Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Castles, Crescent, and Really Hot Mexican Food

Andrew Pielage
A vintage sign offers tours of Tovrea Castle.
Welcome to the Phoenix Bucket List. Robrt Pela and Amy Silverman -- two New Times contributors and longtime Phoenicians -- have put together a list of 100 things to do in this city before you die. Each week we're presenting another 10; in March we'll wrap it all up in a cover story in New Times. For now, stay tuned to Valley Fever for more installments and be sure to share your suggestions in the comments section. Today, Amy Silverman presents the next 10 items on the list.

See also: Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do in Phoenix Before You Die: The Introduction

Andrew Pielage
The dancing girl above the mantle at Tovrea Castle was a gift from the Orpheum Theatre.
Step inside Tovrea Castle
If you are anything like me, you spent your childhood -- and beyond -- staring at that castle, particularly once the 202 offered such a perfect pass-by view. I dreamed of getting married at Tovrea Castle, marveled at the romantic cake-topper of a building. Good thing I didn't wait to get married inside, because I'd already celebrate my 14th anniversary by the time the city opened the grounds to tours after decades of off-limits. But it was worth the wait. The 1929 building (hardly a castle, you'll realize, when you get close) has been perfectly restored, and you can tour the first floor and basement, and watch a video presentation. Dreamy. Details at

Shop at SAS Fabrics by the Pound
You don't sew? So what! SAS is still worth a peek. Some may argue that the west side or Tempe locations are better, but trust me, the Central Phoenix spot is it. A few years ago, a fire forced the staff to clean out this notoriously disorganized warehouse of everything from appliques to zippers. You can spend hours in here, wandering from ribbons to fake fur; I've found boxes of Mexican oilcloth remnants. Find the goods for a wedding dress or a Halloween costume or just people watch. Despite the name, most fabrics are not sold by the pound, but the prices are still extremely reasonable. Warning: The staff's a little rough around the edges, but that's part of the joy of SAS. I have friends who fly into town just to go here. (I won't name names, Laurie Notaro.)

Location Info


Tovrea Castle and Carraro Cactus Garden

5041 E. Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Phoenix Zoo

455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

SAS Fabric by the Pound

1111 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Scottsdale

5402 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ

Category: General

Franco's Italian Cafe

4327 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Los Dos Molinos

8646 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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My Voice Nation Help

Has Matthew Hendley and Stephen Lemons made their list yet?

Connie Turner
Connie Turner

Wish I had known about some of these places when I lived there. I may have to come back!


SAS, the home of the Cheerless Slavic Women! Good call here, I'm a guy, and I learned meeself to sew from the cheap fabrics at SAS.. As well, I watched my best-a-mundo pickup lines go down in flames when I tried them on the SAS Girls. Fellows, if you can score a date with those beauties, my hat's off to ya.

For real, nice to see some excellent Native Zonie  curiosities presented in this feature. Thank You.

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