College Football Playoff National Championship's Countdown Clock debuts at America’s friendliest airport. With football season rapidly approaching, Phoenix begins its countdown to the College Football Playoff National Championship hosted on Jan. 11, 2016 with the unveiling of a countdown clock at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This clock will be counting down the days, hours and minutes until Arizona shines with the kick-off of the big game. Located in Terminal 4, which serves 80 percent of Sky Harbor’s passengers, the digital clock is illuminated on a 55 inch high-definition LED screen at the west end of Baggage Claim. An additional countdown clock will be illuminated on east end of Baggage Claim. This will be the second ever College Football Playoff National Championship hosted at the University of Phoenix Stadium. This will be the Valley’s first time hosting the game since the debut of the new format last year in Arlington, Texas.
To celebrate the recent opening of Arizona’s first American Girl® store, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spainvites guests to bring their special girl and her best doll friend for an American Girl experience with two new packages. Each special little girl and her doll will be treated to a VIP experience from the moment they check-in. After receiving a welcome letter from the Resort’s Director of Fun, they will be delighted to discover a fold-out doll bed, and a robe and slipper set just for their doll – and a sweet treat amenity just for them. The new packages are priced starting from $189 per room, per night and from $289 for the deluxe package per room, per night.
Hotel Valley Ho is offering live music during Recovery Sundays. Sunday is your day to recover from the weekend. Grab some friends and head to the ZuZu lounge Sunday afternoons for live music from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., August through September. Starting at 3 p.m., enjoy carefully crafted cocktails and half off all bottles of wine and Champagne. Swimming more your thing? Check out the scenery at OH Pool for food and drink specials, along with 25 percent off cabana rentals. For a more indulgent recovery, have a 90-minute spa party atVH Spa. Promotions are valid through Sept. 2015.
Talking Stick Resort is bringing Australia’s Thunder From Down Under back to the Showroom this September. But this time around, ladies can grab their girlfriends and enjoy a Girls Night Out package. The five exclusive packages, which include admission tickets and a variety of party perks, will be available for table purchases during all five Thunder From Down Under performances on Sept. 24-26.
The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, A Destination Hotel will reopen Sept. 8 following a massive renovation that transformed the independent resort and revitalized its amenities. As part of the $10 million renovation, the resort boasts two new restaurants and a bar, a transformed main pool, a significant addition of outdoor meeting and event space, and enhanced guest rooms, and a more open, welcoming feel throughout the hotel. Formerly Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center, the property designed by legendary Scottsdale architect Bennie Gonzalez opened 39 years ago on Sept. 4, 1976. To celebrate its reopening, The Scottsdale is offering a“Spirit of ’76 Opening Package” through the end of the year. Travelers to Scottsdale, Ariz. can take advantage of room rates starting at $76++ per night in honor of the year The Scottsdale made its original debut along with discounted spa treatments and tasting menu along with complimentary Wi-Fi, bicycle rentals and fitness center access.
The Boulders Resort announces their Dining Under the Stars a new seasonal dinner series promising to deliver six delicious nights of celestial wonders. From farm-to-table dinners served al fresco in the resort’s 5,600-square-foot Organic Garden, at the casual tree-shaded Cocopelli or on the patio of the Boulders Golf Club, guests can enjoy a gourmet meal under the night sky enveloped by the sights, sounds and scents of the exceptional desert landscape and the surrounding 12-million-year-old boulder rock formations. Featured dinners include Casa Noble Tequila Dinner at the Cocopelli (Sept. 24), Estancia Wine Dinner at the Boulders Club Patio (Oct. 15), Jim Beam Bourbon Dinner at the Organic Garden (Nov. 18), and Duckhorn Wine Dinner (Dec. 5).
ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
Phoenix Escape Room opens its doors in downtown Phoenix offering real-life room escape games. The escape room games are a type of mental and physical adventure game in which people are in a room with eight other participants for 60 minutes and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit. While it looks like an ordinary room, it’s actually a puzzle. During your escape, you will find yourself flexing your brain and looking in nooks and crannies you never even noticed. Find the hidden objects, figure out the clues and solve the puzzles to earn your freedom. This is a fun, challenging, immersive, interactive game experience taking place every day.
Phoenix Public Market presents Downtown Sundown. On Thursdays at sunset, the Phoenix Public Market will become a weekly hub for dinner, drinks, entertainment and shopping with over 25 of the Valley's unique local vendors. It launches Thursday, Sept. 24 and will be a weekly, Thursday night open air market from 5-9 p.m. This weeknight urban market will be unlike any other open air market that Phoenix has experienced. Meet up with your friends and family after work for a relaxing night under the city lights and stars. Shop for farm fresh foods and specialty goods and be inspired by the energy of the downtown Phoenix community. 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.
The Hogwarts Express returns to Symphony Hall this Halloween. After sold-out performances from its 2013/14 run, the show will be presented in an entirely new format, expanded for fans of all ages. This year’s musical potion offers a full-length concert of seasonal selections, even more memorable music from the Harry Potter films and an all new spooktacular dose of magic. Tickets start at $19. Need more Halloween fun than don’t miss Halloween at Hogwarts Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at The Orpheum Theatre.
The Heard Museum initiates planning phase to expand Remembering Our Indian School Days: The Boarding School Experience, which opened in 2000 in the East Gallery of the museum. The exhibit will be expanded and reinterpreted as a long-term exhibit documenting the experiences of tens of thousands of American Indian youth in federal boarding schools after receiving a $60,445 planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The funding will also pay the cost of setting forth plans for creating a traveling exhibition which will be sent to other museums around the country, two smaller traveling panels exhibits to be used locally, and publication of a catalog that would study the experience of those attending boarding and tribal schools between the late 19th century and today. The exhibit, originally planned as a three-year exhibit, has remained popular with audiences since it opened 15 years ago and continues to surprise the museum’s visitors and news media with its content and impact. Many have said after viewing it they were unaware of this chapter in American history.
Pueblo Grande Museum offers many archaeology and museum related classes and programs throughout the month of December. Children ages 7 to 12 can become a Junior Archaeologist and discover the science of archaeology by participating in a simulated excavation of a Hohokam pit house through the museum’sArchaeology for Kids activity on Dec. 6 at 9:30 a.m. Also featured is a Petroglyph Discover Hike for the whole family to explore a one mile Hohokam hike at South Mountain on Dec. 19 among many other scheduled events. Make sure to stop by for the 39th Annual Indian Market on Dec. 12 and 13 for a weekend full of American Indian art, music, and food presented by the Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary.
Arizona Opera features an upcoming collaboration with Arizona native and Poet Laureate Alberto "Tito" Ríosfor the U.S. premiere of Arizona Lady. Ríos, who worked closely with Arizona Lady conductor Kathleen Kelly to create the brand new bilingual production, penned the Spanish lyrics and text for the Kálmán comedy. Ríos will host Translation with Alberto "Tito" Ríos on Oct. 5 at the University of Arizona, about his experience working onArizona Lady. Ríos will also host Magical Realism: A Conversation with Alberto "Tito" Ríos on Nov. 9, at the Arizona Opera Center in downtown Phoenix. He will be discussing the themes and important of magical realism in works such as Florencia en el Amazonas. Arizona Lady opens the Arizona Opera's 2015/16 Season in Phoenix Oct. 16 - 18 at Symphony Hall. Tickets start at $25.
Desoto Central Market, the newest hangout to hit downtown Phoenix, offers Speakeasy Nights every Thursday; filled with a band in the bar area, free swing dancing classes at 8 p.m. and food specials until 10 p.m. The Speakeasy Nights run every Thursday from 7 to 11 p.m. and admission is free.
Put on your best cape and get ready for the iconic music from your favorite super hero movies and television shows. Your Spidey senses will tingle, and you will be at the edge of your seat when you hear music featuring your favorite super heroes: Batman, Superman, Captain America, The Incredibles, X-Men and many more Sept.27, 2015 at 2 p.m. at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. This concert is a part of the 2015/16 American Airlines Family Series. These concerts are interactive and feature captivating multi-media highlights. Don’t forget to come an hour early to enjoy pre-concert, superhero-themed activities, including arts and crafts, storytelling, trivia and our famous Instrument Petting Zoo, where everyone can be a musician. Patrons of all ages are invited to come dressed as their favorite superhero.
Fifty years ago, four prominent Arizona artists who shared a fervent desire to authentically preserve and perpetuate the culture of Western life in fine art formed the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA).To mark the CAA’s golden anniversary and the contributions of its 77 artists, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West will present the exhibition “A Salute to Cowboy Artists of America and a Patron: 50 Years of Amazing Contributions to the American West.” It opens to the public on Saturday, November 7 and will remain on view through May 31, 2016. In addition to showcasing one painting or bronze by each of the 77 artists who have ever been a member of the prestigious CAA organization, the exhibition will pay tribute to the late Eddie Basha.
Broadway sensation Wicked The Musical is now playing at Arizona State’s Gammage Theatre, brought back by popular demand. The story takes place long before Dorothy is introduced, and tells how two girls meet in the land of Oz and grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good. The musical continues to break box office records and sell out in record time. The show is will run through Oct. 4.
Arizona Opera opens its 2015/16 Season as the first U.S. opera company to present the comic operetta Arizona Lady. The story revolves around leading lady Lona Farrell, whose hopes and dreams ride on the back of one horse, "Arizona Lady", winning the Kentucky Derby. Arizona Opera will be the first major U.S. opera house to perform Arizona Lady. The piece has recently received international attention as the Komische Oper Berlin presented a new production in Dec. 2014.
The Coliseum shines brightly this fall with big name acts performing in the 2015 Coliseum Concert Series at theArizona State Fair. The line-up features an eclectic mix of rock, pop, country, rap, and hip hop recording stars. All shows are free to fair-goers with paid fair admission. The 2015 all-star line-up includes Rick Springfield, Sheryl Crow, Gary Allan, Flo Rida, Jason Derulo, and many more. The Coliseum Concert Series is held at theVeterans Memorial Coliseum at the state fairgrounds. The 131st annual Arizona State Fair runs Oct. 16 to Nov. 8 (open Wednesday through Sunday) and hosts a variety of fun-filled attractions, activities and rides for all ages.
Musical Instrument Museum announces the return of MIMFest. Following the success of MIMFest in 2014, the Musical Instrument Museum’s (MIM) inaugural music festival, this two-day outdoor event will return to the museum parking lot Nov. 7 and 8. Local, national and international musical acts will perform on three stages offering attendees a one-of-a-kind musical journey. MIMFest is inspired by MIM’s commitment to celebrating musical traditions of the world. Set against the backdrop of the stunning Arizona desert, the festival showcases more than 20 performing groups as well as 12 food trucks serving global fare. It will be a weekend of incomparable entertainment, culture and cuisine. Confirmed performers include Ozomatli, The Recycled Orchestra, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Jaron Freeman-Fox, Victor Wooten, Run Boy Run, and many more.
Arizona residents will begin their holiday eating binge one week early and indulge in the first Phoenix Pizza Festival on November 21, the Saturday before Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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, 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 Brewing andSonoran Brewing Company, and wines by Chronic Cellars, Chateau La Paws, Woodwork, 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. Tickets are $10.
Arizona Musicfest announces the lineup for its 25th Anniversary year, with superstar violinist Joshua Bell to headline the 6 week-long music event. The Festival opens Jan. 29 and runs through March 11, 2016. The Festival, which began in 1991 with just a small series of concerts, has grown into a significant annual event featuring 18 concerts. Arizona Musicfest features artists from a broad range of music genres, including Broadway, Rock & Roll, and Pop as well as Jazz, Classical and Bluegrass.
Foodies will get the chance to sample good eats during Arizona Restaurant Association's Fall Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW). Each year, restaurant owners view this week of eats as the true “gateway to the season” in their respective establishments. From Sept. 18-27, diners can experience special menus at local favorites. From sizzling Southwestern and soothing comfort foods to five-star dining and international fare – It’s the ideal time to try new restaurants and cuisine types during Arizona Restaurant Week.
Downtown Phoenix’s fall Urban Ale Trail returns September 12, showing off the best brews the city has to offer. This self-guided tour connects beer lovers to the vast assortment of greater Downtown restaurants and watering holes, known for their amazing craft beers on tap. Participating establishments will provide beer samples from 1 to 6 p.m. that are between $1-$2, as well as tasty snacks to pair with the selection of ales. The first 300 who begin their trek at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel will receive a free 2015 Urban Ale Trail growler! A few of the venues highlighting craft brews include Mother Bunch Brewing with three samples of their own; Angel’s Trumpet Ale House; and Fez, The District, FilmBar, Hard Rock Café, Province, Phoenix Public Market, and Short Leash Hot Dogs all serving up different Four Peaks craft brews. There is no participation fee. Participants can walk, bike, or ride the light rail to get to all of the locations!
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, opens its third Phoenix area location at Kierland Commons. The newest member of the Snooze family is housed inside a perfectly compact, custom-built space with an expansive indoor-outdoor vibe thanks to a rollaway garage door window wall. Snooze will undoubtedly bring some early morning buzz to the popular shopping center. So what’s all the buzz about? At Snooze, guests are tempted by made-from-scratch menu items such as a choose-your-own flight of fluffy pancakes or house-made breakfast pot pie smothered in rosemary sausage gravy. Not to mention, eggs benedict topped with spicy barbacoa beef and decadent cream cheese hollandaise sauce, or shaved Tender Belly ham, slow roasted pork and Dijon hollandaise. Furthermore, Snooze was built on a commitment to sustainability, from incorporating as much responsibly grown food and materials as possible to recycling and composting 90 percent of their waste.
MAD Greens, specializing in premium made-to-order salads, will be opening two more Arizona locations, with one in Scottsdale in September at The Shops at Hilton Village, and one in Phoenix in October at 7th Ave. and McDowell Rd. The menu features two Arizona-inspired salads served only in the Valley of the Sun. The Doc Holliday and The F.L.W. (Frank Lloyd Wright) are both made with locally raised ingredients to showcase the spicy, sun-drenched flavors of Arizona. The Doc Holliday will be offered permanently on the menu, while The F.L.W. will be available through the end of summer.
Matt Pool, owner of Matt’s Big Breakfast, is opening a new location at 32nd and Camelback Road and has Tempe at the top of his list for their next location. The breakfast spot is one of Phoenix’s most popular local restaurants. Pool also owns Giant Coffee just north of downtown Phoenix.
Hi Fi Kitchen & Cocktails unveils a state-of-the-art new audio/ visual system. Housed inside a sleek, glass-lined indoor-outdoor space, Hi Fi has upgraded its showstopper: a 45-foot digital graffiti wall that projects an ever-evolving array of 3D images with a 'first of its kind in Arizona' lighting and video system to create an even-more stunning audio-visual experience. Not to mention, an amped up food and drink menu featuring all-new chef-crafted comfort foods and an expanded selection of hand-crafted cocktails and Hi Fi's top-selling Adult Milkshakes.
Alto ristorante e bar is honored for its wine program in Wine Spectator’s 2015 Restaurant Wine List Awards. The restaurant is recognized among other winners from all over the globe as a top destination for wine lovers.Wine Spectator began its program to recognize the world’s best wine list since 1981. A total of 2,563 restaurants earned the program’s Award of Excellence, which recognizes a wine list offering an interesting and diverse selection of wines that are well-presented and thematically match the restaurant’s cuisine in price and style.
Sandbar Mexican Grill will be helping those who play Fantasy Football draft like a champion with their special draft day packages available at both the Desert Ridge and Chandler locations. Starting at $100, each package includes a private cabana for you and your friends, including finger foods, two pitchers of beer and a personal draft board featuring magnetic nameplates to keep track of each pick. Packages can be upgraded to include a team of dedicated servers decked out with eye black and a referee shirt. All packages include a Sandbar VIP card redeemable for 15 percent off their bill every Sunday and Monday throughout the NFL season.
Two new culinary concepts and menus will be opening next month as part of The Scottsdale Resort atMcCormick Ranch new $10 million renovation. Kitchen West Restaurant and Bar Six40 will open a few weeks after the independent resort opens its doors on Sept. 8. Both the restaurant and bar offer an authentic experience that embraces the boldness of the Western spirit. True to its name, Kitchen West is an expression of the modern American West, influenced by the boldness, tradition and sense of adventure that made the West what it is today. Executive Chef Rick Dupere will oversee the restaurant serving lunch and dinner along with the resort’s new lobby bar, Bar Six40, named after the number of acres of land that Army Chaplain Winfield Scott purchased in 1888 that would become Scottsdale.
There is still time to get spoiled at Alvadora Spa, Royal Palms. Featuring a Lotus Wei Spa Experience Package, available while supplies last. Find your inner balance with a customized spa package featuring a line of Lotus Wei floral essences, oils and elixirs. With two treatments to chose from, the 50-minute Lotus Wei massage or Lotus Wei facial, The Wei Summer Spa Experience aims to use the powerful flower essence to shift your mood to your desire. There is also the option to add an additional massage, facial or pedicure to whichever Lotus Wei experience you choose. Pricing starts at $179.
Cool down and relax during the final month of summer with refreshing face and body treatments offered atTocaloma Spa & Salon at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort for a special low rate through Sept. 30. Treatment specials include: 50-minute Watermelon Basil Vodkatini Pedicure for $49, which combines organic vodka, watermelon seed oils and basil to exfoliate and renew the skin; or 50-minute Organic Facial offered at $89, a customized facial that incorporates cleansers and serums to hydrate and tighten the skin plus a masque that will bring out your skin’s shine and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
VH Spa at Hotel Valley Ho offers the perfect spa package for your Sunday recovery. The Recovery Sunday Spa Package guests will enjoy a 60-minute service and 30-minute service of choice, along with a glass of wine, all for $99 plus service charge. Choose from restorative treatments like the LomiLomi Relaxation Massage and Foot Reflexology.
Arizona Cardinals and Westgate Entertainment District have teamed up again this season to host a Cardinals Preflight Party at Westgate before every regular season home game at Westgate's WaterDance Plaza, adjacent to the $6 million Bellagio-esque dancing fountains. The party is free and open to the public featuring music, Cardinals Cheerleaders autograph sessions, Cardinals-themed inflatables, photo booth and Beer Garden (21+ years of age.) The first party is on the team’s home opener against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 13.