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Things to do in Phoenix

Favorite Phoenix Eats

 Phoenix can be very interesting when you look in the right areas. I would like to share with you the best places in phoenix to eat. I have gone to these restaurants numerous times. Each time, I get something new, and delicious. These places that I am going to share with you, are nice family restaurants, with lots of joyful things to do around them.
1.      Carrabbas Italian Grille- Very well in the food department I might add. If you decide to eat here, make sure you come on a very empty stomach. Be ready to drink too, they give you a lot of food, a lot of drink, and man, the desserts, whew, that’s what I’m talking about. I had a little of each appetizer, main course, drinks, and dessert. You can’t go wrong here if you like Italian food. I would rate this restaurant a 10 for sure!
2.      Ruby Tuesdays- Here you will get a variety of food, drinks dessert, and appetizers. Me I like the seafood they have and I would have to say that the dessert here is the best for a night on the town. Not too much, not to little. I would give them a 10 also!!
3.      TGIFriday’s- Party central when it comes to food! They have a wide variety of food, drinks, dessert, and fun people to talk to all the time. They are very affordable when it comes to eating a family meal, or a night on the town with the girlfriends, (or the guy’s!). Basically, if you want fun, good eats, and entertainment, go here. You will totally enjoy this place. 10 again!!
4.      Fudruckers- Ok, now old-time burgers, and shakes, games, and music, yes”. This is the place. They have Elvis on the wall, The Beetles!!! Yes they have them, on the wall(the band, not the bugs!!). They have games for the kids, music for the moms and dads, and food for all!! 10 yet again!
5.      Mimi’s cafe- New Orleans, French, Italian, American you name it, they have it, and man are they good! I don’t have to say much about here, just go, you’ll see. Get the quiche it rocks! Oh, and the gumbo, ooooh, the gumbo, so gooooood. 10 for sure!
6.      PF Changs China Bistro- Chinese cuisine at it’s finest. That’s all I have to say! I have only had one other Chinese restaurant meet my standards, and they closed because of the new development going on. This place here, oh maaaaan, you just have to take my word for it. I guarantee great food, and great service, and the dessert, get one to share! It is a lot!!
I know we all have different tastes, which is why I named a variety of foods. I named the places I would go to on a weekly basis. It is up to you to try them. See what you like best. Hope to see you there!!!!


Phoenix Zoo


Phoenix Zoo is a fun picnic place for both the young and adults. The zoo is huge spread over an 100 acres and has around 2.5 miles of walking trails that have been designated as Tropics, African, Arizona, and Children trails. The whole area is very neat and clean and well maintained. There are a large number of animals on display, including zebras, giraffes, giant tortoises, orangutans, elephants, ostrich, seals, baby monkeys, and a host of other animals, birds, and reptiles. There is a small train through the zoo, and you can enjoy the ride as it takes you through the various exhibits. The ticket price was very reasonable, only about $3 per person.

You can also enjoy navigating the zoo using a pedal boat or a bike, both of which are available for reasonable rentals. We rented the pedal boat for an hour at $16/hr, and it was lots of fun. The bike looked pretty comfortable, but we didn’t try that.

We had carried our own sandwich and soda, but we enjoyed having a hamburger and fries at the snack shop. The food was delicious and not overpriced as at other places. We also got a T-shirt and cap for my nephew from the gift shop. Overall, it was a fun experience and we had a great time

Admission is $14, but you can save about $2 per person by purchasing the ticket online at www.phoenixzoo.org. Also, we managed to get a 2-for-1 discount from the Phoenix entertainment book, which further added to the fun.


Phoenix for Free

While a wonderful concept, be prepared to lay out a few funds here and there for necessities like bottles of water, beef jerky or something else that can sustain but not break, and sun screen, because some of this can only be taken in during the daylight hours. Whatever you do, do not enter any of Phoenix’s near deserts without the bare minimum of water, matches, sturdy hiking shoes, coverage for your more tender spots, a map or maps, and someone, somewhere with the knowledge of where you went and when you are due to return.  Even if you are just visiting, investigate with your accomodations who and where this information should be left, and leave it.  Never wander into any desert alone. 

Well since I so sternly prefaced the desert, I’ll start there.  A) “The Sanoran Desert, Carefree Arizona” - Carefree lies approximately 10-15 miles northeast of Phoenix (about 7 minutes from the northern most tip of Scottsdale Arizona), and sits in an aspect of the Senoran Desert.  This particular aspect of the Senoran Desert is particularly beautiful due to an unusual underground confluence (two rivers meet with a third uniting a short distance downstream), that supplies water to the nearly 150 square mile area.  There are rentals and Jeep tours, but agreat deal of interesting things to see and experince just driving to the end of the road.  With a tour map, you can find two Apache Outposts, scars from a long forgotten battle more than four score old, and over 10,000 variations of flora and fauna - there are over 2,500 species of cacti and succulents alone.  Just a warning, be careful to 1) leave everything as you see it, 2) resist the urge to leave your mark on the landscape, 3) kick anything before you bend down to pick it up. Scorpions, Rattlers, even Gila Monsters abound in this part of the   great playground (not to forget a variety of spiders, bees… you name it).  Your best bet is to proceed cautiously and carefully, and just enjoy the beauty of the desert. One more thing, if you really want to know why they call a “desert”, a ”desert”, show up around 3 PM and wait for the sun to go down.

B) Scottsdale Civic Center - If you can’t tell and just for your edification, Phoenix is not just Phoenix, it’s made up of; Phoenix, Goodyear, Avondale, Litchfield Park, Deer Valley,  Glendale, Peoria, Queen Creek, Cave Creek, Carefree, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert, which all comprise the “Valley of the Sun”. And while it may take a Ferrari or a teleporter to get from Litchfield Park to Gilbert in anything less than an hour, it takes but a few steps to pass from Phoenix to Glendale or Phoenix to Scottsdale….. Which takes me to my next free spot - The Scottsdale Civic Center.  The Civic Center is located in the heart of downtown Scottsdale and represents a confluence of a different sort - a melding of cultural, social, and entertainment influences.  The Center itself has a theater, an auditorium, several fine resturaunts- many which feature live entertainment, a garden, and many small soft rolling hills that are perfectly suited for moments to hours of sound embracing and people watching.  And to make the evening complete, the Center is within walking distance of major/minor league baseball (depending on what time of year), downtown Scottsdale (loaded with small studios, novelty and feature shops, and of course, food - another free excursion, except, of course, for the food), and the phenomina known as the “Greenbelt” (yet another free, allbeit brief, excursion).

C) Downtown Phoenix - A Cultural rebirth, An artistic birth.  Midway through the 1980’s, civic leaders and private investors decided to make a small, non-publisized gamble.  They decided to quietly promote the rebuilding and rebirth of the Phoenix downtown area by fueling a commercial rebirth as well as an Artistic birth.  The cat came screaming out of the bag with the building of what then was known as American West Arena (A Jerry Colangelo investment) and Bank One Ballpark (Also a Jerry Colangelo investment), replacing more than a dozen colapsing (and a few that weren’t) warehouses. Lost in the shuffle of who truly should pay for sports complex building was the effect the infusion of money would have on the downtown area…..And infuse it did.  Almost overnight merchants, food vendors, resturanteers, and others went about acquiring, remodeling, and opening commercial doors.  Meanwhile, private investors went about laying claim to the lessor desired structures and created artisan lofts, co-ops, small galleries and inexpensive showcases and nightclubs. Almost 25 years later, the ”Phoenix Live” in downtown Phoenix has blossomed into one of the chic “things to do” practically every weekend.  The cost is free (unless you’re looking to expand your art collection) but you’ll need a map and a pretty good sense of direction (unless you know the area). Oh, and ladies, make sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes, or else it’ll be a short excursion.

That’s all for this installment.  However, this only skirts the surface of what’s available in Phoenix for free.

Scott Heubach