Ready for take on the New Year? We are! Last year we spent a lot of time exploring the valley, but this year, we want to do even more. There is so much to see, do and experience in Phoenix that we want to take on as much as we can. That’s why we have come up with our 2016 Bucket List: 10 Things To Do Around Phoenix This Year! We’re ready to get out there and take on Phoenix, one day at a time. Go through our list, or create your own so that you’ll always have things to do around Phoenix!
1. Attend a Tea Ceremony in the Japanese Friendship Garden
The Japanese Friendship Garden is a 3.5 acre Japanese botanical garden with a teahouse, tea garden, 12-foot waterfall and koi pond. It is a beautiful, relaxing gem tucked away in Phoenix. They have arts and culture events happening throughout the year and workshops offered to the public. Tea times happen throughout the day; admission is $30 per person, and $25 for seniors and JFG members. You can view ceremony times online! It is a cultural experience you should attend.
Japanese Friendship Garden: 1125 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
2. Get a Taste of Southern Soul at Mrs. White’s Golden Rule
In the heart of Downtown Phoenix, Mrs. White’s Golden Rule is serving up incredible Southern Soul food since then 1960s and people can’t get enough. It is homey, casual and has a menu with Southern classics like fried okra, fried chicken with black eyed peas, and fried pork chops. It is a yummy, local gem that you have to go to at least once while living in Phoenix.
Mrs. White’s Golden Rule: 808 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
3. Tour Wrigley Mansion
Wrigley Mansion is a landmark in Phoenix. It was built in 1932 by William Wrigley, Jr. The mansion was designed as a 50th anniversary gift for Wrigley’s wife. It sits on top of a hill, with breathtaking 360-degree views of the mountains and Phoenix down below. The beautiful architecture is inspired by regions around the world. While it has private club status, anyone is welcome to become a member or go on a tour of the property. Over the years, Wrigley Mansion has become a hot spot for weddings, private events, and is home to Georgie’s Steak Restaurant and Lounge which is open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and brunch on Sundays. Since it is such a fixture in Phoenix, you have to go and take in the incredible views!
Wrigley Mansion: 2501 E Telawa Trail, Phoenix, AZ 85016
4. Go to Birds ’n Beer
Birds ‘n Beers is an awesome event hosted on the third Thursday of each month from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Rio Salado Audubon Center. Listen to experts talk about bird and other wildlife, while you sip on local beers and enjoy snacks. Topics vary with some meetings revolving around funny animal stories, and often include video clips and live wildlife. This happy hour event starts at 5:30 and the talk starts at 6:30pm. You can follow the Facebook page for the topic of each month, with something new each time you visit. It is a quirky, interesting social event to try!
Rio Salado Audubon Center: 3131 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85040
5. Order “The Standard” at The Stand
Foodies rejoice! There are yummy spots all around town and we have to include some of them on our bucket list. The Stand is a local joint that serves up hamburgers with high quality ingredients, in a casual, fun environment. “The Standard” comes with: 2 House-Ground All Beef Patty, Crisp Leafed Lettuce, Fresh Tomato, Sliced Onion, Dill Pickle, and Stand Sauce. It is a killer burger! Plus you can add bacon, jalapenos or butter caramelized onions! Yum! Oh and while you’re add it, order a milkshake too – they’ve got some unique flavors like Salted Dulce De Leche, Chocolate Chile and Banana Stand.
The Stand: 3538 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018
6. Hike National Trail
While everyone talks about hiking Camelback, there are so many other trails in the Phoenix area. If you’re looking for outdoorsy things to do around Phoenix, you can always find a hiking trail. The South Mountain Park in Phoenix sprawls across 16,000-acres, and National Trail is one we’ve got our eyes on. It covers 14.3 miles, and is a mostly flat trail which is great for runners and cyclists. You can take other trails like the Marcos de Niza (0.9 miles) or Beverly Canyon (1.5 miles). You can also hop onto the Mormon Loop (1.3 miles). As always, remember to bring water, and even GPS in case you get lost. You don’t want to be the guy on the news getting rescued in the desert for hiking without water in the dead of summer. Staying on the marked paths is also the way to go.
7. Tour Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights
Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is a quirky Phoenix landmark. While most people don’t know its name, it is a highly recognizable building. When originally built, it was designed to be the centerpiece for a resort, and later become a private residence. The castle is one of the Phoenix Points of Pride and offers tours of the interior and grounds. There are over 5,000 individual cacti, in over 100 different varieties of cacti, on the grounds and park. It is a unique place in Phoenix that you have to visit at least once.
Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights: 5025 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008
8. Tour Cerreta Candy Company
Take a trip to Downtown Glendale for an afternoon and visit Cerreta Candy Company. This family owned business has been operating for decades and offers a free half-hour tour that takes you through the kitchens that create chocolates and candies that people love. You can experience the caramel kitchen room, the chilling room and even candy-wrapping stations. It is a one of a kind experience that anyone, especially candy lovers, will enjoy!
Cerreta Candy Company: 5345 W Glendale Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301
9. Gawk at the large birds at the Chandler Ostrich Festival in March.
Head to Chandler in March and experience the wild, quirky wonder that is the Chandler Ostrich Festival, Watch the ostrich races, where riders sit either on the ostrich’s backs, or chariot-style and race to win. Plus there is music, food, rides and many more events to keep you entertained. It is family fun and something you have to see to believe.
This year, the festival is running March 11-13th. You can learn more on their website.
10. Attend the Chile Pepper Festival in Downtown Phoenix
The Chile Pepper Festival in Downtown Phoenix happens in September along Roosevelt Row. It is a free local food and music festival that features and supports local businesses, and artists. Local restaurants enter their own chile pepper dishes to win awards and the general public can create their own teams and get involved as well. It is a fun, and spicy community event.
There you have it! What is on your bucket list? We’re excited to tackle 2016 and find new amazing things to do around Phoenix. Let us know what you think in the comment section below and share your bucket list with us. We are always looking for new things to do around Phoenix so we love to hear from our residents and locals! Stay tuned to our blog for the latest content on all things eat, shop and play in Phoenix.