth for skaters to capture their CitySkate memories.The rink, presented by APS, will be open daily from Nov. 22 through Feb. 2 with special events happening many days of the week.
Phoenix unrolled Arizona’s first bicycle share program with 100 bicycles and 27 stations. Grid Bike Share allows individuals to reserve a bike via mobile application and pick it up at one of the station locations. Users can pay by the hour or purchase a yearly membership that comes with one free hour per day and leave the bike at any Grid Lock station or outside of a station for a small fee. Features on the bike include a solar-powered panel that allows users to lock and unlock the bike, count calories burned and put the bike on hold. The bike also features a chainless shaft drive, three speeds, automatic front and rear lights, a full-sized basket and a bell. The program is mainly centered on the central core of Phoenix, but plans to expand it to Mesa and Tempe are underway.
The spirit of the holiday season has arrived at Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Immerse yourself fully in this wondrous time of year, first with an overnight stay as Sheraton offers Special Holiday Rates this season starting from $99 so you can connect with friends, family and neighbors. The time spent at the hotel will allow you to discover our wonderland of festive decorations, special holiday events and delicious holiday cuisine. Guests will enjoy dishes served at District American Kitchen and Wine Bar and marvel at a gingerbread house village festively decorated to the theme of “The Nutcracker” on display inside the hotel’s Park Lounge lobby. At Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, holiday fun is for everyone.
The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort completed a major renovation that enhances the guest experience and restores the iconic property’s position in the luxury resort market. The multi-million-dollar renovation has created modern, refined accommodations and public spaces while preserving the historic architecture and design that distinguish the grand dame of Phoenix. Guest rooms and suites, the spa and salon, and meeting spaces have been re-mastered with a sophisticated new look that recalls the seductive style of the resort’s early years. The revamp of the landmark property also comprised rebuilding and redesigning the 15 cabanas at the Paradise Pool that now feature luxurious new interior décor and an array of amenities, from flat screen HDTVs to full baths.
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is celebrating with snow-less skiing on the new Kierland SnoPro ski simulator (first and only in Arizona) at their property and an 11-story 3-D PaintScaping lightshow like you’ve never seen before. Plus, the resort is unveiling the new Westin’s Holiday Family FunFest featuring selfies with Santa, holiday craft-making, cookie decorating, “reindeer” games, face-painting, train rides, magic shows and much more! And don’t forget about the gourmet chili bar, holiday-themed signature cocktails, hot cocoa and all-you-can eat S’mores.
The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa hosts their annual Storytelling & Song program Dec. 4. The program aims to protect and share the ancient cultures, traditions and meaningful history of the Pima and Maricopa People. Storytellers tell ancient legends based on desert wildlife, typically with a moral lesson, as well as personal stories about their experiences growing up on the surrounding Tribal lands. Traditional and social songs are also shared during the one-hour presentation. The program will start at 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday evenings until March 21 with no presentations on Christmas weekend.
The Graduate Hotel Tempe seeks to take guests back to the glory days of college with its proximity to Arizona State University. The 140-room boutique hotel features a large ant farm and room keys that resemble college identification cars. One of the two restaurants located within the hotel is the Normal, a diner-chic restaurant that features homemade classics. Tapacubo, which is set to open soon, serves up Mexican street food and a bar with high-octane margaritas.
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain now offers rentals of an exotic Ferrari California, which retails for about $229,000, for its guests for a fraction of the cost. The resort’s Seek Adventure Ferrari rental program gives guests the opportunity to drive the Ferrari for two hours for $299, six hours for $699 and a full-day for $1,400. The opportunity comes with a selection of possible tour routes, from a close-by jaunt around celebrity homes in Paradise Valley to a half-day trip north of Sanctuary to Cave Creek and Bartlett Lake. Sanctuary’s Ferrari CasitaPackage includes a 20 percent discount on a two-night stay, a half-day rental of a Ferrari California and a delicious picnic lunch from elements restaurant for the road.
“Christmas at the Princess” is open to the public throughout the season at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. The event includes: The Princess Express Train, Christmas Carousel and Lagoon Lights. Local residents can see the four-story tree’s synchronized lighting and music show 6 p.m.– 9 p.m., nightly, throughout the holiday season. During the day, this stunning four-story tree is a visual experience, with dozens of glistening snowflakes and a five-foot snowflake tree topper. Add to that, a high-definition, one-of-a-kind animated video show features five delightful holiday scenes set to music and projected against the resort’s façade. As holiday revelers arrive at the Princess, a new, not-to-miss attraction is the resort’s Christmas Carousel, where dozens of galloping horses glitter ‘round and ‘round. It will be open evenings and rides are complimentary. Admission is complimentary for hotel and restaurant guests, then admission/parking for non-hotel guests is $30 for self-parking with up to 10 people per vehicle or $40 for valet after 5 p.m. without dining
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa has been named to Cvent’s “100 Most Popular Meeting Resorts in North America and the Caribeean” list. Cvent is a leading cloud-based enterprise event managaemetn platform. They evaluated more than 3,500 properties who received business through Cvent Supplier Network.
The Sheraton River View Hotel is set to open across from Cubs Park March 2015, just in time for Major League Baseball Spring Training. The four-story building will provide convenience for baseball fans with its proximity to the stadium. The hotel will feature 180 rooms with seven VIP suites and a presidential suite with a balcony. Other amenities include a courtyard, patios, sun terrace, fitness center, conference center and restaurant. The project began in April 2014 and is unique for the speed it was processed and built. The interior design seeks to bring elements of Arizona through desert colors and combine with the traditional Sheraton opulence.
This month, The Wigwam celebrates turning 85 years old along with Wigwam Golf Club observing its 50th anniversary of the Gold and Patriot courses in 2015. To celebrate this impressive milestone, The Wigwam is launching commemorative anniversary-themed programming and new amenities including a citrus-flavored cotton candy, a callback to the resort’s history and cotton farms. Kids also are able to enjoy their own in-room wigwams for sleeping and entertainment for $25 per night. In addition, Wigwam Golf Club is offering a complimentary round of golf with any retail purchase of $85 or more in the Golf Shop until Dec. 23. Complimentary golf offer is valid for use through Dec. 24, 2014.
ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
Desert Botanical Garden celebrates its 37th year of Las Noches de las Luminarias – one of Arizona's iconic holiday events. For 16 nights the Garden will come to life with the soft glow from more than 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags, thousands of white twinkle lights and the vibrant sounds and sights of 10 entertainment groups. Have dinner at the Garden with family and friends, and stroll each path with a warm cup of cider or cocoa.
When the sun goes down and the animals go to sleep, the Phoenix Zoo magically transforms into one of the largest holiday lighting events in the Southwest with 3.7 million lights and more than 700 light displays. ZooLights, powered by SRP EarthWise Energy, is a magical experience guaranteed to illuminate your holiday season. New this year: Two new Music in Motion shows featuring music from the movie Polar Express and Carol of the Bells by Arctic Express; Experience Poloar Express in the Zoo’s new 4-D theater; and Meet Tortuga the talking Galapagos Tortoise.
The Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary welcomes Dr. Kype Woodson, Director of Cultural Resource Management for the Gila River Indian Community, for a free lecture on Hohokam pottery. Hohokam Pottery Production Areas and the Organization of Ceramic Production and Exchange in the Phoenix Basin will discuss the known Hohokam pottery production areas in the Phoenix Basin and describes a recently discovered locus at the Sweetwater site in the middle Gila River Valley. The museum also offers several classes and programs in December, including Archaeology for Kids, Behind the Scenes Tour with Curator and Park of Four Waters Tour. The annual Indian Market will take place Dec. 13 and 14 and offer a weekend full of art, shopping, music and food. Guests can shop at more than 100 booths of authentic American Indian art and collectables and participate in activities for kids and adults.
Jazz in AZ and ASU Kerr Cultural Center have partnered to bring a diverse series of Wednesday night jazz concerts for the 2014-2014 Jazz in Concert Series starting December. Concerts range from vocalists performing the Great American Songbook, a jazzy family holiday performance, and an all-female jazz vocal performance. A total of six top local acts will perform at the Kerr Cultural Center, with the final performance in April.
St. Francis crafts its menu based on ingredients from local farms, and with the changing season comes a new menu that features the best produce. The fall menu captures the vibrant flavors of autumn in dishes like Pumpkin Soup, which is made from a blend of butternut, red kabocha and buttercup squash harvested locally at certified organic and family owned McClendon’s Select Farm. On Mondays, the restaurant offers a new Paella special, which includes three courses and sangria specials. The location will also offer extended Happy Hour drink specials from from 11am-6pm, Monday through Friday.
Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa was awarded AAA’s highest rating and maintained its coveted position as the solitary Five-Diamond restaurant in the state of Arizona. This announcement marks Kai’s ninth Five-Diamond designation and sets them apart as one of the prestigious few in a small group of Five-Diamond restaurants in the nation. Kai has spent the last twelve years elevating Native- American inspired cuisine and masterful service standards to national levels of critical acclaim. The sophisticated dining experience in Kai continues to evolve with recent enhancements to Kai’s dinner menu. The new fall/winter menu, spearheaded by Kai’s Chef de Cuisine, Joshua Johnson, continues to be punctuated with seasonal, local and Native-American influences and will rotate every eight weeks.
A new brewery comes to the Valley to offer an oasis for beer lovers of all types. Blasted Barley Beer Co. will offer more than 30 craft beer varieties on tap and a menu by Executive Chef Jason Shaw that goes beyond the typical bar food. The brewery’s own craft creations won’t be available until later this year, but guests can experience other top brews to go with tasty treats. Menu items include Little Meals on Sticks, which is bacon-wrapped water chestnuts skewered with radish and cucumber served with honey sauce, and Curry Cauliflower No-Mac with Cheese.
Salut Kitchen Bar now invites four-legged patrons to dine alongside their owners in the restaurant’s patio. The restaurant offers hip, casual dining and a selection of more than 100 wines. Signature menu items include Quinoa Fritters, Crushed Honey Salmon Salad and Pistachio Crusted Salmon. The European-inspired restaurant was created by ASU alum David Freedman and Cyprous-born Anastasios Tirkas to harbor a sophisticated yet affordable dining option. The restaurant’s award-winning beverage program includes dozens of hand-shaken specialties. This winter, guests can gather around a build-your-own s’mores station on the patio.
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Executive Chef Beau MacMillan welcomes fellow Food Network star and celebrity chef Guy Fieri for a special evening Dec. 19. Fieri, famous for his Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, will have a meet at 6 p.m. and greet followed by a three-course interactive dinner. The event will include hors d’oeurves, photo opportunities and an autographed copy of his latest book. The two-hour dining experience will be paired with wine in The Views Ballroom. Sanctuary is also offering an overnight $199 rate for a stay in the luxurious Mountain Casita for those that would like to stay after the dinner. Tickets for the VIP Meet & Greet and dinner are $295 per person, but just the dinner can be purchased at a lower rate.
The Beer Research Institute comes to the East Valley to give guests another way to taste a variety of brews. Owners Matt Trethewey and Greg Sorrels have been researching craft beer for eight years and have received gold medals in local competitions with their beers. The menu will feature barbecue and southwestern eats and rotating craft beers, including a vanilla porter, a red IPA and a Belgian saison.
A new contemporary American dining restaurant, The Upton, has opened. The menu features diverse dishes from rising-star Chef Chris Schlattman, including Korean Pork Belly Steamed Buns with pear kimchi ($9), Grilled Wild Salmon with shaved fennel, lemon yogurt ($15), the Little Havana Pressed Sandwich with roasted pork, shaved ham, dijon, pickles and swiss cheese ($11), and Slow Roasted Pork Pibil Tacos with avocado creme and shisito salsa ($14). The Upton’s dressed-down vibe makes for an inviting future rendezvous for locals, with ample seating for 70 guests outside on the garden patio, 12 inside at the bar and 30 more in the dining room.
Tuck Shop has been serving Phoenicians crave-worthy comfort food for six years straight, and in celebration of their continued success, they’ve designed a special “mix-tape” style menu featuring their most popular dishes from over the years.Chock-full of favorite guest starters like fresh Arizona dairymen Cheese Curds ($6) and Parsnip and Potato Poutine ($7) as well as flavorful full-size entrees like Chicken and Waffles ($20) and Pine, AZ Spiced Steak ($23), Tuck Shop’s limited-time menu is intended to “give the people what they want,” says Tuck Shop owner DJ Fernandes. The special menu will be available through Feb. 1.
Experience the essence of the holidays with a Pumpkin Pedicure at Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms. This is a newly introduced 45-minute treatment available. Guests can enjoy a warming cup of apple cider while experiencing this pumpkin treatment perfect for the fall and winter season. Starts at $65.00.
Arctic Berry Sparkling Facial at Agave, The Arizona Spa at Westin Kierland Resort utilizes the all-organic Arctic Berry products by Eminence, to address fine lines, inflammation, hyperpigmentation and acne to receive the same results as a synthetic chemical peel without any of the side effects. The naturally sourced acids are derived from bitter almond, sugar, grains and hibiscus flowers. In addition to the illuminating peptide peel, the facial features the added benefit of the NuFace micro-current. The new FDA approved device for facial stimulation gently and effectively improves the skin’s tone, texture and provides an immediate “lift.” The 50-minute Arctic Berry Sparkling Facial, available until Jan. 1, 2015, is priced at $189.
Almond Biscotti Treatments at Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch will transform your spa experience into a cozy-scented treat. Incorporate this seasonal scent into a Massage or Vichy Scrub (60 minutes for $165), Manicure (30 minutes for $55) or Pedicure (45 minutes for $75). Upon the completion f your treatment, enjoy a freshly-baked Almond Biscotti from the comforts of the relaxation lounge. As an added bonus, each seasonally-scented service is accompanied by aromatherapy bath salts to enjoy from the comforts of your own home. Almond Biscotti Treatments can be enjoyed through the end of 2014.
Naughty or Nice Spa Package at Well & Being Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess includes your choice of Naughty OR Nice Body Scrub (45 minutes) and the Naughty OR Nice Pedicure (60 minutes) along with a healthy cuisine spa lunch and a Naughty OR Nice holiday cocktail. This seasonal spa package price is $189 with 5% of the proceeds from this package and these holiday services benefiting The Fairmont Tree of Hope local partner – Cox Charities. All holiday services come with a fun, complimentary gift with purchase while supplies last. The Naughty or Nice spa packages are available Dec. 1, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015.
Winter Apple Facial and other seasonal services (and savings!) are now available at VH Spa for Vitality + Health at Hotel Valley Ho. The Winter Apple Facial (60 minutes, $75 – normally $125) begins with a winter apple peel designed to fight wrinkles and concludes with an apple soufflé masque that illuminates dry and dull skin. The Toasted Marshmallow Pedicure (60 minutes, $45 – normally $65) headlines a delightful winter aroma and commences with a variety of seasonal colors from Morgan Taylor to get your nails ready for any holiday festivities. The Cinnamon Cheer Massage (90 minutes, $95 – normally $185) begins with a nourishing honey sugar scrub followed by a red hot cinnamon aromatherapy massage for an experience that is both decadent and exhilarating.
The National Football League will host the 22nd annual NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center from Jan. 24 - Feb. 1, 2015. The NFL Experience Engineered by GMC is the most exciting continuous event surrounding Super Bowl XLIX – pro football's interactive theme park offering participatory games, displays, entertainment attractions, youth football clinics and free autograph sessions from current and former NFL players. A list of player appearances will be posted on SuperBowl.com in mid-January.
Football fans are getting a double dose of the NFL's best while in Greater Phoenix this year. The 2015 Pro Bowl will be taking place at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 25, just a week before the Super Bowl kicks off. Like the 2014 game, this season's Pro Bowl will be "unconferenced," with players from both the AFC and NFC on each team and captained by a league legend. The Pro Bowl received rave reviews for its new format and exciting style of play last year and will surely bring the same electric atmosphere to this year's game.
For the perfect holiday gift for any sports fan, pick up an Arizona Diamondbacks Holiday Pack. The pack includes six regular season home games and start at $78. The price varies depending on opponent, game date and seating location. Fans can also buy a gift card, which is good for purchasing tickets, merchandise and concessions. There are also limited spots remaining for the 10th annual D-backs Fantasy Camp Jan. 11-17. Fantasy Camp offers six days and nights as a Major League Baseball player that includes hotel and transportation accommodations, Big League clubhouse service and training staff, daily “bull sessions” with D-backs alumni, a personalized authentic D-backs uniform, breakfast and lunch daily, an awards banquet and a camp reunion party at a 2015 D-backs home game.
The second annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance welcomes two of Carrozeria Ghia’s, one of Italy's leading auto designers and coachbuilders from the early 1900s, most-famous creations from the 1950s – a custom-bodied 1953 Cadillac once owned by Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth and the exquisite 1954 Plymouth Explorer dream car – as part of a special Cars of Carrozzeria Ghia concours class honoring the 100th anniversary of the Turin design house.The two evocative Ghia automobiles will be shown during the Arizona Concours on January 11, 2015, along with more than 85 rare and exceptional automobiles displayed on the landscaped inner lawns of the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.
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