Staying Downtown in Phoenix
March 6, 2009 8:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm a hayseed prairie boy about to spend a week in downtown Phoenix without vehicle nor desire to travel far - any tips are appreciated. For example: Is there a drugstore? How about fresh veggies? Places to avoid? thanks!
posted by sporb to Travel & Transportation around Phoenix, AZ (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sure you'll have no problem finding at the very least a CVS.

Not sure about fresh veggies though. You're lucky, the weather looks like it's going to be bearable for the next week or so. I'll just point out that the city is really sprawly and not easy to get around anywhere without a car. But I'm sure you'll be fine.
posted by General Malaise at 9:50 AM on March 6, 2009

Downtown Phoenix Farmers' Market, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:58 AM on March 6, 2009

I lived in Phoenix for twenty years. I recently flew back for a wedding and figured that since I was only staying for a few days and I had a ride to the wedding I didn't need to rent a car. Hell, I walk everywhere now, two miles, three miles, whatever.

This was a huge mistake. Just to get coffee was a forty-five minute walk. Meeting some friends nearby? Walk for an hour and a half.

If you are okay eating stuff from the gas station and never leaving the hotel or wherever you are staying, you will be fine. If you need to do anything else at all for any reason, you need a car. Seriously, just think about it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2009

There is a CVS in the middle of downtown, at McDowell and Central. If you go down a bit further, there's a grocery store, with a decent vegetable selection, if a bit overpriced. There are plenty of restaurants in the area, covering a variety of food types. The Saturday morning Public Market, as mentioned, has a bit more of a selection, but Wednesday night is good too.

Depending on where you stay, you should have a short walk to the new light rail, which can take you around downtown, as well as the DASH, which makes a loop around the downtown area. You should have no problem if you want to stay in the area, but, as General Malaise said, getting to other areas of the Phoenix Metro can be a pain, even with the light rail.

Frankly, there is not much in the way of entertainment in downtown. You didn't mention when you were going to be here, but on the first Friday of every month, there's an artwalk, with live music and an outdoor flea market type thing. There's a movie theater at the Arizona Center and a few bars, but most of the entertainment venues are in Tempe or Scottsdale.

That's all I can think of at the moment, but if you have any other questions (I live in dowtown) feel free to ask them here, or send me mail.
posted by lemonwheel at 10:40 AM on March 6, 2009

FWIW, Phoenix is one of my all-time favorite cities for dining out. The best restaurants are seldom cheap, but aren't necessarily the most expensive, either. If you're prepared/able to enjoy a couple meals out, take the time to try some meals at places you've never had a chance to enjoy before. In other words, be daring. Lunches are generally much more affordable than suppertime, and easier to be comfortable dining alone - and likewise, if you're alone, ask if you can eat at the bar.

Not assuming you're poor, nor alone, but your post suggests you might be new to dining in touristy areas, and you haven't mentioned a travel partner.

Also, if you're staying at a hotel, call ahead to ask what's nearby (grocers, pharmacies) within walking distance - or if a hotel shuttle is available. If not, consider changing hotel plans.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:43 AM on March 6, 2009

If you're downtown, you'll be perfectly fine for a week without a car. I live in the Roosevelt District, take the light rail to work and can walk to bars in the area, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

I spend far too much of my life at Walgreen's and CVS (product junkie) and both are easliy accessible have locations downtown.

If you are close to the light rail, you can get coffee at Fair Trade, which is literally right across the street from the Central/Roosevelt light rail stop. While you're there, you can walk over to the Phoenix Public Library which has stunning views of the city from the 5th Floor. Walk another block and you can head over to the Phoenix Art Museum and then go over to Thai Hut for lunch. (It's across the street from the museum.)

The Japanese Friendship Garden is downtown as is the Irish Cultural Center.

I love the Farmer's Market and go most Saturdays. If you're hungry afterwards (and don't mind a long wait) you should go to Matt's Big Breakfast. After Matt's, just go home and sleep. It's all you'll want to do.

A really nice band called Jiggle plays most Sundays at Lost Leaf.

If you have any desire to see Tempe and ASU, the light rail will take you there as well. Living in Phoenix without a car is hard (though I know of at least two people who do it) but visiting for a week? You'll be aight.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 11:25 AM on March 6, 2009

Response by poster: Wow! Thanks for all the tips. I'm staying in the Copper Square area...
posted by sporb at 12:12 PM on March 6, 2009

Sporb, if you're staying in Copper Square, you'll be able to walk to the light rail and will have quite a few bars/shops you can visit. I'm the only black girl in all of Phoenix so wave at me if you see me (I'm kidding of course. My mom lives here too.)
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 1:20 PM on March 6, 2009

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