Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Prickly Pear, Gammage, and Chris Bianco's Mom's Chocolate Cake

Andrew Pielage
Life in Phoenix is not complete without a trip to Big Surf.
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.

Catch a wave at Big Surf
Sure, there are faster slides at bigger water parks in town, and there are others with wave pools -- but you can only wax (your surfboard) nostalgic at Big Surf, the first fake ocean in the country and a Valley institution. I have (not so) fond memories of wave pool face plants as a child; be careful. Ah, memories.

Claire Lawton

See also: Calle 16: A Mural Project

Eat mole at Barrio Cafe and tour the Calle 16 murals
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza serves up an amazing mole at her Barrio Cafe, a restaurant lauded by everyone from James Beard (well, the foundation) to Guy Fieri (he stopped by last year). She's not just committed to good cooking, Chef Silvana is also hell bent on celebrating local culture and fighting anti-immigration policies and sentiments. So several years ago, she began encouraging local artists to put murals up along 16th Street, where her restaurant is located. The result -- by many talented folks including Lalo Cato, Nomas, and Breeze -- is stunning and not to be missed.

See a show at Gammage Auditorium
The acoustics at Frank Lloyd Wright's wedding cake-esque auditorium are terrible. The line for the ladies room is always crazy-long and I don't recommend the balcony if you have any doubts regarding your balance -- or a fear of heights. And yet there's nothing better than a good seat at a good touring show (and they book great stuff) at Gammage. It's a quintessential Phoenix experience.

See a Spring Training game
Even if you're not a baseball fan, who can resist a cold beer, a hot dog, and a gorgeous afternoon? My favorite is Scottsdale Stadium, but you might want to try more than one ballpark, with new ones popping up all the time. Details here for the Cactus League.

Location Info


Big Surf Waterpark

1500 N. Mcclintock Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: General

Barrio Cafe

2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Gammage Auditorium

1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: Music

Lux Coffeebar

4402 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General


13555 S. Cross L Rd., Mayer, AZ

Category: General

Camelback Mountain/Echo Canyon Recreation Area

5950 N. Echo Canyon Parkway, Paradise Valley, AZ

Category: General

Pizzeria Bianco

623 E. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Last Chance Bargain Shoes & Apparel

1919 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Scottsdale Stadium

7408 E. Osborn Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Pane Bianco

4404 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Trattoria Bianco

4743 N. 20th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

lauded by Guy Fieri? I'm not so sure that's something I'd brag about.

Cameron Brownlow
Cameron Brownlow

Big Surf?? Really? I have not been to a water park since the 80s.

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