CITY NEWS

Guests of all ages will enjoy a day of fun activities thanks to Final Four Fan Fest, presented by Capital One. It will feature rock climbing, youth clinics, autograph signings, special appearances, Final Four Dribble, March Madness Music Festival, and much more. The event is designed for guests of all ages and will take place at the Phoenix Convention Center Friday, March 31 from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday April 1 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday, April 2 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Monday, April 3 from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Phoenix is a go-to for large events and conventions. Meeting Source announced the list of Top Convention Cities in the USA for 2017 based on affordability, ease of access, safety, walk-ability and promotional appeal. Phoenix was listed as a Top Convention City, with a special recognition of its large events.

RESORT NEWS

Downtown Phoenix will be home to yet another awe-inspiring hotel as Mortenson Construction is developing and building a Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton. It will be centrally located centrally-located near entertainment and business, and immediately south of the downtown campus of Arizona State University. The hotel is being designed by PK Architects and Design Force, and construction is scheduled for completion in summer of 2018. It will be the first Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Phoenix, and the second that Mortenson has developed in the past three years

The Renaissance Hotel experienced a $10 million exterior and interior renovation beginning in May of 2016. Few of the many changes include repainting the exterior to shades of white and gray, additional food and drink options and shaded sidewalks. It was conducted by Gensler, a national architecture and design firm, and the renovations are almost complete.

Batter up because the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North is offering a home-run spring training package for its guests. The package includes one king bed or two queen beds, a complimentary full breakfast buffet for two each morning, and two complimentary Bloody Mary drinks at the on-site Brixton Pub. Rates for the spring training package start at $174.

It doesn’t hurt to add a little luxury to the itinerary. The Royal Palms Resort and Spa is offering the “Triple Play” package for spring training fans looking for a luxurious stay. The package is available February 24 – March 30 and rates start at $579 per night. It features a variety of goodies sure to please any spring training fan after a day of watching baseball.

Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort believes every vacation should include “Another Day in Paradise,” so guests who stay at the resort for three nights can stay a fourth night for free. Guests can take delight in the dining options, pool, salon, spa, fitness center, and a variety of other amenities and activities. Kids (and adults) will enjoy the Hole-in-the-Wall River Ranch, featuring four acres of pools, lazy river, waterslide, miniature golf and much more. “Another Day in Paradise” must be booked at least three days prior to arrival date.

On Friday and Saturday nights, guests can enjoy live music and drinks at The Westin Kierland. The Phoenix New Times recently recognized the resort for having one of the Best Hotel Bars with Live Music in metro Phoenix. In addition to its live music and bar experience, Westin Kierland’s deseo will offer Epicurean Experience every Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. The Epicurean Experience will feature a demonstration of two ceviche dishes followed by a three-course dinner at “The Rail.” It is priced $75 per person.                                                   

It’s no surprise that Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass received high honors from Forbes Travel Guide in its Official 2017 Star Rating Announcement. Kai restaurant earned the coveted five-star rating and Aju Spa received four stars. In addition, the resort maintained its place on the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel.

After a two-year capital investment, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa has unveiled its Spa Casitas and Spa Suites after $2 million in renovations. In addition to its renovations, the resort also introduced the Spa House, an exclusive mountain enclave for small groups, and a complete redesign of the resort’s Mountain Casita accommodations in 2015. With its contemporary design, award-winning restaurant and impressive renovations, Sanctuary is an ideal place to enjoy a luxurious stay.

On Friday and Saturday nights, guests can enjoy live music and drinks at The Westin Kierland. The Phoenix New Times recently recognized the resort for having one of the Best Hotel Bars with Live Music in metro Phoenix. In addition to its live music and bar experience, Westin Kierland’s deseo will offer Epicurean Experience every Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. The Epicurean Experience will feature a demonstration of two ceviche dishes followed by a three-course dinner at “The Rail.” It is priced $75 per person.                                              

It’s no surprise that Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass received high honors from Forbes Travel Guide in its Official 2017 Star Rating Announcement. Kai restaurant earned the coveted five-star rating and Aju Spa received four stars. In addition, the resort maintained its place on the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel.

After a two-year capital investment, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa has unveiled its Spa Casitas and Spa Suites after $2 million in renovations. In addition to its renovations, the resort also introduced the Spa House, an exclusive mountain enclave for small groups, and a complete redesign of the resort’s Mountain Casita accommodations in 2015. With its contemporary design, award-winning restaurant and impressive renovations, Sanctuary is an ideal place to enjoy a luxurious stay.

Anyone interested in live music, beautiful weather and alluring scenery should head to Concert Under The Stars at The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch presents “Live from Laurel Canyon” on March 4, and Esteban with Teresa Joy on March 25. The Concert Under The Stars continues the resort’s 30th Anniversary Celebration and will be held in the resort’s signature Fountain Court. Tickets are available for purchase.

The CopperWynd Resort and Club is making the property even more pleasurable for its guests. It is undergoing a major expansion and renovation as it will go from 32 to 300 rooms, according to owner William Hinz. It will also get a new conference center and event space. The resort overlooks the vibrant Sonoran Desert, allowing guests to bask in serene ambience.

ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT

Cactus League Spring Training is in full swing. A seasonal rite in Greater Phoenix, baseball roars to life every March with the iconic sounds of cracking bats, snapping mitts and happy fans. For baseball lovers, it doesn’t get much better than this: sunny weather, affordable tickets and unparalleled proximity to the best players in the game. The 2017 Cactus League season features 15 major league teams and more than 200 games from now through April 1.

Viva PHX will once again fill downtown Phoenix with live music on March 11. The fourth annual music festival will feature over 70 national, regional and local acts, playing on 15 stages. This year’s lineup includes DJ and mashup master Girl Talk, recently reunited rock band American Football, indie pop band The Drums, emo rock band Joyce Manor, pyschobilly trio Reverend Horton Heat, rappers Mystikal, Warren G and Tone-Loc, alternative rock band The Maine and plenty more. Doors open at 6 p.m. and general admission tickets are $25.

Still in search of the perfect “hang out” venue? The Park, recently opened, is an original dining and entertainment concept that features a little bit of everything: street food bar, craft beer garden and nightlife venue. In addition to its own menu, it has partnered with a food trucks so guests will have a variety of food and drink to choose from. It is an 11,000 square-foot space that is designed to look like an outdoor park, complete with artificial trees, picnic-inspired seating and even the ability to pump tree scent.

Ballet is a practice steeped in tradition, but Ballet Arizona will bring an edgy viewpoint to the classic dance with Today’s Masters. The series of modern works will showcase original choreography from Thursday, March 24 to Sunday, March 26 at Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix. This year’s program features works from Ballet Arizona’s renowned Artistic Director Ib Andersen and Ballet Arizona dancer Nayon Iovino, who was named “Best Up-and-Coming Choreographer” for his work in 2015’s production of Today’s Masters. Tickets for Today’s Masters start at $25, with discounts offered for seniors, students, military and groups.

It is no mystery that The Sherlock Holmes Festival, hosted by The Herberger Theater Center, is not to be missed. The festival will feature four films of Sherlock Holmes stories spanning 100 years, along with a discussion and Q&A. The festival will take place March 24 and 25, with various passes available for purchase. 

There’s always more to learn about the unique City of Phoenix, and Phoenix Rising Tours offers a variety of tours to teach locals and visitors about the area. In addition to the tours Phoenix Rising Tour Company already offers, it is now rolling out its new “Downtown Phoenix History & Highlight Walking Tour.” This tour will give a quick overview of Phoenix, and includes bits of history, art and culture. Because it is brand new, Phoenix Rising Tour Company will be hosting a few free promotional tours to get feedback from participants. 

Not even the sky can limit Hot Air Expeditions’ celebrations. It has now been hot air ballooning in Arizona for 26 years, and has been rated “Best Balloon Flight in Phoenix” by Fodor’s Travel for 22 consecutive years. Hot Air Expeditions offers passengers a breathtaking view of the desert and an unforgettable experience.

The Pueblo Grande Museum is the perfect place to soak in some culture and enjoy activities as it has a variety of events and tours in store throughout the month. Some of the events include Archaeology for Kids on March 4, where children ages 7 to 12 can learn how to identify artifacts at an excavation; the Petroglyph Discovery Hike on March 25, a short petroglyph rich hiking experience; and much more. The Pueblo Grande Museum offers events for guests of all ages.

The Lantern Fest, produced by Sack Lunch Productions Inc., will weave a tapestry of light across the night sky on April 8 beginning at 2 p.m. Participants of all ages will enjoy live music, a stage show, inflatables, face painting, s’mores, balloon twisters and photos with princesses. When the sun goes down, participants will release their lanterns to create a masterpiece of light. The event will be held at Schnepf Farms.

Guests of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company can now take delight in a Sonoran Sunrise Gourmet Breakfast. This post-flight breakfast celebration will feature mimosas and delicious food specially prepared by Arizona’s local artisans. Guests can also enjoy Rainbow Ryder’s Saguaro Sunset Charcuterie, a dining experience featuring mimosas, and a variety of sausages, meats and fine cheeses. These dining experiences are the perfect way to top off an unforgettable day spent with a bird’s eye view of the desert. To celebrate the State of Arizona’s 105th birthday, Rainbow Ryders is giving a unique gift- an Arizona themed hot air balloon. The new hot air balloon has been named Arizona Rising, a name that was selected this week from hundreds of entries in the company’s Name the Arizona Balloon contest. In honor of NCAA Final Four, Rainbow Ryders is offering the “Basketballs Ballooning Slam Dunk” special for $169 sunrise or $179 sunset rate.

The Phoenix Symphony’s Legends Series closes out with Music of the Rolling Stones live with The Phoenix Symphony in a truly unique concert experience. Back by popular demand, Beethoven’s most celebrated masterpiece, Symphony No. 9, featuring the famous “Ode to Joy” performed by The Phoenix Symphony, The Phoenix Symphony Chorus and talented soloists. Use the FINALFOUR promo code for a special offer. In addition, The Phoenix Symphony is excited to announce the 2017/18 Season and kick off its 70th Anniversary in the Valley of the Sun. It will feature celebratory concerts year-round.

It’s all about the Blues for three Sunday evenings in March during the Peoria Music Series concerts. These free concerts will be held from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on March 5, 12 and 19 with a different location and different Blues band for each night. The concert on March 5 will be held at Vistas Recreation Center, the concert on March 12 will be held at West Wing Park, and on March 19 it will be held at Camino á Lago Park.

With Phoenix’s beautiful weather, it’s only natural to want to participate in outdoor activities. Arizona Outback Adventures’ Half-Day Mountain Biking Tour allows participants to enjoy warm desert air while riding over dirt trails at the breathtaking Sonoran Desert. The mountain biking trips accommodate bikers of all levels, beginner to expert.  The gravel paths, desert views and biking guides are sure to leave every participant with an unforgettable experience.

The Musical Instrument Museum’s current concert series continues with a lineup full of talented, not-to-be-missed musicians. The museum has three artists lined up for the month of March. In addition, the museum is pleased to announce that 28 of its past music theater performers were 2017 GRAMMY Award nominees. MIM attended the GRAMMY Awards ceremony to support the nominees and celebrate the accomplishments of the other artists.

Desert Ridge Marketplace is unveiling its plans for a renovation, which will take place through summer 2017. The property provides shopping, dining and entertainment, so its $15 million renovation is being done with the community, residents and visitors to the area in mind. In order to complement its existing tenants, the goal is to bring in additional chef-driven restaurant concepts, boutiques, specialty retailers, and festivals and events to the Desert Ridge Marketplace. This is the first overhaul of the Marketplace since its 2001 debut.

“Reimagined Trash,” a new art exhibit opened at both the Gallery @ City Hall and Arizona Science Center. The artwork offers new perspectives on re-using materials and items recycled at the 27th Avenue Solid Waste Management Facility.  In 2016, Christine Lee and Ann Morton were named Artists in Residence for a new collaboration between the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program and the Public Works Department’s Reimagine Phoenix. The exhibitions will be on view until August 25, 2017.

The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) will create eye-popping, dimension-bending illustrations on 6- by- 6-foot canvases at The 4th annual Chalk Art Festival. The artists will also take to canvases on the ground, creating professional chalk works that can be won by the public. Kiddos can get their hands chalky at the KidsZone, where colorful chalk and instruction are provided at no cost. It will take place at Desert Ridge Marketplace, Tempe Marketplace and Westgate Entertainment on Saturday, April 29 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

SPA

Arizona Biltmore’s award-winning Spa Biltmore features modern and traditional spa therapies and beauty treatments, along with a sauna, steam room and whirlpool. Guests can take delight in a variety of Massage Therapies, Legendary Therapies, Body Care, Advanced Skin Care Treatments and Nail and Hair Care to choose from. Spa Biltmore also offers monthly packages.

Need a minute to just sit back and relax? The Camby’s Zest Spa is geared toward those who have busy schedules, but still need a moment to take delight in being pampered with some relaxation. Massages offered by Zest include Custom Camby Massage, Quietude, Got Stress? and Stoned. It also offers the Happy Facial, a specialty facial that will unveil renewed and glowing skin.

Choosing a Forbes Four Star luxury spa for pampering is simply a no brainer. The Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician is a Forbes Four Star luxury spa that includes 24 private treatment rooms and features massages, hot stone rituals, body treatments, wraps and facials. In addition to its single treatments and massages, guests can also choose a Well-Being Package and take delight in seemingly endless relaxation and pampering.

DINING

Looking for a bar with a laid-back ambience and welcoming character? Withey Morris PLC partner Michael Withey has opened The Bar, which features “The Big Lebowski” décor and a friendly Midwestern atmosphere. The Bar recently opened in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Downtown Phoenix, and is sure to welcome guests with its friendly atmosphere, irresistible drinks and a night to remember.

It's finally happening: Cornish Pasty Co. is opening in downtown Phoenix. The long-awaited fourth Valley location — the first in Phoenix — debuts the first week in March after seven years in the making. Cornish Pasty Co. owner Dean Thomas is a native of Cornwall, England, and founded Cornish Pasty in 2005 with a tiny storefront in Tempe. He has since expanded that location and opened branches in Mesa, Scottsdale and Las Vegas.

Calling all gamers. Cobra Arcade Bar in downtown Phoenix has been named one of the coolest video game bars in the country by nationally-syndicated TV show, The List. Cobra’s welcoming atmosphere, cool vibe and local art make it an ideal place for gamers of all ages. The Phoenix bar opened last year. It features about 60 arcade games at any one time, and the bar rotates games often. The Cobra Arcade Bar does not serve food and is only for those 21 and over.

Central Phoenix's favorite Asian restaurant and craft cocktail bar, the Clever Koi is excited to announce the opening of a second location in downtown Gilbert. This all-new Clever Koi will feature the same menu of modern twists on classic Asian dishes that made the original location a critical and popular favorite, as well as its award-winning cocktail program highlighted by modern mixology and classic tiki drinks. Its striking modern Asian décor, spacious outdoor seating and flavorful dishes will be sure to continue Clever Koi’s appeal to diners.

The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer's has undergone renovations to match its style of food- local, organize twists on American classics. The restaurant features soft seating, a large booth against the back wall, individual seating, revamped outdoor seating, full bar and bar seating, and a welcoming atmosphere. The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer's still offers brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Uptown Alley will be hosting Mayhem of March from Wednesday, March 1 through Monday, April 3. There will be a special food menu featuring March Madness Fries themes after the different conferences, such as East Coast fries are covered in Philly Steak and Caramelized onions. Guests will also be able to purchase a commemorative mug that you can use to get discounted beer refills throughout the tournament. Uptown Alley will also be hosting a contest  and the winner will win a 50 inch HDTV runner ups can win a fun pack and $15 gift cards, anyone interested can participate by signing up for the eClub and picking a team before March 17.

As part of Omni’s Chef’s Dinner Series, the resort will host a Macallan Scotch themed diner on Wednesday, March 22 at 6 p.m. The dinner series features an exclusive on-of-a-kind experience hosted by Omni’s culinary team. Guests can indulge in three-course dinner with quality ingredients sourced locally in a live demonstration format. The Macallan Scotch dinner is priced at $110 per person.

The 8th annual Great American Barbecue & Beer Festival returns on Saturday, March 25, 2017 to fill the air with the sweet aroma of BBQ pork, beef, chicken and ribs. The festival will feature event zones, over 100 exhibitors, 200 kegs of the state’s finest craft beer, and over 60 Pit Masters serving over 20,000 lbs of pork ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and chicken. In addition to the food and drink, the festival will please guests with country music, grilling demonstrations, a kid’s zone, eating competition zone and so much more in downtown Chandler.

Arizona food and drink is no stranger to the 2017 James Beard Award semifinalists. A semifinalist for “Outstanding Restaurant” includes Pizzeria Bianco, located in downtown Phoenix and founded by 2003 James Beard Award winner Chris Bianco. A semifinalist for “Outstanding Wine Program” is FnB, Scottsdale, which features locally inspired cooking and a renowned wine selection. “Outstanding Restaurateur” semifinalist is Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts, which includes The Arrogant Butcher, Culinary Dropout, Olive & Ivy and others. “Best Chef: Southwest” semifinalists include Charleen Badman of FnB, Scottsdale; Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Urbano; and Jeff Smedstad of Elote Café, Sedona.

SPORTS/GOLF

The Cactus League has long been a cherished Arizona tradition for locals, tourists and, of course, baseball fans! Millions of folks of all ages have walked through the turnstiles over the years to find the most pastoral of baseball pastimes, spring training. For baseball lovers, it doesn’t get much better than this: sunny weather, affordable tickets and unparalleled proximity to the best players in the game. The 2017 Cactus League season features 15 major league teams and more than 200 games from February 24 - April 1.

One of the many special events at the Final Four is The Dribble. The Dribble is a fun opportunity for kids 18 and under on Sunday, April 2. Participants will dribble from Heritage Square through downtown into Fan Fest.  Everyone receives a free t-shirt and NCAA Final Four Basketball.  Registration is limited.  Register at www.NCAA.com/FinalFour and click on Final Four Dribble. 

Twenty-year LPGA veteran and Arizona State alumna Brandie Burton will make her Legends Tour debut at the Walgreens Charity Classic, set for Thursday, March 2 through Sunday, March 5 at Grandview Golf Course. This year’s sixth-annual tournament will return to Grandview, bringing the legends of women’s golf back to Arizona. After four back surgeries and a neck fusion, Burton is eager to be eligible to compete in The Legends Tour in 2017.

Calling all baseball fans. The Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres partnered to bring the largest, high definition scoreboard in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues to the Peoria Sports Complex for spring training. The new display will make it easier for fans to see the board on sunny days and from any angle in the ballpark. Accompanying the improved image and video quality of the scoreboard, the complex will also get an upgraded audio system with fully distributed sound that delivers clear, intelligible and powerful audio.                                             

SunRidge Canyon Golf Club, ranked among the “Top 20 Best Courses You Can Play” in Arizona by Golf Magazine, continues to improve through a number of golf course and facility enhancements currently underway at the club. The 21-year-old facility, which also just unveiled a new logo, will reopen on Saturday, October 1 with a new look and feel. Recent course renovations have improved the playability and agronomic conditions at SunRidge Canyon. The club’s final six holes, known as “The Wicked 6,” are widely considered one of the best final stretches of golf in the country.

Boulders Resort & Spa, The Phoenician Golf Club, The Westin Kierland Golf Club and Troon North Golf Club have all introduced new caddie programs to provide an additional level of service for guests. When playing at any of the four golf properties, guests will have the option of playing with a Forecaddie, a Double Bag Carry Caddie (available at Boulders, The Phoenician and Kierland), a Single Bag Carry Caddie or choose to play without a caddie. Caddie services range from $30 per player for a Forecaddie to $100 per player for a Single Bag Carry Caddie. The recommended gratuity is $20 and up per player for Forecaddies and $30 and up for walking caddies.

FOX Sports Arizona named Mark Grace its Arizona Diamondbacks pre and post-game show analyst for the network’s new “D-backs Live”. As the Diamondbacks’ first baseman from 2001-03 and a key part to the team’s 2001 World Series title, Grace is set to bring his expertise and passion for the game of baseball to pre and post-game shows. D-backs 2017 Opening Day is on Sunday, April 2, and FOX Sports Arizona’s special one-hour pre-game show begins at noon before the D-backs host the San Francisco Giants at 1:10 p.m.   

Troon Country Club will soon be breaking ground on a $7.5 million expansion and renovation of the club’s 30 year-old clubhouse. The project, which is expected to take 12 months to complete, is aimed at improving the function and efficiency of the building while providing members with the quality facility they desire. When complete, the improvements will touch upon every aspect of club life, including dining, banquet facilities, fitness, golf shop, locker rooms, and day-to-day operations. The original Troon Country Club clubhouse was built in 1986 and has undergone two partial renovations – one in 1997 and one in 2003.

With all of Phoenix’s amazing restaurants choices, it can be hard to decide where to eat. Westgate Entertainment District’s restaurants are making that decision a little easier for spring training fans by offering special deals. With over 20 restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues, Westgate Entertainment District is the hub of activity for baseball fans looking to grab a bite, a few beers and sweet treats or enjoy live music and a little shopping before or after the game. Fans are encouraged to show their spring training ticket stub and take delight in the deals offered by Bar Louie, Saddle Ranch Chop House, Hell’s Half Acre, Shane’s Rib Shack and many other Westgate Entertainment District tenants.