CITY NEWS

Visit Phoenix has published a new edition of its Phoenix Trail Guide to help Phoenix visitors and locals make informed decisions during the next eight months of hiking bliss. The free, pocket-sized guide provides basic information about more than 140 trails managed by the City of Phoenix, Maricopa County and the City of Scottsdale. Among the new guide’s contents include local trail recommendations, information on guided hiking tours, trails that are open to dogs, horses and/or mountain bikes, and suggestions for hiking in other parts of Arizona. The trail guide is available to guests at more than 30 hotels and resorts in the Phoenix area, and a digital version can be downloaded at visitphoenix.com. Visitors to downtown Phoenix can pick up a free trail guide at Visit Phoenix’s official Visitor Information Center—open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 125 N. 2nd St.—or from one of the orange-shirted Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors who serve as sidewalk concierges seven days a week.

The Arizona Organizing Committee revealed the logo and title sponsor for the fan festival that will accompany the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game. Ak-Chin Indian Community will sponsor the "Championship Campus,” which will occupy five blocks in downtown Phoenix during the three days leading up to the Jan. 11 game. The campus will include free concerts and events, including Playoff Fan Central at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Arizona State University (ASU) was recently ranked number one for most innovative schools by U.S. News & World Report, competing against other universities like Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  This is a new category that compares over 1,500 institutions and is based on a variety of different factors. Based on a survey of peers, ASU topped the list for implementing the most innovative improvements to its curriculum, students, campus life and technology.

RESORT NEWS

For October, The Phoenician’s Lobby Tea Court transforms into a picture of pink in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Guests are invited to enjoy a colorful culinary experience as part of the resort’s signature Afternoon Tea. A portion of the proceeds for the month will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Central and Northern Arizona.  During October, pastel linens will accessorize the traditional tea setting, J Vineyards Brut Rosé will be the special sparkling wine served and menus will be printed in pink.

At Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, experience Arizona’s stunning sunsets in a new way during “Sunset Palettes.” Hosted 1,800 feet above the city on the patio of the Terrace Room Lounge, the mountaintop cocktail lounge at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, local artist Dina Murphy will lead guests through a casual, fun and social painting class to create their sunset masterpiece during “Sunset Palettes.” Designed for adults with no previous painting experience, the setting and social nature of the class makes “Sunset Palettes” perfect for date night or a girls’ night out. During the class, guests can fuel their creativity with specialty cocktails, wines, beer and small plates available at The Terrace Room Lounge.

Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort has brought back the super car ultimate driving experience – with even more high-gear excitement for 2015-2016. The Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience puts guests behind the wheel of some of the world’s most exclusive super cars on a thrilling Arizona driving tour, and for the second season the program has been expanded with more tour dates – including, for the first time, tours in January, when the spotlight of the car world is on Phoenix. Leading collectors and devotees descend on the city for the quintessential annual car auctions and the glamorous Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore.

Back by popular demand, Friday Night Lights returns to Kierland Golf Club at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.  Starting this October, the Resort’s FUN team will partner with Kierland Golf Club to offer Friday night fun for all ages including golf games, SNAG® golf for kids, 20-minute clinics with the course pros, a nine-hole glow putt course, music and even beverage cart service right on the driving range. For families, the events will offer SNAG® golf (Starting New at Golf) an easy way for kids to learn the basics of putting, chipping, pitching and full swing using specially adapted equipment and targets, as well as a host of other family-friendly activities.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announces it has been selected to manage a new, luxury boutique hotel in Greater Phoenix. The 237-room, new build hotel is part of One | Hundred | Mill, a major, mixed-use development scheduled to break ground in November of this year. With a targeted opening date of late 2017, the new luxury boutique hotel and surrounding retail and office high-rise development, owned in a joint venture by San Diego-based Douglas Wilson Companies and Hensel Phelps Development, will be located at the corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, which is considered the gateway to downtown Tempe. Once completed, the Tempe Kimpton will feature 237 guest rooms, 12,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and a 4,750 square foot rooftop pool and terrace lounge, along with a fitness center and a full service, Kimpton-managed restaurant and bar venue.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch has won a “Best of the West” award for the ninth time in the program’s history. Each year, Meetings Focus lets the users, made up of planners who hold events globally, determine the best hotels and resorts for meetings and events in North America. The properties are judged on the quality of meeting space, guest rooms, services and amenities, food and beverage, tech and bandwidth support, recreation facilities/ activities, helpfulness of staff and overall value and experience. Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch is one of the elite 64 who won the award this year.

It’s that time again all you witches, goblins and goons. Talking Stick Resort is celebrating Halloween with its annual Wicked Ball event on October 31. Hosted in the property’s Salt River Grand Ballroom, the event will feature live entertainment, a variety of performers and decked-out characters vying for top honors in the costume contest. At the end of the night, the remaining 10 finalists will win a share of $10,000. But that’s not all -- as the Halloween party will also showcase EDM, trance and Top 40 hits all night long. In its second year, the Halloween bash will feature three rooms complete with cocktail specials and variety acts. Each room will showcase a different theme, vibe and musical style so guests will get to experience three parties for the price of one.

ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT

This January the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix celebrates the violin. The internationally beloved instrument will be the star of a new exhibition that showcases 10 exceptional historic and modern examples from the string family, including a 1728 Stradivarius violin on public display for the first time in the United States. Opening Jan. 16, 2016, “Stradivarius: Origins and Legacy of the Greatest Violin Maker” introduces the story of how early violin makers from the modest Italian city of Cremona shaped global music from the 16th century onward. MIM will explore how the workshops of the Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari families produced and perfected the look and sound of instruments in the string family. The exhibition will show why their legacy continues to inspire instrument makers and audiences today. Guests will hear and see the instruments on display through audio and video technology and will experience the violin as never before. MIM is the only location in the world hosting this one-of-a-kind exhibition. It will feature five historic instruments made from the 16th to the early 19th century by the so-called masters of Cremonese violin making.

Heritage Square is partnering with Native American Connections, the Phoenix Indian Center and the Heard Museum to present the Phoenix Indian School Legacy Project exhibit. The 99-year history of the Phoenix Indian School and recent efforts to renovate a building used to educate American Indians there will be presented in an exhibit at Phoenix’s Heritage Square that includes photographs and objects from the Heard Museum’s collection. The Phoenix Indian School Legacy Project exhibit is  open to the public until  Dec. 31 in the Heritage Gallery.

Desert Botanical Garden launches an array of Monarch related activities this fall featuring the caterpillars that will turn into beautiful Arizona butterflies. This includes the Meet the Caterpillars exhibit, Monarch Butterfly Walksand Monarch Magic Family classes. Through the month of November, families are welcome to come and meet the caterpillars on their journey to becoming butterflies every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Once the caterpillars have transformed, there will be Monarch Butterfly Walkers on Saturday mornings where guests can learn about different types of butterflies and explore them with a naturalist.

The Canine Couture returns to The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships, allowing Arizona's most pampered paws to strut their fashionable stuff in front of thousands of attendees. Presented by the finest luxury pet resorts in Arizona, Applewood Pet Resort and Bark AvenueThe Canine Couture will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 2:30 p.m. and is a delight for fashion and dog lovers alike. Flamboyant is an understatement! Accompanied by the enthusiastic energy at the Valley's next greatest show on grass, the canines, with their human companions in tow, will parade across the WestWorld of Scottsdale Polo Field and show off polo's latest fashions.

Ballet Arizona is proud to announce that the 2015-2016 season will open with the highly anticipated classic,Coppélia. This comic ballet remains an all-time favorite of many and Ballet Arizona is pleased to present this legendary work for the first time since 2007. Ballet Arizona will give six performances of Coppélia from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. This tale of life-sized dolls comes to life in colorful costumes, making this a perfect complement to Halloween weekend festivities. Patrons of all ages are encouraged to attend in costume.

Spend your Thanksgiving weekend with the whole family at The Phoenix Symphony with Pixar in Concert.Listen to the music of your favorite Pixar movies while visually stunning film clips are projected above the orchestra. The performance will take place Nov. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 29 at 2:00 p.m. at Symphony Hall.

The Desert Botanical Gardens announces Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light at Desert Botanical Garden featuring an inventive array of materials and hundreds of miles of fiber optics.  Located throughout the Garden, the site-specific exhibition will reflect Munro’s personal interpretation of the Sonoran Desert.  The exhibition runs selected nights from Nov. 22 to May 8, 2016. The show illustrates a passion for invention and repetitive use of materials and Munro conveys his love of experimentation through the use of light, glass, water bottles, acrylics and pottery creating an exhibition, through which visitors will wander the Garden guided by his dream-like displays.

Maestro Tito Muñoz leads The Phoenix Symphony in Brahm’s Symphony No. 2, regarded as the composers most uplifting and melodic symphony. The program opens with Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture and continues with Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto. It will take place on Nov. 20 and 21 at 7:30 at symphony hall. Tickets start at $18.

This December, create a new holiday tradition and enjoy a morning of festive fun as a family during Cookies with Claus at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. Offered on three consecutive Saturdays during December – Dec. 5, 12 and 19 – children will have the chance to roll up their sleeves to create their own custom cookie creation, while listening to holiday storytelling, writing letters to Santa and mingling with Mrs. Claus.

Magic Bird Festivals commences its winter entertainment season with the 4th Annual Carefree Fine Art of the Southwest Festival on Friday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Nov. 29, in the Carefree Desert Gardens. Renowned for its contemporary, Southwest-inspired art and handcrafted designs, the entire show is woven throughout the tranquil beauty of Carefree’s exotic desert botanical gardens. Escape the post-Thanksgiving shopping milieu for this entirely free, family-friendly event that runs daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Browse one-of-a-kind sculptures, exquisite Native American jewelry, and exceptional mixed-media pieces while taking in the vibrant desert flora and fauna artfully landscaped throughout the four-acre gardens.

With Phoenix finally catching glimpses of nicer weather and fall weather just around the corner, the Desert Botanical Garden is featuring a variety of artists with their Fall Music in the Garden concert series. Starting on Oct. 2 through Nov. 14, 2015 every Friday and Saturday evening there will be a concert from 7 to 9 pm. People can expect to see performances by Tommy Ash Band, Walt Richardson and Friends, Fatigo and many more.

Bearizona is hosting Howly Growly Owly Festival weekends in October. Visitors are encouraged to dress up in costume and kids that do will get a “beary” special treat! Festivities include Howl-O-Ween Express: Hop on the windowless bus that takes visitors through the drive-through animal exhibits. This is about as close as you are going to get to the animals, so you don't want to miss out. Patrons can howl with the wolves in the Alaskan Tundra & Arctic Wolf enclosure and watch the bison interact with a special Howl-O-Ween enrichment treat.  Bus rides depart from the Fort Bearizona parking lot at 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and  4:00 p.m. every Friday and 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October.

Excitement is building for Sun City West’s Fall Arts and Crafts Fair to be held the first Saturday in November atR.H. Johnson Recreation Center from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This popular event features the work of many artisans from more than 20 clubs offering pottery, jewelry, clothing, artwork and so much more at exceptional prices. This event is ideal for collecting decorative items for your home, looking ahead to the upcoming holidays or finding that special gift for a friend or new grandbaby.

DINING

If you love tacos, then you’ll definitely love the Arizona Taco Festival, where the best tacos in the state are the center of attention. The 6th Annual Arizona Taco Festival will take place on Oct. 17-18, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. This is the largest taco celebration with more than 50 teams in the taco-making challenge as fans sample and savors their creations. Taco competitors are judged by officials of the National Taco Association. The stakes are higher than ever with the $10,000 cash prize that taco teams are battling for. The event is filled with music, food, and fun including, Lucha Libre Wrestling, Boutique Tequila Expo with more than 100 types of tequila, Hot Chili Pepper Eating Contests, Chihuahua Beauty Pageant, Surf Band Music Showcase, Mariachi and more.

Rub elbows with the culinary wizard Graham Elliot of FOX TV’s "MasterChef;” hear Fab Four stories with Sir Paul's step-mom and sister, Angie & Ruth McCartney at afternoon tea; learn the best-kept crockpot secrets with cyber sensation Jenn Bare of “GetCrocked.com” with 1.5 million followers.  Experience all of this and more at azcentral.com Food & Wine Experience presented by Cadillac  Nov. 7 & 8, Scottsdale Fashion Square. Celebrate the global language of food featuring a Grand Tasting of 50 restaurants over two days, enjoy exclusive orchard dining experiences, and feel enriched by rare seminars and cooking demonstrations by James Beard Award winners. Be entertained by renowned guest chefs with a global perspective featuring Chuck Hughes of Cooking Channel’s Chuck’s Day Off and Chuck’s Week Off as well as co-owner and chef of Montreal hot-spot,Garde MangerMichael Ginor of Hudson Valley Foie GrasAkira Back of Kumi Japanese Restaurant + Bar at Mandalay Bay and Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge at Bellagio Resort and Paul Bartolotta ofBartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Resort, Las Vegas.  Among the rare dining experiences is Yappie Hour: bring your pooch to a one-of-a-kind gathering and enjoy delicious treats, giveaways and pup-perfect activities; or wake up and relax with a rejuvenating morning of yoga in a serene orchard setting at the Yoga & Mimosa Brunch featuring healthy bites by True Food Kitchen. Explore AJ’s Festive Entertaining Pavilion with demonstrations, a cigar lounge, boutique and more; relax in private VIP cabanas and cicerones and visit with award-winning vintners and distillers presented by Alliance Beverage, and cicerones and craft beer by Hensley Beverage Company. Keep the party going with Aperitif, the after-party. And Sunday, cap off the most exclusive fall festival with a remarkable Sunday Brunch by Chef Beau MacMillan

On November 21, Arizona residents will begin their holiday eating binge one week early and indulge in the first Phoenix Pizza Festival on the Saturday before Thanksgiving from 11am to 5pm. Taking place at Civic Space Park in the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Phoenix Pizza Festival will benefit Local First Arizona, an organization that champions local business ownership and consumer support of those businesses. Approximately 15 pizza makers will come together and serve $2 slices, full pies, and everything in between to a crowd of about 2,500 attendees. Some participants to date include: Fabio on Fire, Focoso, Charred, il Bosco, Saffron JAK, Grand Avenue Pizza Company, Doughlicious, Rosati’s, Whiskey Ranch Grill, La Piazza PHX, Authentic Pizza Ovens, and others. Craft beer and wine tasting stations, fun lawn games, dessert vendors, and live bands will add to the pizza enjoyment. Expect beer from local makers such as the new Wren House BrewingTHAT Brewery, SantTan, and Sonoran Brewing Company, and wines by Chronic Cellars,Chateau La PawsWoodwork, and others. A kid’s craft zone will round out the fun. Since the holiday shopping season kicks off later that week, the event will also include a local business vendor marketplace so attendees can shop for gifts while supporting local business.

A modern Mexican restaurant, Salt Tacos y Tequila, will open a nearly 15,000 square-foot eatery at Westgate Entertainment District in November, which is the largest restaurant lease signed to-date. Located in the former Margaritaville space, Salt Tacos y Tequila is a new restaurant concept from the owner of Whiskey Rose, located next door. Salt’s menu will feature such items as Bacon Wrapped Tomatillo, Habanero and Guava Lobster Tacos and a Braised Pork Tenderloin with red wine. There will be a large selection of craft cocktails and margaritas along with an extensive tequila selection featuring more than 75 varieties. The two-story space is currently undergoing renovations that include building a large indoor/outdoor bar, installing new glass garage doors, redesigning the interior and expanding the patio.

Enjoy the cooler weather at Phoenix Public Market’s new weekly outdoor market: Downtown Sundown. Every Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., sip on local beer, wine and cocktails while you dine and shop, and enjoy an entertainment line-up that will feature live music, performing arts groups, local filmmakers, and even some square dancing in the heart of the city. As always, shop for farm fresh foods and specialty goods and be inspired by the energy of the Downtown Phoenix community.  

TEXAZ Grill is celebrating 30 years in October. In celebration, owner/head chef Steve Freidkin is offering up a Texas-sized food and drink special! Diners can enjoy any "Chicken Fried" entree plus beverage and dessert for just $19.85 on Oct. 30. Served in honor of this landmark restaurant's three decades of serving up the finest from-scratch, traditional Texas favorites since 1985, Freidkin invites both longtime customers and newbies to come and celebrate with the TEXAZ crew.

Chef Pete DeRuvo and Nick Neuman are officially ready to launch their latest labor of love -- Citrine.  Citrine, the latest concept from the acclaimed chef known for his distinctive, authentic Italian dishes and painstaking pasta-making process will feature wood-fired dishes, house-made pastas and an abundance of additional offerings, from  a to charcuterie. In addition to DeRuvo’s Italian menu, Citrine boasts a 30-seat bar area where thirsty patrons can enjoy an array of innovative “on tap” offerings, from Fernet, an Italian, bitter aromatic spirit, to four fine wines (two from Arizona) and 10 Arizona craft beers.

Love beer? Love bikes? Then dust off the handlebars and pump up those tires, because Pedal Haus Breweryrolls into Greater Phoenix. Owner and restaurateur Julian Wright (formerly of La Bocca and Handlebar Tempe fame) has assembled a dream team of talents for his latest labor of love, among them Executive Chef Matt McLinn, Master Brewer Derek Osborne and Certified Cicerone Zach Fowle. Pedal Haus is a Mill Avenue brewery, restaurant and entertainment destination slated for a grand opening Friday, Sept. 25. The brewery will features hand-crafted European-style beers, a Belgian-American gastropub food menu and the city’s largest patio.

This October, Proof, an American canteen, introduces a three-course pumpkin-inspired menu, with optional beer pairings, perfect for celebrating the changing of the season.  A seasonal cocktail also is available, as well as breakfast and lunch features. The three-course dinner menu will feature a first course of Roasted Pumpkin Soup, with cinnamon, sage and crème fraiche. For the entrée, Spiced Maple Glazed Duck Confit Legs will be served with caramelized pear, roasted pumpkin and pumpkin seeds.  Dessert will highlight a Pumpkin Spice Milkshake, with vanilla whipped cream and graham cracker crisps.  The cost for the three-course menu is $38, or $48 with optional seasonal beer pairings for the first two courses.

MAD Greens, the popular Colorado-based restaurant specializing in premium made-to-order salads, fresh-blended juices, paninis, wraps and soups, is excited to announce the grand opening of its latest Valley locations in central Scottsdale . With now 16 locations across Colorado and Arizona, MAD Greens has built a loyal following for its healthful, 'crave-able' and customizable menu, highlighted by create-your-own salads topped with premium, farm-fresh and locally sourced ingredients and from-scratch dressings made daily by MAD Greens' certified 'Dressing Mixologists.'

The wait is over!  Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails, the sophomore effort from Team Crudo (Chef Cullen Campbell, Micah Olson, and Maureen McGrath-Campbell), officially opened its doors on Sept. 16. Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails will be serving up authentic takes on classic Southern-style fare inside a stylishly restored midcentury modern space in the heart of uptown Phoenix. Okra's casual yet food-forward intention blurs the lines between Southern and Italian cooking. Think sharable starters such as Country Ham, Pimiento Cheese Aioli & Hoe Cakes and entrées such as Eggplant Parmesan with Stewed Okra.

SPA

The Sparkle Bar opens offering affordable, luxurious makeup services to Phoenicians and Arizona visitors. Co-founded by beauty industry pros, Alexandra Bradberry and Leiah Scheibel, The Sparkle Bar is Arizona’s first full-service makeup studio that will focus solely on makeup application – with no hair or nail services and no products for retail. The studio’s team of more than 20 gifted artists is dedicated to providing custom, glamorous beauty looks through personalized makeup application using the highest-quality makeup lines on the market including Becca, Makeup Forever, Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Kat Von D, MAC, Hourglass and more.

Fuchsia Spa, a concept designed for the everyday woman to indulge in affordable, yet high-end spa services monthly, has announced the breaking ground of its first franchise location, which is set to open in Phoenix this year. Long-time Fuchsia employee Shauna Owens, 30, and her sister Marissa Owens, 28, signed a lease in July for a 2,380-square-foot space at High Street, a premier urban dining and entertainment destination in northeast Phoenix. The day spa, which places an emphasis on results-driven skincare, is scheduled to open in November 2015.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain – renowned as a gathering point for the country’s most seasoned spa healers – has launched a Spa for a Dream promotion benefitting Colleen’s Dream Foundation, an Arizona-based organization that funds ovarian cancer research. Through Oct. 31, 2015, Sanctuary Spa is offering 60-minute Swedish Massages and 60-minute Sanctuary Jewel Facials for $99, a savings of more than 30 percent. Sanctuary will donate 10 percent of the treatment proceeds to Colleen’s Dream Foundation to help fund accurate and accessible early detection tests for ovarian cancer. Sanctuary Spa’s highly-regarded Sensei therapists are trained in oncology massage and restorative consultation, customizing soul-centering treatments for guests facing life-changing experiences, including illness.

SPORTS/GOLF

Kick off the football season by rounding up your friends and heading to Talking Stick Resort for Sunday Football Frenzy. The weekly event takes place in the resort’s 650-seat Showroom, which boasts giant HD screens, tasty game day eats and plenty of room for big groups. Plus, football fans can win a share of $2,000 in cash prizes by participating in trivia games during the commercial breaks and halftime. The trivia games will be hosted by Front Row Trivia Live, the nation’s premier interactive live trivia service. Trivia topics include: sports, celebrities, history and more. Football and trivia enthusiasts can make Sunday Football Frenzy a new game day tradition. The event takes place every Sunday during the season. Doors open one-hour prior to kickoff (morning and afternoon games), and there is no cover charge.