In recognition of the bountiful harvest generated by Arizona’s abundant lettuce industry, Governor Doug Ducey has proclaimed the month of November Arizona Leafy Greens Month. The month celebrates the kickoff of Arizona’s leafy greens season, with abundant growth, harvest and shipments of Arizona-grown lettuce throughout the United States and Canada. The season generally commences around mid-November and goes through March. As the top producer of leafy greens during the winter months, Arizona’s leafy greens industry employs more than 20,000 and generates an estimated $1 billion in financial impacts to the state’s economy. Nearly 90 percent of the leafy greens lettuce consumed in the United States and Canada between the months of November through March is generated from Arizona.
The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort has announced the appointment of a trio of new chefs – including Chefs de Cuisine for the main restaurants and a new pastry chef – who bring 53 years of culinary experience, insight and accomplishment to the dining operations at the historic Phoenix resort. Chris Vitanza is the new Executive Pastry Chef. He has 26 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Brian Peterson has been named Chef de Cuisine of Wright’s at the Biltmore, the resort’s signature restaurant. Steve Sprague has been promoted to Chef de Cuisine of Frank & Albert’s, the Biltmore’s popular dining spot featuring Arizona comfort food.
The massive effort to restore the historic Professional Building in downtown Phoenix and build the Hilton Garden Inn is nearing an end. This long-vacant historic landmark at Monroe Street and Central Avenue was built in the 1930s and is scheduled to open late this year as the Hilton Garden Inn. The Minneapolis-based CMS Corporation that purchased the building has hired two key staff members to manage the sales and marketing efforts and hotel operations. Michelle Davis will be the general manager and Afsaneh Torres has been named area director of sales and marketing for the upcoming property.
The Knight Agency has taken over representation of RAR Hospitality's hotel portfolio in Arizona. RAR Hospitality, the San Diego-based hotel management and consulting company, is proud to expand its expertise to Tempe to oversee management of the Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix/Tempe – ASU Area. RAR Hospitality took over management of the Hampton Inn & Suites in early October to launch its fifth hotel in Arizona in just nine months. RAR’s rapidly increasing presence in Arizona encompasses properties throughout the Greater Phoenix area. RAR Hospitality manages the four-floor, 117-room Hampton Inn & Suites and owns four other chained-brand hotels in Arizona.
The Camby Hotel, Phoenix’s most anticipated independent luxury property, is set to open in December 2015 and will seamlessly blend imagination, sophistication and statement-making designs to create a unique experience for leisure and business travelers. The Camby Hotel, owned by Host Hotels & Resort, Inc., promises not only an elegant urban respite, but also a vibrant and engaging experience for those who prefer to add a bit of flavor to their business and distinction to their play. Tradition meets invention at The Camby Hotel, beginning with design that pairs classic columns and stately marble with splashes of contemporary flare. The new property will be part of Autograph Collection Hotels, Marriott International’s curated portfolio of hotels recognized for celebrating individuality.
This holiday season, take time for memory-making fun with activities for all ages at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Once again, the Resort is proud to present its spectacular 3-D Holiday PaintScaping show. The Resort transforms into a winter wonderland as its exterior walls come alive with PaintScaping, themed 3-D images and animations festively set to holiday music. Founded by an award-winning computer animator, PaintScaping uses
The Westin Kierland Resort as a canvas, integrating the features of the 11-story main building and adding emotion and context with computer-generated holiday characters, snow, and cheer. Come at sunset to hear the Resort’s nightly bagpiper performance while enjoying a hot chocolate or holiday cocktail around a firepit and firetables on the Resort’s scenic Dreamweavers Canyon, which overlooks the Resort’s golf course. PaintScaping shows will be at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly from Nov. 21 to Dec. 31. The shows are free and open to the public.
A full-scale guestroom renovation at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is complete, transforming Mountain Casitas and Suites with a fresh, contemporary look and introducing a fourth room category. New “Camelback” Casitas and Suites join the fold, nestled high into the resort’s namesake mountain, showcasing premium views of the aptly named Paradise Valley and beyond. They share the design sensibility of the remodeled Mountain casitas, and complement Sanctuary’s Spa Casitas and Suites, as well as its collection of Private Estate Homes.
All is merry and bright and full of delight as the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess transforms into a winter wonderland in the desert during its 6th annual Christmas at the Princess festival, November 19, 2015 – January 3, 2016. The enchanting AAA Five Diamond resort glistens with holiday splendor featuring a four-story musical tree, desert ice skating rink, magical snowfalls, 2.8 million lagoon lights, three new holiday characters and nightly visits from the jolly ol’ St. Nick himself. Highlighted events of the six-week celebration include a Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, Desert Ice Skating Rink, New Christmas Petting Zoo, Let It Glow at Well & Being Spa, Menorah Lighting and New S’mores Land & Christmas Carousel.
ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
The holiday season is just around the corner and Ballet Arizona is proud to announce its 30th year of The Nutcracker performances, choreographed by renowned artistic director Ib Andersen. The Nutcracker will run from December 11-27 for a total of 20 performances, with afternoon and evening shows at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. In 2013, The New York Times’ senior dance critic Alastair Macaulay declared Ib Andersen’sThe Nutcracker “one of the three finest productions” of the nearly 20 versions he attended around the country. The Ballet Arizona production was created in 2006 at a cost of $1.8 million for the magical sets and breathtaking costumes.
Frida Kahlo will be the subject of not one, but two celebrations of First Fridays at The Heard Museum, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 6 and Dec. 4, during which the Heard offers free admission to its galleries. On Dec. 4, kick off the holidays with ¡Fiesta con Frida! by experiencing the flavors of Frida Kahlo’s favorite recipes. Savor an incredible, one-time only fiesta spread re-created by the Heard Museum’s Courtyard Cafe. Enjoy a mariachi band and dancing, a piñata and a Frida Foto Booth with special props of which Kahlo would have approved. Reservations are available online at heard.org with special discounted ticket prices for Heard Museum members. And Wichita’s Fortune Huntinghorse Jewelry will be in the Heard Museum Shop from 6 to 8 p.m.
Kick off your holiday season with the whole family during Thanksgiving weekend with Pixar in Concert. Conducted by Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz, The Phoenix Symphony plays the memorable scores from each of Pixar’s movies, including its latest release, Monsters University while visually stunning film clips are projected on screen above the orchestra. The Phoenix Symphony presents Pixar in Concert November 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and November 29 at 2:00 p.m. at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. From the Toy Story trilogy to The Incredibles and Up, Pixar Animation Studios has forever impacted filmmaking and given audiences of all ages some of the most beloved characters in cinematic history. Celebrate Pixar all weekend with The Good Dinosaur, opening on November 25.
It’s time for one of the most longstanding and cherished holiday traditions in Tempe; the Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade sponsored by Wells Fargo. In its 23rd year, the parade will feature as many as 40 units, including floats, balloons, clowns, novelty units, marching bands, and the arrival of Santa Claus. The parade proceeds through Downtown Tempe on November 28 at 6 p.m. At the conclusion of the parade is the Fantasy of Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by Tempe St. Luke's Hospital, in Centerpoint Plaza. Santa Claus will take the stage for his official duties and then takes his seat in Centerpoint Plaza to hear children’s special gift requests. Families are encouraged to bring their own camera for free Selfies with Santa.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year as the Valley’s most beloved holiday tradition, Holiday Pops, returns toSymphony Hall. Join The Phoenix Symphony and The Phoenix Symphony Chorus in an all-new show featuring singer and pianist Tony DeSare, and experience this festive concert of seasonal favorites, including the ever-popular Holiday Sing-Along. This revamped concert is guaranteed to put you and your family in the holiday spirit. Don’t miss one our most popular concerts of the year December 4 at 7:30 p.m., December 5 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and December 6 at 2:00 p.m. at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix.
Gifted, a recent addition to the Heard Collection will open Saturday, Dec. 19. The Heard Museum’s permanent collection is at the heart of its exhibits and programs. Gifted celebrates the gifted people who made the art, and the gifted collectors with an eye for art who generously gave their art to the museum. In addition, some donors have provided purchase funds, recognizing the museum’s need to buy the best of new artworks. Paintings, katsina dolls, ceramics, basketry and jewelry are all gifts the Heard has recently received. A subset of the exhibit will showcase recent gifts of paintings by three extraordinary women—Santa Clara Pueblo artists Pablita Velarde, her daughter Helen Hardin and her granddaughter Margarete Bagshaw.
A Southwestern tradition, Holidays at the Heard is a great way to spend time with family and friends. Exciting performances and artist demonstrations introduce visitors to traditional and contemporary American Indian music, dance and art throughout the week. Visitors can also browse items in the Museum Shop. Have lunch at the Courtyard Café, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day during Holidays at the Heard. Holidays at the Heard will begin Dec. 26 – 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
After an extensive nationwide search, the Heard Museum in Phoenix has announced that its Board of Trustees appointed David M. Roche as director and chief executive officer, and will be effective January 1, 2016. Roche has served as the director of Sotheby’s American Indian Art Department for the past 18 years. During his tenure at Sotheby’s, the most important collections of American Indian art were entrusted to his care and resulted in landmark sales. Roche has consulted and lectured on American Indian art at museums and universities around the world including the British Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Museum. He has published on the subjects of antique and contemporary American Indian art, most recently in exhibition catalogues for the Museum of Art and Design’s Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation.
The Tempe Festival of the Arts consistently ranks among the Top 20 art festivals in the nation by Sunshine Artist and has received the Pinnacle Award from the International Festival and Events Association. The spring and fall events each attract nearly 250,000 visitors to downtown Tempe over the course of a 3-day weekend. Well-behaved dogs may attend the Festival on leash. Family friendly fun including the Chalk A Lot Street chalk mural competition and cash prize, LIVE entertainment and of course -- amazing, juried, indie art for sale. Come meet the artisans and make a weekend of it in downtown Tempe December 4-6. New for fall 2015, there’ll be food trucks on hand at the event, Festival After Dark wine and beer activations including brews from local Tempe breweries, Arizona vineyards and live musicians.
Light up the night and be dazzled at the Valley’s most unique holiday event---the Fantasy of Lights Boat Paradepresented by SRP at Tempe Town Lake on December 12, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. With its beginning in 1999, the Boat Parade will feature as many as 50 festively lighted boats of all sizes. After dark, more than 1,000 luminarias will illuminate the sidewalks and paths of Tempe Beach Park, a special display provided by Tempe South Rotary. Fireworks will light up the night, too. The Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade fireworks finale will conclude the light-filled night following the end of the boat parade. Special guest, Santa Claus, will hear children’s gift requests in Tempe Beach Park. Bring your camera.
Explore, experience and make memories on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe, as the entire downtown district turns into a giant, open air beer garden with all the famous bars and restaurants you love opening their doors and patios for one gigantic, gangbuster celebration. Pay one cover for entry and explore the downtown with open-carry drink options, LIVE music including American rock jam band O.A.R. (Of A Revolution) and more. The New Year’s Eve Block Party on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe will take place on December 31 at 8 p.m.
Celebrate the Christmas season mixing and mingling to “Jingle Bell Rock” and other music by the Alley Cats quartet at a special Sun City West concert this December. The Alley Cats will bring their annual Christmas show to Palm Ridge Recreation Center Dec. 9. At 6:30 p.m. The Alley Cats offer a night of comedy and acappella music, featuring some of your favorite wintertime classics. Songs will include “Let it Snow,” “Blue Christmas,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and more.
Join Pueblo Grande Museum in January for a variety of archaeology and museum related classes, programs and tours. Register for paid programs at pueblogrande.com or through the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. Activities throughout January include Behind the Scenes Tour with Curator, Plant Tour of Pueblo Grande, Archaeology for Kids, and Park of Four Waters Tour where visitors can walk through undeveloped, natural desert to the ruins of prehistoric hohokam canal systems. Also coming up at the Pueblo Grande Museum is a lecture with Archaeology Center Executive Director, Kennth Zoll, on Wednesday, January 6 at 7:30 p.m. onThe Billingsley Hopi Dancers. The Verde Valley Archaeology Center and Hopi Tribe jointly received a grant to preserve a rare 1957 film of the dancers. This presentation discusses the background of this history and shows the film. This event is free and open to the public, made possible by the Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary.
Join the Recreation Centers of Sun City West at Palm Ridge Rec. Center to ring in 2016 in style. This year brings guests a new caterer, new prices and new options to go along with the New Year celebration. This year’s New Year’s Eve party will feature two ticket options. The first option includes dinner and the dance. The second option includes dance and dessert. Dancing begins at 9 p.m. when Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns take the stage.
Together the elves at Butterfly Wonderland and Chapman Ford are already busy crafting the most extraordinary holiday venue ever! Beginning November 27 through December 24, a flurry of magic will transform Scottsdale’s ever-popular Butterfly Wonderland into a breathtaking holiday display. Visitors of all ages will be awe-struck as they walk through a "Winter Wonderland" amidst 3,000 butterflies fluttering freely in the magnificent glass atrium.
The transformation of the historic Professional Building along Central Avenue and Monroe Street in Downtown Phoenix is one step closer to completion. When the site opens as the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Downtown in December, the hotel will feature the much-anticipated second location of Arcadia foodie favorite Nook Kitchen. Minneapolis-based CSM Corporation, the building’s owner, recently signed a contract with Nook proprietors, Frank Vairo and Erin Brown, to offer the neighborhood eatery’s special blend of light bites and hearty upscale fare to hotel guests and locals alike. Nook’s original location in Phoenix has won favor with both customers and critics, even earning the top spot on USA Today’s list of “10 Best Phoenix Restaurants in Arcadia.”
Take the stress out of Thanksgiving this holiday season and treat yourself to a 3-course Thanksgiving Feast atJ&G Steakhouse in Scottsdale. J&G Steakhouse is whipping up a special 3-course Thanksgiving menu featuring butternut squash soup, roasted turkey with mushrooms and chestnut truffle stuffing and finishing it off with Kabocha pumpkin cheesecake. The dinner will take place Thursday, November 26 and reservations are recommended.
Phoenix has a new late night destination. Urban Beans, a neighborhood favorite of those looking for coffee, pastries, drinks or a meal, has expanded their hours to be open around the clock. A comfortable place to meet friends, new people, have a latte and business lunch or relax and reward your hard work with a glass of wine, handcrafted cocktail or local Arizona draft beer, Urban Beans Bar and 24 Hour Cafe truly is a "Third Place."
Get ready to sink your teeth into the new breakfast menu at Tea & Toast Co. with loads of new breakfast sammies, and (of course) toast on toast on toast! Plus, with new goodies like their Daily Hash with local ingredients and French Toast with blueberry jam, whipped ginger butter, and brown butter maple, they've got everything you need to get your day started right.
Renowned for offering spectacular views of the city skyline with cuisine to match, Different Pointe of Viewwelcomes the return of its Insider’s View Dinner series featuring top winemakers from across the country for one Phoenix’s most up-close and intimate food and wine experiences. Offering seven exclusive dinners limited to just 12 guests, each Insider’s View Dinner begins with an outdoor sunset wine reception hosted by the owner of the featured vineyard. Dinner guests have the opportunity to mix and mingle with the evening’s winemaker as the sun sets over the city skyline. The evening continues in the main dining room overlooking dramatic city and mountain views where Executive Chef Anthony DeMuro prepares a four- to five-course dinner entirely tableside.The 2015-2016 Insider’s View Dinner Series runs October through May.
Celebrate Thanksgiving in the historic setting of the Arizona Biltmore – with either epicurean dining in signature Wright’s at The Biltmore, a holiday feast in Frank & Albert’s, an extravagant buffet with all your favorite Thanksgiving dishes in the Gold Room, or gourmet take-out prepared by the resort’s talented culinary team so you can enjoy a family holiday dinner at home without all the work. Plus a variety of activities and events will be offered to kick off the holiday season, along with a special room rate for a Thanksgiving getaway. Thanksgiving Buffet in the Gold Room: A bountiful cornucopia of holiday and favorite dishes will be served in the gracious setting of the Gold Room. The lavish buffet features Roast Organic Turkey with Sage Walnut Stuffing & Giblet Gravy, Prime Rib of Angus Beef with Natural Jus, Glazed Ham with Apple Cider Jus, and an array of stations including Starters, Small Plates, Hot, Carving, Candy Land and Kids Station.
The Wigwam is hosting special holiday events beginning in November throughout the entire holiday season for guests and locals alike. The Wigwam has prepared over-the-top and fun dining offerings including a Thanksgiving Day buffet, Winter Holiday Tea, Breakfast with Santa, and Christmas Eve and Day dining options. In addition, The Wigwam is hosting activities for families to participate in including Holiday Nights in Lights, visits from Santa Claus, holiday outdoor ice rink, and a Nutcracker Ballet to name a few. The Wigwam loves the holidays and they are inviting everyone to make The Wigwam their home this year.
The retro-chic Hotel Valley Ho in Downtown Scottsdale is celebrating Thanksgiving with two delicious dining options. Enjoy an à la carte dinner in ZuZu or a full buffet in the ballroom. The ZuZu Thanksgiving Dinner will feature the restaurant’s seasonal menu from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. along with some festive specials from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Savor dishes including Butternut Squash Soup with sage crème fraiche, Slow Roasted Turkey with all the trimmings, and pecan and pumpkin pie. Pricing is à la carte.The Valley Ho Thanksgiving Buffet will be served in SoHo Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy live music and a full buffet including Slow Roasted Turkey, Honey Glazed Ham, an array of salads and savory side dishes, and desserts like Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon whipped cream and Sweet Potato Cheesecake with maple cream. The buffet is $59 per person or $19 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity, not including alcohol.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch invites Valley residents to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a special Thanksgiving Buffet in SWB, a southwest bistro, on Thursday, Nov. 26. SWB’s Thanksgiving Buffet offers a variety of festive favorites including Eggs Benedict, Jumbo Shrimp, Smoked Scottish Salmon, Prime Rib of Beef and desserts like Bananas Foster, Pumpkin, Pecan and Apple Pies. SWB’s Thanksgiving Buffet will be served from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The secret’s officially out about Tempe’s newest rooftop playground, and this mountain-view perch sits squarely within the action of Downtown Tempe and Arizona State University’s main campus, yet remains comfortably tucked away from the crowds and chaos. And in addition to the blooms, bikes and beers, the new Tapacubo Rooftop at the Graduate Tempe hotel is an adult amusement spot, boasting flat-screen TVs always tuned into the day’s game along with rotating games like corn hole and giant Jenga, alongside local brews, signature cocktails, a full food menu compliments of Tempe’s own Tapacubo taqueria, and of course: unobstructed views of booming Downtown Tempe, Gammage Auditorium, ASU and A-Mountain vistas.
Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros. Bagels are debuting their newest coffee and bagels concept in Tempe. The new location will be the first in the state to feature both Caribou Coffee’s specialty coffee and handcrafted beverages, which pairs perfectly with Einstein Bros. fresh-baked bagels and shmear. The new location will feature both brands’ aesthetics– as well as new design elements that portray their neighborly, quirky and optimistic brand equities. Both Caribou and Einstein Bros. Bagels fan favorites will be on the combined menu, such as Caribou’s Carmel Highrise and Einstein Bros. wide variety of fresh-baked flavors. Different limited time offerings will complement each other like Caribou’s Pumpkin Chai Latte and Einstein Bros. pumpkin bagel and shmear.
Agave, The Arizona Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort is celebrating the holiday season with its own special gift. Those who purchase a gift card for $250 or more will receive a bonus complimentary $25 gift card. The “Give a Gift, Get A Gift” offer is valid for gift cards purchased through Jan. 2, 2016 at Agave, The Arizona Spa or online.The best part is, the gift cards have no expiration date and can be used in place of cash for spa and salon treatments, spa retail items and at the Agave Juice and Smoothie Bar!
Sparkling over at the spa, the "Let It Glow" spa day package at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ Well & Being Spa offers a choice of either a 60-Minute NovoGlow facial or a new, 60-minute Java body scrub, plus a spa lunch, glass of wine and full use of the spa facilities for the day, including the exercise classes, rooftop pool and waterfall grotto. The price is $159 plus taxes and gratuity.
The Westin Kierland Golf Club will host its inaugural Club Championship on Dec. 12-13, 2015. Open to the public, the event will offer two rounds of golf, lunch daily, a variety of prizes, and a value-packed tee package that includes discount offers such as a $69 replay offer. Players may register under Men’s and Women’s divisions. Flights will be established at registration deadline. Prizes will be awarded for both Gross and Net Divisions. A verifiable handicap must be provided one week prior to the event. The Professional Division champion will win a one-year range pass.