Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Kiddieland, FilmBar, and Ladmo's Tree
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, Robrt Pela presents the next 10 items on the list.
Will Mejia The Orpheum, circa 2008.
Give yourself a walking tour of the Orpheum
Maybe you're one of those people who like to pretend it's a long time ago, when things were "better." Or maybe you love yourself some Spanish Revival architecture. Whatever. Take yourself to this gorgeous Baroque building, with its intricate murals and moldings, where all the big names played live in the '20s and '30s. The Orpheum became The Paramount movie house in the '40s and a circuit playhouse in the '60s before falling into disrepair. A 12-year-long renovation has restored it to its former glory, and it's been waiting, ever since its reopening in 1997, for you to come ogle it.
See something arty at FilmBar
We've finally got a downtown revival house that shows honest-to-gosh art films, cool old movies, and stuff that you're just plain not going to see at any of the local chains. And this one offers not just popcorn and soda pop, but a cool beer-and-wine bar besides. Just three years old, FilmBar is a great neighborhood bar and a worthy cinema that hosts independent and foreign films as well as new stuff from local up-and-comers.
Ride the light rail
Valley Metro is working on a pair of $300 million extensions to its light rail that will link downtown to the east valley and northwest Phoenix. In the meantime, our newest reason to be hopeful about Phoenix offers spotless trains and modern-art-rich stations that scream "Big City!" More practically, light rail is an eco-friendly way to get from A to B while catching up on your email -- or taking a nap!
Ride the rides at Encanto Kiddieland
Okay. So it hasn't been called that in a really long time. But for those of us of a certain age, the Enchanted Island Amusement Park at downtown's sprawling Encanto Park will always be Encanto Kiddieland. Launched in 1948, this smallish amusement park is geared for kids under 10, its rides and attractions designed for tykes 42 inches tall and shorter. You don't have to be "this tall to ride this ride" anywhere on the Enchanted Island, where teacups and Whirligigs rule. There's a shaded arcade where you can -- just as in days of yore! -- play coin-operated games, and a snack bar where people of any age can dig some cotton candy.