Phoenix – Day 1

Well, the trip to Phoenix was a bit last minute. My older sister M called in May to say her corporate training was happening this time in Phoenix and would I like to meet her the weekend before for some sister-bonding time. (This would be our second time vacation just us. Last year, we met in LA for the same reason and did the Hollywood touristy thing.)

Anyway, I figured June in Phoenix couldn’t be that bad. I’d never been there. When I moved to California, we had driven through Arizona stopping at the Grand Canyon and Four Corners, where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet, but we hadn’t had time to do anything else.

The desert in June how bad could it be?

Well, it was pretty hot. Phoenix was having an “early” (according the locals we met) heat wave and was 110 degrees the first two days we were there. Needless to say, indoor activities (with AC!) were choice activities.

M and I met at the Phoenix airport. We even arrived in the same terminal and my flight even arrived early! First order of business was dumping our luggage at our hotel downtown. So we hopped the light rail and got there pretty easily. We did make a wrong turn walking to the hotel (no surprise there cuz M and I get lost at least once when we’re out together) but after that no issues at all.

I had done some research before leaving and really wanted to check out the Heard Museum. Imagine my surprise when my sister had said that was on her list too. First indoor activity planned without any discussions. Wow.

The museum had the added benefit of being within sight of the light rail, although we did have to walk outside in the heat for about a block or so. If it hadn’t been 110 outside, it wouldn’t even bare mentioning. (It was beyond hot!)

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The main exhibit focuses on the Native People of the Southwest (from the Heard website) with additional changing exhibitions.

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The workmanship and stories behind the exhibits were pretty fascinating. We walked the main gallery hall and watched some of the video presentations that were on offer.

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Examples of exhibits in the main gallery of the Heard Museum

When we were there, they had a textile exhibit called Picture This! that focused on weavings and how artists were mixing traditional techniques in modern ways. My favorite was the Tree of Life featuring the Angry Birds.

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We eventually stopped for lunch at the museum cafe. The food there was worth the trip, even if we hadn’t been enjoying the museum so much. I loved the guacamole and could have eaten that the entire trip without complaint and smuggled some home with me too. Since DH doesn’t eat it, I wouldn’t have had to share. HA! 

Afterward, we finished our tour of the museum and did some shopping for family before searching our apps for nearby ice cream places. (Museum people, add an ice cream parlor and you’ll be raking in the dough!)

We had to walk about half a mile to the place we found. It felt much longer in the afternoon heat but I sucked it up with only mild complaining. Once we cooled off with lots of iced tea and ice cream, we backtracked to the light rail and headed to our hotel to figure out our dinner options.

We ended up asking the concierge for suggestions and were directed to the Arizona Center a few blocks from the hotel across from St. Mary’s Basilica

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Arizona Center sign

We walked around the entire shopping area and found that there really wasn’t too much open and thought it was weird that they had an outdoor shopping mall in place where few people truly want to be outside. It looked nice and some of the restaurants had misters to cool outdoor seating but I still didn’t want to be outdoors to eat.

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Entrance and menu for Canyon Cafe in the Arizona Center, Phoenix

We ended up choosing the Canyon Cafe, a “Southwestern Grill” – from their sign.  Overall, I thought it was okay. They had some really good chips with a blend of sugar, spices and salt that made the visit worthwhile, in my opinion. My food was good, but I don’t remember what I ordered. M only thought her salad was okay. Her salmon was good but the vegetables wasn’t what they listed on the menu and she said it was bland.

After dinner, we headed back to our hotel for the night.

Tomorrow, Day 2. (Exciting, I know!)

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